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Web Hosting - The Internet and How It Works
In one sense, detailing the statement in the title would require at least a book. In another sense, it can't be fully explained at all, since there's no central authority that designs or implements the highly distributed entity called The Internet.
But the basics can certainly be outlined, simply and briefly. And it's in the interest of any novice web site owner to have some idea of how their tree fits into that gigantic forest, full of complex paths, that is called the Internet.
The analogy to a forest is not far off. Every computer is a single plant, sometimes a little bush sometimes a mighty tree. A percentage, to be sure, are weeds we could do without. In networking terminology, the individual plants are called 'nodes' and each one has a domain name and IP address. Connecting those nodes are paths.
The Internet, taken in total, is just the collection of all those plants and the pieces that allow for their interconnections - all the nodes and the paths between them.
Servers and clients (desktop computers, laptops, PDAs, cell phones and more) make up the most visible parts of the Internet. They store information and programs that make the data accessible. But behind the scenes there are vitally important components - both hardware and software - that make the entire mesh possible and useful.
Though there's no single central authority, database, or computer that creates the World Wide Web, it's nonetheless true that not all computers are equal. There is a hierarchy. That hierarchy starts with a tree with many branches: the domain system.
Designators like .com, .net, .org, and so forth are familiar to everyone now. Those basic names are stored inside a relatively small number of specialized systems maintained by a few non-profit organizations. They form something called the TLD, the Top Level Domains. From there, company networks and others form what are called the Second Level Domains, such as Microsoft.com.
That's further sub-divided into www.Microsoft.com which is, technically, a sub-domain but is sometimes mis-named 'a host' or a domain. A host is the name for one specific computer. That host name may or may not be, for example, 'www' and usually isn't. The domain is the name without the 'www' in front. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, are the individual hosts (usually servers) that provide actual information and the means to share it.
Those hosts (along with other hardware and software that enable communication, such as routers) form a network. The set of all those networks taken together is the physical aspect of the Internet.
There are less obvious aspects, too, that are essential. When you click on a URL (Uniform Resource Locator, such as http://www.microsoft.com) on a web page, your browser sends a request through the Internet to connect and get data. That request, and the data that is returned from the request, is divided up into packets (chunks of data wrapped in routing and control information).
That's one of the reasons you will often see your web page getting painted on the screen one section at a time. When the packets take too long to get where they're supposed to go, that's a 'timeout'. Suppose you request a set of names that are stored in a database. Those names, let's suppose get stored in order. But the packets they get shoved into for delivery can arrive at your computer in any order. They're then reassembled and displayed.
All those packets can be directed to the proper place because they're associated with a specified IP address, a numeric identifier that designates a host (a computer that 'hosts' data). But those numbers are hard to remember and work with, so names are layered on top, the so-called domain names we started out discussing.
Imagine the postal system (the Internet). Each home (domain name) has an address (IP address). Those who live in them (programs) send and receive letters (packets). The letters contain news (database data, email messages, images) that's of interest to the residents.
The Internet is very much the same.
Freebie Etiquette (Yes, There is Such a Thing!) When you are on the hunt for free stuff, it can be easy to be so blinded by the offers that your manners go flying out the window completely. You may also just not realize that when it comes to taking advantage of freebies there is a general code of conduct that it pays to follow. While you are racking up the free stuff, keep these common courtesy rules in mind so that you are doing your part to keep the hunt for freebies fun and enjoyable. Freebie etiquette rule number one is to remember that there is a face behind every freebie, no matter how distant it may seem. Since so many freebies come from websites and you don?t actually have interaction with a human being while you are getting them, it can be very easy to forget that someone (or very likely, a lot of someones) worked hard to bring you that website and that free deal. If you have a problem with a website or a form while trying to get some free stuff, deal with it as respectfully as you would if you had to approach a customer service rep in person. Leaving foul-mouthed posts on a message board or unloading a barrage of outrage on a customer reply form isn?t the way forward. Someone ? a real person ? will have to help you, and you?ll get a lot further by treating them with respect. Respect is also the name of the game when it comes to rules attached for freebie offers. There are often restrictions in place for taking advantage of free offers, such as the age you have to be to cash in on the offer or how many offers per household can be taken. Sure, there are plenty of ways to get around these rules and ?trick? a company into giving you an offer for which you are not really eligible. However, when you try to simply bleed out as many free offers as you can, you?re only making it hard on companies to be able to keep bringing these offers to you. If this freebie isn?t for you, take a back seat and make room for the folks who can take advantage of it. Your time will come. Related to this last rule is the idea of not being too greedy when gobbling up the free stuff. Just because something is free doesn?t mean you should use a ?smash and grab? approach and go for as much as you can get of anything you can get. Remember that there are a lot of other people out there who like to get in on the freebies, too, and think about how you would feel if you lost out on something you really wanted because someone came along and took them all. Don?t take more than your share of any free offer, and don?t take things you don?t want or need just because they?re free. Everyone loses when you do that. Last but not least, if you have an opportunity to say thanks for a freebie, grab it. Of course, this can be hard to do when the free offers you are taking advantage of are found on the Internet, but there are still ways. Look for the customer comment field in the request forms you fill out to get your free stuff and leave a quick thank you there. You can also write a thank you on message boards and chat rooms that are associated with the freebie websites. The good will generated by your gratitude will only help convince companies that freebie offers are useful tools for reeling in the customers.
