Updated: 07/31/2022 by Computer Hope
Internet web surfing

Alternatively known as web surfing, surfing with computers describes browsing the Internet by going from one web page to another web page using hyperlinks in an Internet browser.


When someone is surfing the Internet, they are called a surfer or a net surfer.

Origin of the phrase

Cover of The Adventures of Captain Internet and CERF Boy, published in October 1991

The phrase "surfing the Internet" was coined in February 1992 by computer scientist Mark McCahill. Later that year, author Jean Amour Polly further popularized the phrase in an article titled "Surfing the INTERNET: An Introduction."

The analogy of "surfing the Internet" may have its origins in a comic book published in October 1991 by CERFnet, an early ISP (Internet service provider). In the whimsical story called The Adventures of Captain Internet and CERF Boy, a superhero named Captain Internet flies on a magical surfboard with her sidekick. Together they save the Internet from a villain named Count Crackula, who is trying to "crack the network."

What are the requirements for surfing the web?

To surf the WWW (World Wide Web), you must have a computer with an Internet browser and an active Internet connection.

How to surf the web

Once connected to the Internet, you can surf the web by following hyperlinks you see on a web page. A hyperlink is any text on the web page that is a different color or underlined. For example, "Internet terms" is a hyperlink, and if clicked with a mouse or tapped on a touch screen, a page with Internet-related terms opens.

Hover cursor change

If you're on a desktop or laptop computer, you can also identify a hyperlink by hovering over the text. If the cursor changes to a hand, it's a hyperlink.

If you click a hyperlink, you could click another hyperlink on the new page or use the back feature to return to the original page.

As you continue to open new links, you are surfing the web.

Additional locations that help you surf

Online aggregation services can assist you while surfing the Internet. Popular places include Reddit and Pinterest. Also, you can use a search engine, such as Google, to search for anything that interests you.

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