How Many Devices Does Your Connection Go Through Before Reaching a Website?

All of us use the internet extensively in our day to day lives, but few of us really think about how it works on a fundamental level. Understandably, most people assume that the inner workings of the internet are far too complicated for them to understand. Let’s change that, shall we?

Aside from satisfying curiosity, it seems that, given the prominent role that the internet plays in our lives, we should have a better general understanding of how it works. With modern high-speed internet connections, websites and online services load in seconds. This can mask just how much is going on behind the scenes whenever you connect to the internet and leave your homepage.

Requests and Responses

A simplified explanation for how the internet works would be this: you (the client) sends a request to a website (the host). The website sends back a result, which is then displayed in your web browser. This all happens so fast that you might not realize there are several things going on under the hood when you connect to a website.

Most websites consist of a variety of different elements, each of which needs to be requested individually. The underlying code of a webpage, written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), tells the browser what it needs to request in order to display the webpage, as well as general instructions on how to display it correctly. This enables dynamic websites that display differently according to the device being used.

Before data is sent back to the client from the host, it is broken up into thousands of packets. Each packet contains a tiny bit of information about the file, which the browser then reassembles. These files can be divided into two categories – assets and code files.

These files contain code that can be written in a number of languages – HTML, CSS, Perl, JavaScript, etc. Assets include images, video, audio, and any other media to be displayed or downloaded.

Servers

Websites that you connect to are hosted on servers. You can think of a server as a big, internet-connected computer. Servers that just need to serve up website data might be quite basic in terms of computing power. However, you can also rent servers that have the specs of a high-end gaming rig.

More complex websites require more powerful servers and websites that experience huge volumes of traffic often utilize multiple servers, with auto-routing protocols directing new users to servers where the load is lightest.

Servers have operating systems installed – usually special versions of Linux or Windows. These operating systems are designed to sit on servers and handle their connections. Think of the operating system as one of those switchboard operators that used to route phone calls. When a client connects to a host server, the operating system knows what to do with the incoming connection.

When the server receives an HTTP request, it knows how to process it and, if successful, return an appropriate response.

Protocols

In order for the client to communicate with the host, they need to both use a common set of protocols. These common protocols ensure that any devices that need to connect to the internet are able to do so. Without this standardization, different parts of the internet would require different software for access. Conversely, different protocols can be used, as in the case with TOR, to create networks that behave differently.

There are two protocols that are fundamental to how the internet works – Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Transmission Control Protocol, and Internet Protocol. Collectively, these are the protocols that allow online devices to communicate with one another.

  • HTTP: This protocol defines a common language for the client and the host to use to talk to one another. Requests that you send to online servers will be in HTTP format.
  • TCP/IP: These communication protocols dictate how data travels across the internet. Specifically, the IP Layer is responsible for directing packets to a specific computer. The TCP Layer is responsible for directing those packets to the right port on the client computer, so they go to the right application.

Domain Name Service

Consider the URL, ‘http://www.example.com/pogs/boglins’. The ‘example.com’ part of the URL contains information about the host’s location and identity. The ‘/pogs/boglins’ part of the address specifies which bit of the website you want to access. You can think of the first part as being like a phone number, which puts you through to a particular business, and the latter part an extension that enables you to connect directly to the right phone.

But computers don’t work with words, they work with numbers. The URL example.com is nice and easy for a human to read, but it’s not what your computer wants. In order to connect to a host, your browser needs to know the IP address of the server you are trying to access.

In order to find the IP address, your browser performs a Domain Name Service (DNS) Lookup. This process is akin to a person looking in the phone book for a telephone number.

When you register a domain name, you are assigned an IP address. So, when example.com is registered, it is added to the domain name registry, along with the associated IP address. When a browser performs a DNS lookup for example.com, it will find the associated IP address of the server where the website is stored and will establish a connection before sending the users’ request.

HTML

The main component of most webpages is an HTML file. This is the source code of the web page; it contains all the instructions a browser needs for displaying the page correctly. It also tells the browser what assets it needs to request from the host.

Each additional asset represents a different request between the client and the host. Sometimes, the HTML code will call for an external script, perhaps a Python or Perl script. Within this script, there may be subsequent calls for other assets. No assets are loaded unless they are requested, however, many web browsers will cache certain elements so that if you visit the page again, you only need to load content that has changed.

Loading a Website

Let’s take a look at how all of those individual components come together when you load a website.

When you click a hyperlink or enter a URL into your web browser, your web browser performs a DNS lookup, which tells it the IP address of the server hosting the website you are requesting. It then establishes a connection with the host using the TCIP/IP protocol.

Once a connection is established, the client sends an HTTP request to the host, either asking for the homepage, or for a specific page or file.

