What you need to know

Click on the following for definitions of the key terms you need to know:
| HTTP | TCP/IP | Cookies | | Listserv | Web Cam | | Internet | | Netiquette | | Intranet | URL | Hyperlink | Bandwidth | WWW | Browser | Search Engine | E-mail | Features of A Web Browser


HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the set of rules that are used for transmitting files, (text, graphics, sound, video etc) over the World Wide Web.
  • Almost every web page needs to start with http:
  • This tells the browser that the rules for moving files from the web server will be those defined by the protocol called 'http'


The series of rules that govern "uploading" and "downloading" files from a server. These files can not usually be viewed by the browser software, but will be saved to your hard drive to open or translate later. Current browsers integrate FTP into their software, or you may use a stand alone program.


Stands for Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP). A communications protocol that allows different kinds of computers on different networks to "talk" to each other, thus connecting them by a "universal" language.


A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your computer when you visit some websites. Therefore, cookie is also used to remember settings from your last visit to a website.

  • For example Amazon use cookies to help identify you when you revisit the site. The website reads the cookie and can then look up details such as you name, address, credit card number from their database. This saves you from having to re-enter your data every time you visit.


An electronic mailing list devoted to a specific issue or topic. Participants subscribe via a central service which forwards messages to all subscribers. Listservs may have a moderator who manages information flow.

Web Cam

Short for Web Camera.This is a small video camera, about the size of a golf ball, that can send video pictures when attached to a computer with the right software.

  • Web Cams are used a lot for video conferencing or to monitor something from across the Internet.
    • For example, it is possible to connect through the internet to a web cam that has been set up near the north pole.
  • Web Cams are also used a lot with Instant Messaging applications such as MSN.


The Internet (or "The Net") is a computer network that connects computers worldwide. The Internet is made up of many smaller computer networks. These networks send and get messages using a standard Internet Protocol (IP). A protocol is like a language, that lets computers understand one another.

  • The Internet is used for many things such as e-mail, online chat, news services, forums and the World Wide Web (WWW).
  • The most used service on the Internet is the WWW which contains websites, web pages, blogs and wikis.


"Netiquette" stands for "Internet Etiquette", and refers to the set of practices created over the years to make the Internet experience pleasant for everyone. Like other forms of etiquette, netiquette is primarily concerned with matters of courtesy in communications.


A network that uses Internet protocols, but often with restricted access to within an organization or office. The tools that support an intranet usually include a web-server and client browsers. HTML forms and CGI programs are also often used in intranets.

Intranet offers several advantages over proprietary networks such as:

  • Cross-platform capability
  • Open standards
  • Reduced hardware and software costs
  • Easy installation
  • Minimal user training

In addition, Intranets may be considered useful in schools and businesses for a number of reasons:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • User creation of content
  • Distributed publishing
  • Efficient transfer of information
  • Providing employees access to information
  • Facilitating employee’s teamwork and collaboration within and among departments
  • Processing internal company transactions
Therefore intranet can improve communications within the organization and any employee with security authorization can access the organization’s intranet from any geographic location using a Web browser.


A Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a web page on the World Wide Web.

  • The first part of the URL refers to the protocol that must be used to access information such as news or FTP etc
    • http (hypertext transfer protocol) is the most commonly used protocol to transfer web pages
  • The second part is the address of the host containing the resource (domain)
  • The third part, after the dot address, specifies the hierarchical location of the specific file on the computer


A word, phrase, or picture that acts as a button, enabling the user to explore the Web or a multimedia document with mouse clicks.


The quantity of information that can be transmitted through a communication medium in a given amount of time.

1. The difference in height between the highest and lowest frequencies.
2. A measure of the amount of data that can be transmitted through a circuit per unit of time (second).

Bandwidth is proportional to the amount of data transmitted - it takes more bandwidth to download a photograph in one second than it takes to download a page of text in one second. Large sound files and animated videos require still more bandwidth for acceptable system performance.


