Very Early Web Page Unearthed After CERN's Plea For Online Relics

The page includes an innovative new way of spelling "demonstration." Demonfdgfgstration, anyone?

What are your earliest memories of the web? What site did you first visit? How old were you? What browser were you on?

A webpage dating back to 1991 has been unearthed, after a plea from CERN to send in files, software, and URLs from the web's earliest days. The file was found on an old Next computer similar to the one that the great Tim Berners-Lee used to lug around when he was trying to get people interested in that strange, arcane thing that was the uncharted World Wide Web.

The reason CERN has no other record of its early pages is because of the way the team used to develop the technology. "When they updated they just replaced and over-wrote the file," said Dan Noyes, web manager at CERN's communications group.

So much has changed in two decades. So much, in fact, that it got us thinking:

What are your earliest memories of the web? What site did you first visit? How old were you? What browser were you on? We asked our followers on social media these questions, here's how they responded:

[Image: Flickr user Grand Canyon National Park]

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17 Comments

  • MikeOdoulle

    I remember browsing to the Big Red button on my Mosaic browser from an SGI workstation! I actually used this site in a presentaiton to show people the information found on the web. It did nothing at the time and appears it does nothing still... http://www.pixelscapes.com/spa...

  • Mike Weber

    Visiting a CompuServe bulletin board to download a patch for an early version of ProTools. It was the first time I didn't have to wait for a floppy disc to arrive in the mail. Of course the 28.8 dial up modem wasn't a whole lot faster.

  • Peter Leyssens

    Using Mosaic to browse the web. Then Netscape came along. It showed a preview of the page while it was still loading. And it loaded images in the background. Before, you had to wait until everything was loaded before Mosaic could start doing the lay-out on the screen. What a revolution !  After Netscape, browsers never got a speed upgrade like that anymore.

  • Eric Blaser

    My very first memory of what would become the web was true peer to peer dial up on my Commodore Vic 20 with a 300 baud modem. No graphics, just text. It was AWESOME!

  • Anshuks

    It wasn't a web page - it was a usenet page. Accessed from a VT100 teleterminal - in all the glory of 80 columns, 25 rows of monochrome!

    First time I downloaded a pictuer was 1 year later. Had to leave the download running overnight!

  • Eric Schatz

    NCSA What's New page using an Apple //c running ProTerm after a few years of sneaking into Usenet with a remote-dial service...that was enough to get me to switch to a refurb Macintosh LC and Mosaic 0.9

  • Dustin Brown

    BBS via Prodigy.  There was no concept of browsers per say just yet, just boards.  It was on a 9600 baud modem that connected to the ISP that had a modem bank supporting only 10 concurrent users.  Think about that!

  • badscience

    I remember leaving the walled garden of AOL (dial-up, of course) in mid to late 90s and getting the warning from AOL how dangerous the WWW was!  

  • LSK

    I think it was 1998 when I suggested our parish consider getting a website. At that time, there were 12 other Episcopal churches online.

  • Kylemattbrodie

    1999; Fifth grade — My friends and I were trying to impress each other with who was running the latest version of the direct-mail AOL disk.

  • Glo

    AOL dial up...we only had one line so it would kick you off when someone called. That's why my parents got a second line.

  • Shana S

    My earliest memory is discovering chat rooms with my friends (we were probably about 9 or 10 years old) and talking about how much we loved Ace of Base.

  • Keith Povall

    I first used the web around 1995 when Windows 96 arrived, using a 14.4 modem so every page was a discovery rewarded by patience. Oddly one of the first pages I found was The Butt Page which featured X rays (some genuine some faked) of odd items that get stuck in people's bottoms. The light bulb for example was genuine and had a surgeon's report on how it was gently removed without braking the glass. The other page was the Klingon Language Institute which is still going. I've not googled to see if the butt page is still around.

  • Mustafa Ahmed

    earliest memory of using the web (early 1993). I was using the NCSA browser on a Apple computer, when I was studying in the US. (Nebraska). The site everyone was talking about then was the "Trojan Room Coffee Pot". It was a web cam showing very low res (greyscale) live shot of a co ffee pot located on campus at the University of Cambridge. That was day one of the web for me.