The terms “Internet” and “World Wide Web” or simply “the web”, are sometimes used interchangeably. People say that they search the Internet, but they also say they search the web.
However, there is a difference between them, so let’s look at what sets them apart.
Quick and Easy Answer
Basically, the Internet is a massive network of networks. It’s the infrastructure that connects everything together.
Whereas, the Web is a type of file management system for the Internet- it provides access to the files at a particular address or URL.
It might help to think of the Internet as the hardware that connects everything together and the World Wide Web as the software that runs quietly in the background and displays the information you were looking for.
Some Extra Details
The Internet, or the “Interconnection of Computer Networks”, is a massive collection of cables linking computer networks together. They are physically connected together.
If you think of your IP address being one node and your neighbors IP address being another node- it is the Internet which connects these 2 nodes to the billions of other nodes throughout the world.
Using the Transfer Control Protocols of the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) all these billions of nodes work together to get information from you to across the world in the quickest, easiest and most secure manner.
This massive network is the Internet.
The Web is how we access the information on the Internet.
Using web browsers, like Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer, the web document that you request at a certain domain name or website address is returned to you. This is done using the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
Each time you type an address or URL into your browser’s search engine you’re asking for the web document being held at that address be displayed.
Today, web documents contain graphics, video and audio as well as text, but when the Web first appeared there were only text-based documents.
Accessing the Web using HTTP is not the only protocol used over the internet- email uses the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), file sharing uses File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to name just a few.
So now you know the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web.
Final Food for Thought
The Internet will continue to work without the web, but the web cannot work without the Internet.