How the web works

When you type in a URL(web address) into your browser your computer then sends this request as a packet, which includes the IP address of the website you want to visit. The IP address allows servers connected to the internet to identify the web site you’re looking for.

Your browser sends its request through wires or if you’re using your phone, through a satellite and then through wires. If you’re using a wireless network, your device will connect to your router which is wired to the internet. At a very basic level the internet is wires connecting computers with some sort of protocol. These wires are either copper or fibre optic.

Your ISP(internet service provider) will reroute the browsers request to the appropriate server location using the IP address as a guide. Once your request reaches the server, it can send back the website you asked for. However, a full website with content is too big to send as a single packet of data.

To solve this, the server sends back the website split up into many smaller packets of data. These packets come with instructions on how to get back to you and reassemble once they reach you. The packets don’t care how they reach you, just the final location. All these packets may take different paths to get to your computer or your cell phone or whatever browser you’re using. What they really care about is the fastest way to get back to your destination at your home IP address. Once they reach you they reassemble to display whatever page you requested. All of this moves at close to the speed of light. So it happens very fast.

And that is a higher level explanation of what happens when you input a URL into your browser.

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