Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!


The Internet

The Internet is a worldwide system of interconnected computer networks [network: a group of interconnected computers ]. When you connect your computer to the Internet via your Internet Service Provider (ISP) you become part of the ISPs network, which is connected to other networks that make up the Internet.

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web (WWW or Web for short) is the part of the Internet that you can access using a web browser [web browser: an application used to browse the Internet or view web pages ] such as Internet Explorer [Internet Explorer: a web browser developed by Microsoft ] or Firefox [Firefox: a web browser developed by Mozilla ]. It consists of a large number of web servers that host websites. Each website will normally consist of a number of web pages. A web page can contain text, images, video, animation and sound.

Accessing web pages

You can access a website or web page by typing its URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into the address bar of your browser. An example of a URL is

URLs will have the format 'http [Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): a request/response standard, web browsers send requests and websites or servers respond to requests ]' and a domain [domain: an area of control or management, eg is controlled by the BBC ] (such as .uk [.uk: the Internet country code for the United Kingdom ]). What goes in between is arbitrary, but often has the term "www", eg, but it doesn’t have to, eg

Https is the secure version of http. When you use https any data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ] you send or receive from the web server is encrypted. For example, when banking online https is used to keep your account details safe.

Most sites have a page that links the user to the other main areas of the site. This is called the homepage.

Web pages are connected by hypertext links. When a link is clicked you will be taken to another page which could be on another server [server: a computer that provides services to users, eg access to shared files, web hosting, file storage ] in any part of the world.

What is an intranet?

An intranet is a network that works like the Internet but is only available within a particular organisation, not to the public. An intranet may have web pages used to share company specific data within that company, such as internal telephone numbers or details of employee benefits.

Back to Networks and communications index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.