A Beginners Guide to the Internet

Nerd Insider By Nerd Insider, 27th Jun 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Browsers

This is beginners guide to getting online and using the internet

Introduction

The internet seems to be everywhere nowadays - we are constantly being bombarded with email addresses, www dot’s, dot co dot uk’s and a whole host of other Internet related jargon! But, what does it all mean? How can you discover the wonderful World Wide Web? If these are questions you have asked yourself, then this article is for you!

What is the Internet?

What is the Internet? The Internet is a worldwide network of computers all connected to each other. The Internet is like a huge library or encyclopaedia – here you can find answers to common day to day questions, catch up on the news, pay your bills and even watch movies and TV programmes. To get connected to the internet, you need an Internet Service Provider or ISP. This could be your telephone company, your supermarket or mobile provider. There are many options available with many companies offering free wireless internet connections and other perks! The minimum requirements for an internet connection are a phone line, a router and either a desktop or laptop computer.

What is wireless or Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is the most popular way to connect to the internet today. Having a wireless router (your ISP normally provides you with one) means that a private little network is created just for you in your home or office. Only people with password details can use your wireless network to connect to the internet. The advantage to connecting in the fashion is that you can have multiple connections to one internet connection. For example, someone using a laptop in the lounge is connected, as is the person upstairs in the study and so is the teenager in the bedroom with a smartphone.

How do you surf?

Once you are online – how do you surf? The internet is based on ‘hypertext’ or ‘hyperlinks’. Web pages are written in a language called Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML). The basic premise of this is that ‘links’ to other places on a web page, or other web pages, can be embedded in a page. For example, on a news website clicking on the text ‘Regional News’ would take you to the regional news page. The hyperlink is embedded in the text. This principle can be applied to images and other items on a web page, making them clickable links! Following a trail of links like this is called ‘surfing’.

Downloading

The internet is full of files that you can download. Downloading things like music, videos, pictures and free software are some of the main uses of the internet! Simply put, downloading means transferring the file from the internet to your own computer and saving it on your hard drive. Web browsers all have varying methods for downloading a file, but usually right-clicking with your mouse on a link and selecting “Save as…” does the trick. Your computer will then ask where you want to save the file and it is better to save it in a location which will be easy to find. For example, Microsoft Windows has dedicated folders for music, images and videos. Be aware though that sometimes, things are not always what they seem online, files that may seem harmless may in fact be infected with a virus.

Staying safe online

How do I stay safe online? Safety is very important when you are connected to the internet. To protect your computer, you should install virus protection. There are many free options as well as well supported paid products. Your ISP may supply you with an antivirus when you sign up. You should also make sure that your firewall is turned on. A firewall is a piece of software that stops programs connecting to the internet without your consent. Microsoft Windows comes with its own built in firewall.

The Internet is a fantastic place full of interesting articles and media! Now that you know the basics, happy surfing!

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