The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs, such as https://www.example.com/), which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the Internet. The resources of the WWW may be accessed by users by a software application called a web browser. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He wrote the first web browser in 1990 while employed at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The browser was released outside CERN in 1991, first to other research institutions starting in January 1991 and then to the general public in August 1991. The World Wide Web has been central to the development of the Information Age and is the primary tool billions of people use to interact on the Internet. Web resources may be any type of downloaded media, but web pages are hypertext media that have been formatted in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Such formatting allows for embedded hyperlinks that contain URLs and permit users to navigate to other web resources. In addition to text, web pages may contain images, video, audio, and software components that are rendered in the user's web browser as coherent pages of multimedia content. Multiple web resources with a common theme, a common domain name, or both, make up a website. Websites are stored in computers that are running a program called a web server that responds to requests made over the Internet from web browsers running on a user's computer. Website content can be largely provided by a publisher, or interactively where users contribute content or the content depends upon the users or their actions. Websites may be provided for a myriad of informative, entertainment, commercial, governmental, or non-governmental reasons.
The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used without much distinction. However, the two terms do not mean the same thing. The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. In contrast, the World Wide Web is a global collection of documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URIs. Web resources are accessed using HTTP or HTTPS, which are application-level Internet protocols that use the Internet's transport protocols. Viewing a web page on the World Wide Web normally begins either by typing the URL of the page into a web browser, or by following a hyperlink to that page or resource. The web browser then initiates a series of background communication messages to fetch and display the requested page. In the 1990s, using a browser to view web pages—and to move from one web page to another through hyperlinks—came to be known as 'browsing,' 'web surfing' (after channel surfing), or 'navigating the Web'. Early studies of this new behaviour investigated user patterns in using web browsers. One study, for example, found five user patterns: exploratory surfing, window surfing, evolved surfing, bounded navigation and targeted navigation. The following example demonstrates the functioning of a web browser when accessing a page at the URL http://www.example.org/home.html. The browser resolves the server name of the URL (www.example.org) into an Internet Protocol address using the globally distributed Domain Name System (DNS). This lookup returns an IP address such as 203.0.113.4 or 2001:db8:2e::7334. The browser then requests the resource by sending an HTTP request across the Internet to the computer at that address. It requests service from a specific TCP port number that is well known for the HTTP service, so that the receiving host can distinguish an HTTP request from other network protocols it may be servicing. The HTTP protocol normally uses port number 80 and for HTTPS protocol it normally is port number 443. The content of the HTTP request can be as simple as two lines of text:
Please note that this short URL is linked to a downloadable file.
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