Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Is there a Web 1.0?

Marshall Brain's personal Web page belongs in the Web 1.0 category, but his blog has more Web 2.0 features. But what does this mean, exactly? See more images of Web pages.
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks 2008

When Dale Dougherty of O'Reilly Media coined the term "Web 2.0," he probably didn't know he was stirring up a hornets' nest. He was trying to come up with a catchy name for an Internet conference focused on the most effective ways to use the Web. The term caught on, and some people began to use it beyond its original purpose. Ever since the phrase "Web 2.0" gained traction, people have debated its definition. More than a few Internet experts question whether Web 2.0 even has a meaning at all.

Web Page Image Gallery

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, took a stab at defining Web 2.0 more than a year after the first Web 2.0 Conference. He posted an explanation on his blog that spanned five pages of text and used a lot of marketing terms and jargon. Some people might find O'Reilly's explanation more confusing than helpful, but his main point was that Web 2.0 refers to people making connections with other people through the Web, as they do on these Web sites:

­But defining Web 2.0 was only half of the problem. The other half had to do with the use of "2.0." The number suggested that this was a new version of the World Wide Web. If Web 2.0 was real, what was Web 1.0? Were there still Web pages on the Internet that fell into the Web 1.0 classification? If you search the Web, you'll find no shortage of answers to these questions. Unfortunately, there's no agreement on the answers.

We can understand what Web 1.0 is only if we assume that there's a Web 2.0. In this article, we'll use O'Reilly's definition of Web 2.0 to figure out what Web 1.0 means. In the next section, we'll look at the definitive explanation for Web 1.0.