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Why was NSFNET decommissioned?

As a blogger interested in current issues pertaining to internet hosting, I am also interested in the history of internet hosting. As a consequence, today’s blog post will touch upon the very first web host, NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network), and why NSFNET was decommissioned.

A brief history

Before the World Wide Web came into existence, the internet was hosted by the National Science Foundation. Hosting was done using the National Science Foundation Network, NSFNET. In those days, access to the internet was very restricted and only available to universities and other research entities. In the early 1990s, when the NSFNT allowed commercial entities to use the “backbone” of the network, the world wide web was launched.

With the world wide web available for commercial entities, websites began to populate the web like crazy. Internet users quickly followed with 16 million daily users in 1995. 20 years later, that number swelled to over 3 billion users! It’s a good thing that NSFNET didn’t try to host all of that global traffic. Their servers would probably have melted down.

Recognizing that the world wide web was doing just fine managing the entire internet traffic, including the institutions previously served by NSFNET, the National Science Foundation decided to sunset the NSFNET and let the WWW do its work.

Shared lifting

Today, web hosting is a shared-lifting project with a myriad of web hosts to choose from. From Dreamhost to Bluehost, HostGator to MochaHost, A2 Hosting to InMotion Hosting, you’re never without an option. The trick is to find the host that fits your budget and will manage traffic in a reliable, and quick-as-possible manner. If you’re a massive e-commerce company like Melaleuca or Nike.com, you’ll probably opt for the A-lister hosting options, but if you’re a smaller boutique operation, then you’ll probably be able to get away with something a little smaller, like Wix provides.

Although NSFNET seems like an archaic dinosaur and a relic from the past, it’s important that we honor the pioneering work that NSFNET accomplished. Without it, we wouldn’t have the internet as we know it today. Then where would we be? Stuck in the 1980s.