Structure of the Web

The information available on the World Wide Web travels over a computer network called the Internet. The Internet is actually an international network of smaller networks of computers hooked together. Information travels through fiber optic cables and phone lines from one computer on the Internet to another.

Graphic representation of the Internet with computers holding hands while standing on a map of the U.S.

The Internet's original purpose was to help professors and researchers share information regardless of location. It has since grown to include people, organizations, and companies all over the planet. In fact, no single group is in charge of the Internet.

The Internet includes different "protocols" like email, Web, FTP, and telnet. The World Wide Web is only one component of the Internet. To access the Web you use computer software called browsers, such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Netscape.

Compared to publishing a book or producing a television show, creating a Web site is easy and inexpensive. Many individuals who cannot reach large audiences through traditional media, such as books, radio, or television, communicate their ideas on the Web.

In addition to these personal Web pages, many businesses and organizations are finding the Web to be an excellent method of distributing information to the public:

  • Companies sell their products on the Web;
  • non-profit and other service organizations provide information about their services;
  • federal, state, and local governments post information for citizens, including contact information, forms, and more.
Chapter 6 — Page 2