A little more, please! Kevin, you're here. Please tell us a little about the first web server. What kind of machine? How much RAM? Hard drive? What OS did it run? What server software? Where was it installed? What web site(s) was on it? What was its IP address?
Hi there! I started the Web site on May 25, 1993 (at least that's the earliest date I have in the log files) at Honolulu Community College, when I was a student sysadmin playing around with new distance learning technologies. This was about three months after version 1.0 of Mosaic for X (the first popular Web browser) was announced, and around a year after the campus first got its Internet connection. The site ran on the main server in the Academic Computing Center (building 2, floor 5) - it was a Sun machine running Solaris 2.x called "pulua", and I think it ran version 2.x of the canonical Web server software called "httpd", which was developed directly at CERN. Pulua probably had about 128MB of memory.
The old IP address was pulua.hcc.hawaii.edu, and I put all sorts of information there, including a tour of HCC's dinosaur exhibit, an interactive map, and a video gallery, and we were so popular that at one point the site was hard-coded into Mosaic's "hotlist" menu. All the international attention was quite a surprise for our relatively small campus.
One of the things I remember in particular was converting camcorder footage into MPEG video files for our gallery - I used a variety of sketchy command-line tools, it took hours (I let the script run during classes), there was no audio (the format had no support for it yet), and there was no frame rate support so the videos played very quickly. Those qualities reminded me a lot of the short "silent era" movies. But it worked, and a lot of people really liked that.
In a discussion with Bebo White (who at SLAC helped run the first Web server in the U.S.), we estimated that the HCC site was probably within the first 50 Web servers in the world (and definitely within the first 100). Each one of those servers has quite a story behind it, and I hope that one day those stories are told...