Internet Basics and Essentials

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Internet Basics

Connect to the Internet

A browser is an application used to access and view websites. Microsoft Edge is just one of the browsers we use in computer classes. Other examples include Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

  1. Turn on your computer.
  2. When you see the Desktop displayed, look in the taskbar for an icon that represents one of the Internet browsers that you have on your computer.
  3. Click on the Browser icon on the taskbar to open the program and connect to the Internet.

Once you are on the Internet you will see your homepage displayed. This is the webpage that is first displayed when you get on the Internet. Type the URL or the website address in the address bar and hit Enter on the keyboard to get to the website you want.

Internet Terms to Know

Address Bar: The address bar is at the top of the browser window and displays the location (website address or URL) of the current webpage. The address bar is where you type a new website address. You can go to another website by typing its URL in the address/URL bar and using the ENTER key on your keyboard.

Domain Names: The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Every website and every email has a domain name in its address.

Domain Meaning Examples:

.com Commercial

.edu Educational

.org Organization

.gov Government

.net Network

.mil Military

Each country in the world has its own Internet domain. A few countries and example domains are shown below.

.au |

.br |

.ca |

.uk |

.us |

Firewall: A computer firewall is used to protect your computer from damage by unauthorized users. The firewall is already configured. The firewall can be either hardware- or software-based. Firewalls are used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet.

HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is a programming language used to create and design websites on the Internet.

HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a standard format for transmitting data used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted. An “S” is added if extra security is provided (such as a bank’s website).

Home Page: This is the starting point or the first page of a website. This page usually has some sort of table of contents on it and often describes the purpose of the site. For example, is the home page of Mercer County Library System. When you type in a website address, such as, you are typically directed to the home page of the website.

Internet: The Internet was created in 1969, during the Cold War, by the United States military. The Internet spreads across the globe and consists of countless networks and computers, allowing millions of people to share information. The World Wide Web, email, and Instant Messaging are some of the features of the Internet.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): This is the service that provides, for a fee, Internet access, and usually an email account. Comcast and Verizon are some examples of ISPs.

Links: Links allow you to “jump” or link from one document to another on the Internet. The text of a link is usually a different color from the rest of the text on a page and may be underlined. An image or a button can also be a link. Your pointer or cursor will change into the shape of a pointing hand when it is on a link.

Search Engine: Google, Bing, and Yahoo are all search engines. They index millions of sites on the Web, so that we can easily find websites with the information we want. By creating indices, or large databases of websites (based on titles, keywords, and the text in the pages), search engines can immediately locate relevant websites when users enter search terms or key words.

Spam: Spam refers to junk email. The unsolicited email messages you receive about refinancing your home, reverse aging, and losing weight are all considered to be spam.

Spyware: Spyware can capture information like your web browsing habits, email messages, usernames/passwords, and credit card information. Spyware can be installed when you open an email attachment containing this software. It can also be installed when you install another program that has a spyware installer attached to it.

URL: A Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a website. It identifies the location of a website on the Internet. For example, you can type in the address to access the library’s website.

Virus: Computer viruses are software programs or scripts that can modify the way a computer works. These programs can delete, move, or create files, consume your computer’s memory, and cause your computer not to function correctly. Some might damage a computer’s hard drive. Others can create a backdoor, allowing a remote user to access your computer system.

There are many anti-virus software programs that scan incoming files for viruses before they can cause damage to your computer. Some of these programs are Norton Antivirus and McAfee.

Web Browser: A web browser, or browser, is the computer program people use to access the World Wide Web. Some common browsers are Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari.

Webpage: Websites are made up of webpages, similar to the pages in a book.

Website: A website is a collection of webpages. For example, is a website, which includes many webpages that make up the site.

www (World Wide Web): Stands for the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web, or the Web, is a subset of the Internet. The Web consists of webpages that can be accessed using a web browser.

Search Skills and Fact Checking

Ebscohost – Contains current articles from over 2000 magazines and newspapers (Login Required)

NoveList Plus – Search for excellent books using award-winning lists, author or subject keyword. Will tell you what authors are most similar to your favorite author!

Tips to Evaluate Websites

The most important factor when evaluating web sites is your search requirements.

  • What kind of information are you looking for?
  • Are you using the web for entertainment, academic, career or medical information?
  • Look carefully at the content, tone & style of the website.

Evaluate the page/content for:


  • Check for the source of the information:
    • Who is the author? What are his/her credentials? Does he/she provide an email or contact address/phone number?
  • Look at the domain name. Is it a preferred .edu, .org or .gov?


  • Make sure that the website is not just advertisement disguised as information.
  • Is the information unbiased and detailed with limited advertisement?


  • Check the date when the webpage was last updated.
  • Are there any dead links on the website?


  • Is the information presented detailed, comprehensive and free?
  • Note any supplemental information, print or electronic, that is provided.

*** Don’t forget to check the About page! Usually found at the bottom of the website’s homepage, the About page will give you pertinent information, such as the company’s mission, editorial policies, and advertising policies. Look for a link that says About, About Us, About this Site, or something similar.

*Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask – UC Berkeley – Teaching Library Internet Workshops – from the University of California at Berkeley

Internet Essentials for Microsoft Edge

Right-Click a Tab

Right-click on any tab to open a menu, which will allow you to perform various actions on any individual tab from the right-click menu.

  • Add tabs to favorites
  • Close other tabs
  • Close other tabs to right
  • Duplicate tab
  • Move to new window
  • Pin
    • The tab will be pinned to the top of your address bar and automatically open every time you re-open Edge.
      • To remove it, just right-click and select Unpin.
  • Reopen closed tab
  • Refresh all tabs

Open Link in a New Tab or New Window

Sometimes when you click on a link, the website opens in the current tab, replacing the one you were just looking at. This can be unhelpful if you want that website (containing the link) to remain open. You can open a link in a separate tab or window.

Open in a New Tab:

  • Right-click on the link, then select Open in new tab, or hold down the control key (CTRL) when you click the link. The new website will now be added as a new tab.

Open in a New Window:

  • Right-click on the link, then select Open in new window. The new website will open in a new window. Mouse over the Edge icon in your taskbar to toggle between windows.

Change the New Tab Display

To alter what displays when you open a new tab:

  • Click the Settings gear on the New Tab page.
  • Choose a Page Layout or click Custom for more options. At the bottom of the page click Personalize for even more options.

Find on Page

Use this feature to find a search term on a webpage. To use this feature:

  • Click on Settings and more (…). Then click Find on Page.
  • Type a search term in the search box and press Enter.
  • Your search term will be highlighted in a color wherever it appears. | 609-882-4050