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Internet Basics
   About the Internet
   About Web Browsers
   Why Domain Names

Getting Started
   HTML vs XHTML
   Making Webpage Files
   Naming Webpage Files

HTML Basics
   About HTML Tags
   Basic HTML Page
   DTDs and Doctype Tags
   Spaces and New Lines
   Special Characters
   Bold, Italics, More
   Writing Headlines
   Adding Links
   Making Lists
   Comments in HTML

Images and Colors
   How to Add Images
   Sources of Images
   Image File Formats
   Optimizing Images
   Color in HTML & CSS
   "Web-safe" Color Chart

More Advanced HTML
   Making Tables
   Formatting with Tables
   Making Forms
   Using Imagemaps
   Using Frames
   Meta Tags

Cascading Style Sheets
   Intro to CSS
   Ways to include CSS
   Some Useful CSS
   CSS Hover for Links

More
   Promoting Your Site
   How-To's Homepage
   Links

How the Internet works

The Internet was developed to withstand nuclear attack.

Yes, I'm serious. It grew out of Defense Department projects intended to develop a distributed network of connected computers that would be able to keep functioning no matter which ones were destroyed. There is no central computer running the whole thing.

Information routing

Many computers and devices are set up with information about where the other computers connected to the Internet are. These devices are called routers and their job is to pick the best route for requests and replies to travel. This information changes frequently. The text on this page may have traveled to your computer by one route, and the picture by another. If you have multiple computers networked together at home or work, you may have a router there. Your internet service provider (ISP) certainly has one or more routers.

image of internetworked computers

Computers connected to the Internet use many different types of software and hardware, but they have to be able to communicate with each other. They do this by using software that follows agreed upon protocols. These protocols specify how the computers will exchange data (TCP/IP), email (SMTP), web pages (HTTP), news (NNTP), files (FTP) and more. You can read more about various protocols online at http://directory.google.com/Top/Computers/Internet/Protocols/.

"Client" / "Server" defined

Often when programs on two different computers interact one is acting as a server and the other as a client. Server programs stand by, waiting for one or more client programs to contact them. Client programs make requests to the server and the server fills that request.

Your web browser is a client program that sends requests to web servers for the web pages you wish to see. Your email program is also a client program that asks a mail server whether you have any new incoming mail, and it also asks the mail server to send your outgoing mail.

Privacy and Credit Card Safety

Any computer on the route between your computer and the computer of a person who sent you email, or between your computer and the one with the website you are looking at, can read every bit of information that passes through it.

If you have information that must remain secret (like your credit card number), then you need to encrypt it well.

Encryption is putting the information in a secret, hard-to-break code. Don't enter your credit card numbers into a web form that is not on a secure server. Look for https:// in the web address instead of http://. Also don't send them by email unless you are encrypting the email.