What's the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web?

Internet vs. World Wide Web
The Internet may be the physical connection, but the World Wide Web is what really gets you tapped in.
The Internet may be the physical connection, but the World Wide Web is what really gets you tapped in.
Cristian Baitg/Photographer's Choice RR/Getty Images

To answer this question, let's look at each element. And since the Internet seems to be the more easily understood component, let's start there.

Simply, the Internet is a network of networks -- and there are all kinds of networks in all kinds of sizes. You may have a computer network at your work, at your school or even one at your house. These networks are often connected to each other in different configurations, which is how you get groupings such as local area networks (LANs) and regional networks. Your cell phone is also on a network that is considered part of the Internet, as are many of your other electronic devices. And all these separate networks -- added together -- are what constitute the Internet. Even satellites are connected to the Internet. To learn more about how this interwoven mega-network operates, check out How Internet Infrastructure Works.

The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is the system we use to access the Internet. The Web isn't the only system out there, but it's the most popular and widely used. (Examples of ways to access the Internet without using HTTP include e-mail and instant messaging.) As mentioned on the previous page, the World Wide Web makes use of hypertext to access the various forms of information available on the world's different networks. This allows people all over the world to share knowledge and opinions. We typically access the Web through browsers, like Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. By using browsers like these, you can visit various Web sites and view other online content.

So another way to think about it is to say the Internet is composed of the machines, hardware and data; and the World Wide Web is what brings this technology to life.

Now that we know the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web, put your newfound knowledge of hyperlinks, HTML and home pages to use and click onto the next page for more great information.


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More Great Links


  • Berners-Lee, Tim. "Frequently Asked Questions." W3C. (6/27/2008) http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/FAQ.html
  • "Brief Timeline of the Internet." Webopedia Internet.com. 5/24/2007. (6/23/2008) http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/timeline.asp
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