Ashton-under-Lyne . com

Finding Things on the Internet

There are three main ways to arrive at a website:

1. Type in the address

An address is known an an URL (uniform resource locator) and usually includes "www". You may see an URL in a magazine or on television. You type it into the address panel near the top of your web browser. Make sure it is exactly correct or it will not work.

2. Click a link

Most web sites include links to other sites. When you move your mouse over a link a little hand appears. When you click the link the new website will open in your browser. This is the easiest way to reach a site. Moving from site to site to site is called "surfing". For a start, visit the list of sites to try and the list of local sites on this website.

3. Search for what you want

You can use a search engine or a directory to find web pages that are about a topic you are interested in. Search engines and directories are explained below.

Search engines

Google

One of the most popular search engines is Google. It is fast and is particularly good at finding the most relevant sites. The "Safe Search" version gives results that are filtered for undesirable content, making it suitable for children to use.

To find what you want, using any search engine, you need to type in key words. The results page gives you links to the websites found.

If you choose your key words carefully you can find what you want quickly. For instance if you just type in ashton you will get many results for people, companies or other towns called Ashton. But if you type in ashton lyne the results are narrowed down to those about Ashton under Lyne.

If you type ashton lyne elephant you will see a list of web pages that include the words Ashton, Lyne and elephant!

If you want to exclude some words from the search, type a dash (minus) in front of the word.
For example, typing ashton -gate will exclude pages referring to Bristol City's football ground!

Other popular search engines include Ask, Yahoo, Alta Vista and Fast Search.

There are a number of meta-searches, which search through many search engine databases at once, for example Dogpile, Metacrawler and Ixquick.

Try out a few search engines and see which one you like best. Read the "search tips" for each search engine to find ways of searching more efficiently. A wide range of search engines can be found at our sister site SearchBox.

Directories

Open Directory

A directory is like a catalogue of websites. You find sites by looking in various categories.

One of the longest-established directories is the Open Directory Project (dmoz). All the entries in the categories have been checked to make sure they are relevant and of reasonable quality.

You can type in key words as with a search engine. Alternatively if you click the green logo to go to the Open Directory home page you can search through the categories of the directory.

The results page gives you links to the websites found.

Bookmarking web pages

If you find a web page that you will want to go back to again, you can save time by Bookmarking it or adding it to your Favorites. You can do this by clicking the right-hand button on the mouse and choosing "Add To Favorites" or "Bookmark This Page".

To re-visit a site you have previously bookmarked, click on "Favorites" or "Bookmarks" at the top of your web browser.

It is sensible to create folders for different topics of these bookmarks, or else the list will become very long and individual bookmarks hard to find. Clicking on "Favorites" or "Bookmarks" at the top of your web browser should give you an option to "Manage" your list.

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Visit the Internet Guide index page to find out about more about using the internet.