Accessing the Internet

The WELL is reached by way of the Internet. You may also access other sites via The WELL if you like. This page gives you a brief overview of the Internet services available through The WELL Internet and Web publishing menu.

  1. To open the Internet and Web publishing menu
  2. If you get lost in cyberspace
  3. About downloading
  4. Transferring files with FTP
  5. Using SSH to connect to another computer
  6. Using IRC
  7. Publishing your own Web page on The WELL
  8. Getting help

To open the Internet Services menu

From the Main menu choose 7 Internet and Web Publishing.. The Internet Services menu appears.

 INTERNET AND WEB PUBLISHING                   .  Menu name : internet
                                               .  Conference: wellcome
  1  lynx      Web text-only browser           . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  FTP       Transfer files                  .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
  3  SSH       Connect to another computer     .   40  Definitions
                                               .   41  Notes
  4  IRC       Internet relay chat             .   42  Quick Commands
                                               .   43  Explain a specific term
  5  Web page  Publish your Web page           .   44  Help from a real person
                                               .  GETTING AROUND
                                               .   66  Go back one menu
                                               .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                               .   88  Go to a menu by name
                                               .   99  Turn off these menus
                                               .  100  Exit from The WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

If you're new to the Internet, it can seem mysterious and intimidating as well as exciting. It holds myriads of possibilities. Fortunately you don't have to swallow the Internet in one bite. As with your other experiences on The WELL, feel free to experiment. Pick and choose what you want to try.

If you're an experienced Internet traveler, you'll find that The WELL gives you a variety of text-based tools. You can use lynx, a text-based Web browser, by choosing 1 lynx from the Internet and Web Publishing menu. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is available by choosing 4 IRC.

If you get lost in cyberspace

Sometimes you may use a command that accesses the Internet and it may seem to go off into space, leaving you waiting, and waiting…. You don't know whether the process is just taking a long time or what.

You can almost always cancel a command or operation by pressing Control-C, Control-D, or Control-]. In a moment or two, a prompt should reappear.

About downloading

One of the wonderful things about venturing out on the Internet is the ability to find and retrieve files. You need to keep a couple of things in mind, however, when retrieving files via these UNIX tools.

  • When you retrieve a file, you may save it to your WELL directory (disk storage) - it is not yet on your own computer. Be sure to download these files to your own computer and delete them from your WELL directory. If you leave files in your WELL directory, you will be charged for storage over 100MB. (For information on how to download, see Managing Files on The WELL.)

  • Be sure to use a virus checker on all executable files (programs) you download, before running them. (Plain text files you view cannot harbor viruses, and do not need to be checked.)

Using Lynx

Lynx is a text-only Web browser. Some prefer it for speed and simplicity, but many modern features will not render in Lynx. It is provided as a courtesy.

Transferring files with FTP

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a way of transferring files on the Internet. You can use it to retrieve files you want from FTP sites all over the world.

In general, you will find it preferable to to FTP directly to your desktop rather than into your home directory.

To transfer files to your home directory with FTP, from the Internet and Web publishing menu choose 2 FTP. Enter commands to navigate to the site you want and read or transfer files. If you transfer files to your home directory, be certain you do not forget them there and run up storage charges for a home directory larger than 100 MB.

Using SSH to connect to another computer

SSH—the secure, modern replacement for telnet—lets you connect to another Internet computer. Once connected, it's just as though you dialed into that system directly. You can use that computer's system, commands, and so forth.

You may use SSH to access The WELL from another system. You may also ssh to another computer to use different programs.

To ssh to another computer, you need to know the name or the IP address of the computer system to which you want to connect.

From the Internet and Web publishing menu choose 3 SSH. The WELL will prompt you to enter the site name. Enter the site name of the computer in the form site.domain to which you want to connect. When the connection is established, you should see the login screen for the remote computer.


  • If you're using a PC running Windows, we recommend, that you download and use an SSH application like PuTTY.

  • If you're using Mac Os X, you can use the Terminal application that comes with the operating system to connect using SSH. To ssh to The WELL, enter ssh in a Terminal window.

  • If you're using an older version of the Macintosh operating system, you'll probably have to download an SSH application from a shareware site like Tucows.

Using IRC

You may launch an Internet Relay Chat session via the PicoSpan Help Menus, however, most people prefer to use Web-based Internet chat. See for more information.

To use IRC

  • 1. From the Internet Services menu choose 4 IRC.

  • 2. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Publishing your own Web page on The WELL

You can create your own HTML files and publish them on The WELL. To do so, ssh into your WELL account and type makeweb at the OK prompt. The WELL creates a subdirectory in your home directory named WEB which is linked to The WELL's Web server. Create your HTML files and use ftp to put the files you want to publish in your directory on If you create a page named index.html, the URL for your home page will be <> or <>.

If you're interested in Web publishing see Web Publishing on The WELL for details.

Getting help

You're bound to have further questions about Internet tools. When you do, you'll find lots of help online, right on The WELL (and out on the Internet, too).

These types of information are available right away:

  • Help while you're on the Internet and Web publishing menu - be sure to check out the Notes and Quick Commands (just enter 41 or 42).

  • The Internet Conference—you'll find problems, fixes, suggestions, and tips. Enter g internet at the OK prompt, or use the menus to go to the Internet Conference.

The Internet conference is a great resource for getting your questions answered. Take advantage of it. Because the Internet is so vast, and so many pieces of it have their own unique set of commands and ways of working, The WELL support staff does not provide technical assistance in using the Internet at large. However, you'll find that Internet experts swap help in The WELL's Internet Conference.


WELL policies and etiquette
Getting connected
Menu basics
Getting and sending email
Starting out in WELL conferences
Working with WELL conferences
People online
Accessing the Internet
The muse
Managing files on The WELL
Checking and changing settings
Accounting and billing
PicoSpan Command Summary

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