Now there are thousands of web hosting providers. You can get shared hosting, cloud service, virtual server, or a complete dedicated hosting just for you. If you are extremely picky with your demands, you can even host your website at your own server that you actually own. Web hosting now is easy, but there was a long way. This is the history of web hosting.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that hosting providers offer for hosting sites that can be accessed through the Internet. All of the site’s resources – the code of the site, databases, photos, videos, etc. need to be stored in a special place that has an appropriate environment (PHP, database service like MySql or MariaDB, HTTPS, Apache server, and more).
So to make it easy:
Web hosting is where all of your site files are located. If you are a photographer, this is your studio. All your clients come to it, and you use the equipment (all the website resources) to provide service.
History of web hosting
We will go back all the way to the beginning of the Internet. First, international computer networks were used by militaries or science institutions only. Work only! You couldn’t just go to a website and spend hours wasting your time.
Pre-history, the bases
1989 – Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the beginning of the World Wide Web (WWW)
At the time, Mister Berners-Lee was working at CERN (European Organization of Nuclear Research) in Geneva (Switzerland). He created a system for organizing information and introduced the concept of Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) or, as we often called them – links! The great thing about it was that the resources were available over the network through a protocol called Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Tim Berners-Lee and his team created a web server concept, where you host the information and a client software called a web browser that allows you to access them.
1991 – The Web became public
CERN was not greedy and published the Web so other research institutions could use it later to the general public. At that time, there were no companies that owned data centers. There was no option to use web hosting from a provider. You needed your own server running and been connected.
1993 – WWW as a public domain
If you don’t know what public domain means, that is an open license where there are no exclusive intellectual property rights. WWW becoming a public domain meant that now everybody can use it, the way they lie without paying money (royalties).
The real start of the web hosting business
1994 – GeoCities and the first paid web hosting
In 1994, David Bohnett and John Rezner started a business called GeoCities. GeoCities was the first web hosting service and had an organizational structure that used “neighborhoods” and created virtual cities.
1995 – GeoCities allows users to create a page for free and put it in one of these neighborhoods. We are talking about basic HTML pages, without any videos or heavy media files, but at least it was free.
In 1995, GeoCities was offering 1 MB web hosting space. There were two other free hosting providers: Angelfire (35 KB) and Tripod (2 MB).
1995 – PHP version 1
The PHP language was created so that pages could use databases.
1996 – first paid hosting providers
As the Internet started to get popular, the paid web hosting emerged. Well-known brands like HostMonster and BlueHost were created.
1996 – cPanel
The popular control panel cPanel was created.
1997 – GoDaddy was created.
1998 – Akamai Technologies lunches. The company created the first Content Delivery Network and still is one of the best.
The 2000s – today
Since then, we have many more types of hostings. Cloud hosting arrived, hybrid hosting too, different concepts for CDNs, and VPS hosting. New web hosting companies started to emerge. New websites were created too. Now, when the market is already well-established, there are many options.