Well first of all it is important to ask – did you know the World Wide Web (or just Web for short) and the Internet are not the same thing?
The terms are often used interchangeably, which is understandable given the history. But they actually refer to two different things, and while it may not be vital that you need to understand the differences, it is certainly interesting to know (so you can be “that guy or gal” at parties!)
The Internet refers to the network of millions of computers and the physical technologies used to connect them. It is the infrastructure and the backbone that allows you to connect to any other device that is also connected. The very beginnings of the Internet trace back many decades when
only a handful of computers were connected and able to share to transmit data to one another.
The Internet uses many technologies, such as cabling, routers and servers that are all used to transmit and/or direct information to where it needs to go.
The World Wide Web…
The World Wide Web is an Internet technology that allows us to “surf the Internet”. That is to say, it is one of the different technologies that allows us to access and share information across the Internet, but it is also the technology that most of us will use most often.
Having a network of millions of connected computers would not be of much use if there was no established method of sharing and accessing information across this epic network. For most people, this is where the World Wide Web comes into play.
Web browsers, web addresses and websites are all part of the World Wide Web. We use web browsers to access information stored on the Internet by typing in the relevant web address that will direct us to the respective website. This is the technology that we call the World Wide Web. It’s the way most of us will access and share information that is available on the Internet.
The World Wide Web – which uses something called the HTTP protocol – was created by Sir. Tim Berners-Lee and flourished during the 1990s. Since most of us use the Web to access information stored on the Internet, most people think the World Wide Web is the Internet. It’s not. This has also led to the popular misconception that Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet. He did not.
There are other ways we may use the Internet that don’t use Web technologies, like FTP or, more popularly, email.
To in summary…
The Internet refers to the physical network of computers and the way in which they are all connected. The World Wide Web is how most people access the information stored on the Internet.
And now you know.