This Web page is an electronic companion to the book Learning to Use the World Wide Web, by Ernest C. Ackermann . It contains links to the Internet resources, sites, and services mentioned in the text.
Please send any comments, questions or suggestions to the author at .
Telnet, FTP, and Gopher
Chapter Eight


Allows log-in access to another computer on the Internet


File Transfer Protocol. Copy (transfer) a file from one site on the Internet to another


Gives access to services and information on the Internet through text-only menus

These protocols can be used with a Web browser. You can tell the protocol being used by looking at the URL for a resource. You would use the URL, for example, to go to the home page for the Library of Congress. The protocol here is http. The Library of Congress also provides access to its resources through:

Telnet Use the URL telnet:// to connect to a remote computer and search the Library's holdings.
FTP Use the URL to copy files without viewing them first
Gopher Use the URL gopher:// for a menu oriented (little text and no images) interface to basically the same information available as a Web page


Examples of resources available through Telnet

Library of Congress telnet:// Search for materials available at the United States Library of Congress. No log in name or password is required.

PEN pages telnet:// . Search and retrieve information from agricultural, health, teaching, and other databases. This service is provided by the College of Agriculture of the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. You type in the word world when you see the prompt Username:

Weather Forecasts telnet:// Check weather forecasts and other weather related information.

Using Telnet With Your Browser Version 4 of Netscape Navigator is preset to use the Telnet program that's included with the Windows 95 or Windows 98 operating system.

When you type a Telnet URL, such as telnet://, in the location field, then the Telnet program is automatically activated to start a Telnet session.

If you don't have a Telnet program on your computer then

  1. Find a location on the Internet that has Telnet programs to fit into your environment. A collection of programs that work well is available at the Terminals and Telnet section of, a large collection of shareware for Windows 95/98 computer systems. Remember to register, and pay for, the shareware programs you use. I use NetTerm.

  2. Retrieve a Telnet program. After giving the URL or clicking on a hyperlink, you might get a message "No Viewer Configured for File Type: application/x-zip-compressed" from Netscape Navigator. That's because the file is stored in compressed format using a program named PKZIP or WinZip, and your Web browser doesn't have those programs installed as "helper" programs to automatically uncompress the file after it's been transmitted. That's just fine; select the option that lets you "Save to Disk." A "Save As.." dialog box pops up for you to specify the folder to use to store the file. Store the file in a directory/folder that you'll use for the installation and may want to remove after the program is installed.

  3. Uncompress and Install the Telnet program. To uncompress you'll need a copy of PKZIP or WINZIP. Follow the instructions that come with those programs to uncompress the file you've retrieved. After you uncompress the file, look for a file with a name similar to "read me" for instructions. If none is present, click on the file named "setup" and follow the installation instructions.

Once you have a copy of Telnet on your computer, set the Netscape preferences for "Applications".

  • Click on Edit on the Menu Bar, then Preferences and select Applications.
  • Look for the item URL:Telnet Protocol in the list that appears. Click on it and then click on Edit
  • Type the location, on your computer, of the Telnet program into the pane as show in this figure.

Some other Web resources about Telnet



FTP, file transfer protocol, is one of the basic Internet services. It's designed to copy files from one computer system to another. One of the primary reasons for creating the Internet was so that researchers could exchange ideas and results of their work, and FTP allows that exchange and sharing information, data, or any sort of file.

In this section we'll look at using anonymous FTP to retrieve copies of files from another site on the Internet. The term anonymous means anyone on the Internet can copy files from a computer system without being a registered user of that system.
URL Format for FTP The general form of a URL for anonymous FTP is: ftp://name-of-ftp-site/directory-name/file-name
  • The URL for anonymous FTP starts with ftp://.
  • The name of the FTP site follows the three characters ://.
  • The name of the directory starts with the first single / and goes up to but not including the last /.
  • The name of the file follows the last /.
Retrieving a File by Anonymous FTP You can retrieve a file, that is copy it from a remote site to the computer you're using, in one of two ways.
  1. Typing in a URL (Open a Location).
  2. Shift and Click on a Hyperlink

Example 2 Retrieving a File by Anonymous FTP

We'll retrieve a file available from NASA that contains an image of Mars using both methods mentioned above.

First, we type the URL (open the location) and then select Save As.. from File in the menu bar.

Second, we open the location, find the hyperlink for the file, and use Shift+Click to retrieve it.

End Example 2

Working with compressed an archived files Some helpful programs Collections of programs used for archiving and compression Tips for dealing with compressed files and archives
Example 3 Retrieving a Shareware Programs and a Compression Program

There are lots of shareware programs available by anonymous FTP. In this example we'll go to an anonymous FTP site and retrieve a shareware genealogy program.

We'll assume Netscape Navigator is started and we're working in a Web Browser Window. The steps to follow are:

  1. Start an anonymous FTP session with SUNET's, the Swedish University Network's, FTP archive.
  2. Connect to the directory /pub2/pc/mirror/simtelnet/win3/genealgy/.
  3. Retrieve the genealogy program
  4. FTP to to retrieve the program WinZip for Windows 95. Change to the directory at holding the archive for WinZip.
  5. Install WinZip95 and the genealogy program.
End Example 3

Finding Files Available by Anonymous FTP

FTP Archives
Washington University Data Archive
Garbo Archives, University of Wasa, Finland

Anti-Virus Software

McAfee, Network General, PGP & Helix have merged to create a new company, Network Associates. Welcome to!
Symantec AntiVirus research Center
Data Fellows World-Wide Web Server Main Index

Listings of Shareware Sources

Technology: Software and Downloads
Nerd's Heaven: The Software Directory Directory
Yahoo! Computers and Internet:Software:Shareware

Compression Software

WinZip Home Page
Welcome to PKWAREŽ Inc.

Shareware Archives

File Mine -- Dig Our Downloads of Shareware, Games and Commercial Demos
SHAREWARE.COM -- the way to find shareware on the Internet
ZDNet Software Library - Download top-rated shareware, freeware, demos and more
Welcome to! The best 32-bit Shareware, Drivers, Tips, and Information on the Internet!
Internet Software - Download Net Software. Stroud's Consummate Winsock Apps List (CWSApps)

FTP Clients for Windows

A text-based FTP is usually included with computers that use MS-Windows operating systems. Click on Start, then Run, type ftp and press enter. You'll have to type a username and password. Then get to retrieve a file, put to place a file on a remote system, and quit to end the FTP session.

WS_FTP by John Junod is relatively easy to use FTP client with a graphical user interface.

Here's a short list of guides for WS_FTP:

Installing a Winsock FTP Client
Junod Software Home Page

The term Archie is just a shortened form of the word archive. Archie was designed to effectively deliver information about items available in FTP archives. (It wasn't named after the comic book character.) Archie was conceived and implemented by Alan Emtage, Peter Deutsch, and Bill Heelan of Mcgill University, Quebec, Canada.


Like the WWW Gopher puts the focus on the information, not on learning a number of different techniques. A Gopher server provides a menu to represent the information and resources it has available. You work with one or more menus, choosing items that are documents (files), directories, links to other Internet sites, tools to help you find information, or other Internet services. You don't have to know many techniques to use Gopher; most of the time you only need to be able to choose items from a menu. Eventually, you come to a menu item representing a text document, image, or other type of file.

Sources of Information About Gopher

What's Available through Gopher?

Changes/corrections to the most recent version of the book.
Some other places you may want to visit
Internet Today! Email, Searching & the Web Learning to Use the Internet Learning to Use the World Wide Web Searching and Researching on the World Wide Web

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