Rob Hartill was born in Pontypridd in 1969 and did both his BSc and PhD at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He was one of the early pioneers of the World Wide Web, being involved in the development of both the software infrastructure and the content on the Web.

In 1994, he co-founded the Apache Software Foundation and made numerous contributions to the Apache HTTP (web) server. From 1996 until the time of writing, the Apache web server was responsible for serving more web sites than any other server and, for much of this period, was responsible for serving more sites than all other web servers combined.

While at Cardiff, Rob was an active participant in the rec.arts.movies database. This was a moderated newsgroup, where the maintainer collected reviews posted by members. In 1993 he produced a web interface to this database, one of the earliest web sites in the UK. This site, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was later bought by in 1998.

He was also responsible for working on the (pronounced ‘archive’ the X is the Greek letter Chi) e-print archive with Paul Ginsparg while at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This hosts almost all papers published in the field of Physics and is seen by some as the eventual successor to print journals.