Updated: 12/31/2022 by Computer Hope
Stack of books falling out of laptop screen.

Online may refer to any of the following:

1. Being online refers to a user, computer, or another device connecting to a network, the Internet, or another computer that allows communication.

Is online the same as the Internet?

No. Many improperly think being online is the same as an Internet connection. However, being online refers to any successful connection between one or more people. In other words, you're also online when connecting to a local network, establishing a direct connection, or dialing up and connecting to another computer.

Should I use "online," "on-line," or "on line" in my writing?

Online should always be one word with no spaces or hyphens when used as an adjective or noun.

2. With a hardware device, online describes when a connection is made with another device or service. When a device is online, it can send information to and receive information from the other end of the connection. For example, if your printer is online, you can send a print request and expect it to print; if it's offline, you cannot.

3. Online gaming describes a player connected to a server and playing a game with other real people from around the world. Online gaming requires that the user has an active connection to the Internet, allowing them to connect to the game server and see other players. If the game does not connect to another computer, it's an offline game.

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