Course List >> Web Development 101 >> The Basics >> 4: How Does the Web Work?
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How Does the Web Work?

Before you can understand how to program the web, you need to understand the web itself on a more granular level than you probably do now. Some of this stuff is necessary just to have a more holistic understanding of the ecosystem in which you will be working (and to not sound like a total newbie when talking to other developers about it).

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  • Describe what the internet is
  • Describe what packets are and how they are used to transfer data
  • Understand the differences between a webpage, web server, web browser and search engine
  • Briefly explain what a client is
  • Briefly explain what a server is
  • Explain what DNS servers are
  • Explain, in your own words, what happens when you click search on to a friend!


  1. Watch this BBC short for an overview of how the Internet works.
  2. Supplement this with a reading and a video.
  3. Read up on the differences between a webpage, web server and a search engine.
  4. Watch this Google short explaining what a web browser is; then find out what web browser you are using right now.
  5. Now read about how one part of the web interacts with another and read or watch a DNS request in action.

Additional Resources

This section contains helpful links to other content. It isn't required, so consider it supplemental for if you need to dive deeper into something

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