Who Invented The Internet? The Brains Behind The World Wide Web

Published January 19, 2018

Have you ever wondered, who invented the internet? The answer might surprise you... and go back in time farther than you think.

Visual representation of the world wide web

Wikimedia CommonsA visual representation of the world wide web.

The world wide web is a wonderful place, but have you ever wondered who invented the internet? The answer, unlike some inventions, is not a simple one, as there is no one person to credit.

First, there are the people who invented the internet in the most theoretical sense; the idea of a place where every bit of knowledge could be accessible by every person on the planet. Then, there are the people who invented the internet as we know it today, the high-speed, technologically-based information wormhole we use every day.

The first inklings of the internet date all the way back to the early 1900s, when Nikola Tesla theorized a “world wireless system.” He believed that given enough power, he could transmit messages across the ocean to England.

Then, there was Marshall McLuhan, who predicted a “global village” of information, accessible through technology. Finally, Vannevar Bush hypothesized the mechanics of the internet, a machine he called the “Memex,” which would allow users to sort through large sets of documents connected through a network of links.

Finally, in the late 1960s, the previously theoretical ideas came together and took on a three-dimensional shape with the creation of ARPANET.

Nikola Tesla and Marshall McLuhan Who Invented The Internet

Wikimedia CommonsNikola Tesla and Marshall McLuhan, two forefathers of the internet.

Created by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, used an electronic data transmitting method called “packet switching” to put the newly designed computers onto a single network. Shortly after the creation of ARPANET, two scientists stepped up to the plate to transform it even more.

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf contributed what is perhaps the most important part of the internet that we use today – TCI/IP. TCP, Transmission Control Protocol, and IP, Internet Protocol are the standards for how data is transmitted between networks. You’ve probably heard of IP before, as every network has a specific IP address, information used to make sure data gets where it needs to go.

In 1983, TCP/IP was finished, and ready for use. ARPANET adopted the system and began to assemble a system of networks, or a network of smaller networks, which served as the precursor to the modern internet. From there, that network was renamed the “World Wide Web.”

While the term is often used interchangeably, the World Wide Web is actually different from the internet itself. The World Wide Web is just that – a web of networks that connect data in the form of websites and hyperlinks. The internet is the whole package.

So, though it seems like the internet was invented just yesterday, the concept is actually over 100 years old. At least it’s looking a little better these days.


Next, read more about Marshall McLuhan, the man who predicted the internet. Then, check out the impact that the internet has on your brain.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.
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