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How do websites work?

Before you begin creating your own website and launch it to the Internet, it’s important to know how websites work.

Here are some basic terms: 

  • website is simply a collection of web pages of codes – codes that describes the layout, format and content on a page. 
  • The web server is a internet-connected computer that receives the request for a web page sent by your browser.
  • The browser connects your computer to the server through an IP address. The IP address is obtained by translating the domain name. (Don’t worry, this part is all done automatically by your browser so you don’t have to look up the IP addresses yourself.)

In other words, in order to display your website on the Internet, you will need:

  • A website
  • A domain name
  • A server 

 A website

A website is often made up of a number of web pages, photos, and other components that are linked to create a single, more comprehensive document. Consider a website as a book, with each page representing a web page.

A website may consist of just one page or it may contain thousands of pages. Text, photos, and other components will all be unique to each page. Then, on your web host server, a folder containing all of the web pages and components is created and stored.

Each web page is composed of codes that describe the organization, style, and content of the page. HTML is the most widely used coding language for building websites.

Creating a website

However, just because a web page is written in codes does not imply that you must be an IT expert to develop one. Nowadays, you don’t even need to know how to code or have any other technical abilities or knowledge to build a website.

The ability to create functional, attractive websites without much or any technical skills has greatly increased thanks to technological advancements.

If you have little to no technical knowledge and experience, the best is to use a website builder to create your website. The majority of website builders on the market are designed for the non-tech person in mind:

# Everything is based online. Nothing needs to be downloaded or installed. Simply launch your web browser, enter the website builder’s URL, log in, and begin creating your website.


# No technological expertise is necessary. Since the website builders are designed and maintained by experts, you don’t need to fiddle with the technical details. You can build a fully functional website from scratch without writing a single line of code.

# It’s visual. Website builders typically use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that lets you create your website by dragging and dropping website elements into the desired location.

# Professionally-designed templates. You don’t have to worry about mismatched color schemes or disjointed layout as most website builders come with an extensive library of professional design templates. 

For those have some technical knowledge and experience and are looking to build a powerful, flexible, highly customized website, there is always the option to choose a content management system, such as WordPress .

A domain name

A domain name is the address that you type into your web browser address bar to get to a website. An example of a domain name is www.locas.in A domain name is unique to a website. In other words, no two websites can have the same domain name.

While it is accurate to say that a custom domain name is not always necessary for websites. A free plan with a free website address is available from several website builders. However, these free web addresses are provided in the form of a sub-domain. For instance, your free website URL might be http://yourname.example.com if your website builder is “example.com”.

A web server 

web server is the computer that receives the request for a web page sent by your browser. 

Consider this: your company is hiring for a position that has just opened up and you are in charge of writing the job ad. You may have crafted the most compelling ad but unless you post the ad on a job board, no one will see it.

This is the same with websites. You could create the most stunning website but unless it’s uploaded to a web server, it is not accessible or viewable on the Internet. 

You can certainly set up your own server at home, but it would require a huge amount of knowledge, time and resources (ie. power and Internet connection). Paying a web hosting service provider would be the more logical, economical and practical thing to do. Think if it like renting a space on a web host’s server. For a monthly fee, web hosting providers lets you use space on their servers to host your website, and because it’s their server, they as take care of all the technical aspects of setting up and maintain the server, as well as all the resources needed to run the server, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

How it all comes together

Say you open your web browser and type in a domain name, your browser will display the web pages of the domain name you’ve entered. 

But have you wondered how your web browser knows what information to display? 

Each website will have a website address, or a domain name, and each domain name is tied to the IP address of the web server it resides on. IP addresses are managed and tracked via the Domain Name Server (or DNS for short). 

DNS works very similarly to the Contacts app on your mobile phone – you open up the Contacts app, type in a person’s name and your mobile phone returns with the person’s phone number and other contact information you might have entered. You can then decide if you want to call, email or text that person. 

When you type in a domain name in your web browser, your web browser is actually conducting a series of inquiries that include looking up the IP address of the domain name, locating the web server that hosts the web pages of the domain name, submitting a request to that server for a copy of the web page(s), receiving the web page(s) from the server and finally translating the codes on the web page to present the information on your screen. 

Fascinating, isn’t it? And that’s the basics of how websites work.

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