The World Wide Web is the most popular part of the Internet by far. Once
you spend time on the Web you will feel that there is no limit to what you can discover. The Web allows rich and diverse communication by enabling you to access and interact with text, graphics, animation, photos, audio and video.
So just what is this miraculous creation? On the simplest level, the Web physically consists
of your personal computer or mobile device, web browser software, a connection to
an Internet service provider, computers called servers that
host digital data and routers and switches that direct the
flow of information.
The Web is sometimes referred to as a client-server system. Your computer is the
client; the remote computers that store electronic files are the servers.
Navigating the Web
Let's say you want to access the Louvre museum website. First you
enter the address or URL of the website in your web browser (more
about this shortly). Then your browser requests all the data files that comprise the web page from the
web server that hosts the Louvre's site. The server transmits the data over
the Internet to your computer. Your web browser interprets and assembles the data, displaying
it on your computer screen.
The Louvre's website also has links to the sites of other museums, such
as the Vatican Museum. If you click the link, you access the web
server for the Vatican Museum. In this way, information scattered all across the globe is linked together.
The "glue" that holds the Web together is called hypertext and
hyperlinks. This feature allows electronic files on the Web to
be linked so you can jump
easily between them. On the Web, you navigate--commonly known as
browsing or surfing--through information based on your interest at that particular moment.
To access the Web you need a web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome or Safari. How does your web browser distinguish
between web pages and other types of data on the Internet? Web pages are
written in a computer language called Hypertext Markup Language