Understanding the Internet
The Internet is a global network of computers and servers that allows devices to share and exchange information. It’s based on the principle of interconnected networks (hence the term “inter-net”), each transmitting and receiving data.
The Internet is the infrastructure that allows us to send an email, make an online bank transaction, or access a website. It’s important to understand that the Internet is not a single entity but a vast network of independent computers and local networks, all interconnected through a system of protocols.
The World Wide Web
The World Wide Web, or simply the Web, is a way of accessing information over the Internet. It’s an information-sharing model built on top of the Internet. The Web utilizes browsers, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, to access web documents, or pages, that are linked to each other via hyperlinks. These documents are written in a language called HTML (HyperText Markup Language).
While the Internet is the infrastructure, the Web is a service built upon that infrastructure. To put it another way, the Internet is the highway, and the Web is the vehicles that travel on the highway.
Here are a few commonly used terms related to the internet:
- IP Address: Every device on the Internet has a unique identifying number, known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This address is used to send data to specific computers.
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator): This is essentially the address of a specific webpage or file on the Internet.
- HTTP/HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol/Secure): These are protocols used for transferring webpages from servers to your browser. HTTPS includes security measures for encrypting data.
- ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that provides access to the Internet.
- Domain Name: A human-friendly replacement for an IP address (for example, www.google.com).
Protocols are standardized rules that allow computers to communicate with each other over the internet. Some commonly used protocols include:
- TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): This is the fundamental protocol that enables the internet to work. It divides data into packets, sends them, and then reassembles them at their destination.
- HTTP/HTTPS: Used by web browsers to fetch webpages from servers.
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Used for transferring files between computers.
- SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): Used for sending emails.
- DNS (Domain Name System): It translates domain names to IP addresses.
In essence, the Internet and the World Wide Web have changed the way we live, work, and communicate. The protocols and standards that have been established allow different devices and applications to communicate seamlessly, making the internet a truly global network.