Internet

Updated: 12/26/2023 by Computer Hope
Map of the Internet

Alternatively called the net or web, the Internet (interconnected network) was initially developed to aid in the progress of computing technology by linking academic computer centers. The Internet we use today started being developed in the late 1960s with ARPANET, which transmitted its first message on Friday, October 29, 1969. In 1993, the Internet experienced one of its largest growths to date, and today is accessible to people across the globe. The picture represents a "map" of the Internet done by The Opte Project.

Tip

See our Internet history section for full information about the development and creation of the Internet.

The Internet contains billions of web pages created by people and companies around the world, making it an immense resource for information and entertainment. It includes thousands of services that help make life easier. For example, most financial institutions offer online banking that lets people view and manage their accounts from anywhere. E-mail and chat services make it easy for users to send paperless messages to each other instantaneously.

Note

Internet was featured as a top term of 1996.

Internet basics

  • The Internet and the WWW (World Wide Web) are different.
  • The WWW is explored using a browser, and browsing the web is called surfing.
  • Users browse websites and web pages by following hyperlinks that point to an address, more commonly called a URL (uniform resource locator).
  • The computer you're using to view this web page is considered a host, and it's connected to Computer Hope's server, which supplies the information and content.
  • When a URL is entered into a browser, the DNS (domain name system) translates it into an IP address to locate the web server.
  • Finding information on the Internet is achieved using a search engine.
  • Files, pictures, songs, and videos can be shared by downloading (receiving) and uploading (sending).
  • The Internet utilizes the TCP/IP protocol and is accessed using a dial-up modem, broadband, 3G, 4G, or 5G network connected through an ISP (Internet service provider).
  • The Internet speed is measured in bps (bits per second). The more bits, the faster you'll get or send content. A dial-up connection is measured in kbps (kilobits per second) (e.g., 28.8 kbps), a broadband connection is measured in mbps (megabits per second) or gbps (gigabits per second).
  • With broadband, many computers and devices can use Wi-Fi to connect to a router and share an Internet connection.

Internet services

In addition to browsing the Internet with a browser, the Internet has the following services.

Why do people use the Internet?

Today, the Internet is the best place to communicate and share information with people from anywhere on the globe. It is also an endless supply of knowledge and entertainment. See the links below for a more comprehensive breakdown of what can be done on the Internet.

Why is the Internet considered a network?

The Internet is the world's largest network because it's a collection of computers and servers that spans our whole planet. It's a global network rather than a local or regional one. The Internet works like a network does in a home or office but has millions more computers, routers, and switches.

How big is the Internet?

According to WorldWideWebSize.com, in November 2023, the indexed web contained at least 3.82 billion pages.

How many people use the Internet?

As of 2023, there are about 5.1 billion active users on the Internet or about 65% of the world's population.

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