The Internet can be a strange place especially for people who don’t use it regularly. There are acronyms everywhere and that doesn’t include the “language of the web” itself, which can be even more confusing to people who are unfamiliar with it. When browsing the web, people want to make sure that their identities and their computers stay safe. One of the best ways to do that is to teach yourself how to identify some indicators on a website so you know how safe it is to visit and what you can expect when you visit it.
What can a URL tell you?
When it comes to the Internet, the best way to determine what a certain website may contain is to look at the web address, also known as the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). The URL has separate sections that have different meanings and these sections are divided up by either periods or backslashes. To read a web address, you have to look past the www.something part and look at the end of the domain name. This will be something like .com, .net, .org, .edu, or .gov. It tells you who put up the website: a .gov is a government website, a .net is usually privately owned, a .com is typically some type of privately owned website, a .org is usually a nonprofit site, and an .edu page belongs to an educational institute. If you are looking for websites that are trustworthy, going to .gov and .edu websites is certainly the best decision.
What is the website's history?
Some websites actually keep old versions of their websites – such as their layouts – alive and link back to them so you can see them, but the best way to do it to use an Internet archive. All you have to do is access the web archive, type in the address, and then see how many years’ worth of pages the search turns up.
Who published the website?
For instance, you may be interested to know the author of the information on the website. Then, you have to perform what is called a “Whois Lookup.” Pronounced exactly like it’s spelled, a Whois Lookup is a special Internet query-and-response protocol that queries a database with the intent to determine everything about a website. This information includes things like an autonomous system lookup, a specific IP address, and the actual owner of the domain name. Many times, the result of this kind of look up will yield extra information as well.
Who else is using the website as a resource?
There are also special programs that allow people to check external links before they leave a page to see if it works. WebCEO is the most popular type of this tool. You can also check by simply clicking on it or hovering over the link and looking at the bottom bar of your web browser. The website should be displayed there. That will also tell you about the website because you can see its full URL. You can see if it will lead to a commercial website such as Amazon or an authoritative government site .
Once you learn the basics of using websites, you’ll be able to move on to more complicated things like setting up an ftp site on your own. You just have to learn what types of websites are safe to visit.