Who invented the Internet?

A single person did not create the Internet that we know and use today. Below is a listing of different people who have helped contribute to and develop the Internet.

The idea

The initial idea of the Internet is credited to Leonard Kleinrock after he published his first paper entitled “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets” on May 31, 1961.

In 1962, J.C.R. Licklider became the first Director of IPTO and gave his vision of a galactic network. Also, with ideas from Licklider and Kleinrock, Robert Taylor helped create the idea of the network that later became ARPANET.

Initial creation

The Internet as we know it today first started being developed in the late 1960s in California in the United States.

In the summer of 1968, the NWG (Network Working Group) held its first meeting, chaired by Elmer Shapiro, at the SRI (Stanford Research Institute). Other attendees included Steve Carr, Steve Crocker, Jeff Rulifson, and Ron Stoughton. In the meeting, the group discussed solving issues related to getting hosts to communicate with each other.

In December 1968, Elmer Shapiro with SRI released a report “A Study of Computer Network Design Parameters.” Based on this and earlier work by Paul Baran, Thomas Marill and others, Lawrence Roberts and Barry Wessler created the IMP (Interface Message Processor) specifications. BBN (Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc.) was later awarded the contract to design and build the IMP subnetwork.

General public learns about Internet

The UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) put out a press release introducing the public to the Internet on July 3, 1969.

First network equipment

Leonard Kleinrock standing next to IMP

On August 29, 1969, the first network switch and the first piece of network equipment called “IMP” (Interface Message Processor) is sent to UCLA.

On September 2, 1969, the first data moves from the UCLA host to the switch. The picture to the right is Leonard Kleinrock next to the IMP.

The first message and network crash

On Friday, October 29, 1969, at 10:30 p.m., the first Internet message was sent from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock’s laboratory at UCLA, to a computer at SRI. The connection not only enabled the first transmission to be made, but is also considered the first Internet backbone.

The first message to be distributed was LO, which was an attempt at LOGIN, by Charley S. Kline to log into the SRI computer from UCLA. However, the message was unable to be completed because the SRI system crashed. Shortly after the crash, the issue was resolved, and he was able to log into the computer.

The Internet in 1969

E-mail is developed

Ray Tomlinson sends the first network e-mail in 1971. It’s the first messaging system to send messages across a network to other users.

TCP is developed

Vint Cerf

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn design TCP during 1973 and later publish it with the help of Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine in RFC 675, published in December 1974. Most people consider these two people the inventors of the Internet.

First commercial network

A commercial version of ARPANET, known as Telenet, is introduced in 1974 and considered to be the first ISP (Internet service provider).

Ethernet is conceived

Bob Metcalfe develops the idea of Ethernet in 1973.

The modem is introduced

Dennis Hayes and Dale Heatherington released the 80-103A modem in 1977. The modem and their subsequent modems become a popular choice for home users to connect to the Internet and get online.

TCP/IP is created

In 1978, TCP splits into TCP/IP, driven by Danny Cohen, David Reed, and John Shoch to support real-time traffic. The creation of TCP/IP help create UDP and is later standardized into ARPANET on January 1, 1983. Today, TCP/IP is still the primary protocol used on the Internet.

DNS is introduced

Paul Mockapetris and Jon Postel introduce DNS in 1984, which also introduces the domain name system. The first Internet domain name, symbolics.com, is registered on March 15, 1985 by Symbolics, a Massachusetts computer company.

First commercial dial-up ISP

The first commercial ISP (Internet service provider) in the US, known as “The World,” is introduced in 1989. The World was the first ISP to be used on what we now consider to be the Internet.


Tim Berners-LeeIn 1990, while working at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee develops HTML, which made a huge contribution to how we navigate and view the Internet today.

The first website, info.cern.ch, is developed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN and published online on August 6, 1991.


Tim Berners-Lee introduces WWW (World Wide Web) to the public on August 6, 1991, and becomes publicly available on August 23, 1991. The WWW is what most people today consider the “Internet” or a series of sites and pages that are connected with links. The Internet had hundreds of people who helped develop the standards and technologies used today, but without the WWW, the Internet would not be as popular as it is today.

First graphical Internet browser

NCSA Mosaic 1.0

Mosaic is the first widely-used graphical World Wide Web browser, released on April 22, 1993 by the NCSA with the help of Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina. A big competitor to Mosaic was Netscape, which was released a year later. Today’s Internet browsers we use today (e.g., Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.), got their inspiration from the Mosaic browser.

Java and JavaScript

Originally known as oak, Java is a programming language developed by James Gosling and others at Sun Microsystems in 1995. Today, Java is still used to create Internet applications and other software programs.

JavaScript was developed by Brendan Eich in 1995 and originally known as LiveScript. LiveScript was released with Netscape Navigator 2.0 and renamed to JavaScript with Netscape Navigator 2.0B3. JavaScript is an interpreted client-side scripting language that allows a web designer the ability to insert code into their web page.

Related Questions

That is a great overview, but who are the key inventors of the Internet?

If you had to isolate the key inventors of the Internet, it would have to be two people: Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn. The WWW, which is different from the Internet, but what most people think of as the “Internet,” was invented later by Tim Berners-Lee.

But I thought Al Gore invented the Internet

Al Gore coined the term information superhighway, but he did not invent the Internet.