The Internet and The World Wide Web – What’s The Difference?

A few days ago I was discussing the Internet with a friend of mine (yes I know, I’m a total geek) and it came up in conversation that the Internet and the World Wide Web are in fact two completely different things. My friend disagreed totally so I went on to explain and eventually got him around to my way of thinking. It then struck me that the majority or people think these two very different technologies are the same thing. So I thought I would dispel this rumour by way of an article…

The Internet

The Internet is the actual nuts and bolts of the international network (yep, that’s where the name comes from). It is the physical connection between millions of computers worldwide that allow us to all speak to each other. As long as our computers are connected to the Internet then they can take advantage of a number of protocols such as HTTP, TCP/IP, SMTP & FTP in order to communicate with one an other. That’s where the World Wide Web comes in.

The Internet began development back in the 1970′s by a group of pretty clever American guys. It was originally called “ARPANET”. ARPANET was developed to allow government institutions like Universities and defence establishments to securely communicate in real-time over long distances.

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web (WWW) is what most people mean when they refer to “The Internet”. WWW takes advantage of many protocols like the ones I listed above to allow us to communicate with each other. Think of it like this. The Internet is the nuts and bolts that connects us all together things like web servers, routers, switches & cabling. The WWW is what we see on our computer screens, the protocols that display websites, multimedia, email and even this blog.

The WWW was invented in 1990 by an English guy called Tim Berners-Lee (yey for the English!). His vision was to have a method of sharing information easily in a way that everyone could understand. He developed Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) & Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which was/is interpreted by a web browser to display web pages – that’s why website always start with “http://”, it tells your browser that you are going to visit a HTTP website.

The first ever webpage. Not much to look at is it?

Since 1990 The WWW has come on leaps and bounds. We now use a whole host of protocols in order to utilise this fantastic resource in the way that we do today. The Internet and The World Wide Web has quite literally changed the way we live our lives forever. I for one wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for the Internet/WWW.

So you see people, the Internet and the WWW are two completely different things that are intrinsicly linked together. So next time someone incorrectly refers to the Internet or the WWW then you can now correct them and look like a total geek!

The Internet and The World Wide Web – What’s The Difference?
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