Monday, December 22, 2008

Why is it called "The Internet"?

Why is it called "The Internet"?
By Bob Hubbard

Ever wonder why this huge international maze of computers, servers, and sites is called "The Internet"?

Internet means inter-connected networks. Developed during the 1960's and 1970's, what we refer to today as "The Internet" grew from small localized networks running on colleges, universities and military bases, to larger networks connecting smaller ones, to a huge world wide network of networks.

Most people today only think of the Internet as email and websites, but in fact it is a combination of many different services.

Email consists of several different systems, including POP (Post Office Protocol) which is responsible for getting your email from your electrnic mail box, and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) which is used to send email to the world.

Web sites run on Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. When you type in a web address in your browser, that http:// you enter in tells the server on the other end to use the HTTP system to transfer the page to you. Modern browsers use it by default, but older browsers would fail to find a site if you forgot it.

FTP, or "File Transfer Protocol" is a means for transferring files between your system and a remote one.

IRC, or "Internet Relay Chat", also called "Chat Rooms" are the precursor to today's instant messaging and text message systems. Still in operation today, they aren't well known to most people. IRC requires special software to access.

A forgotten part of our net history is Gopher. Gopher is a combination web and ftp system for organized document retrieval. Text only, there are less than 200 Gopher servers currently online, with most neglected, however some universities still use them.

Then there is the Network News Transfer Protocol or NNTP which is an Internet application protocol used primarily for reading and posting Usenet articles, as well as transferring news among news servers. USENET is a huge world wide distributed electronic discussion system. What this means is, it is like having a global forum, spread over many systems. There are currently well over 100,000 different topics ranging from the boring to the profane. Accessing USENET requires special software called a NewsReader, as well as an account with a news provider.

As you can see, the Internet is a pretty complex thing, made simple and accessible by modern software, allowing us to communicate around the world at whim.

Additional Resources at Wikipedia


Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. Bob can be reached at
Article Copyright © 2008 - Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved.
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Copyright © 2009 Bob Hubbard. All rights reserved.