While some concepts of the Internet date back to the 1950s, the public-facing World Wide Web traces its history back 25 years.
March 12, 1989: British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee circulates his "informational management proposal" at the European organization CERN, laying the foundation for the World Wide Web. He releases the code to the public on Christmas Day 1990.
1993: Mosaic, the browser credited with popularising the Web with an intuitive interface, is developed by a team led by Marc Andreessen at the University of Illinois. Mosaic is the basis for the commercial browser Netscape in 1994.
1994: China gets first Internet connection, but filters content.
- The White House launches its website, www.whitehouse.gov; some users who enter a .com address end up at a porn site.
- Launches include "David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web," the forerunner to Yahoo, and Amazon.com.
1995: Microsoft releases Internet Explorer, touching off a "browser war" which eventually will kill off Netscape.
- The online auction site eBay is launched.
1996: Finland's Nokia launches first mobile phone with Internet connectivity.
1998: Google begins operations, quickly growing into the leading search engine.
- The US government hands over control of the Web domain system to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a private entity.
2000: The Internet virus ILOVEYOU infects millions of computers around the world, causing billions of dollars in damage and highlighting the need for online security.
- Internet fever drives the tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index to a record high of 5,048, ahead of the bursting of the dot-com bubble, eroding more than 75% of the Nasdaq value by 2002. The index fails to reach 5,000 over the next 14 years.
2001: Napster, a wildly popular music-swapping service, is ordered to be closed by the US courts in a key ruling on online copyrights.
2002: A denial of service knocks out eight of 13 root servers that allow for Internet connections.
2005: The number of people connected to the Internet tops one billion.
2007: Estonia conducts the first online parliamentary election.
2012: Online commerce for 2012 tops $1 trillion, according to private surveys.
- The social network Facebook reaches one billion members; A NASA probe checks in on Foursquare from Mars.
- A global telecom treaty is signed by 89 UN member states, with some countries claiming the US has too much control of the Internet. The US and 55 other countries reject the document, saying it could lead to government regulation of the Internet.
2013: Some 2.7 billion people worldwide are connected to the Internet, around 40% of the world's population. Chinese overtakes English as the dominant language.