How do I deepen my knowledge of core web protocols and technologies?

Tom Knowlton
Tom Knowlton used Ask the Experts™
I'd like to deepen my understanding / knowledge of core web protocols and technologies.

The web is a great resource - but perhaps I've missed some of the sites that might serve me better I'd appreciate some recommendations.

I'd also appreciate any books you have read and can recommend that can make my understanding of HTTP, IIS, and perhaps even TCP/IP rock solid and practical.

I've been in IT for over 20 years, but I've struggled with web.  I can build and maintain a basic website, but I'd like to understand more about the journey of a web page, from the moment the page is requested up through when the page is done rendering after being sent to the browser from the server.  I don't think I truly deeply understand it.  Not really.  So I'd like to learn it.

for example:

click my test link

This is a link to an HTML page residing on a server I am hosting my website on.  I have no idea where the server is physically located.  This is an HTML page in as simple a format as I can conceive of one.  What journey does it take from clicking on the link to getting the message back in the browser moments later?  I want to know, under the hood, everything that happens as deeply as possible.
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Most Valuable Expert 2014
Your page is hosted on a Godaddy server in Arizona.  When you click on the link, your browser sends a request to a DNS server to get the IP address of the web server.  When it get the IP address, it then make a connection / request to that IP address for the page.  The server responds to that request by sending the file containing the page back to your browser.  If there were images, CSS files, and/or javascript files, separate requests would be made for them after the original page is received.

Other than that, there are a few thousand details to putting sites on the web and viewing them.  It is not possible to completely answer your question... because even if we tried, the answer would change by the time we got done.

In addition to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in the browser, there are programming languages like ASP and PHP and databases like MySQL and MS SQL on the servers.  And Apache is the most common web server, not IIS.

You probably need to pick one subject at a time to learn.  There is just too much.  One site that covers a lot is .  But it still doesn't cover Everything!
Use traceroute to follow the journey from your computer to a website.

The command line is your friend. If you use Windows, you can access a command line by running "cmd"

From a Windows command line, use "tracert"

From a Linux/Unix command line, use "traceroute"

I recommend the book: "TCP/IP Fundamentals for Microsoft Windows" which is available as a free download from Microsoft:
Top Expert 2015
Here is a good whitepaper on How Does the Internet Work?

Here is a good explanation on how web pages work.

I am sure you will have more questions after reading the links above.  That's a lot of information as it is already and hours  (if not days and weeks) of research if you would like to explore them in details.
CompTIA Security+

Learn the essential functions of CompTIA Security+, which establishes the core knowledge required of any cybersecurity role and leads professionals into intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs.

Tom KnowltonWeb developer


@ skij:  Is there a table of contents / a list of other free technology books for download from the same site?

The book is 534 pages long.  The table of contents is located at the beginning of the book.

The landing page for the book is found here:

The landing page has a "Related Resources" section that you may be interested in.
Alexandre SimõesManager / Solutions Architect
I would suggest a PluralSight account :-)

On networking you can have a look at this one:
TCP/IP Networking

But there's a lot of material there, even related to Ethical Hacking where you learn a lot about security by knowing how the exploits work.

Go there and search for what you need.
Tom KnowltonWeb developer


thx everyone

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