CERN httpd

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CERN httpd
Developer(s) CERN / World Wide Web Consortium
Initial release 24 December 1990; 27 years ago (1990-12-24)
Last release 3.0A / 15 July 1996; 21 years ago (1996-07-15)[1]
Development status discontinued
Operating system Unix, Unix-like
Available in C
Type Web server, proxy server
License MIT Copyright Statement with acknowledgement to CERN

CERN httpd (later also known as W3C httpd) was a web server (HTTP) daemon originally developed at CERN from 1990 onwards by Tim Berners-Lee, Ari Luotonen[2] and Henrik Frystyk Nielsen.[1] Implemented in C, it was the first ever web server software[3] and went live on December 25th 1990.[4]


This NeXT Computer used by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN became the world's first web server

CERN httpd was originally developed on a NeXT Computer running NeXTSTEP, and was later ported to other Unix-like operating systems, OpenVMS and systems with unix emulation layers, e.g. OS/2 with emx+gcc. It could also be configured as a web proxy server.[1][3] Version 0.1 was released in June 1991.[5] In August 1991, Berners-Lee announced in the Usenet newsgroup alt.hypertext the availability of the source code of the server daemon and other World Wide Web software from the CERN FTP site.[6]

The original, first generation HTTP server which some call the Volkswagen of the Web.[7]

The server was presented on the Hypertext 91 conference in San Antonio and was part of the CERN Program Library (CERNLIB).[8][9][10]

Later versions of the server are based on the libwww library.[2] The development of CERN httpd was later taken over by W3C, with the last release being version 3.0A of 15 July 1996.[1] From 1996 onwards, W3C focused on the development of the Java-based Jigsaw server.[11]

The initial version was public domain software; the last one was under an MIT license.[12]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Official CERN httpd page
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kahan, José (5 August 1999). "Why Libwww?". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Server Guide: CERN httpd
  4. History of the Web
  5. Change History for httpd
  6. Stewart, Bill. "Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, and the World Wide Web - Web development". Living Internet. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  7. "W3C Open Source Software - CERN Server". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  8. "How the web began". CERN. 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  9. Stewart, Bill. "Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, and the World Wide Web - Berners-Lee". Living Internet. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  10. Robert Cailliau (21 July 2010). "A Short History of the Web". NetValley. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  11. Baird-Smith, Anselm (April 1996). "W3C Activity: The CERN server". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  12. The birth of the web Licensing the web on (2014, archived)

External links