Sometimes referred to as an access method, a protocol is a standard used to define a method of exchanging data over a computer network, such as local area network, Internet, Intranet, etc. Each protocol has its own method of how to handle data in the following situations.
- How data is formatted when sent.
- What to do with data once received.
- How data is compressed.
- How to check for errors in the data.
Likely the most important protocol is TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) which is used to govern the communications of every computer connected to the Internet. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), which is a used to transmit data over the world wide web (Internet), is "carried" by TCP/IP. Below is a list of the various protocols currently listed in the Computer Hope dictionary.