The Ultimate Guide to the Internet

  • What Is The Internet?
  • How Does The Amazing Internet Work?
  • What Can You Do On The Internet?

Ultimate Guide to the Internet

Could you imagine what life would be like without the internet in today’s technologically driven world? It is almost impossible for most of us tech-savvy individuals to imagine a life without WiFi, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and online shopping. I for one, would be entirely lost without being able to buy everything I need online, from all around the globe. What about you?

The miracle and wonder of the internet is something that has truly been one of the biggest gifts to mankind. It has connected millions of people around the world to each other, and has also given us everyday folk an opportunity to share our passions and work with the world. In today’s Ultimate Guide to the Internet, we will touch on what the Internet is, what you can do on it, how you can connect to it and so much more, so keep on reading.

What Is The Internet?

The Basics:

Of course, we all know what the internet is. But wait, do we truly know exactly what the internet is? Well, for starters, the internet is is a global networkof billions of computers and other electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones and smart televisions. Via the internet, we pretty much have access almost any information we need, are given the ability to communicate with anyone in the world, and so much more. You can achieve all these things, like you probably already have been doing for years, by connecting your computer to the Internet - also known as going online. Saying that a computer is online is just a quick way of saying that it has been connected to the Internet.

The World Wide Web:

In comes the World Wide Web. Most of us simply refer to the World Wide Web by its much shorter and sweeter name, the Web. So, what is the Web exactly? The Web is simply a collection of various different websites and pages that you and everyone else can access via the Internet. Our website is just one of the many that exists in the vast galaxy of the World Wide Web.

Of course, a websiteis made up of related text, images, and other resources that are relevant to what the website is about. Websites can resemble other forms of media such as newspaper articles or television programs and movies, or they can be interactive in a way that is unique to computers. The purpose of a website can be for almost anything. You can have a Food Blog, a News website, Advertising websites, Online Libraries, Forums, Image Sharing sites or a site like ours, where we aim to school you on everything to do with the internet!

Once you are connected to the Internet via a computer or device, you can access and view millions of websites using a web browser. Think Safari, Chrome, Firefox. Do keep in mind, however, that a web browser itself is not the Internet; it simply displays websites that are already stored on the Internet.

How Does The Amazing Internet Work?

Now that we know what the internet and the Web is, we need to know how the internet actually works. The exact and in-depth answer to this is pretty dry and complicated. Not to mention, explaining it in great detail would take us hours, and we know you don’t have hours to spare.  Instead, let's look at some of the key things you should know about how the internet works.

It is important to note  that the Internet is a global network of physical cables, some of which include TV cables, copper telephone wires and fiber optic cables. Even wireless connections such as Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections on your smartphone rely on these physical cables to actually be able to access the Internet. When you log on to your favourite website, your computer will send a request over to said wires/cables which then sends it to a server. A server is where websites are stored, works very much in the same way to your computer's hard drive. Once the request arrives, the server retrieves the website you are looking for and then proceeds to send the correct data back to your computer. Just think for a second - all this happens in a mere split second. How cool is that?

Other Random Bits & Bobs

One of the best and most adored features of the Internet is the ability to communicate literally anyone around the world, whether that be via  email or Social Media. On top of that, there are thousands of things you can do on the internet to ensure that you never have a dull moment. Whether it is online shopping, learning off tutorials, watching TV shows and movies, streaming music, paying bills or managing your bank account, you can be sure that you will never run out of things to do on the internet.

 

What Can You Do On The Internet?

Above, we have just skimmed the surface of what you can do on the internet. In this section of the article, we will look a little deeper into the numerous things you, your friends and your family can do with the internet - it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Education and Finding Information Online

One of the best things about the internet is the ability for us to find out information about basically any and everything imaginable. With the billions of websites that are  online today, you can be sure that there is a lot of information on the Internet. Search Engines such as Bing or Google help us make information easier to find. All you have to do is type some keywords into a search bar, and the search engine will look for relevant websites. I’m pretty sure most of us already do this multiple times a day. If we need to know a fact, find out information about what is happening in the world or need to find out where the nearest Thai takeaway is, chances are, we head to Google because it holds all the answers we are looking for.

Emails

Email is a short form term for electronic mail, which is a way to send and receive messages across the Internet. Almost all of us who use the Internet has an email account, known as an email address. Email addresses are essential in this day and age as you need them to sign up for accounts, for online banking and so much more. Emails are the backbone of most corporate communications, and is still as relevant today as they were 20 years ago.

Social Networking

Without a doubt, we live in the era of Social Networking. Social Networking is a way in which we can communicate and connect with our friends and family all across the world. Rather than sharing with just a few people over private emails, social networks allows us to connect and share with a whole group of people at the same time. Of course, Facebook is currently the world's largest social networking site, with over1 billion users worldwide. Other popular Social Networking websites are Instagram, Myspace and LinkedIn, though LinkedIn is used mainly for the business and corporate world.

Instant Messaging

Chances are you use apps such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp to connect with your friends and family. Instant Messages are short messages that are sent and read in real time, allowing you to communicate a lot more quickly with people. Instant messages are generally used when both parties are online, so that messages can be read immediately. In comparison, emails are usually only seen when recipients check their inboxes, making it a slower process overall.

Online Media

Online Media such as movies/shows on Netflix, Hulu, Stan and other platforms are something that all of us engage in nowadays. Aside from shows, we also stream music on apps such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music. Guess what? We have the internet to thank for this!

Errands and Tasks

Aside from all that has already been mentioned, the internet is also a fantastic way for us to efficiently get our errands and tasks done. Need to manage your bank account or pay bills? You can definitely do that on the internet. Need to order a big shop from the Supermarket? You can do that too, all in the comfort of your own home.

