How Do I Describe How the Internet Works?

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The Internet can be described as a worldwide network of computers. While some of its servers have more authority than others, it is largely decentralized. The Internet itself is only the hardware and its connections. Protocols enable different access types.

The hardware that powers the Internet is its most important component, and connections between different nodes allow it to span across the planet. Various servers route traffic to its proper destination, but there is no centralized server controlling all traffic. While all infrastructure currently routes traffic correctly, there is no governing body that can mandate compliance effectively.

The Internet refers to more than the World Wide Web, which is what most people mean when they discuss the Internet. FTP connections use the Internet as well, and many companies and organizations have developed their own protocols. Servers have more than 1,000 ports clients can connect to, making the Internet a usable platform for a wide range of protocols.

Domain name resolution servers are governed by international groups. An Internet location is accessed through a series of numbers, called an IP address, and DNS servers translate website names, like, to the appropriate IP address. These DNS servers make the Internet easier for end users, and they allow servers to change which IP address they use.