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The internet is a massive network of computers, even a network of networks,  in which every computer can be connected to very other computer. 

Although not a true internet, computers have been connected together since the 1950s, and in the 1960s the U.S. Department of Defense investigated the possibility of linking computers together to form a network as a means of defense during the Cold War.  This developed to the Arpanet in 1969, and without getting too technical, has developed to the internet as we know it today, by the progressive linking of computers and individual computer networks together by means of transfer protocols and Universal Resource Locators (URLs).




The Web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee, at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.  The development of the World Wide Web started in 1990 when he began to put into practice the combination of those things ‘that computers are good at’ with ‘what humans are good at’.  He states that “the potential of the mixture of humans and machines working together and communicating through the web could be immense” (http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/ShortHistory.html).


The web depends upon the internet for its existence, and is not the same as it.  The web is a system of hyperlinked documents, or pages, and resources that can be connected together by use of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) given to each document (or web page).  Web pages of similar theme can be bundled together into a ‘website’ on one computer with an individual Internet Protocol Address (IP), which is, in effect, a computer’s address in the same way as most of you will have a home address.


In order for a web page to be detectable by another computer, it must be held in an internet database called the Domain Name System, or DNS.  In other words, it must have a domain name registered for it.  Only one IP address can be registered for a domain name.  In the website link given above for Tim Berners-Lee, the domain part of the Address is w3.org, and this will be held on the DNS database which displays the IP address it belongs to.


When you search for a specific web page using your computer, you first type in the URL of the page your seeking.  It might be the ‘home’ page of a website, or one of the other pages the website contains.  The DNS system then checks the domain part of the URL and throws up the relevant IP address. The browser at the IP address reads the HTML text and then produces the page you requested on your screen in a form as defined by the HTML or CSS files that was used to design the page.  The page you view on your screen is that part of the World Wide Web that you defined using the URL, and can be viewed on your computer via a network of other computers, i.e. the internet. 


What you see is one page of the website, which can then provide you with access to the rest of the site, and to other websites, if the relevant hyperlinks are displayed.



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