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What is Internet? Definition, Uses, Working, Advantages and Disadvantages

Last Updated : 25 Apr, 2023
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Pre-Requisite: Introduction to Internet

The Internet is the foremost important tool and the prominent resource that is being used by almost every person across the globe. It connects millions of computers, webpages, websites, and servers. Using the internet we can send emails, photos, videos, and messages to our loved ones. Or in other words, the Internet is a widespread interconnected network of computers and electronic devices(that support Internet). It creates a communication medium to share and get information online. If your device is connected to the Internet then only you will be able to access all the applications, websites, social media apps, and many more services. The Internet nowadays is considered the fastest medium for sending and receiving information.



History of the Internet

The Internet came in the year 1960 with the creation of the first working model called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency). It allowed multiple computers to work on a single network which was their biggest achievement at that time. ARPANET uses packet switching to communicate multiple computer systems under a single network. In October 1969, using ARPANET first message was transferred from one computer to another. After that technology continues to grow. 

How is the Internet Set Up?

The internet is set up with the help of physical optical fiber data transmission cables or copper wires and various other networking mediums like LAN, WAN, MAN, etc. For accessing the Internet even the 2G, 3G, and 4G services and the Wifi require these physical cable setups to access the Internet. There is an authority named ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) located in the USA which manages the Internet and protocols related to it like IP addresses.

How Does the Internet Work?

The actual working of the internet takes place with the help of clients and servers. Here the client is a laptop that is directly connected to the internet and servers are the computers connected indirectly to the Internet and they are having all the websites stored in those large computers. These servers are connected to the internet with the help of ISP (Internet Service Providers) and will be identified with the IP address. 

Each website has its Domain name as it is difficult for any person to always remember the long numbers or strings. So, whenever you search for any domain name in the search bar of the browser the request will be sent to the server and that server will try to find the IP address from the Domain name because it cannot understand the domain name. After getting the IP address the server will try to search the IP address of the Domain name in a Huge phone directory that in networking is known as a DNS server (Domain Name Server). For example, if we have the name of a person and we can easily find the Aadhaar number of him/her from the long directory as simple as that.

So after getting the IP address, the browser will pass on the further request to the respective server and now the server will process the request to display the content of the website which the client wants. If you are using a wireless medium of Internet like 3G and 4G or other mobile data then the data will start flowing from the optical cables and will first reach towers from there the signals will reach your cell phones and PCs through electromagnetic waves and if you are using routers then optical fiber connecting to your router will help in connecting those light-induced signals to electrical signals and with the help of ethernet cables internet reaches your computers and hence the required information. 

For more, you can refer to How Does the Internet Work?

What is an IP Address?

IP Address stands for Internet Protocol Address. Every PC/Local machine is having an IP address and that IP address is provided by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). These are some sets of rules which govern the flow of data whenever a device is connected to the Internet. It differentiates computers, websites, and routers. Just like human identification cards like Aadhaar cards, Pan cards, or any other unique identification documents. Every laptop and desktop has its own unique IP address for identification. It’s an important part of Internet technology. An IP address is displayed as a set of four-digit like Here each number on the set ranges from 0 to 255. Hence, the total IP address range from to 

You can check the IP address of your Laptop or desktop by clicking on the Windows start menu -> then right-click and go to network -> in that go to status and then Properties you can see the IP address. There are four different types of IP addresses are available:

  1. Static IP Address
  2. Dynamic IP Address
  3. Private IP Address
  4. Public IP Address

World Wide Web (WWW)

The world wide web is a collection of all the web pages, and web documents that you can see on the Internet by searching their URLs (Uniform Resource Locator) on the Internet. For example, is the URL of the GFG website, and all the content of this site like webpages and all the web documents are stored on the world wide Web. Or in other words, the world wide web is an information retrieval service of the web. It provides users with a huge array of documents that are connected to each other by means of hypertext or hypermedia links. Here, hyperlinks are known as electronic connections that link the related data so that users can easily access the related information hypertext allows the user to pick a word or phrase from text, and using this keyword or word or phrase can access other documents that contain additional information related to that word or keyword or phrase. World wide web is a project which is created by Timothy Berner’s Lee in 1989, for researchers to work together effectively at CERN. It is an organization, named World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which was developed for further development in the web.

WWW Image

WWW Image

Difference Between World Wide Web and the Internet

The main difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet are:

World Wide Web Internet                                                          

All the web pages and web documents are stored there on the World wide web and to find all that stuff you will have a specific URL for each website.

The Internet is a global network of computers that is accessed by the World wide web.

The world wide web is a service.

The Internet is an infrastructure.

The world wide web is a subset of the Internet.

The Internet is the superset of the world wide web.

The world wide web is software-oriented.

The Internet is hardware-oriented.

The world wide web uses HTTP.

The Internet uses IP Addresses.

The world wide web can be considered as a book from the different topics inside a Library.

The Internet can be considered a Library.