World Wide Web is part of the Internet, a collection of multimedia documents created by organizations and users worldwide. Documents are linked in a hypertext Web that allows users to explore them with simple mouse clicks.


Programs such as Internet Explorer and Firefox that serve as navigable windows into the Web. Many people now use browsers to connect to the Internet each day.

Search Engine

A program for locating information on the Web. A search engine is built around a database that catalogs Web locations based on content. Most search engines use software to search the Web and catalog information automatically.


A system of world-wide electronic communication in which a computer user can compose a message at one terminal that can be regenerated at the recipient's terminal when the recipient logs in.

Features of A Web Browser

Most browsers contain the following features. Some of these may be presented as buttons (or icons) in a toolbar. If you don't find a button, you will find a menu item in one of the menus provided. You can usually customize the toolbar to include any or all of these features:

  • Address field
    • This area is where the URL (web page address) for the web page is displayed or entered. (A field is a text entry or display area.) In many browsers, there's a little downward facing arrow next to this field. When you click on the arrow you will see a list of recently visited websites. Clicking one of these URLs will take you to that website. You can also enter a URL into this field and then press enter or return to go to the website. In some browsers there is a "Go" button next to this field that initiates a server request after typing in a URL. By the way, you don't usually have to type in the "http:" part of the URL. Most browsers will add that information in for you when you press enter or return.
  • Autofill Forms Button
    • When you encounter a page that has a form on it, such as an order page, this button will make filling out the form much easier. See the Autofill section in Preferences to use this feature.
  • Bookmarks or Favorites
    • You can easily create a shortcut to your favorite web pages by using the Bookmark (or Favorites) menu or button. This is a very important feature and it works a little differently in each browser. In Internet Explorer, use the Favorites Menu to Add to Favorites. You can then use the Organize Favorites menu item to place your bookmark in a folder or particular place in the list. In Netscape, FireFox and Safari, choose Add Bookmark from the Bookmark menu. You can then choose Show All or Manage Bookmarks to create folders and/or rearrange your bookmarks. In most browsers you can also place favorite websites to an area just above the main browser window.
  • Fonts or Larger or Smaller
    • In Internet Explorer a button called Fonts gives you a menu to choose the size of the text displayed in the browser window. Some browsers offer two buttons, Larger and Smaller to change the size of the text.
  • History Button
    • Most browsers offers a History button or menu item which allows you to look at the last several hundred web pages you've been to, and select one of them for an easy return path.
  • Home Button
    • This button takes you to the page that has been designated as your "home" page. You can select your "home page" in the browser's Preferences (or Internet Options) section.
  • Favorites, Links or Personal Toolbar
    • You can add your own buttons to this toolbar. In Explorer it is called Favorites or Links Toolbar and in Netscape it is called the Personal Toolbar. These toolbars can be hidden or shown by using the View menu.
  • Menubar
    • In Windows the Menubar is a part of each browser window. Choices include File, Edit, View, History, Favorites or Bookmarks and Help. On the Macintosh, these Menus are always at the top of the screen.
  • Security Indicators
    • Most browsers show a padlock icon in the lower left corner of the window to indicate a secure connection. This means that data being sent or received from that server is encrypted and would be extremely difficuly for a third party to access. If this padlock is in the locked position , you know you have a secure server connection. If the padlock is unlocked, then you do not. Another way to tell is by the URL or web site address. If the URL begins with https:// then the server connection is secure.
  • Status Bar
    • The bar along the bottom of the browser's window shows you what is being loaded into the browser window at the moment or the URL of the link your mouse is over. There is usually also a progress indicator that shows how much of a file has already been downloaded.
  • Stop Button
    • Use this button if you want to stop loading the contents of a page.
  • Window Title
    • The title of the web page appears in the browser window's title. Sometimes pages don't have titles. When you bookmark a page, the window's title is used to identify the bookmark.