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How does the Internet work?

How does the Internet really work? An interesting question that may pop up in everyone’s mind! I am here to release some of that pressure. The Internet has become an essential part of our lives and a good understanding is needed to use this new tool most effectively. This article explains the underlying infrastructure and technologies that make the Internet work. It does not go into great depth but covers enough of each area to give a basic understanding of the concepts involved.

What is the Internet?

The INTERNET is a global system of interconnected computer networks. When two or more electronic devices (e.g. computers) are connected so that they can communicate, they become part of a network. The Internet consists of a worldwide interconnection of such networks, belonging to companies, governments, and individuals, allowing all of the devices connected to these networks to communicate with each other.

How internet works

In order to communicate, computers need to be able to understand each other. On the Internet, communication is possible because all devices use the same “language” or protocol, namely the Internet Protocol (IP), a “single market” with no physical, technical or national barriers. It forms the basis for all other systems of communication on the Internet. Sending any communication over the Internet using the Internet Protocol is quite like sending the pages of a book by post in lots of different envelopes. All of the envelopes use the same sender address and the same destination address. Even if some envelopes are transported by ship and others by air, the envelopes all eventually arrive at their destination. Examples of such conventions on top of IP are:

  • SMTP for sending emails
  • HTTP for accessing websites and
  • Bit Torrent for peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing (a way to exchange data files with large groups of people).

Anyone is free to invent their own convention/protocol and use it on the Internet, as long as it works on top of the Internet Protocol. In other words: the only limit is the limit of the human imagination, the only rule is that the address on the envelope is in a standard format. The openness of the system is what makes the Internet the global phenomenon it is. Every restriction on the openness of the Internet reduces its potential for future development. The universal use of a single protocol for all communications has a number of important advantages. The devices that are responsible for transporting Internet data (called routers) do not need to be programmed differently to deal with different types of data – they don’t even need any information about the data they are transporting as long as it is all using the Internet Protocol.

Like the postman delivering traditional mail, they only have to look at the outside of the envelopes to be able to deliver the message. It doesn’t matter if the envelope contains a bill or a love letter (except to the recipient of course). This leads to:

  • Unlimited innovation possibilities in terms of new protocols and applications.
  • “Privacy by design”: there is no need to know anything about the contents of any communication.
  • Flexible, fast data flow: the Internet offers only one flexible service: getting data from one device to another regardless of the nature of the devices, regardless of how and where the devices are connected to the Internet, and regardless of the nature or content of the data. It is this openness and flexibility that is the primary reason for the innovation and democratic and economic successes of the Internet.

Related Read:

History of the Internet


What is an IP Address?

Because the Internet is a global network of computers each computer connected to the Internet must have a unique address. Internet addresses are in the form zzz.zzz.zzz.zzz, where zzz must be a number from 0 – 255. This address is known as an IP address. So, An IP address is a numerical address that is assigned to every device connected to the Internet. IP addresses may be used to identify an organization or individual that has acquired the services of an Internet Service Provider in order to connect one or more devices to the Internet. On the other hand, a router has only one IP Address irrespective of how many people have connected with this router. So, In this case, we cannot identify the person behind the work.

World Wide Web:

When we type any website address in the browser we use the WWW keyword. Anyone ever thought what this meant for? I think many of us have thought that and many of us knew the answer. But here we are not as intelligent as those who already know the answer. So, let see what it is. WWW or World Wide Web combines text, pictures, and hyperlinks to a hypertext document – a hyperlink points to another document. It Can also contain moving pictures, active programs etc. This hypertext document is written in HTML language – Hyper Text Markup Language based on SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) which describes the structure of a document. WWW browser decides how to display the document based on the structure described in HTML.

what is www or world wide web

What is an URL?

URL stands for Universal Resource Locator. URL is an address to the current location of information protocol. For example,, etc. WWW browser uses the URL address to retrieve a document over the network.

What is an HTTP?

When we are writing a web address we are using “Http:”. What does the word HTTP stand for? HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is a simple protocol for file transfer over the network. Client (browser) initiates the session by connecting to the server. The server does not transmit on its own. Client issues the GET command to retrieve a file from the server. Additional information is also passed. The server sends information about the file and the contents of the file.

When a user makes a request to any website the requests are served over the HTTP or HTTPS (secured) protocol and the webpage gets displayed. The time consumed to display a webpage depends on various factors like internet speed (to know your internet speed, go here), server performance, network latency, etc.

What is Google?

In our daily life, we ask GOOGLE many questions. What is GOOGLE? It is a search engine. A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler. Go through the following link How does Google search engine work?

Here I have tried to discuss as much as possible in such a short note. Now, it depends on you how you can utilize the article. You can get a brief knowledge only by reading this. If you explore more you can find more terms about the internet like TCP, DNS, DOMAIN, etc. In our daily life, you are now using the internet. So, Keep exploring and Increase your Knowledge.

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