What is the World Wide Web?


* The World Wide Web (WWW) is most often called the Web.

* The Web is a network of computers all over the world.

* All the computers in the Web can communicate with each other.

* All the computers use a communication standard called HTTP.



How does the  WWW work?


* Web information is stored in documents called Web pages. 

* Web pages are files stored on computers called Web servers.

* Computers reading the Web pages are called Web clients.

* Web clients view the pages with a program called a Web browser.

* Popular browsers are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.




How does the browser fetch the pages?


* A browser fetches a Web page from a server by a request.

* A request is a standard HTTP request containing a page address.

* A page address looks like this: http://www.someone.com/page.htm.




How does the browser display the pages?


* All Web pages contain instructions for display

* The browser displays the page by reading these instructions.

* The most common display instructions are called HTML tags.

* HTML tags look like this <p>This is a Paragraph</p>.




Who is making the Web standards?


* The Web standards are not made up by Netscape or Microsoft.

* The rule-making body of the Web is the W3C.

* W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium.

* W3C puts together specifications for Web standards.

* The most essential Web standards are HTML, CSS and XML.

* The latest HTML standard is XHTML 1.0.




Internet Joke


Customer: "I don't have a computer. Is the internet available in book form?"


HTML Character Entities

Some characters like the < character, have a special meaning in HTML, and therefore cannot be used in the text.

To display a less than sign (<) in HTML, we have to use a character entity.

Character Entities

Some characters have a special meaning in HTML, like the less than sign (<) that defines the start of an HTML tag. If we want the browser to actually display these characters we must insert character entities in the HTML source.

A character entity has three parts: an ampersand (&), an entity name or a # and an entity number, and finally a semicolon (;).

To display a less than sign in an HTML document we must write: &lt; or &#60;

The advantage of using a name instead of a number is that a name is easier to remember. The disadvantage is that not all browsers support the newest entity names, while the support for entity numbers is very good in almost all browsers.

Note that the entities are case sensitive. 

This example lets you experiment with character entities: Character Entities

Non-breaking Space

The most common character entity in HTML is the non-breaking space.

Normally HTML will truncate spaces in your text. If you write 10 spaces in your text HTML will remove 9 of them. To add spaces to your text, use the &nbsp; character entity.

The Most Common Character Entities:



Entity Name

Entity Number


non-breaking space




less than




greater than








quotation mark







Some Other Commonly Used Character Entities:



Entity Name

Entity Number






















registered trademark











To see a full list of HTML character entities go to our HTML Entities Reference.