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A global network connecting millions of computers. More than 100 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions.
Unlike online services, which are centrally controlled, the Internet is decentralized by design. Each Internet computer, called a host, is independent. Its operators can choose which Internet services to use and which local services to make available to the global Internet community. Remarkably, this anarchy by design works exceedingly well.
There are a variety of ways to access the Internet. Most online services, such as America Online, offer access to some Internet services. It is also possible to gain access through a commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The Internet is not synonymous with World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web is a system for exploring the Internet by using hyperlinks. When you use a Web browser, the Web appears as a collection of text, pictures, sounds, and digital movies.
View animated flash clips about how Internet and some of its applications work.