The World Wide Web (WWW) is a network of online content that is formatted in HTML and accessed via HTTP. The term refers to all the interlinked HTML pages that can be accessed over the Internet. The World Wide Web was originally designed in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee while he was a contractor at CERN.
The World Wide Web is most often referred to simply as “the Web.”
The World Wide Web is what most people think of as the Internet. It is all the Web pages, pictures, videos and other online content that can be accessed via a Web browser. The Internet, in contrast, is the underlying network connection that allows us to send email and access the World Wide Web. The early Web was a collection of text-based sites hosted by organizations that were technically gifted enough to set up a Web server and learn HTML. It has continued to evolve since the original design, and it now includes interactive (social) media and user-generated content that requires little to no technical skills.
We owe the free Web to Berners-Lee and CERN’s decision to give away one of the greatest inventions of the century.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard Internet protocol for transmitting files between computers on the Internet over TCP/IP connections. FTP is a client-server protocol where a client will ask for a file, and a local or remote server will provide it.
The end-users machine is typically called the local host machine, which is connected via the internet to the remote host—which is the second machine running the FTP software.
Anonymous FTP is a type of FTP that allows users to access files and other data without needing an ID or password. Some websites will allow visitors to use a guest ID or password- anonymous FTP allows this.
Although a lot of file transfer is now handled using HTTP, FTP is still commonly used to transfer files “behind the scenes” for other applications — e.g., hidden behind the user interfaces of banking, a service that helps build a website, such as Wix or SquareSpace, or other services. It is also used, via Web browsers, to download new applications.
How FTP works
FTP is a client-server protocol that relies on two communications channels between client and server: a command channel for controlling the conversation and a data channel for transmitting file content. Clients initiate conversations with servers by requesting to download a file. Using FTP, a client can upload, download, delete, rename, move and copy files on a server. A user typically needs to log on to the FTP server, although some servers make some or all of their content available without login, known as anonymous FTP.
FTP sessions work in passive or active modes. In active mode, after a client initiates a session via a command channel request, the server initiates a data connection back to the client and begins transferring data. In passive mode, the server instead uses the command channel to send the client the information it needs to open a data channel. Because passive mode has the client initiating all connections, it works well across firewalls and Network Address Translation (NAT) gateways.
How to FTP
Files can be transferred between two computers using FTP software. The user’s computer is called the local host machine and is connected to the Internet. The second machine, called the remote host, is also running FTP software and connected to the Internet.
- The local host machine connects to the remote host’s IP address.
- The user would enter a username/password (or use anonymous).
- FTP software may have a GUI, allowing users to drag and drop files between the remote and local host. If not, a series of FTP commandsare used to log in to the remote host and transfer files between the machines.
HTTP means HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.
For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested Web page. The other main standard that controls how the World Wide Web works is HTML, which covers how Web pages are formatted and displayed.
HTTP Status Codes are Error Messages
Errors on the Internet can be quite frustrating — especially if you do not know the difference between a 404 error and a 502 error. These error messages, also called HTTP status codes are response codes given by Web servers and help identify the cause of the problem.
For example, “404 File Not Found” is a common HTTP status code. It means the Web server cannot find the file you requested. This means the webpage or other document you tried to load in your Web browser has either been moved or deleted, or you entered the wrong URL or document name.
Knowing the meaning of the HTTP status code can help you figure out what went wrong. On a 404 error, for example, you could look at the URL to see if a word looks misspelled, then correct it and try it again. If that doesn’t work, backtrack by deleting information between each backslash, until you come to a page on that site that isn’t a 404. From there you may be able to find the page you’re looking for.
Additional information on HTTP error codes can be found in Webopedia’s common HTTP status codes article.
Custom 404 Error Pages
Many websites create custom 404 error pages that will help users locate a valid page or document within the website. For example, if you land on a 404 File Not Found page via Webopedia.com, a custom error page will load providing quick links to on-site navigation and site search features to help you find what you were looking for.