If the client’s request is successful, the host will send the data requested. Before the data is sent back to the client’s web browser, it is broken into packets. The web browser then takes all those individual pieces and puts them together into individual files. Initially, this is usually the HTML source code for the web page, which tells the web browser what assets to request and how to display them. The browser then renders the website you see.

Whenever you connect to a website, there is a lot more going on than it initially seems. Think about how many individual elements make up the websites you used every day. Even though it happens in the blink of an eye, your web browser and the server have to do a lot of communicating.

Fabulous Ways to Make Money from Your Smartphone

These days people are looking for more convenience as well as plenty more choice when it comes to improving their financial situation. A lot of people are utilising technology in a bid to make money, and there are plenty of side gigs that can be enjoyed in this sense as well. Making money from your smartphone is something that is becoming more and more a reality, and you need to look at what you can do to embrace this.

It is essential that you look at the different avenues available in this regard, and this is something that you need to make sure you get right immediately. There are a lot of different ways in which you can make money using your smartphone, and this is something you need to keep in mind right now – check out these examples to help get you started today.

Day Trading

If you feel like you have a good understanding of the stock market, you might like to consider something like day trading. This is an option that is readily accessible from your phone, but you need to be careful because this can be very volatile, and there is a chance you could lose a lot of money. If you are a skilled day trader, and you set yourself limits, then this is a good way for you to make money using your smartphone.

Business Apps

There are plenty of business apps you can use for your smartphone that will help you to run your company more effectively. In the modern world, running a business has become a popular choice, and this is something you should look into. What better way to make money than by running your own business right now? Make use of the right apps in order to help you make the best possible choice when it comes to making money using your phone.

Surveys

Surveys rank among the best money making apps out there, and they are a great way of generating some extra cash without having to spend a lot of money or work very hard. Sure, you’re not going to earn megabucks by doing this, but you will be able to supplement your earnings with a bit of additional cash, and it’s a pretty easy way of making money as well.

Gaming

There are plenty of things you can do with your smartphone that will help you to earn more money, and gaming is one of the best. Make sure you do as much as possible to understand what it takes to make money from gaming. If you can get this right, you should have no problems being able to earn while you play, and do so on the move as well.

These are just a few of the fabulous tips you need to consider when you are looking at the best ways of making extra money when you use your smartphone. There is a lot that you can do in this regard, and it makes sense to embrace this wherever you can. Have a look at the different ideas and try to use them to get the best out of your phone, and start making more casin in the process.

The World In Sync [Infographic]

Did you know that every two days as much data is created as was created since the dawn of civilization until 2003?

With that much data out there, it’s no surprise that sync has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s keeping your emails synced across devices, sending a file via Dropbox, or keeping up with your business by syncing your contacts, calendars, tasks, and more with CompanionLink, sync is nearly everywhere.

Take a look at the infographic below to see just how prevalent sync is in our everyday lives! Then, let us know what you sync in the comments below.

 

Sync the Nokia Lumia 900 with Outlook

 

Is the Nokia Lumia 900 the latest must-have Windows Phone? All signs point to yes.

Image Credit: PC WorldPositioned as a flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 900 has been making a big impression among many early reviewers. And with its 4.3″ display, snappy 1.4GHz processor, 8MP camera, and beautiful form factor, these positive reviews seem to be well-earned. The Lumia 900 is, by all means, a solid phone at a great price.

Despite the positive reviews, however, the Lumia 900 is lacking in one big area. Many business users want to know how to sync the Nokia Lumia 900 with Outlook. It will support Exchange sync out of the box, but standalone Outlook users must look elsewhere. CompanionLink offers two methods to sync Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks with the Lumia 900 – via Google or via Window Live.

CompanionLink works by syncing Outlook data to a Google account or Windows Live account. From there the Lumia can be configured to automatically sync with either account over its wireless data connection. For more information on how CompanionLink syncs Windows Phone devices like the Lumia 900, visit www.companionlink.com/windowsphone/.

Sync the HTC One X with Outlook

The HTC One X has made its official debut, and it’s earning its fair share of favorable reviews. In fact, it is quickly becoming a top contender for being the best Android smartphone on the market today.

The One X features a large 4.7” screen, yet maintains a rather slim profile and, as such,HTC One X doesn’t feel abnormally large. It’s a good size, overall. The 1280×720 display is also one of the best smartphone displays currently available, making interacting with the device a pleasure. It’s also loaded with a quad-core (or dual-core, if you’re in the US) processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4G LTE. In short, the One X is a big, beautiful, and lighting fast smartphone. No wonder the reviewers love it.

Of course, when it comes to syncing the HTC One X with Outlook, or any other personal or professional CRM, look no further than CompanionLink. Our sync solution is primed and ready for the HTC One X. We offer a variety of sync methods, including a revamped USB sync called DejaConnect created specifically with Ice Cream Sandwich in mind.

