What do I need to know about websites?

Oct 27 2014 at 17:10 by Walter


When you decide to invest in a website you can be overwhelmed. There are a lot of choices. It can become really confusing at times to get a grip on what is involved. So lets take a look at what is involved and break it down into three simple parts:

  • The website
  • A domain name (web address)
  • Hosting

The website

Most choices you will have to make are about your website. For example, what is the purpose of your website and how would you like your design? This is the reason why I will write a separate article on this. For now, lets start with the basics.

Update: What you need to know when you start a website

Update: Website choices: what is the difference between websites, quotes and prices?

A domain name

When your website is ready, you will want to share it with everybody. This is where a domain name comes in. A domain name is a web address like www.Exclusive-IT.nl. You can tell people about this address and also submit it to online search engines. This way your website is ready to welcome its first visitors.

So that's it then? Well, no, not exactly. From here on I will explain a more complicated part, but no worries. It's not even close to rocket-science, so hang in.

A website is basically computer software. This means you do not only need a computer to view it, you also need a computer to store it. This last computer is called a 'server'. A server is a computer that is never turned off and stores one or more websites.

Here comes the magic. Imagine you type in your web address, then your computer will try to find it on the internet. It uses a 'table of contents' for the whole internet called DNS. When found, your computer will connect to the right server. This server will now send the website-code back to your computer, and that's it, you can now view your website!

Update: Tips for choosing a domain name

Hosting

You will most likely rent the server that stores your website. This service is called 'hosting'. In theory you could store your website on your own computer and direct your web address to it. This is not very practical however, I'm guessing you turn off your computer every now and then? When that happens, nobody can visit your website any more.

Now before you decide to just never turn off your computer again, there are more disadvantages. For example, the internet-connection at home is often not suitable for hundreds of visitors. Also, the server needs to have special software in order for websites to work, and maintenance to keep running. For those reasons it is much more practical to rent a server from a 'hoster'. For a small annual fee you do not need to worry about those things yourself any more in that case.

Summary

So to summarize, we need three separate things. A web address, a server to where this address will lead, and last but not least, the website itself hosted on a server. The domain name and server you will almost always rent, the website is a often a one-time investment.

More information

As said before, I will write more about this topic. Each article more in-depth and a bit more technical. If you have questions so far, feel free to write your feedback at the bottom of this page. You can also call or e-mail me of course.


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