February 20, 2024

Website Evolution Over the Past 30 Years

As part of TDG’s 30-year celebration, we thought this would be a good time to look at how websites have changed over the past 30 years. 

  • In 1994
    • Approximately 10,000 websites and about 2 million computers were connected to the Internet.
  • In 2024
    • It is estimated that there are 1.83 billion websites, of which 203 million are active. The latest data suggest that 5.35 billion people worldwide are now online.

Before we dig into how the web has changed, Let’s look at some technical factors that led to this phenomenal growth.

Contributing Factors

  • The continued popularity of personal computers. 
    • For 53 years, PCs have provided unprecedented computing power to non-technical users. Over time, the performance power of PCs has grown while their physical size and cost have shrunk.
  • Storage Capacity.
    • As part of the meteoric growth of PCs, hard drive storage has seen a similar evolution, with storage capacity growing and the size and cost shrinking. It took the industry 35 years to create the first 1 GB hard drive in 1991, costing $3,000. It took another 14 years to reach 500 GB. Then, it took just two years to create the first 1 TB hard drive in 2007, which cost $400.
  • IPhone (Mobile Computing).
    • In 2007, our relationship with computers completely changed with the introduction of the iPhone. Suddenly, an easy-to-use computer could be found in someone’s pocket. More importantly, it changed how we thought about mobile internet computing.
  • Bandwidth Speed.
    • Wired and wireless bandwidth has also seen a dramatic increase in speed and reduction in cost. If you tried to surf the web in 1994, you did so with a painfully slow 14.4 KBps dial-up modem. Today, many of us connect via cable modems with speeds from 500 MBps to 1 GBps. In 2007, the cellular speed for the first iPhone was 300 Kbps. Now, our mobile broadband speeds can reach as high as 500 MBps.
  • Cloud Computing and Virtualization.
    • In the late 2000s, Amazon and Google introduced us to Cloud computing. The cloud allows us to easily create virtual computers whenever needed. It is central to most of the infrastructure that runs our daily lives. 

Web Evolution Timeline

1990s – Introduction of the World Wide Web:

  • The Internet became available to the general public in 1993.
  • Websites were built using basic HTML that presented text, images, and hyperlinks. 
  • Animated GIFs were commonly used to add some simple animations.
  • In 1994 computer monitors were typically 14″ or 15″ cathode ray tubes (CRT) with a display resolution of only 800 x 600 pixels. As a result, website layouts had a fixed width of around 600 pixels. 
  • Because of slow dial-up speeds and small computer monitors, web images were small and low resolution. 
1996 website

Early 2000s – Rise of Flash and Dynamic Content:

  • Flash was used on websites to display interactive and animated content.
  • Open Source Content Management System (CMS) websites become available. WordPress, Mambo/Jooma, PHP-Nuke, and Drupal.
  • E-commerce started to emerge with the rise of platforms like Amazon and eBay.
  • Common computer monitor sizes range between 15″ and 16″ with a typical screen resolution of 1280 x1024. As a result, website layouts typically had a fixed layout width of 1024 pixels. 
  • DSL and cable internet service start to become available with speeds from 128 KBps – 1.5 MBps. 
  • As a result, web layouts become wider, higher-quality images start to appear, and it becomes possible to download large files.
2003 website

Mid-2000s – Web 2.0 and Social Media Integration:

  • Web 2.0 begins. Dynamic, CMS-based websites become more popular.
  • Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube become available.
  • Basic mobile internet connectivity becomes available with cellular modems for laptops.
  • BlackBerry becomes common in the business sector.
  • Websites start to offer desktop and mobile versions for their users.
  • Blogging becomes mainstream.
  • As a result, the quantity and quality of website content begins to flourish. 
2007 website

Late 2000s – iPhone Mobile Revolution

  • The first iPhone was introduced in 2007. This completely changes how we think about using the Internet from a mobile device. 
  • Responsive web design is introduced as a way to make websites mobile-friendly.

Early 2010s – Mobile Web Becomes Mainstream

  • In 2014 mobile Internet use exceeded desktop use in the U.S.
  • Responsive Design becomes mainstream. As a result, web layouts can now expand and contract based on the type of device being used.
  • Tablet computing begins.
  • Web design moves to a more minimalist look with clean layouts and a flat look.
  • Single-page websites become popular for small websites.
  • Faster bandwidth and more powerful devices allow for the robust use of multimedia within web pages. Images are much larger, and on-page video become commonplace.
2010 website

Late 2010s – Mobile First

  • Mobile-first design strategies become popular
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is used for faster loading on mobile devices.
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is implemented for improved offline access and app-like experiences.
  • Integration of chatbots for personalized user interactions has become popular.
  • Accessibility (ADA) and inclusivity become important.
2017 website

2020s – Optimization and AI

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning are integrated for personalized user experiences and content recommendations.
  • Dark Mode has become popular, offering reduced eye strain and improved battery life for mobile devices.
  • Continued emphasis on performance optimization, accessibility, security, and privacy in web design and development.
2024 website
Share This

Made With Love

view our work

Connect With Us

connect with us