As internet marketers we often overlook how amazing the internet really is. We leave all the technical things to people with big brains and stick to creating information products and writing sales pages. While that is a good thing, and there is nothing wrong with us making money online I am a curious individual. I want to know how things work. That being said the best way to put me to sleep is to sit me down and crack open a technical manual. I don’t care how much coffee I drink I pass out in no time flat.
So, I figured I would explain the basics of how communication occurs online. Libraries are full of the information it takes to explain this in detail, but this is a short overview that will help the average marketer to understand how amazing it really is that you are able to read this page on your machine. When you go to your web browser and you type in the name of a website, your computer sends out the request across the internet to that website. Basically it says “hey, show me your page”.
Now, everything that transfers across the internet does so in what are called “packets”. Think of packets as little envelopes of information. Now if I had a 100 page letter it would make the most sense for me to put that letter in one envelope and mail it to you directly. Most likely I would put a tracking sticker on it and possibly even some insurance. That is not really how it works on the internet. On the internet each page of the information would be put into its own little envelope (packet) and send on its way. After passing through various routers, switches and firewalls the little envelope would find its way on to what we know as the internet.
The internet is the wild west of communication; there are good guys and bad guys out on this information highway network. This little envelope needs to evade all the bad guys to reach the destination. Once it does it goes back through firewalls, switches and routers and eventually the information is given to the web server. It takes all 100 of those packets to be a clear communication though and very often some of them don’t make it. When that happens your computer resends that part of the request. Once the request is delivered the web server sends out the reply (the web page) and it goes through the same process until you see it appearing on your screen.
The fact that this all works is almost science fiction, it is literally amazing. Just think, every time you click a link you are setting into motion all these events that I spoke about above.