The Internet really started to catch on when the World Wide Web arrived. The World Wide Web uses the Internet to link together information held on different computers. It does this in a way that makes it easy to jump from one item to another. Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He is now Sir Tim Berners Lee, after Queen Elizabeth II gave him a knighthood in 2004.

The World Wide Web started as a way of linking pages of text. Now it can link other kinds of information too, such as pictures, sounds and so on. The World Wide Web is often shortened to Web. Websites are places on the Web where you can view Web pages. These Web pages contain hyperlinks. When you select a hyperlink by clicking on it with a mouse, you are taken to another location. This can be anything on the Web: another website, a sound recording, some text, a video and so on.

The Web made it easier to use the Internet. You do not need to know much about computers to use it, so in the 1990s more and more people began to use the Internet in this way. From one website in 1990 the total grew to over 250,000 by 1996. Now there are about 40 million websites.


E-mail stands for electronic mail and it is a way of sending messages to other computer users. After the World Wide Web, it is the most popular Internet service. E-mail was invented before the Internet, but to begin with it was only used for sending messages between different users of the same computer. In 1971 the first e-mail was sent from one computer to another. For a while e-mails could only contain simple text messages. Nowadays, e-mails can contain pictures and can have other files attached to them. The attachments can be any kind of computer file.