The ingredients are simple: a computer, a modem, an internet service provider (ISP) and a standard telephone line. An ISP gives you the dial-up connection and vendors can be found in computer magazines, telephone yellow pages and through recommendations from local computer user groups or stores.
When selecting an ISP consider:
* Does it offer a flat rate for unlimited use?
* Can it be accessed through a local telephone call?
* What software does it provide and how will it help you get connected?
* What kind of technical support is available after the Internet account has been set up? Are there any additional costs? Is it available 24 hours a day/seven days a week?
* Does the subscription cost include space for a home page on the ISP's servers? How much space is available?
If your computer doesn't have a modem, you will need to purchase either an internal or external one that will connect your computer to the Internet through the ISP over standard telephone lines.
The recommended minimum modem speed is 28,800 bits per second (bps). Although 56K (56,000 bps) modems are available, first confirm that your ISP will support it.
To read the Web's hypertext documents, you'll need "browser" software such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Internet browsers can handle electronic mail and Internet newsgroups as well.