Uses of the Internet

Some of the important usages of the internet are:

  • Online Businesses (E-commerce): Online shopping websites have made our life easier, e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra are providing very spectacular services with just one click and this is a great use of the Internet.
  • Cashless Transactions: All the merchandising companies are offering services to their customers to pay the bills of the products online via various digital payment apps like Paytm, Google Pay, etc. UPI payment gateway is also increasing day by day. Digital payment industries are growing at a rate of 50% every year too because of the INTERNET.
  • Education: It is the internet facility that provides a whole bunch of educational material to everyone through any server across the web. Those who are unable to attend physical classes can choose any course from the internet and can have point-to-point knowledge of it just by sitting at home. High-class faculties are teaching online on digital platforms and providing quality education to students with the help of the Internet.
  • Social Networking: The purpose of social networking sites and apps is to connect people all over the world. With the help of social networking sites, we can talk, and share videos, and images with our loved ones when they are far away from us. Also, we can create groups for discussion or for meetings.
  • Entertainment: The Internet is also used for entertainment. There are numerous entertainment options available on the internet like watching movies, playing games, listening to music, etc. You can also download movies, games, songs, TV Serial, etc., easily from the internet.

Security and the Internet

Very huge amount of data is managed across the Internet almost the time, which leads to the risk of data breaching and many other security issues. Both Hackers and Crackers can lead to disrupting the network and can steal important information like Login Credentials, Banking Credentials, etc.

Steps to Protect the Online Privacy

  • Install Antivirus or Antimalware.
  • Create random and difficult passwords, so that it becomes difficult to guess.
  • Use a private browsing window or VPN for using the Internet.
  • Try to use HTTPS only for better protection.
  • Try to make your Social Media Account Private.
  • If you are not using any application, which requires GPS, then you can turn GPS off.
  • Do not simply close the tab, first log out from that account, then close the tab.
  • Try to avoid accessing public Wifi or hotspots.
  • Try to avoid opening or downloading content from unknown sources.

There is an element of the Internet called the Dark Web, which is not accessible from standard browsers. To keep safe our data, we can use Tor and I2P, which helps in keeping our data anonymous, that helps in protecting user security, and helps in reducing cybercrime.

Social Impact of the Internet

The social impact of the Internet can be seen in both ways. Some say it has a positive impact as it helps in gaining civic engagement, etc. whereas some say it has a negative impact as it increased the risk of getting fooled by someone over the internet, getting withdrawal from society, etc.

Whatever the impact of Social Media, one thing is that it changed the way of connecting and interacting with others in society. The number of people increasing day by day on social media platforms which helps in constructing new relationships over social media, new communities are made on social media in the interest of the people. Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc are the most used social media platform for both individual and business purposes where we can communicate with them and perform our tasks.

 Advantages of the Internet

  • Online Banking and Transaction: The Internet allows us to transfer money online through the net banking system. Money can be credited or debited from one account to the other.
  • Education, Online Jobs, Freelancing: Through the Internet, we are able to get more jobs via online platforms like Linkedin and to reach more job providers. Freelancing on the other hand has helped the youth to earn a side income and the best part is all this can be done via the INTERNET.
  • Entertainment: There are numerous options for entertainment online we can listen to music, play games can watch movies, and web series, and listen to podcasts, youtube itself is a hub of knowledge as well as entertainment.
  • New Job Roles: The Internet has given us access to social media, and digital products so we are having numerous new job opportunities like digital marketing and social media marketing online businesses are earning huge amounts of money just because the Internet is the medium to help us to do so.
  • Best Communication Medium: The communication barrier has been removed from the Internet. You can send messages via email, Whatsapp, and Facebook. Voice chatting and video conferencing are also available to help you to do important meetings online.
  • Comfort to humans: Without putting any physical effort you can do so many things like shopping online it can be anything from stationeries to clothes, books to personal items, etc. You can books train and plane tickets online.
  • GPS Tracking and google maps: Yet another advantage of the internet is that you are able to find any road in any direction, and areas with less traffic with the help of GPS on your mobile.

Disadvantages of the Internet

  • Time Wastage: Wasting too much time on the internet surfing social media apps and doing nothing decreases your productivity rather than wasting time on scrolling social media apps one should utilize that time in doing something skillful and even more productive.
  • Bad Impacts on Health: Spending too much time on the internet causes bad impacts on your health physical body needs some outdoor games exercise and many more things. Looking at the screen for a longer duration causes serious impacts on the eyes.
  • Cyber Crimes: Cyberbullying, spam, viruses, hacking, and stealing data are some of the crimes which are on the verge these days. Your system which contains all the confidential data can be easily hacked by cybercriminals.
  • Effects on Children: Small children are heavily addicted to the Internet watching movies, and games all the time is not good for their overall personality as well as social development.
  • Bullying and Spreading Negativity: The Internet has given a free tool in the form of social media apps to all those people who always try to spread negativity with very revolting and shameful messages and try to bully each other which is wrong.

For more, you can refer to the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Internet.

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