The World Wide Web (WWW) is one set of software services running on the Internet. The Internet itself is a global, interconnected network of computing devices. This network supports a wide variety of interactions and communications between its devices. The World Wide Web is a subset of these interactions and supports websites and URIs.

Comparison chart

Internet versus World Wide Web comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartInternetWorld Wide Web
Estimated year of Origin 1969, though opening of the network to commercial interests began only in 1988 1993
Name of the first version ARPANET NSFnet
Comprises Network of Computers, copper wires, fibre-optic cables & wireless networks Files, folders & documents stored in various computers
Governed by Internet Protocol Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
Dependency This is the base, independent of the World Wide Web It depends on Internet to work
Nature Hardware Software


The Internet is actually a huge network that is accessible to everyone & everywhere across the world. The network is composed of sub-networks comprising of a number of computers that are enabled to transmit data in packets. The internet is governed by a set of rules, laws & regulations, collectively known as the Internet Protocol (IP). The sub-networks may range from defense networks to academic networks to commercial networks to individual PCs. Internet, essentially provides information & services in the form of E-Mail, chat & file transfers. It also provides access to the World Wide Web & other interlinked web pages.

The Internet & the World Wide Web (the Web), though used interchangeably, are not synonymous. Internet is the hardware part - it is a collection of computer networks connected through either copper wires, fiber-optic cables or wireless connections whereas, the World Wide Web can be termed as the software part – it is a collection of web pages connected through hyperlinks and URLs. In short, the World Wide Web is one of the services provided by the Internet. Other services over the Internet include e-mail, chat and file transfer services. All of these services can be provided to consumers for use by businesses or government or by individuals creating their own networks or platforms.

Another method to differentiate between both is using the Protocol Suite – a collection of laws & regulations that govern the Internet. While internet is governed by the Internet Protocol – specifically dealing with data as whole and their transmission in packets, the World Wide Web is governed by the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that deals with the linking of files, documents and other resources of the World Wide Web.


The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) created by the US in 1958 as a reply to the USSR’s launching of the Sputnik, led to creation of a department called the Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) which started the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) that linked all the radar systems of US together. With tremendous research happening across the world, the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) got the ARPANET, a smaller version of the Internet in 1969. Since then Internet has taken huge strides in terms of technology and connectivity to reach its current position. In 1978, the International Packet Switched Service (IPSS) was created in Europe by the British Post Office in collaboration with Tymnet & Western Union International and this network slowly spread its wings to the US and Australia. In 1983, the first Wide Area Network (WAN) was created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the US called the NSFnet. All these sub-networks merged together post 1985 with new definitions of the Transfer Control Protocols of the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) for optimization of resources.

The Web was invented by Sir Tim Berners Lee. In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal that described the Web as an elaborate information management system. With help from Robert Cailliau, he published a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web on November 12, 1990. By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had built all the tools necessary for a working Web: the first web browser (which was a web editor as well), the first web server, and the first Web pages which described the project itself. On August 6, 1991, he posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. This date also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet.

Berners-Lee's breakthrough was to marry hypertext to the Internet. In his book Weaving The Web, he explains that he had repeatedly suggested that a marriage between the two technologies was possible to members of both technical communities, but when no one took up his invitation, he finally tackled the project himself. In the process, he developed a system of globally unique identifiers for resources on the Web and elsewhere: the Uniform Resource Identifier.

The World Wide Web had a number of differences from other hypertext systems that were then available. The Web required only unidirectional links rather than bidirectional ones. This made it possible for someone to link to another resource without action by the owner of that resource. It also significantly reduced the difficulty of implementing web servers and browsers (in comparison to earlier systems), but in turn presented the chronic problem of link rot. Unlike predecessors such as HyperCard, the World Wide Web was non-proprietary, making it possible to develop servers and clients independently and to add extensions without licensing restrictions.

For more details see The History of the Internet and The History of the World Wide Web.

Internet of Things

In recent years, the phrase Internet of Things—or IoT—has been used to denote a subset of the Internet that connects physical devices, such as home appliances, vehicles, industrial sensors. Historically the devices connected to the Internet have been computers, cell phones and tablets. With the Internet of Things, other devices like refrigerators, HVAC systems, light bulbs, cars, thermostats, video cameras, and locks can also connect to the Internet. This allows better monitoring and more control of the physical world through the Internet.

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"Internet vs World Wide Web." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 23 Sep 2020. < >