 

How Do I Connect To The Internet?

If you don’t already have a connection to the internet, fret not. Connecting to the internet is not a mammoth task, as long as you know the few things you need to do and get sorted. In Australia, most of us already are or will be connected to the NBN very soon. The NBN, or National Broadband Network, is a government owned network that aims to provide all us Australians with a reliable, fast and efficient broadband connection, regardless where you are in Australia. The NBN runs on  a fibre-optic, fixed wireless and satellite infrastructure which aims to replace all existing broadband infrastructure with faster and more reliable broadband services to all homes and businesses across the nation.

So, Can I Get The NBN?

Chances are, yes you can. But of course, this is highly dependent on the NBN rollout map.Whilst the NBN is aimed to reach almost all residential and business properties by 2020, it does take time to get everything up and working for the entire nation. The easiest way to check if your home is in an NBN accessible area is to head over to the NBN Rollout Map. This easy to use and understand map just requires you to type your address in, and it will let you know if NBN services are currently already available in your area, or otherwise, if building has commenced already.

How Do I Connect To The NBN?

Once you have found out that your area is NBN eligible, it’s now time to actually get connected to it. Doing this is relatively simple. First of all, you will need a NBN compatible modem as well as a technician appointment to get equipment installed at your property. Some ISPs offer free NBN compatible modems when signing up to their NBN plans, or will offer customers compatible modems which they can purchase and install themselves.

Next, you will need a technician to pay your home a visit to gets things up and running. Based on your type of connection and the availability of technicians in the area, appointments could be anywhere from one day to a whole month after you request one. However, most times, it will take an average of 5-10 business days.  Once a technician arrives at your home and does the needed installations of various equipment, you should be able to connect to the NBN almost immediately.

 

What Is The Cloud?

You may have heard terms such as the cloud, cloud computing, or cloud storage flying around all over the place. In fact, you may already be using a Cloud service to store your files and photos on. But what exactly is this cloud that we speak of? Simply put, the cloud is the Internet...or more specifically, it is all of the things you have the ability to access remotely over the Internet. When something is in the cloud, it means that it is stored on Internet servers instead of your computer's hard drive. This gives you access to information and files even when you are not on your own computer or device.

Why Use The Cloud?

Good question. Well, one of the main reasons to use the cloud are for your own convenience and reliability. Take for example, if you've ever used a web-based email service, such as Gmail or Outlook, you've already used the cloud. All emails stored in a web-based service are stored on servers rather than on your computer's hard drive. This is why you can access your emails from any computer or device. If they were stored in your hard drive, you’d be slapping yourself each time you didn’t bring your computer out with you. This also ensures that you will be able to recover emails should your computer burn out.

Secondly, using the cloud allows you to store files, share them and backup data. You can store all types of information in the cloud, including files, photos and email. You also have the capability to share files with several people at the same time. Finally, you can use the cloud to protect your data and files. Apps such as Carbonite automatically backup your datato the cloud, ensuring that even if your computer gets stolen or damaged, you will still be able to recover your files.

Using A Web Browser

Last but not least, it’s time for us to touch on how one can go about using a web browser. Remember, a web browser is an application such as Chrome or Safari. No matter which web browser you use, you'll want to learn the basics. Let’s look into Navigation, Tabbed Browsing, Bookmarks and more. 

URL/Address Bar

You have to start somewhere, and this somewhere is the URL/Address bar in your browser. When you type a website’s URL or address into the browser's address bar and press Enter on your keyboard, the browser will load the page associated with that URL and hey presto, your website appears!

Links

Whenever you see text that has been underlined in blue, you’ll know that is a link. Clicking on a link will navigate you to a different page, post or website, depending on each individual situation. You may also notice that your cursor changes into a hand icon whenever you hover over a link.

Navigation Buttons

The Back and Forward buttons on your browser allow you to move back and forth between websites you've recently viewed. You can also click and hold either button to see your recent internet history. There is also a Refresh button which will reloadthe current page you are on. If a website stops working, try hitting Refresh!

Tabbed Browsing

Most browsers now allow you to open multiple links in new tabs. You can open as many links as you want, and they'll all stay in the same browser window. To open a link in a new tab, right-click the link and select Open link in new tab (wordings may vary from browser to browser). To close a tab, click the “x” on it. To create a new blank tab, click the button to the right of any open tabs.

Bookmarks/History

Really enjoy a page and want to save it for later? This is where Bookmarks come in handy. Simply locate and select the Star icon to bookmark the current website you are on. Your browser will also keep a history of all the websites you visit, in case you have forgotten a URL and need to find it again. To view your history, open your browser settings and select History.

File Downloads

Links can sometimes open to a File Download. This happens when you are downloading Photos or Documents sent to you via email. If you click a link to a file, it may download automatically, but sometimes it just end up opening within your browser instead of downloading into your computer. If you want to prevent this from happening, you can right-click on the link and select Save link as (some browsers may use slightly different terminology, like Save target as).

Saving Images

Sometimes, we find a funny or informative image that we just need to save. You can simply do this by right clicking on an image and then selecting “Save Image As”. You can then choose the destination it is to be saved in or even rename the file for easy reference.

Plugins

Plug-ins are small applications that assist you in viewing certain types of content within your web browser. A good example would be Adobe Flash that is often used to play videos, whilst  Adobe Reader is used to view PDF files. If you don't already have the correct plug-in for a website, your browser will usually prompt you with a link to download it. There may also be times when you need to update your plug-ins, so always keep note of that.

______________

 

And there you have it, the Internet in a nutshell. Amazing, isn’t it? How did people live without the internet 50 years ago? They must have been so incredibly bored! Have any questions for us? Don’t hesitate to head over to our website or contact us today.