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The Web

The Web is a vast collection of documents on the Internet that are linked together via hyperlinks. The Internet consists of millions of computers worldwide that communicate electronically. A hyperlink is a predefined link between two documents. The hyperlinks allow a user to access documents on various Web servers without concern for where they are located. A Web server is a computer on the Internet that serves out Web pages on request. From a document on a Web server in California, the user is just one mouse click away from a document that is stored, perhaps, on a Web server in France. Hyperlinks are integral to the Web. Without them, there would be no Web.

Users gain access to the Web through a browser. A browser is a computer program that lets users browse – or “surf” – the Web by fetching documents from Web servers and displaying them to the user. To move from one document to another, the user clicks a highlighted (often underlined) word or image that represents a hyperlink. The browser then retrieves the document that is at the other end of the hyperlink and displays it on the screen. For example, a user could be in a document about baroque music and click the highlighted words Johann Sebastian Bach that are linked to “Bach’s home page.” (On the Web, all celebrities – and everyone else who wants one – have a home page.) After the browser fetches Bach’s home page (instantly, in the best case), it appears on the user’s screen.


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