The average person spends three hours per day surfing the mobile web and spend 6 hours per day online at work.The Internet consumes our lives, but most people don’t actually know what it is or how it works.
Do you know why all web addresses start with http://? How about the first ever domain name or web page?
We researched the history of the web and dumbed it down into simple language so you can understand exactly how you’re spending the majority of your time.
First, you should know how the Internet came to be. Its existence can be traced back to The USSR's Sputnik in the 1950's.
In the late 1950's, the USSR launched its spacecraft, Sputnik, which indirectly spawned the Internet.
That monumental moment in world history caused the US to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1958. This group created the Information Processing Technology Office which then created all of the basic applications and guidelines that would eventually lead to the Internet.
It wasn't until Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1989 though, that the Internet made its public debut.
A few decades later, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. That's when the Internet was really introduced to the public.
Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the World Wide Web in March of 1989.
On Christmas day of 1990, Berners-Lee created the first successful communication between an HTTP client and a server. From there he designed and built the first Web browser, and the first Web page went live on August 6, 1991.
While Berners-Lee is credited for the invention of the World Wide Web, he did not invent the Internet. The two are not one and the same.
The Internet is a network of computer networks that spans the globe. It is the hardware and software that provides connections between multiple computers.
The World Wide Web is just a service of the Internet. It's a bunch of interconnected documents and resources and their specific locations (via hyperlinks and URLs) online.
In its simplest form, the Internet is a bunch of computers spread throughout the world that are connected to each other and swap information.
The computers communicate via telephone wires and satellite links, and they're all connected by a common software standard called Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP).
Essentially, it's one big network of networks. It's a 'gigantic, sprawling agreement between companies to intercommunicate freely.' (HowStuffWorks)
That's where the word 'Internet' comes from -- interconnected networks or inter-networks.
Now here's how it works. From the moment you sign online, your computer becomes one of the millions of machines contributing to the Internet.
When you connect to the Internet, your computer becomes one of many in the collective network that is the Internet.
For instance, your work computer could be connected to a local area network (LAN) or a modem which connects to an Internet service provider (ISP).
When you connect to an ISP, your computer becomes a part of its network. That network is already connected to another larger network, and that network is connected to yet another network, and so on and so forth across the globe.
The Internet is comprised of servers and clients. Servers are machines that provide services to other machines. Clients use these services. So when you sign online at work, your computer becomes a client that's accessing a Web server.
Once you've signed online and you're connected to an ISP, you're taken to a home page. Here's how your browser knows what page and information to pull up:
To surf the Web, you need to be using a web browser, like Firefox or Chrome.
Web browsers do two things:
- They access a Web server and request a page on the Internet so the right information shows up
- They interpret the page's HTML tags and display the Web page's information in a way that is intended/easily readable for you.
So, Web browsers ping Web servers to request pages/information. The servers then respond and produce the proper pages/information.
Voila, the page shows up on your screen.
Servers find the requested information via URLs and IP addresses.
Internet Protocol Addresses (IP Addresses) are unique ID numbers for every device that can access the Internet. They are formatted in a language that all computers can understand; computers use them to communicate with each other and find requested information/pages on networks and machines.
URLs or Uniform Resource Locators are global addresses where specific documents and resources are located on the World Wide Web.
Now say you send an IM or email message while you're online. Here's how that message is transferred and received:
Essentially, the Web browser/server communication we described on the previous slide is how all messages, including emails and Instant Messages, are sent and received online.
Data can be swapped between clients and servers so quickly that a message can be sent, transferred to another network, received, and read by another user half way around the world in less than one second.
Emails and IMs are just text messages that are sent back and forth over networks. So when you type an email and hit the 'send,' a client (like Gmail) connects to a server and passes along the message and recipient's name.
The server then formats the information in the sent message in a readable format via HTML tags for the recipient.
The digital world is changing so fast, it's hard to tell what the future of the Internet will be. One guy even thinks the Web is now shrinking.
Other experts describe the future of media this way.
Additional Internet lingo: Ever wonder what HTTP or URL stand for? Here's every Internet acronym, defined:
HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol - 'A technical specification of a network protocol that software must implement. It is an application layer network protocol built on top of TCP. Clients (such as Web browsers) and servers communicate via HTTP request and response messages' (About.com).
WWW or World Wide Web - Note, this is NOT the same thing as the Internet. The World Wide Web is actually a subset of the Internet; it is all the pages that can be accessed using Web browsers.
IP Address or Internet Protocol Address - Unique numerical IDs for every device that can access the Internet. Each is written in a language that all computers understand; IP addresses are what computers use to communicate with each other.
URL or Uniform Resource Locator - The global address where specific documents and resources are located on the World Wide Web.
It's broken into two parts: The protocol identifier (http) and the IP address or domain name (businessinsider.com) where the documents are located. For aesthetic purposes, the domain name and protocol identifier are separated by forward slashes and a colon.
LAN or Local Area Network - 'Supplies networking capability to a group of computers in close proximity to each other such as in an office building, a school, or a home.' (About.com)
ISP or Internet Service Provider - A company that provides Internet access to customers.
DNS or Domain Name System - Translates domain names (human readable identifiers) into IP addresses (machine readable identifiers) to locate pages/documents online.
Symbolics.com was the first domain name ever registered online.
According to the site, it was registered 26 years ago on March 15, 1985. Symbolics Computer Corporation (a now defunct computer manufacturer) secured the domain and sold it in 2009 it to XF.com Investments for an undisclosed amount.
Now, the Symbolics.com owners say they're turning the 'historical domain' into a site that will be useful for the 'betterment of humanity.'
The first web page was dedicated to information on the World Wide Web project. The first web page address was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.
It outlined how to create Web pages and explained ore about hypertext. Here's what it looked like in 1992. No screenshots were taken of the site before then.
At first, domain names weren't necessary. A much smaller number of computers were communicating via modems and phone lines. IP addresses were all that were needed to find the proper computer to connect with.
Now the number of computers connecting to the Internet has grown significantly and there are too many to manage with just IP addresses.
The University of Wisconsin helped solve this problem of Internet congestion. In 1983 it created the Domain Name System (DNS) to put text names that are easily remembered by/familiar to humans to complicated IP addresses familiar to computers.
It's much easier for people to remember Businessinsider.com than Business Insider's actual numerical IP address.
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