World Wide Web Basics

This article covers the World Wide Web basics for beginners. It is important for someone learning how to build a website to know the basics of the World Wide Web. Topics covered here:

  • What is the World Wide Web?
  • WWW Definitions.
  • How does the Web work?

What is the World Wide Web?

Web Pages
  • The World Wide Web is a global information system that allows users to read and write through the use of computers connected to the Internet.
  • The Web is a collection of electronic pages (or documents) that are all linked together.
  • The World Wide Web is also called "WWW" or the "Web".

World Wide Web Definitions

Here are a few definitions that you will need to understand the following section called "How the Web Works":

Web Page
What you are reading right now is a web page. It's an electronic document that contains links to other electronic documents. A web page can contain text, graphics, audio, video, animation, games and more.
Web Browser
You probably are using one of these web browsers right now: Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. A browser is a software application that is used to locate and display web pages. A web browser also provides the ability to interact with text, images, videos, music, games and other information on a web page. Also see: What is a Browser?

The Internet is a lot of computers that are connected electronically and can communicate with each other. In other words it is a big network of computers that can send each other information. On the Internet there are many ways information can be sent and received. The World Wide Web is just one of the ways. Email is another.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
An Internet service provider, also known as your ISP, provides access to the Internet for individuals and businesses. It allows you to connect to the Internet. Also, ISPs often provide email accounts and a place to put your own website or store files. Some national ISPs are AOL, Verizon, and EarthLink.
Web Host
A web host is a computer that is connected to the Internet and has web pages (entire websites) stored on it. A web host "serves" (sends) these pages to those who request them. A company that offers web hosting is also called a web host.
Web Server
A web server is a program used to send pages and files to others on the Web. A web host (see above) requires a web server program to "serve" web pages on the Web. The term 'web server' may also refer to the computer that the web server program "lives" on.

How the Web Works

See How do websites work? for more information.

Let's start with your personal computer. In order for you to see and interact with the Web your personal computer must be connected to the Internet.

You get connected to the Internet through your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your ISP relays information back and forth from the Internet to your personal computer.

Once you are connected to the Internet you will be able to "go" to web pages. BTW… you don't really "go" to a web page. The page comes to you [smile].

For instance, when you click on a link, your browser requests that page through the Internet. The page is normally stored on a web host (computer). The web server (program) is also stored on the web host. The web server "serves" a copy of the requested page to your browser back through the Internet. Your browser then displays the page. You can read it or do other things with it after that.

That pretty much covers the World Wide Web basics. If anything above is not clear read this article again. These concepts are important if you plan to build your own personal or business website. Here's more World Wide Web basics.

Website Building Tip

Building your own site is very rewarding. It's an art form just like painting or writing.

When you get your site to where you want it to be there is a great sense of accomplishment.