Introduction to the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is a global information system that utilises the infrastructure and diverse technologies of the Internet to provide access to information and media resources in a variety of electronic formats. It also provides the interface to many new Internet services, such as online banking, bulletin board services, forums, and Internet TV and radio. Web documents or pages can be linked to one another using hypertext links, allowing the user to navigate seamlessly through a series of related documents, each of which could be located on different servers somewhere on the Internet, almost anywhere in the world. All that is needed to access the Web is an Internet connection of some kind, and a personal computer or some other Web-enabled device. You can even access the Web through your mobile phone.

The Web started life as a research tool for academics and scientists. In little over a decade and a half, it has become as much a part of our everyday lives as television. While it is not possible to provide precise figures, one study puts the number of Web sites operating in March 2008 at over 100 million, while another study has estimated the number of publicly accessible documents on the Web as of June 2008 to be in excess of sixty billion. The Web offers an opportunity for both businesses and individuals to engage in e-commerce, access a global network of information, publish their own Web sites, and take advantage of a vast array of Web-based services.