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How does the internet work?

how internet works

The Internet has come a long way since computer programmer Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1991. We enter the online world every day but most of us don’t know about the magical workings of technology that make web pages, images and videos show up in our browsers.

Your computer and other devices are connected to the internet via your router and internet service provider. The internet is the connecting line between providers and the servers that host the web pages. Great! We’ve established the connection but what happens after you type a URL into a web browser?

Here’s the technology behind the scenes explained in 3 simple steps:


Step 1

Your computer sends a request to the web server that hosts the website to display the content of the web page. This request is sent in a ‘packet’, a virtual parcel that contains information, such as, the IP address of the web server and the IP address of your computer.

how internet works step 1

Step 2

Once the packets have been sent through devices like routers and switches they arrive at the web server. The server ‘reads’ your computer’s request to display the content of the web page. Depending on the kind of content, the web server splits it into hundreds or thousands of packets, which also contain the information how to assemble everything again.

how internet works step 2

Step 3

The web server sends the information back to your router, finding the fastest possible route for the packets. Your computer receives the packets including the information on how to put them back together and assembles them accordingly to display the web page for you. All this usually happens in less than a second after you hit ‘Enter’ without you having to worry about distances between your computer and the web servers.

how internet works step 3

If you want to know more about your broadband connection or test your internet speed you can head over to our speed test:

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