Demystifying the Web: What Happens When You Enter a URL in Your Browser


In an era where web browsing has become second nature, few of us take the time to understand the complex machinery behind our favourite websites. From the moment you type a URL into your browser’s address bar and press Enter, your request embarks on a fascinating journey through multiple layers of internet infrastructure. This blog post aims to demystify this process by dissecting each stage of your web request.

Section 1: The URL Entry

When you type “" into your browser, the journey begins. The URL is parsed into its essential components: the protocol (https), domain (, and path. However, the browser doesn’t know where “" is; it needs the IP address.

Section 2: DNS Request

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the unsung hero of the internet. When your browser sends a DNS request, it sets in motion a series of queries that ultimately resolve “" to an IP address. This hierarchical system involves multiple DNS servers, each with its own responsibilities. We’ll delve into common DNS record types, such as A, AAAA, CNAME, and MX in another post.

Section 3: TCP/IP

The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) are fundamental in establishing a connection to the web server. TCP ensures that data packets arrive reliably and in the correct order, while IP is responsible for routing these packets to the correct destination.

Section 4: Firewall

Firewalls are essential for network security. We’ll explore how they filter incoming and outgoing traffic, protecting your system from malicious activity. You’ll learn about different firewall types and how they can be configured to allow or deny traffic based on specific rules.

Section 5: HTTPS/SSL

The “s” in “https” stands for secure. We’ll explain how the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) encrypts data between your browser and the web server. The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) handshake and certificate validation processes ensure the authenticity and integrity of the communication.

Section 6: Load-Balancer

Large websites like Google employ load balancers to distribute incoming web requests evenly among multiple web servers. We’ll discuss load balancing algorithms, including round-robin, least-connections, and IP hashing, as well as the role of load balancers in achieving high availability.

Section 7: Web Server

Web servers, like Apache, Nginx, and IIS, play a pivotal role in serving web content to users. We’ll explore how they handle HTTP requests, process server-side code, and send back the requested web pages. A deeper understanding of web servers reveals their significance in delivering content efficiently.

Section 8: Application Server

For dynamic web applications, application servers come into play. We’ll explain their role in executing server-side code and generating dynamic content. You’ll gain insights into various application server platforms and technologies.

Section 9: Database

Web applications frequently interact with databases to store and retrieve data. We’ll delve into the two primary categories: relational databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL) and NoSQL databases (e.g., MongoDB). You’ll understand the SQL queries and data retrieval process, from the database to your browser.


In conclusion, the act of typing “" in your browser and pressing Enter sets in motion a remarkable chain of events. Each component, from DNS resolution to load balancing, plays a critical role in ensuring you receive web content seamlessly. Understanding this process not only enhances your knowledge of how the web works but also deepens your appreciation for the marvels of the internet.

The next time you surf the web, you’ll do so with a newfound awareness of the intricate dance of data packets, protocols, and systems that enable you to access your favorite websites. The internet’s complexity becomes a testament to human ingenuity and the collaborative effort of countless engineers worldwide.

By unraveling the mysteries of web requests, I hope to have empowered you with a deeper understanding of the technology that underpins modern life.