If you have just entered into web development, the chances are you think about how the web works. This guide will help you understand what the web is, how it differs from the Internet, and how it works.

Let’s first understand how the Internet is different from the web.

What’s the Difference Between the Web and the Internet?

Many confuse the word internet with web, but these two terms are entirely different.

The Internet is a worldwide network of connected computers. No company owns the Internet, as a system of standards and rules governs it. The main goal of connecting commuters or systems together is, of course, to share information. 

There are many ways, like email, file transfer, etc., to share information between computers connected through the Internet. Of course, you’re most likely to use the Internet when you chat online with someone. But, when you update a blog, you use the Web over the Internet.

The Web is a worldwide collection of text pages, digital images, music files, videos, and animations that can link treatments to each other using hypertext links.  Every web page has highlighted phrases called hypertext links. Clicking on it takes you to another page on the website or another site. A collection of web pages on a system is called a website.

How Computers Process or Serve the Information

Let’s understand the computers that make up the Internet and web. The computers are known as servers as they serve up documents upon request. Simply put, a server is a software, not a computer itself, that allows a computer to communicate with other computers. However, we often indicate a computer as a server in technical language.

Role of the server

The server software has to wait for a request for information. After this, it retrieves and sends that information to the sender.  For a server to be part of the Web, a special web server software must be run on the computer to handle Hypertext Transfer Protocol transactions (HTTPS).

Server software

Many server software are available in the market, but the most popular is Apache (open source software) and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). Apache is available free for Unix-based computers and Macs running Mac OS systems. Microsoft IIS server solution for Microsoft’s family.

Every computer, modem, router, smartphone, car, etc. connected to the Internet has a unique numeric IP (Internet Protocol) address. IP is a communication protocol that defines how the data should travel across the Internet from one server to another. In addition to IP, there is a Domain address too, which is more useful for humans. Matching the domain names to the respective IP addresses is the job of a separate DNS server.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System and is like an address book for websites. When you type a web address in your browser, the browser looks at the DNS to find the IP address of the website before it can retrieve the desired site.

So what happens, exactly?

  • When you type a web address into your browser, it goes to the DNS server and finds the real address of the server where the website lives.
  • Now, the browser sends an HTTP request message to the server, asking it to send its copy to the client. This message between the client and the server will be sent across your internet connection using an IP address.
  • The browser assembles the parts of the complete web page and displays it to you.

Know Everything About the Browsers

The desktops, mobile phones, and other devices that people use work as clients to access the documents on the Web. A web browser is software on your system that allows you to access the Internet. Here are the examples of browsers:

  • Internet
  • Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Opera

A web browser is specific to your system only and can be configured differently. Also, it can track your history differently than a browser. HTTP protocol handles requests and responses. Further, it can be used to transfer images and movies.

The common person thinks of a browser as a window on a computer with web pages displayed on it. Further, those with sight disabilities can listen to a web page and can read it with the help of a screen reader. Most browsers may support the newest technologies, but few may not. Also, as a web designer , you need to know that websites can look different between different browsers.

What is the Role of Web Page Addresses (URLs)

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is nothing more than the address of a given unique resource on the Web. With Hypertext and HTTP, URL is one of the important concepts of the Web. Browsers use URLs to retrieve any published resource on the web. Those resources can be in the form of an HTML page, a CSS document, an image, and more.

Understand the Different Parts of a URL

A URL comprises three components: the protocol, the site name, and the absolute path to the document or resource.

  1. http://

The first part of the URL is the scheme, which indicates the protocol that the browser must use to request the resource. Usually, for websites, the protocol is HTTPS or HTTP.

  1. Authority – www.symphony.com

The next part of the URL is known by its domain name. For example, the domain name is symphony.com. The “www.” is the particular hostname of that domain.

  1. Path to resource – /2012/samples/first.html

/2012/samples/first.html is the path to the resource on the Web server. The words separated by slashes are the directory names, starting with the host’s root directory.

You can type the URL inside the browser’s address bar to get to the resource behind it.

Wrapping Up – How the Web Works

To wrap up, let’s know what actually happens:

  • You either type a web page URL in the browser or click on a link on a page.
  • Now, your browser sends an HTTP request to the server name in the URL and asks for the specific file.
  • After this, the server looks for the requested file and issues an HTTP response.
  • Now, the browser parses the HTML document. If the page contains images, scripts, etc., the browser contacts the server again to request each resource specified in the markup.
  • The browser inserts each image in the document flow indicated by the img element.
  • Finally, the assembled web page is displayed for your viewing pleasure.

So, we hope that you know how the web works!