General Questions about the Internet

Frequently Asked Questions about English

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General Questions about the Internet

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What is the Internet?
The word 'Internet' is made from the words 'inter-' + 'network'. A network is a collection of fibres or wires connecting various points. The Internet is an international network of millions of computers linked by cable, telephone lines and satellite. It is also sometimes called the 'Net'.

What does WWW mean?
WWW are initials that stand for World Wide Web. A 'web' is a network of fibres or cables connecting different points. (Spiders make webs to catch flies.) The Web is one of the services available on the Internet. It lets you access millions of pages through a system of hyperlinks. Because it is 'world-wide', it was originally called the World Wide Web or WWW.

What is email?
Email is short for "electronic mail". It is a service for sending messages and files from one computer to another computer. The computers can be within one company or anywhere in the world. The messages travel almost instantaneously. Email is also sometimes spelt "e-mail".

What is the difference between the Internet, WWW and email?
The Internet is the physical system (computers, wires, connections etc). WWW (the World Wide Web) and email are services that you use when connected to the Internet. There are other services on the Internet, such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and News Groups.

What does the @ mean in an email address?
The symbol @ in English means 'at'. (It is often used for prices: '5 pens @ $1' means '5 pens at a price of $1 each'.) So '[email protected]' means 'Example at'. The symbol @ is usually called the 'at sign' in English. Here is a detailed history of @.

How should I write an email address? Are capitals OK?
Yes. You can write an email address with CAPITAL LETTERS or with small letters, or with a mixture of the two. It doesn't matter whether you use small letters or capital letters. For example, if someone tells you to write to [email protected], it's okay to write to [email protected]. You can use all the 26 letters of the alphabet, plus hyphens (-), underscore (_) and full stop (.), plus of course the at sign (@). For example, all the following are possible (but of course, you must be sure that the email address exists):
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

What is a domain name?
A domain name is a unique name used to identify and locate computers on the Internet. A domain name provides an easy-to-remember Internet address, which computers translate into numeric IP (Internet Protocol) addresses used by the Internet. An IP address like is good for computers but difficult for humans to remember. But humans can easily remember a domain name like in

What is a top-level domain?
A top-level domain is the last part of a domain name. In, ".com" is the top-level domain. In, ".uk" is the top-level domain.

What are the generic top-level domains?
The multi-letter top-level domains (like .COM, .NET, .ORG etc) are called generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Click here for a long list.

What are the country code top-level domains?
There is a 2-letter top-level domain for each country (for example: .FR for France, or .JP for Japan). These are called country code top-level domains or ccTLDs. Click here for a long list.
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