In part one of the history of the internet, I talked about what the early internet was like. I covered the ARPANET, the NSFNET, and the evolution towards the modern day internet that most of us know today. Today, I will be covering the remaining of the history of the internet into the 21st century and the modern day internet that everyone knows. After the NSFNET, many people started to recognize the usefulness of the internet and began to start using it. The catch was that in some areas, many people still didn’t use it while in others, many people used it. Also, a lot of people were using a lot of different networks. So, to transition to a more advanced internet, everyone had to move to one very big network or at least a few big networks.
Up until this point, the common citizen didn’t really use the internet. The internet was mainly reserved for government purposes only. But then, ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) started forming. They were mainly formed because people were beginning to understand the usefulness of the internet. Therefore, many people wanted to use the internet for commercial purposes and then, ISP’s were formed. After the Science and Advanced Technology Act was passed by the U.S. Congress, the NSF was allowed to intercommunicate the private research and education networks with the commercial based networks allowing them to research about the same topics and communicate with each other. By the 1900s, the ARPANET was no longer needed as it’s goals had been fulfilled. Also, the NSFNET was no longer the driving factor behind growing the internet. There were many other networks that were also able to carry out the same tasks that the NSFNET could. So on April 30, 1995, the NSF ended its sponsorship to the NSFNET. This meant that there were not really anymore government networks stopping commercial networks. Therefore, the commercial basically had free reign over the internet.
Let’s quickly talk about www. www actually stands for World Wide Web. It is a space where all the URL’s correspond to a website or document. These URL’s are interlinked by hypertext and can be accessed using a web browser or web-based applications. In 1993, Marc Andreessen released the NCSA Mosaic which would trigger a spike in the amount of internet users. This was because the program was easy to use and install, and could be accessed on a home computer. This browser was also one of the earliest browsers that could put text and image on the same page. Then in 1994, Marc Andreessen released Netscape which was an improved version of the NCSA Mosaic. This resulted in one of the earliest browser wars and Marc Andreessen and his Netscape would ultimately lose to the Microsoft Internet Explorer. This resulted in the Windows operating system and the Internet Explorer that we all know and love today.
Let’s move back to the late 1900s. As of right now, the smartphones that almost everyone has now-a-days, almost no one had back then as they were a luxury and only used for business. There was no Social Media like Instagram or Snapchat. Back then, many people still did not have computers in their houses. Computers could not process videos, only DVDs and eventually, CDs. The computer back then was mainly used for eCommerce, email, and forums or bulletin boards. But then, some people started to recognize how much value eCommerce had in it. So people started putting their stock money into eCommerce businesses like Amazon and eBay. These companies were shot to very overpriced valuations and people started selling their stocks which resulted in a market crash known as the .com bubble. This mainly affected companies using the .com level domain.