Internet Literacy – Part 1
Twenty years ago, there was the quest for computer literacy. Today many people are computer literate. Today, the Internet is highly used. You have to be Internet literate. Internet literacy means knowing how to use the Internet reasonably well. This is part 1 of my series, Internet Literacy. In this part of the series, I give the meaning of some common vocabulary of the Internet. Just as any adult in the society today should know how to drive a car, any adult should be computer literate and any adult should be Internet literate.
Many people today belong to groups in the Internet and they submit post (comments and articles) from time to time for the group. To do such a thing, you need to be Internet literate. This is a good reason to be Internet literate. So, every teacher, lecturer, writer needs to be Internet literate. There are groups that have ordinary people, based on their professions (trades) and other reasons. These ordinary people constantly submit post and need to be Internet literate. There are many other reasons to be Internet literate, as you will see as you complete this course. Another good reason is that computers and Internet charges (fees) have become very low, even in developing countries.
You need to be computer literate before you begin this course. However, if you can barely use the computer, and if you like the series (Internet Literacy), then you will still understand most of the series. So, we begin.
You must have seen a computer. Computers can be connected in a room, so that messages can move from one computer to another. The connections between the computers can be by wires, which you can see, or it can be by electromagnetic waves, which you cannot see. It is the same kind of electromagnetic waves that connect your cell phone to a friend’s cell phone.
The Internet is a similar network of computers, but the computers are in different places in the city, in different places in the state, in different places in the nation and in different countries. In the Internet, there are principal computers called servers. A group of computers called clients are connected to a server. Servers are connected to one another. You computer at home or office is a client. When you send information, it goes from your client computer to a server. From the server, it can go to another server. When someone else wants the information you sent, the information will be got from a server, into his client computer.
A website, formally written, “web site” is a group of related electronic documents (web pages) in an Internet server. What you are reading now on the computer screen is an example of an electronic document or an electronic page. Today, many websites do business and you can actually buy something using your credit card, at a website. Website, for short is, site.
The home page is the main page of a website.
Mobile Phone Site
A mobile phone site is usually a miniature form of a normal website. Such a site is meant to be seen using a smartphone (see below).
Now that you have websites for the normal computers (PCs), and websites for mobile phones, the two have to be distinguished. A website for the normal computer is called a desktop website. The word, desktop, is from the fact that a normal computer is usually placed on a desk (table).
An email is an electronic (document) mail that you can send to someone. When you type the mail in your desktop computer and send, it goes to an email server. When the receiver feels like reading his emails, he checks them from the email server, using his own computer.
Web Server and Email Server
A web server is a server that keeps web pages of a website. Such pages, display information on the screen of your computer. It can be information about a school, government, individual, company, etc. The Internet also has email servers. An email server keeps emails.
Note: A web server or email server can also mean software (program – see later).
In order to access a desktop site, you need a desktop computer and a browser. In other words, in order to access the Internet you need an application (program) called a browser. You can still communicate in the Internet without using the browser, but the browser is the official application to use to access the Internet. A browser normally opens to fill the computer screen. The browser is used to display web pages and to send emails.
Some browsers are free to download from the Internet; others are purchased. Just search the web to know which is free and which is purchased. Go for the highest version that will work with your operating system. If you do not know how to search something from the Internet, do not worry, I explain how to do that in a later part of this series.
A file is an electronic document that can be saved in the hard disk of your computer. What you are reading now is an example of an electronic document. It is also an example of a web page. Non-electronic documents are paper documents. Electronic documents are saved in a hard disk. The Internet server also has a hard disk. In it there are many files. Sound (music) that you hear at a web page, has been saved as a file in the server, then copied to your client computer. Web page images and video clips are also files saved in the web server.
A directory or folder is a location in the computer hard disk that has a number of files. You can have sub directories, meaning directories inside directories. The Internet server (web or email) also has directories in its hard disk. To access a file from the hard disk, you need to know the name of the file, directory and different sub directories, in which the file resides. The directory and sub directories written down as a chain, is called a path.
Uniform Resource Locator
The abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator is URL. A browser has a field at its top called the address bar. If you want to display the home page of a site, you will type something like the following in the address bar of the browser and click Go or press the Enter key:
Here, “http://” and/or “http://www.” is optional (for all sites). The portion, “someone.com” is specific to a site.
If you want the browser to display a different page of the site, you would type something like:
The text beyond, “http://www.somesite.com” in the address, is the path to the file, ending with the file name.
The above addresses are called URLs. The Go Button to click is the button at the extreme right of the address bar.
