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Here’s a question I got asked via email and I thought I’d share the answer for all to see:

Are the WWW and Internet the same thing?

If you’ve ever questioned the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web, this guide will explain.

A few key terms in context of this guide:

  • Computer: An electronic device with a central processing unit. A computer may have one or more network interface cards
  • Network interface card (NIC): A computer component with a unique address referred to as a MAC or media access control address. Used to communicate with other network interfaces
  • Network: For this guide, a network refers to two or more computers in communication. A network is formed through wires (Cat x Ethernet; Coaxial; Fiber Optic etc.) and wireless protocols (802.11 x; WiMax; Bluetooth etc.)
  • Protocol: A digital communications standard with its own rules, authentication methods, etc.
  • Internet Protocol (IP):  Currently two versions are in use; IPv4 (most common); IPv6 (becoming popular but largely unsupported at vital points in networks.) IP governs the transport of data—mostly viewed as web pages in browsers
  • Hypertext: Data, organised as information, viewable through a Web browser. Right click this page and click “View Source” to see some hypertext markup language (HTML.)

The Internet

Just like roads and railroads provide paths for vehicles, the Internet provides paths for data across millions of sub-networks world-wide. The Internet does not contain any data like the World Wide Web does; the Internet is the channel for delivery.

The World Wide Web

Coined in 1989, the World Wide Web is the collection of all publicly available data, or hypertext viewable via the Internet Protocol. Web pages usually travel to your computer through IP port 80—reserved for Web data.

That’s all for today.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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