An internet primer

In the late 90s as there was a thirst for guidance on what this new thing called the internet was and what it could offer the lawyer. Today we all take the internet for granted and few concern ourselves with what it actually is, even fewer how it works. In fact a 2019 survey by found that, although 86 per cent of respondents said they understood what the internet was, in fact only two-thirds of those gave a reasonable answer; in other words half those questioned did not understand.

We don’t not need to understand what happens under the bonnet of our car to be a good driver, but we do need a good understanding of our car’s functions and how they work together. So too with the internet, we should know how it works at a “user level”.

I’ve written several pieces In the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers setting out the basics:

  • In What is the internet? I look at its history, infrastructure, protocols and governance.
  • In The Domain Name System I describe the system that translates the memorable domain names you type into your browser to the IP addresses where those sites are located.
  • In Web addresses and web pages I look at URLs, web pages, html, css and JavaScript.
  • In Connectivity I look at how we connect to each other and our ISP and what other technologies are at work influencing our internet connectivity and experience.

Originally posted 14 December 2020; updated 28 March 2021.