What is the Web and where did it come from?
The public internet was proposed by nuclear physicists in 1989. It didn’t become a commercial reality until 1991. (Here’s a link to the first web page posted by Tim Berners Lee – the father of the web) Below is a video from TED conference with Berners Lee discusses the history.
March 12, 2019 was the 30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web and Google commemorated the day with a retro Google Doodle, shown below:
The web was a private network for eggheads (yes this could be rocket science) stored on a single computer (called a server) for about a year until it was made public in 1992. That year the number of internet servers (computers) took a jump to fifty, a year later in ’93 there were over six hundred of them! 1994 saw an increase to more than twenty five hundred servers, and the growth has been phenomonal since then! It is estimated that millions of servers now make up the web. There are approaching 2 billion websites online according to InternetLiveStats.
In the October 2018 survey we received responses from 1,673,535,333 sites, 225,042,277 unique domains, and 7,927,795 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 31 million sites, 2.4 million domains and 142 thousand web-facing computers.
The first server running http and HTML was cranked up by Tim Berners-Lee at the European particle physics lab in Geneva.
Basic Internet Definitions of Web Terms
- Browser? That guy is just a lookie-loo! He never buys anything! A Browser is a program on your computer, it is the generic name for the software that allows you to view and navigate web pages. The browser translates HTML coding (definition below) into nice looking pages on your computer screen! You probably have a browser called “FireFox” or “Chrome” or “Safari” on your computer. Some people still use AOL as their desktop browser.
Domain Name? See also definition of URL below. A Domain name is an alphanumeric method of navigating via a web browser to a web server to see a web site on your computer. Here’s a great infographic explaining how the server system works in a visual way that may be easier to comprehend. A domain name is typically a business name or generic word or phrase and includes the famous dot com, dot net, and .org extensions. Here’s a complete tutorial on Domain Names to help you learn everything about choosing a name for your web site and how domain names work to help you navigate the web.
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- Ecommerce? E has taken on a meaning all it’s own, but it used to mean electronic commerce. but if you put an E in front of ANYTHING now it means that it’s on the web! I’ll bet there are more domain names that begin with E than any other letter! Ebay, Eloan, Etrade, Etc! We define Ecommerce as business done online. Any site with a shopping cart can be said to be doing Ecommerce. Here is a complete tutorial on Ecommerce, shopping carts, payment gateways and merchant accounts.
- FAQ? The acronym for Frequently Asked Questions is itself so overused that it’s nearly become an accepted word for “Look here before you bug us with your dumb questions so we don’t have to talk to you or answer your e-mails until you know everything already.”
- FTP? File Transfer Protocol is the method used to “Download” stuff like software, text, pictures or games from the remote computer it’s stored on to your computer via the internet. Another nerdy acronym. We should convince our politicians to speak in shortened forms like this. Maybe they could handle business more quickly. Senator, could you MALSS? (make a long story short.)
- Host? When you have a web site, you need a web host to store your web pages on a server that serves up your web pages to visitors. That is very different from your ISP or Internet Service Provider, which gives YOU access to the web. A web host simply gives your web site a home accessible by others on the web. WebSite101 is hosted by Pair Networks and we highly recommend them as one of the top hosting companies for small business. Here’s a complete tutorial on web hosting to give you a better understanding of what a web host does.
- HTML? Help! This is Making me Loony! It’s more computerspeak for the language the browsers understand. You’ll never see it unless you learn to write web pages from scratch! Don’t worry about it unless you want to learn Hyper Text Markup Language! If you do want to learn HTML. To look at the HTML coding for any web page click “View Source” in your browser menu.
- HTTP? HyperText Transfer Protocol. We’re convinced that when the web matures a little more, some of the original terms will fade to obscurity. Let’s start with this one O.K.? There are times when we just don’t need to know medical terms, car parts and nerdy acronyms for computer language. Think of it as just the beginning of a web address and leave it at that. If you look at your “address” at the top of your browser window, you will see that all page addresses begin with this. If you ever see HTTPS you’ll know you’re on a “secure” server and can use your credit card online or feel comfortable providing information that you don’t want broadcast to the world.
- ISP? It’s a Silly Pseudonym that stands for the company that gives you internet access and e-mail. The guys who keep the computers and modems in the back room that you know as your Internet Service Provider
- Link? A link is simply that, a connection, shortened from “Hypertext Link“. A link connects one spot on a web page with another place on the same page, or to another page in the same web site or to another web site entirely. If your browser supports e-mail, some links will open your mail window and automatically enter an Email Address when you click on them! Banners, buttons or underlined text are usually links. The way to know whether a graphic element or text is a link is to place your cursor over the item and watch it turn from an arrow into a small hand “pointing” and then look at the “status bar” at the bottom of your browser window where you will see the “destination” or “URL” of the link you are pointing at!
- Netiquette? Say this three times fast, Internet etiquette, Net etiquette, Netiquette. Zowie! Three syllables where once there were six! Just be nice and remember that typing messages in all capital letters is the internet equivalent of SHOUTING! so don’t leave your “Caps Lock” key down when sending e-mail or participating in “chats.” And remember not to “Spam.” Here’s an article about business Email etiquette.
- Search Engine? That sounds like a missing motor! A search engine is just another computer (or several of them) that catalogs the millions of web pages that exist out there on those thousands of other computers. These guys help you find a list of web pages that have words on them that you have typed in to the “search box”. Sometimes the list can be overwhelmingly long! If you know the business name or web site TITLE your search will be much more fruitful! In March of 2019 there were nearly 73,000 Google searches per second, which amounts to 3 1/2 Trillion searches per year.
- Server? Hello, my name is Betty, and I’ll be your server today! It’s just the tech-name for the remote computer that stores the web page you want to see! You could actually imagine it to be your waiter serving you web pages instead of dinner.
- Spam? The origin of this term is a comedy skit by Monty Python TV show during a comedy routine in which a group of Vikings sang a chorus of “Spam, spam, spam, spam…” increasingly louder to drown out all other conversation. Internet users picked up the word to describe the commercial e-mail flooding their mailboxes and overloading their computer servers, in essence drowning out other conversation in cyberspace. It is the internet equivalent of junk mail. The most common “spamming” is done by get-rich-quick-schemes and scams that send unsolicited e-mail to literally hundreds of thousands of or even millions of email addresses. Spam Kills! Read More here.
- URL? URL is a nerd! It’s a term for web address meaning Uniform Resource Locator. It tells your computer where to find the other computer that stores the web pages you’re after. www.mycompany.com is a URL. When you reserve a Domain Name for your small business web address, it could be the most important thing you do as you begin your business online!
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