Billions of pages, posts, videos, and other information are published every day on the Internet, and almost everyone uses it, but you ever think who owns the Internet? Who manages these billions of pages, and how?
Where are the tons of terabyte data, images, and videos are stored? These are the curious things to know and how all things are related. Today, in this article, I will discuss who owns the World Wide Web or the Internet.
Internet is everywhere, and it is arguably astonishing that the Internet holds millions of websites whether they are on WordPress, Wix, or any platform and tons of browsers including Google, Safari, Edge, Firefox, etc.
Before deep down to who owns the Internet and related question, let’s understand what the Internet is? The Internet is an intricate structure that Nobody and Everybody own.
It is a set of algorithms, information, computer networks, and communications. To make it easy to understand, let’s explore the history of when all this started.
When was the Internet Started?
Unofficially, the Internet started in the 1960s when U.S. government employees used it as an information-sharing system over room-like large computers. Later on, during the Cold War, the genesis of the official Internet occurred in ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network).
ARPANET got huge success and popularity, but it was still limited to small groups like academic researchers and institutions. The transfer control protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) evolved on 1 January 1983, establishing communication standard protocol to unify and bind a universal language for the Internet.
Who Owns the Internet?
No one owns the Internet; no one runs the Internet. It is a decentralized network of networks to share information from peer-to-peer and B-2-B. Companies, organizations, marketers, engineers, philosophers, writers, or any individual can contribute to developing and processing the Internet.
As we see, many websites, blogs, CMS, content networks, video management, etc., are owned by individuals and a group of people who ultimately strengthen the Internet. However, there is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) consisting of network operators, engineers, and computer scientists who document methods, behaviors, research, or innovations.
Remember, IETF neither owns the Internet nor runs the internet networks but is an open organization or platform to discuss and manage the Internet standards.
Anyone can attend IETF meetings, recommend their suggestions, suggest any changes over existing and upcoming internet usability. However, no one is obliged to implement IETF standards; as I said, the Internet is not owned by anyone.
Where is Internet data stored?
Now, you get the answer: Who owns the Internet, but you may question if nobody owns the Internet, where are all data and millions of information stored? We access thousand of web browsers, applications, videos, security protocols, and many more, but where does all this come from?
All information and data are stored in data centers, the source of information anyone searches online, even a large game. Data centers consist of networked computers, storage systems, and computing infrastructure that businesses and other organizations use to organize, process, store and disseminate large amounts of data.
Over the world, there are approximately 7.3 million data centers (maximums in the USA) and has large computer networks and storage devices. The information of data centers is scaled to the global level through TCP/IP protocols, servers, routers, and hub systems.
Top companies working on routers, servers, cables, and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are as follows (in other words, they manage the Internet-related products & technicalities but remember, they are still not the complete owner of the Internet but own the internet infrastructures):
- Level 3.
- Lumen Technologies.
Can the Internet be shut down?
No. the Internet can not be shut down entirely, but a specific portion can be controlled in specific situations. As you can’t restrict the water to flow, similarly nobody can stop the flow of the Internet. There is no single connection or point to regulate the Internet or control it.
On the other hand, as we discussed, top ISP companies that manage Internet-related infrastructures. These internet service providers can turn off and divert internet traffic flow by disabling DNS (Domain Name System). Moreover, the government can order (or ask) ISPs to do so, as we see various examples in recent history (2011, Egyptian Revolution).
I hope you get the answer who owns the Internet and who manages it. You also understand that the Internet is not just about websites, but it’s really massive and intricate structure. Millions of individuals, companies, and organizations contribute to working the Internet in one way or another.
No one regulates or controls the Internet because the Internet is massive, limitless, and highly uncontrolled. However, at different periods, some governments across the globe regulate some portion of the Internet to mitigate the dangers, including illegal activities, pornography, illegal mining, cyber crimes, etc.