Sweepstakes Entries Can Garner some Freebies Are you ready to cash in on the web's best sweepstakes and freebies? When it comes to finding the best of freebies on the web, sweepstakes entries and freebies go hand on hand. There are many fine websites that act as repositories for free stuff and sweepstakes. Here are some tips for finding the best sweepstakes entries and cashing in on the best freebies to be found on the World Web. Tips and Hints for Finding the Best Sweepstakes on the Web There are many websites out there that advertise the best of the free web. These sites often list dozens (if not more) of freebies and sweepstakes. Unfortunately, there are good deals of disreputable and not-legitimate websites that offer erroneous information or simply dozens of outdated sweepstakes links. Fortunately, there are many easy to use tips that you can use to find the best in sweepstakes. Ordering Your Sweepstakes Entries by Category Part of the secret in winning sweepstakes is that winners are able to organize their sweepstakes entries. First, you want to order sweepstakes by category. What are you most interested in winning? Are you lusting after a brand new car, or are you coveting that full makeover and shopping spree? Remember?sweepstakes usually come in big packages, so it does not hurt to think and dream big. Of course, it is important to keep a healthy sense of perspective when you go about filling out sweepstakes entries, but you want to make sure that you are focusing on the right kinds of sweepstakes. Ordering Sweepstakes Entries by Entry Deadline Date Another easy way to bring order to the crazy world of sweepstakes entries and freebies is to organize all of your sweepstakes entries by the deadline date. The last thing you want to do is to focus your energies on sweepstakes entries that are already expired. Purchase a notebook with file pockets that allows you to organize all of your sweepstakes entries by category and date. Keep a calendar handy and make sure that you note the various deadline dates for submitting to sweepstakes contests that you want to enter. Keep an Eye on Your Favorite Companies and Sponsors Once you have been in the sweepstakes business long enough, you begin to notice a definite pattern?your favorite companies, businesses and corporations probably sponsor their sweepstakes contests on a regular schedule. Make sure you bookmark your favorites?those companies that are frequent sponsors of sweepstakes contests?and visit their site often. You want to get a leg up on the competition by knowing who will be holding a sweepstake contest at any given time. Make the Sweepstakes Directory Your Best Friend If you are serious about winning sweepstakes freebies, you will want to become very well acquainted with sweepstakes directories. The World Wide Web is a haven and treasure trove for sweepstakes directories. These are websites that contain libraries of links that can connect you to new sweepstakes. Thank the organizers out there, who feel the need to collect and label links for the rest of us. These websites can be great places to start your search for the perfect sweepstakes entry. Sign Up for Newsletters that Keep You in Touch with Sweepstakes Sponsors If you know that certain companies sponsor sweepstakes contests, consider joining the newsletters of the contest sponsors. Many sponsors use their free newsletters to promote sweepstakes contests. This is a good way to learn more about their giveaway patterns. You will also be the first to know whether about sweepstakes contests as soon as they go online. You can search the Internet for the best of these newsletters. Be warned that your inbox will quickly fill up if you rely on this method.