Internet Basics

Learning about the Internet Basics.

If you're new to the Internet, you may be confused at many of the terms that come with it, such as hyperlink or URL. Here's a brief glossary so you won't be lost reading about the Internet.

The Internet is a system connecting millions of computers around the world. Its best known feature, the World Wide Web, presents rich content, including multimedia clips and even live radio and video. You view this content on Web pages by using a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer. Typically the top-level page of a Web site is called the home page, from which other pages branch off. When you start Internet Explorer, the first page you see is also called your home page.

Getting around on the Internet Each Web page has a specific address, sometimes known as a URL (uniform resource locator). You can type the address to go directly to the page. It indicates a number of things: for example, with, HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), tells your computer how to communicate with the Internet computer. (Hypertext is a method of writing content for the Internet.) WWW indicates that the site is on the World Wide Web. The .com suffix indicates a commercial site (as .edu is used for educational institutions, or .org for other organizations).
And to have a secure website for example:, the HTTPS is (SSL certificates use small data files to digitally bind an organization's details with a cryptographic key, allowing secure connections between a browser and web server. SSL certificates are typically used for secure log-ins, credit card transactions and accessing protected data).
The commonest way to move around the Web is by clicking text or pictures called links, or hyperlinks, which have addresses coded into them. Your mouse pointer changes to a hand shape when it passes over a link. You can either browse (surf) the Web at random or search for a page of interest to you by using a search service, which can search the Internet for words you specify. Also, portal sites (such as contain preselected links to popular pages.

Using the Internet safely you may find pictures, sounds, or programs to download (install) to your computer from the Internet. Security settings in Internet Explorer, Google Crome, Opera, Firefox or any other Browser help you download safely, to avoid unreliable software or viruses, and to make online shopping or e-mail communication more secure. Also, because some information on the Web may not be suitable for everyone, with any Browser you can control what sites are viewable from your computer.

Communicating on the Internet In addition to the well known e-mail, you can use chat rooms and newsgroups to connect with people around the world. In a chat room you conduct a real-time typed conversation with one or more people, and in newsgroups (sometimes aptly called bulletin boards) you read messages that have been posted, or post your own. You can even make Internet phone calls using your computer!