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The web (or, to be more specific, the World Wide Web) is the vast, interconnected set of documents and applications accessible from the public internet.
- The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 (that’s the same year Taylor Swift was born). It was first implemented in 1990 and announced publicly in 1991.
- Berners-Lee imagined it as a way for scientists at CERN to share research and other documents.
- The major conceptual breakthrough — what made it “the web” — was the hyperlink, the ability to embed a connection to a document within the text of another document.
- The original name for the idea was “Mesh,” but “web” proved more popular.
- The files that make up the web are stored on web servers — computers connected to the internet.
- Most people access content on the web by using a web browser — an application on your computer that lets you navigate to and view websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the web and the internet?
Technically, the internet is the network itself — the computers, the routers, the cables, the local networks, the regional networks, and the connections between all of them. The web, then, refers to the content — the pages, documents, applications, and (by extension) the people and organizations, as well as their connections and communications between each other.
Why is it called the Web?
The original conception behind the web — which has turned out to be a very accurate understanding of what developed — is that there would be a web of connected, or linked, documents. Not only would computers be linked together with hardware, the content (pages) would be linked together through a series of hyperlinks within the content.
www stand for?
World Wide Web.
Why do so many website addresses begin with
The first web servers were also being used as local servers — regular computers. (In fact, the very first one was a desktop.)
An owner of a computer (server) connected to the internet doesn’t want everyone in the world to access their entire hard drive — just the documents that the owner wants to make public.
Early on, this was accomplished by designating one directory (folder) on the computer as the “World Wide Web” directory, and this was abbreviated as
www. Eventually everyone got used to it, and so it stuck around a lot longer than it really needed to.
Today there is no reason why a website owner would need to setup their website like this, but many do for a few different reasons:
- older sites might have started this way, and there’s no good reason to change it
- people are used to it, and so the site owners keep doing it so as not to confuse people
- the website owner doesn’t know it isn’t needed
- the website owner just prefers it
Most websites have their system set up so that the
www and non-
www version of the address take you to the same page. So don’t worry about it too much.