At ProfileTree, we regularly update our articles to provide our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information. This article has been updated as of 2023.
What is the World Wide Web? You might think the web and the internet are the same thing but, surprisingly, there are some crucial differences.
The World Wide Web is a collection of web pages from all over the world that use the internet. Meanwhile, the internet as we know it, is a collection of devices forming a network allowing anyone around the world to open web pages.
Let’s take a closer look…
History of the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by English inventor Tim Berners-Lee. At this stage, the internet and Hypertext were already invented. The reason he invented the World Wide Web? To make it easier for scientists to connect to one another for sharing data.
Before 1989 computers were connected together through the internet, but Tim realised he could exploit hypertext and could share information in this way. When Tim presented his web proposal it didn’t take off, being called ‘vague but exciting’ by his boss.
By 1990, Tim’s boss gave him time to develop the web, through writing and developing technologies that still appear on the web today. These developed languages were HTML, HTTP and URL/ web address. This gave Tim the opportunity to write the first web page/browser by the end of 1990. Then, 1991 became notable as the first year outsiders from Tim’s work were invited to the new web community.
By 1993, Tim and his company released that the code should be available to everyone around the world for free. Furthermore, in 2003 new web standards were released royalty-free for everyone around the world.
World Wide Web Meaning
The World Wide Web (often simply called the “Web”) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents and multimedia content that is accessed via the Internet. It allows users to view and navigate content through the use of web browsers.
Here’s a breakdown of the term:
World Wide: This indicates the global nature of the system. The Web is accessible from almost anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection.
Web: This term metaphorically describes the interconnected nature of the system, much like a spider’s web.
Key points about the World Wide Web:
- URLs and Browsers: The Web operates using URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) to identify specific pieces of content. Web browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, are used to access and display this content.
- HTTP/HTTPS: The primary protocol for the Web is HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or its secure version, HTTPS. This protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and how web browsers and servers should respond to various commands.
- HTML: Web pages are primarily written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), which is a standard for creating structured documents. This language allows for the embedding of images, videos, and other multimedia content.
In essence, the World Wide Web revolutionised the way people access and share information, playing a pivotal role in bringing about the information age we live in today.
Differences Between the Internet and the World Wide Web
It’s important to note that the World Wide Web is not synonymous with the Internet. The Internet is a massive network of networks, a networking infrastructure, while the Web is a way to access information over the Internet through browsers.
The main difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web is the fact that the World Wide Web is just one part of the Internet. The World Wide Web plays a very important on the web as it shares all the information on the internet using HTML.
The internet is also used to share messages, emails, file transfers and newsgroups. The Internet does not need to use the web to perform these features of the Internet; another major difference between the Internet and the world wide web.
Benefits of the World Wide Web
There are many different great features of the World Wide Web. Many of them connect the whole world together in a way people would never have thought possible before the 1990s.
Connecting the World (Instant Communication)
Connecting Global Audiences
One of the biggest perks of the World Wide Web comes by way of the web connecting the whole world. Anyone from around the world can connect to any web page on the internet via the world wide web. People can connect to one another on different social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
Finding Information Online
With hundreds of millions of web pages on the World Wide Web, you can find almost any information you need on the web. Many students – for example – will use the web to find information on their course, whereas others may use it to find out random information of benefit to their lives or business, etc.
Gaining Access from Anywhere in the World
Anyone from around the world can access the Word Wide Web. That means a person from Ireland can access the same web page as a person in the US or Africa as long as that person has the right equipment and access isn’t blocked in their specific country.
So, seeing the internet and the web as one and the same thing is an understandable error. We (hope!) we’ve now explained the difference.
What Did People Use to Think of the World Wide Web?
The perception of the World Wide Web has evolved significantly since its inception. When it was first introduced to the public, reactions ranged from scepticism and confusion to excitement and optimism.
Here’s a look at some of the initial reactions and perceptions of the World Wide Web:
Many people were sceptical about the potential of the Web. Some believed it was just a passing fad or a tool only for academics and researchers. There were doubts about its commercial viability and its potential to become a mainstream communication tool.
The concept of the Web was new and unfamiliar to many. The distinction between the Web, the Internet, and other online services was not clear to everyone. Terms like “browser,” “URL,” and “hyperlink” were new and took time for the general public to understand.
Early adopters and tech enthusiasts were excited about the possibilities the Web offered. They saw it as a revolutionary platform for sharing information, connecting with others, and creating new opportunities.
Concerns about Security
As with any new technology, there were concerns about security. People were wary of sharing personal information online, and there were fears about potential hacking, viruses, and cyber threats.
Digital Divide Concerns
There were concerns that the Web would exacerbate the digital divide, with only the privileged having access while others were left behind, however as it grew, the WWW has become a lot more accessible to audiences across the globe.
Potential for Business
Entrepreneurs and businesses quickly recognized the potential of the Web for commerce. This led to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, where startups with a “.com” in their name received significant investments, leading to a speculative bubble.
Some foresaw the social implications of the Web, predicting that it would change the way people interact, communicate, and form communities. There were both optimistic and pessimistic views about its impact on society.
Overwhelm and Information Overload
As the amount of information on the Web grew, some people felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content available. The challenge of finding relevant and trustworthy information became apparent, which is still an issue today.
The Web was recognized as a tool that could connect people globally, breaking down geographical barriers and fostering cross-cultural exchanges. As it became more accessible, people from all walks of life were able to connect instantly.
Over time, as the Web became more integrated into daily life, many of these initial perceptions changed. The scepticism gave way to acceptance, confusion turned into familiarity, and concerns about security led to the development of more robust online safety measures. Today, the Web is an integral part of our lives, and its influence on society, culture, and the economy is undeniable.
World Wide Web Day
World Wide Web Day is celebrated on August 1st every year. It marks the anniversary of the World Wide Web (WWW) being made publicly available to the world. It’s important to place significance on this day as the World Wide Web completely revolutionised how we work and live.
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out these other blogs about website design and management: What is a Static Website? | How to Make a Website? | What is a Website Title? | How Do I Block a Website on Chrome? | How to Find the Publisher of a Website? | How to Clear Cookies From Your Browser?
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