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CERN httpd

Last Edit: 10/01/17

CERN httpd was the first web server software, and was developed for the first ever web server: Tim Berners-Lee's NeXT Computer. CERN httpd was developed by three people:

  1. Ari Luotonen
  2. Henrik Frystyk Nielsen
  3. Tim Berners-Lee

Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web while working at CERN in the late 1980's. The World Wide Web is based upon a client-server architecture: client programs (browsers) make requests to servers (computers) that store web data. The name of the server software 'CERN httpD' refers to the organisation Berners-Lee worked at (CERN) and the protocol (HTTP) that the World Wide Web uses.

CERN httpd was written using the C general-purpose programming language, and was developed using Berners-Lee NeXT Computer. In August, 1991, Berners-Lee announced the availability of the World Wide Web as a public service, and he also released the source code of the CERN httpd server software; so that developers could modify the code, or, could gain inspiration to develop their own server software.

While the World Wide Web was announced as a publicly available service in 1991, Berners-Lee had begun testing his web server and it's software at an earlier date. It is claimed that Berners-Lee had created all the necessary software for the World Wide Web by December, 1990. It is claimed that Berners-Lee launched his server - with it's CERN httpD software - on the 25th of December. At this date, there was only a handful of webpages available for download, and only one browser (WorldWideWeb) that could be used to download them.