Surfing the Net
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HOME The Internet History Getting Online Surfing the Net
Viruses Netiquette Email Chat

Sending and receiving email is one fun thing you can do on the Net, but surfing the Net is where it's really at! Surfing the Net means getting on the Internet's digital waves and riding the computer network to just about any place in the world. Surfers cruise between computers around the world, moving from site to site, in search of the perfect wave....uh....file.

For example, you can log on your home computer, hook up to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, jump back to the United Nations in New York, then check out the latest version of your favorite software computer game--all in the time it takes to lick through a lollipop! Getting, sending, and receiving information from the Net can take only a few seconds, as long as you know how to surf.

Surfing the Net does take a little bit of practice and patience. There's so much information on the Net, and so many places to go to get it, that you might not know where to begin. Then there's the problem of knowing how to get to where you want to go, once you've decided what you're looking for! But have no fear, you'll find out all you need to know right here about surfing the Net--without ever getting wet!! Surf's up!!

Radical "Surf"ware
Once you have a computer hooked up to the Net, you need to get a special surfing software called a Net browser. This computer program will make surfing a lot easier for you. Most browsers today let you use your mouse to point-and-click at the places you want to explore and then--like magic--your computer takes you there. Web browsers "read" the html text then converts it into a page like the one you're reading right now. You can use a web browser to send and receive email, access gopher resources, download files using FTP and read online newsgroups. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Online services like America Online and Prodigy to access the Internet, you may be using their own special Internet web browser. What you'll be learning here, will help you no matter which web browser you use.

A Web of Waves
Once you start exploring the Net in search of cool things to see, download, and explore, it won't be long before you get caught in the WWW, also known as the World Wide Web. It's also called the Web, for short. This has become the most popular place for millions of scientists, teachers, business people, adults, and kids around the world. It's a part of the Net's that's great because it's easy to use. The Web uses graphics, hypertext, sound, video clips that have built-in links to others pages on the Net. A collection of web pages mounted on one computer is called a Web Site (like Mrs. Parcell's Computer Applications II Web Page). The first page of a web site is called the "home page". The "home page" contains highlighted words or pictures called "hyperlinks". Clicking on a hyperlink instantly connects you to another web page. That web page could be located on the same computer, or another computer anywhere in the world!

Catchin' the URL waves!
To get to specific Web sites, you'll need to know their addresses. On the Web an address is called an URL, known as Uniform Resource Locator. Simply, an URL is the name for an Internet address. It may be hard to understand what all the letters, symbols and slashes stand for, let me break it down so you can see how easy it is to understand.

http: // /surfing. html
This tells you that the site is on the World Wide Web. // Anything after these two slashes indicates the computer on the web where the site is located. / Anything after the single slash identifies a specific file, or a directory of information at the site. This means the file is especially formatted for the web.

Here are some examples of different Internet URL resources: (Web Site)
gopher:// (Gopher Site) (Newsgroup) (Email address)

Anatomy of a Web Page

Anatomy of a Web Page
#1 Title
This is the title of the Web page. It is easier for Internet search engines to find information with words that appear in the web page's title.
#2 Button Bar
This is an easy way for you to navigate your way around the web.
Here are what some of the buttons can do:
Back and Forward lets you flip through pages you've already visited.
Home takes you to a Web site that you have specified as your home page. The home page automatically loads when you start your Web browser.
Open gives you a blank location box for typing in a new Web address.
Print will print the current web page displayed.
#3 Location
This area shows you your Internet address (or URL) that you are seeing. You can also delete the text that is in the box and type in a new address to go to a different Web page.
#4 Hyperlinks
When you click on any highlighted, underlined words, or graphics, it will "link" you to related online information.
#5 Link URL
The bar at the bottom of your navigator window will show the Internet address hyperlinked to a particular text or graphic. Clicking on this text will connect you to that address. The cursor will turn into a hand when it moves it over a hyperlink.
Searching the Net
To find what you want, when you want it, use an Internet search engine. They are simple to use and can track down the information you want in just a few seconds.

Here's how a search engine works. They're actually web pages that provide an empty rectangular box where you can type in words related to what you want to find. These words are called keywords. Type in your keywords and press the search or submit button (or just press the Enter/Return key). Within seconds, the search engine will give you a list of Internet sites for you to visit to see if they have the information you want.

Here's an example of a search engine:

Search Window

Once you have press the Search button, the results of your search will appear (as in the example below).

Search Engine Results

Searching Tips

Now it's time to complete the worksheet for this section. Click on this hyperlink to take you to your worksheet.

This site was created by Laura Parcell for the primary purpose of teaching and demonstrating computer skills.
Any distribution or copying without the express or written consent is strictly prohibited.

Any questions, comments, or suggestions concerning this page or this web site should be forwarded to
Laura Parcell, Computer Science/Business Education Teacher
Copyright © September, 2008. All rights reserved.