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Welcome to the Internet

Here we attempt to answer some of the most common questions about the internet to help get you started as an internet user.


Q. What is the "Internet"?

A. The "internet" is an interconnecting network of computing devices connected via cables, satellites and wireless technology through which information (such as words and images) can be shared.


Q. What does it mean if someone says I am "online?"

A. Being "online" means that your computer is connected to the internet.


Q. What is a website?

A. A website is information that resides on another commputer somewhere else --be it across town or on the otherside of the world --, that can be accessed by your computer through a specific URL (web address). It is made up of one or more pages and displays on your computer as words and images, which usually contain interactive buttons and links that assist you with navigating the site. An example of a website is http://www.web-access.net!


Q. How do I view a website?

A. Each web site has a unique URL (which stands for Uniform Resource Locator), or more commonly called a "web address." Web addresses always start with "http://" (or https:// indicating a secure server such as sites requiring a credit card transaction) followed by a name and ending with .com, .net, .edu, .us, .org or another other top level domain indicators. (For a full list click here.)

To access a website, you will type in this address into the address field on your web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox )


You may also request a specific page which will end most commonly with ".html" or ".htm" but may also end with ".php" or ".asp" This address will consist of the main URL, a "/" and a page name. For example our website is 'http//www.web-access.net" and entering this will display our "home page." However, to access this information page directly you would enter "http://www.web-access.net/Internet_Intro.html."


Q. What is a "link?"

A. A link is a button or set of words on a website that are pre-programmed to fill in a URL and take you to a certain website or even open another page. For example CLICKING THIS LINK will open the CCTC Community Calendar in a new window.


Q. What is the difference between the "Internet" and the "Worldwide Web?"

A. The term "Internet" generally refers to the entire computer network including non-public communication such as email, file storage, and file transfer protocals, whereas "Worldwide Web (WWW)" refers to websites that can be pubically accessed via a URL (web address).


Q. What is a "Search Engine?"

A. A Search Engine is a website designed to help you navigate the Worldwide Web. The user (you) will type in certain words that pertain to what you are looking for and the search engine will return websites that it deems relevant to your search terms. For example if you type in "buy black shoes," the search engine will scan the web and provide you with a list of websites that it has deemed most likely to sell black shoes.


Q. What is email?

A. Email is a form of private communication that is sent over the internet. A sender writes a message and hits "send." The message is copied to a private server owned by the email host company. It is held there until the receiver "checks their email' via an email software such as "Outlook" and it is then copied to the users inbox where the reciever may then open it and read it. Depending on the users chosen settings it may or may no be deleted from the host server.

Note that "web mail" refers to email software that operates via an online server and the message remains on the email hosts server until the user deletes it. It is NOT downloaded to your local computer.


Q. What is a server?

A. A server is a special computer that is set up to be accessed by other computers via the internet. It holds information, manages requests for information, and distributes information.


Q. Will other people on the internet be able to see what is on my computer?

A. No. Your computer is not a website and cannot be viewed on the web. Furthermore, it cannot be accessed by other computers on the internet UNLESS it is set up to do so. Please note that certain "viruses" or "malware" can open your computer up to certain other users. This happens when your computer is not protected by anti-virus software or when malware is accidentally installed. To avoid this, keep your anti-virus program updated and never open a file (especially a file ending in .exe) if you don't know where it came from and what it is. Beware of websites offering "free" programs or downloads. If you are not sure of the reputation of the company, please do not download or install software.


Q. What is a virus?

A. A computer virus something that changes coding on your computer and consequently affects the computers functioning. It may cause your computer to not work properly or it may allow information to be sent or received over the internet wihtout your knowledge. You may also hear the terms "malware" "trojan" or "computer worm." Keep your virus software updated, and use caution when opening attachments or downloading files.

Although it is called a "virus" it is not organic. It is coding written by a programmer whose intention is to cause malice. It gets onto your computer when you download or click on a file that allows it to be installed on your computer.


For additional information about usinng the Internet, check out these helpful links:

University at Albany Internet Guide

Seniors Guide to Computers

How to use the Internet (Youtube Video)


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