The attitudes and the self‐efficacy that characterize learners relative to the Internet have been identified as important factors that affect learners’ motivation, interests and performance in Internet‐based learning environments. Meanwhile, learners’ perceptions of the Internet may shape learners’ attitudes and online behaviours. This study investigates university students’ attitudes and self‐efficacy towards the Internet, and explores the role that university students’ perceptions of the Internet may play in their Internet attitudes and self‐efficacy. The results indicate that university students demonstrate positive attitudes and adequate Internet self‐efficacy and that these students are more inclined to view the Internet as a functional tool—a functional technology. Gender differences exist in university students’ attitudes towards, and perceptions of, the Internet; that is, male students demonstrate Internet attitudes that are more positive than those of their female peers. Furthermore, students who perceive the Internet as a leisure tool (e.g. as a tour or a toy) show more positive attitudes and communicative self‐efficacy than students who use the Internet as a functional technology. Educators and researchers need to be aware of these differences and to take them into consideration in their instruction. Lastly, this study serves as a starting‐point for research that more broadly explores learners’ perceptions of the Internet.