Are the Web & Internet the Same? Is There a Difference?
Using the words “Web” and “Internet” interchangeably is okay. Everybody will know what you’re talking about. Yet, there is a difference between the “Web” and the “Internet”. The two terms aren’t synonymous.
When people talk about the Internet and the World Wide Web, they’re often talking about the same thing –what allows you to access websites, stream shows, play online MMOs and so forth. The Internet is a networking infrastructure, whereas the web is a way of accessing the information we send over the Internet. Put simply, think of the Internet as a series of blank tarmac roads. Whilst the web is the road markings, the signs, the rules of driving, the factories that create the cars, the cars themselves, and the gasoline that keeps them moving.
What Is the World Wide Web?
The web is a thing, the method by which we access information on the Internet. We use the web as an information sharing model. If the Internet were a Smartphone, then the “Web” would be the iOS or the Android operating system.
The web allows us to access information over a medium. In this case, the medium is the Internet. The web uses its own language, which we call the HTTP protocol, which we use to transmit data.
Web users also use browsers. Data is sent via the medium of the Internet, and hits our web browsers. This turns the code we receive into something we recognize, such as turning it into a website. A website is just a web document that’s translated by a web browser.
Web pages are linked to each other through a series of hyperlinks. The largest collection of hyperlinks on the planet belongs to Google, who allow people to browse and use their links to find different websites.
Thanks to advances in how the web works, we’re also able to see sounds, text, video, and graphics within our websites. Thanks to the web language, and its worldwide adoption, we’re able to see and share web documents and the things they hold.
What Is the Internet?
The Internet is a networking infrastructure, literally a network of networks. Imagine if you tried to connect every computer with every other computer, using a wire for each. You’d literally end up with millions of wires coming out of your computer! Therefore, what if you had a wire that linked to a single computer, and everybody linked to that same computer. By that logic, all computers would be connected.
That is pretty much what the Internet is: a connection to other computers using an intermediary (a middle man, if you will). But, instead of everybody connecting to a single computer, we each connect to larger computers nearer us (servers), which connect to other servers around the world.
Millions of computers are linked up and connected – that’s what makes the Internet. We can all use the Internet because we’re all using the same communication language, which we call the web.
The Internet is massive. Millions of computers are connected, and thousands upon thousands of servers are connected to each other and to other computers. Two computers can communicate from around the world so long as they’re both connected to the Internet. There are a variety of languages that popularly travel over the Internet, and those languages are known as protocols.
Details About the World Wide Web
Try to think about the web as something we use on the Internet. Here are some details about the web that may help your understanding.
- The web is made up of servers, which are large and powerful computers
- Severs on the web support specially made formatted documents
- These documents are formatted in a markup language
- Thanks to this language, documents may link to other documents
- Using hyperlinks, you may jump from one document to another because they’re linked
- Web browsers interpret these formatted documents
- Web browsers make searching and using websites very easy
- There are more than 1,275,000,000 websites
- The web is just one way that information can be sent and received via the Internet
- Other ways information is sent is with SMTP for emails
Details About the Internet
As mentioned above, try to think of the Internet as a road. Try to think of the web as the road markings, the cars, the car factories, and so forth. But we don’t just see cars on the road, we also see bikes, trucks, and even people. The web isn’t the only way to send information over the Internet, it’s just the most popular. Here are some facts about the Internet to help you understand a little more about it.
- The Internet is decentralized
- Being decentralized means there’s no single computer or operator in control
- The Internet is made up a global network that connects computers around the world
- Computers connected to the Internet are independent of each other
- There are many ways to connect to the Internet, including wirelessly
- There are over 3.5 billion Internet users around the world
- The Internet also allows the use of the dark web
- Only a small portion of the web can actually be seen when transmitted via the Internet
Final Thoughts – Why Does the Distinction Matter?
If you work in communications, or even as a software engineer, then it probably matters if you start mixing up the Internet with the web. Otherwise, there are very few occasions where using the words “Web” and “Internet” interchangeably matters. For example, if you asked somebody where they found pictures of SpongeBob Squarepants, you’d know what that person meant if he or she replied, “I downloaded them off the web” or “I downloaded them off the Internet.” Nevertheless, you now know the difference between the two.
Have you ever had any problems differentiating between the web and the internet? Let us know in the comments section below.