CompanionLink works by syncing Outlook data to our free Android app, DejaOffice. DejaOffice offers powerful, business-class contacts, calendars, tasks, memos, and more, making it ideal for those who need to get work done on the go. And when you’re back at the computer, syncing any changes back to Outlook is quick and easy.

For more information on how CompanionLink syncs the HTC One X, visit www.companionlink.com/phones/htc-one.html. And for our friends in the US, we can’t wait for the One X to land here as well!

How to Sync the Droid Razr Maxx with Outlook

For power users who need to stay productive on the go, the ability to go a full day on a single charge with the Droid Razr Maxx is a huge benefit. In fact, the Droid Razr Maxx has many great features that make it a powerful phone for business users. But like its younger brother, the Droid Razr, it doesn’t offer built-in sync for Outlook, or any number of other popular CRM platforms for that matter. So how do you sync Outlook contacts, calendars, tasks, and memos with the Razr Maxx?

The answer is simple.

Use CompanionLink. Syncing is as easy as downloading DejaOffice on your Droid, installing CompanionLink on your computer, and then configuring your preferred sync method. We’ll walk you through each step, and we’ve got free support if you need a hand.

So what are you waiting for? Unleash the full potential of your new Droid Razr Maxx with CompanionLink and DejaOffice. Download your free trial today!

Sync Outlook Tasks to Your Windows Phone

Recently, we’ve noticed an increased demand for syncing Outlook tasks to Windows Phone devices. There are a few options for syncing Outlook with Windows Phone devices, but even the more popular ones don’t seem to sync tasks. The good news is that CompanionLink does.

Using CompanionLink for Outlook, you are able to sync tasks, contacts, and calendars between Outlook and Windows Phone devices (running 7.5 and above) via Windows Live (formerly Hotmail). Getting started is easy – just download CompanionLink 5 for Outlook if you haven’t already. Then, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Open CompanionLink Setup on your computer.
  2. Select Windows Phone 7 as your device from the first drop down menu.
  3. Select Windows Live as your sync method.
  4. Review the pop up message, click next, then enter the account information for the Windows Live account you use on your phone. Click finish.
  5. Select Outlook as the database you wish to sync with. Configure the data and direction(s) you wish to sync. Click finish.
  6. Configure advanced sync options as desired. This is an optional step, but you may be interested in some of the advanced settings we offer.
  7. Click sync!

CompanionLink will sync your data to Windows Live, which then syncs wirelessly with your phone. It really is that easy. If you have any questions or comments for us, leave them in the comments below!

Sync Outlook on Windows 8 Developer Preview

Image Credit: PCAuthority

I know – Windows 8 won’t actually be released until sometime next year. That hasn’t stopped us from working with the Windows 8 Developer Preview, however. After some initial testing, I’m happy to inform you CompanionLink works great with Windows 8! That’s right – we can sync Outlook from Windows 8 to your mobile device. CompanionLink works with both 32- and 64-bit versions of Outlook. We can also sync ACT!, Salesforce, Lotus Notes, Palm Desktop, Zoho, and more, all from Windows 8!

You’ll want to ensure you’re running the latest version of CompanionLink, but other than that there are no special steps required to get up and running in Windows 8. So, if you enjoy working with the latest technology and software (like I do!), rest assured CompanionLink is there to support your synchronization of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

Infographic: A History of Mobile Productivity

From the pager to the iPad, mobile devices have been enhancing our mobile productivity in one way or another for decades. In their early days, mobile devices were largely business-focused. Since then, they have become sleeker, more powerful, and even more appealing to consumers and business users alike. On today’s mobile devices, you can run your business or play Angry Birds – or both!

Read through the infographic below and take a walk through a history of mobile productivity. Discover the first portable handset. Learn how the groundwork for today’s app stores was laid in the 1990s. Reminisce over the earliest smartphones and tablets. Then, share with us where you think mobile productivity is headed next!

A History of Mobile Productivity

ASUS: Transforming the Way We Think About Tablets

If I had to guess, I’d be willing to be that the number one complaint about tablets today is that they’re just not that easy to type on, at least for longer periods of time. Sure, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard on many, but that feels like more of an afterthought than anything. In fact, I would argue that it’s one of the biggest reasons business users might favor a laptop over a tablet as a secondary, mobile device. The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer aims to change that.

As its name suggests, the Transformer starts out as a competitive, yet standard tablet. When paired with the optional laptop dock, however, it becomes an entirely new machine. Not only does the laptop dock provide a keyboard and multi-touch trackpad, it actually adds additional usage time with its built in battery.  The ability to transform from a lightweight tablet to a highly productive laptop gives this unique device a lot of potential.

As we’ve stated before, we believe devices like the Motorola Atrix are signaling a shift in mobile computing. The Eee Pad Transformer is helping lead this charge!

 

Note: Are you looking to sync the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer with Outlook or another popular personal information manager? We have you covered: check out CompanionLink for PC and DejaOffice for Android!