Discover how the Internet works, with less than 50 clicks of your mouse. To view our interactive animations, you need the Flash Player. If you don’t already have it (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari should have Flash built-in), download the Player for free. It’s fast and easy to do. (If an animation doesn’t appear after you click on a link below, then download the player.)
It could be wise to have our topic-specific Animated Internet FAQ open in a side-tab, should you find a point of confusion and need a quick, detailed answer.
Ready to start? Just click a link below to jump to a preferred topic, alternatively have a scroll through in an orderly fashion!
- Connecting to the Internet
- How E-Mail Works
- How Groups and Forums Work
- How Mailing Lists Work
- How Online Shopping Works
- How Search Engines Work
- How Streaming Media Works
- How the Web Works
Connecting to the Internet
Not that long ago, the only way to connect to the Internet was using a personal modem. These days, people access the internet in many different ways: through their cable company, over cell phones, using a wireless hotspot, just to name a few. But no matter how you connect to the Internet, the same basic concepts are still at play. In this short video, we’ll show you how connecting to the Internet works.
This is only a simplified look at how connecting to the Internet works. If you would like to learn more about connections specifically, visit our Making Connections page. Now that you’re comfortable with getting online, it’s time to learn more about using the Internet. Keep scrolling down to learn even more about various Animated Internet topics.
How E-mail Works
E-mail is by far the most popular service on the Internet. It allows us to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues from anywhere, almost instantly. How is all that possible? In this short video, we’ll explain how e-mail works.
E-mail has dramatically changed the way the world communicates. We can contact anyone in seconds. We can talk to one person or dozens at a time. We can even reach out any time of day or night, without worrying that we may interrupt a meeting or wake them up because with the e-mail you can respond whenever you want. To learn more about e-mail and how to communicate like a pro, visit our E-mail at a Glance page and get started today.
How Groups Work
The Internet provides a lot more than just information. It is an opportunity to connect with people all over the world and share your thoughts and ideas about common interests. Internet Groups are one of the many ways you can connect to others online.
Let’s take a look at how they work.
Now that you’ve seen how groups work, you’re ready to start building your online community. Our guide to Searching Groups can help you connect with like-minded individuals from all across the globe. If you can’t find a group focusing on your interests, you can also Start Your Own Newsgroup.
How Mailing Lists Work
If you’ve ever been to a local performance, you were probably asked to join the group’s mailing list. Mailing lists allow organizations to keep their members and supporters informed about upcoming events, changes, and even special offers. Many organizations now offer e-mail mailing lists, which can not only be used to send out group notifications but can also allow members to communicate back and forth with each other.
Let’s take a look at how mailing lists work.
There are all kinds of mailing lists available on the Internet. Special interest websites often include mailing lists to help users communicate with each other. Local community organizations often encourage members to join their mailing list, so they can quickly get the word out about upcoming events. Many companies and stores also offer mailing lists, which can be a great way to receive updates and valuable coupons.
A word of caution: it doesn’t take long for mailing lists to start cluttering up your inbox. Before this happens to you, check out our tips for Managing Your E-mail.
How Online Shopping Works
One of the many advantages the Internet has brought us is the ability to shop online. No longer are our options limited to what stores are within driving distance. Whether you’re looking for a hard-to-find collector’s item or just a less expensive place to buy your favorite shoes, the Internet makes it possible.
In this short video, we’ll take a look at how online shopping works.
Now that you know how online shopping works, it’s time to become an online shopping expert. Our Smart Shopping Tutorials will teach you how to research items, comparison shop, return items you purchased over the Web, and make safe choices.
How Search Engines Work
There are hundreds of millions of websites on the Internet, which can make it very difficult to find information on a specific topic. Fortunately, you don’t have to wade through all of those sites to find what you’re looking for. A search engine can do it for you in a matter of seconds.
How do they do it? Let’s take a look at how search engines work.
Now that you know how search engines work, it’s time to learn how to make them work for you. Our guide to Searching the Web can help you go from a beginning web surfer to an expert searcher.
How Streaming Media Works
Broadband Internet has brought a lot of changes to the way we use the Web. One of the biggest changes has been the ability to stream large media files, including music and videos, directly over the Internet. How does this amazing technology work? Let’s take a look.
If you’re not taking advantage of streaming media services like YouTube, Netflix, or Pandora, you’re missing out on some of the best things the Internet has to offer. To learn more about enjoying media over the Internet, check out our Online Videos and Online Music guides.
How the Web Works
How is that just entering a website’s name into your address bar can take you to the site you want to visit? And what does that name mean, anyway? When you visit a website, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. In this short video, we’ll help make sense of it all.
Now that you understand how the World Wide Web works, it’s time to harness that power and take advantage of everything the Internet has to offer. You can start by learning how e-mail works or jump to our surf the web page to start browsing right away.
If you’re interested in learning more about how web addresses or the Internet works, visit our Understanding Web Addresses and Master the Basics pages.
Unclear on something or wish to learn more? Check out our topic-specific FAQ for The Animated Internet.