The World Wide Web (often abbreviated as “WWW” or simply “the Web”) is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), which can be linked to via hyperlinks, and are accessible over the Internet. The resources on the Web can be in any medium, including text, images, audio, and video.
The Web was invented in 1989 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). His goal was to create a system that would simplify the sharing and dissemination of research information among scientists globally. He developed the first web browser and web server, and the concept of the Web rapidly expanded beyond the research community.
Key components of the Web include:
- URLs: These are the addresses used to access web resources. A URL specifies the location of a resource on the Internet and the protocol used to retrieve it (like HTTP or HTTPS).
- HTTP/HTTPS: The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the protocol used for transferring web pages on the internet. Its secure version, HTTPS, encrypts the data to provide secure online transactions.
- HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is the standard markup language for creating web pages. It allows for the embedding of images, videos, and other multimedia, as well as the creation of hyperlinks that enable navigation between pages.
- Web Browsers: These are software applications used to access, retrieve, and present web resources. Popular examples include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
- Web Servers: These are special computers that host websites and deliver web pages to users’ browsers upon request.
The World Wide Web has had a transformative impact on society, revolutionizing how people access and share information, communicate, do business, and engage in entertainment and social activities. Although often used interchangeably with “the Internet,” the two are distinct. The Internet is the global network of interconnected computers, while the Web is one of its services, built on top of it.