Internet Basics (Print it out)

What is the Internet?

The Internet is the cabling, software, hardware and other infrastructure that connects millions of computers in networks around the world. People with Internet-connected computers can quickly share and transfer information back and forth.
The World Wide Web itself is a large network of pages that connect each other over the Internet. Web pages can also contain sound, video, and other multimedia elements. Pages are connected to each other using "hyperlinks" to make navigation simple and intuitive. But since most of us use the Web when we connect to the Internet, and because the two technologies overlap more every day, "the Web" and "the Internet" are coming to mean more or less the same thing to most people.

How do I find something on the Internet?

Visit a search-engine Web site. Two of the biggest are and There are lots of other search engines, so if one doesn't work for you, try another one (See Websites of Interest pages). The first page usually has a search box where you can type a word or phrase you'd like to locate. Use a word or combination of words that are likely to appear in the Web pages you'd like to see.
For example, if you'd like to know about tuning a guitar, you might search for phrases like "tune guitar" and "6 string guitar tuning."
Click the Search or Go button, usually just to the right of the search box, and a list of matching results appears. You may get thousands or millions of results. Each result has a short description or excerpt from a page on the Web, and a link to the page. Click the link to open a page. If you aren't satisfied with the list of results, narrow or broaden your search terms or try another search engine.
Some search sites offer comparative shopping searches, searches for people, e-mail addresses, and other specialized search pursuits. See Search Exercises for more techniques and practice.

What's the difference between .com, .net and .org?

The letters after the "dot" in a Web address are the domain extension. The domain extension may tell you about a site's purpose or locale. For example, sites with a .com extension are often commercial sites. There are domain extensions for countries, such as .it for Italy, .dz for Algeria, .us for the United States, .to for Tonga. There are many other extensions now, including .biz, .tv and others, but the ones we see most often are the .com, .net, and .org.
The original extensions were meant to indicate a Web address was being used for a business (.com), a charity or non-profit organization (.org), or for an Internet technology company (.net). As the World Wide Web grew, however, companies and individuals started to register their domains with all the extensions. Currently, .com, .net, and .org domain extensions are universally accepted for any type of Web address

Why do some Web addresses start with "www" and others don't?

The "www" stands for World Wide Web and dates back to a time when some Web servers needed the "www" designation before they could serve up a Web page, and when browsers needed it before they could show you a Web page. Those servers and browsers have almost all been replaced, so the "www" doesn't matter much any more. There are still some pages on the Web that need it, so if a Web page doesn’t open without the" www," type it in and see if it works.

What is a browser and how do I use it?

A browser is a window from your computer into the Web. With a browser, you can generally view and interact with Web pages posted on the Internet: read content, listen to sound files or music, view images, even watch a movie. Two of the more popular browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
You use a browser to navigate the Web by clicking links from one page to another or you can type a Web address (also known as a Universal Resource Locator or URL) into the address box on the menu bar at the top of your browser window.
Remember to scroll down on Web pages. The page doesn't always fit in the window. And sometimes you'll need to scroll from side to side.
Click the Back button to get to a page you viewed earlier. Your browser saves many pages for you to view again. Click the Forward button to move ahead in the list of viewed pages. If you find a page you'd like to remember, you can add it to your Internet Explorer "Favorites" list. Click Help for more information about your browser and how to use it, or search the Internet to find other browser features and uses.




Search Engines