The domain name of the above website address is, somesite.com . The domain name is the last two bits of the website address.
After typing a URL in the address bar of the browser and click Go or press the Enter key, you should see a web page. If you have a slow Internet line, the web page may take long to come. If you have a fast Internet line, you see the web page immediately. Some web pages are poorly design or too long in content. So, even in fast Internet lines, such pages may take rather long to arrive at the browser.
A hyperlink is usually a short line of text or an image. If a mouse pointer hovers (goes over) a hyperlink, it turns into a hand. When you click a hyperlink, a new web page appears. In a broad sense, a hyperlink is a link to a web page or some other Internet resource, like sound or video file.
A web page can have a form, similar to a paper form. A web page form has fields, where you type in things like, first name, last name, and some message. Such a form also has buttons, and the most important of these is the Submit Button. The Submit Button can have another name like, Send. When the Submit Button is clicked, the data typed into the form is sent to an email box in an email server or to an Internet Database (see below).
An Internet database is a collection of organized data and is owned by a site. Not all sites have an Internet database.
With some sites, in order to see some of its pages or use data in its database, you have to register at the site first. When you register, they give you a user name and a password. The user name and password may also be words of your choice. With some sites, the user name is your email address, something like, email@example.com.
After registration, to use the site, the next day (say), you have to go to a particular page of the site, and do what is called, login. To log in you have to fill a small web page form. In the form you typically type your user name in one field and your password in another field. After that you click the Submit Button. Having clicked the submit button, you will be directed to the same page or to a different page of the site. From there, you are authorized to see special pages of the site and use special data from the database (if the site has a database).
Sign In is a synonym for Login.
After logging in and doing the special work with a website, you have to sign out. This means you tell the site that you have finished using it for the session. If you do not do this, the next person using your computer will access your sensitive information (such as bank information). To sign out you click a Logout Button in the last page that you used. When you do that you will have a feedback from the site, telling you that you have logged out.
Sign out is a synonym for logout.
Registration to a site is Sign Up. Do not confuse this with Sign In.
The phrase, Internet Session, is similar to the word session you use in daily life. If you use the Internet, for some time, that is a large session. Within the large session, the time you spend on a site, is an Internet Session or the Site Session. That is a new definition stipulated by an organization called, the World Wide Web Consortium.
When you connect to the Internet and you look at a web page, you are said to have visited the page; and so, you are a website visitor. Of course, visiting a web page is the same as visiting the site. In many situations you will never be able to visit all the web pages of a site.
Before you can use the Internet, you must arrange with a telephone company in your area. You will be paying dues to the company at regular intervals (e.g. monthly). They will set your computer up by attaching equipment to it.
When you connect to the Internet and you are working (viewing web pages and using Internet data) you are said to be online.
It is possible for you to save web pages in your local client computer hard disk. When you are not connected to the Internet, you can still view the pages called from your computer had disk using the browser. Under such condition, you are working with the Internet, Offline.
World Wide Web
World Wide Web abbreviated, “www”, without any dot, today, means the Internet. Another synonym is web. Another synonym is net.
A website designer is a company or person who design the pages of a website.
There is no clear definition for a Webmaster at the moment. It came up as a word to refer to people who are working with the web. I define Webmaster, as a person who can design websites as well as manage the hosting of websites. Managing a website is a whole course.
A hacker is a person who steals information using the Internet. When information moves from client to server or server to server or server to client, it does not take up to one minute. A hacker can steal information when it is in such transit. A hacker can also steal information by somehow bypassing the login process of a website computer or even a computer in an office that is hooked up to the Internet.
To prevent a hacker from stealing information in transit, you need a secure connection. This is no big deal. This is not done by having a special telephone connection to your computer. Secure connection is offered by web pages, not necessarily all the web pages of the site. If a web page offers secure connection between your client computer and the destination server, then the URL will begin with “https” instead of just “http”. Such a web page has a web form. If you fill the form with sensitive data and click Submit, your sensitive data should be secured in transit (not necessarily at the site).
Well, we have seen quite much in this part of the series. In this series, I hope I am making you Internet Literate. You can learn these things from friends and colleagues, one by one, but you will never be able to learn them all and learn them professionally. When you learn any course completely and professionally, you will be able to withstand challenges in the area.
We stop here now and continue in the next part of the series, still with more vocabulary.
Window for the Ordinary Internet User
The Web Page for the
Ordinary Internet User
Web Page Form for
when ordering a Website
Internet Payment Systems