What is a website and how does it work?
Before getting into the details of a what is a website and how does it work, you’ll need to get up to speed on some of the basic definitions of the main elements that make up a website.
In a simple scenario, there are two main bits to a website.. these are..
- Web Server
Web Server (Hosting)
The Web Server is essentially a computer, or a server (probably in a data center, often referred to as ‘cloud’), where all the information about the website is stored. This includes the website files and database, as well as running the software that powers your website (web server, database server, WordPress, for example). When a visitor goes to visit a website, it’s the Web Server that ‘serves’ this information to the visitor.
The Domain is the name of the website.. ie., www.yourdomainname.com.au. The domain name, often aligned with the business name, allows visitors to have a memorable way to visit your site when needed. When a visitor (on their home computer or device) types in or clicks a link to your domain, the domain name ‘resolves’ the IP address (IP address, or Internet Protocol, is a number given to every computer or device connected to the internet). Whenever a visitor puts the domain in to visit, they’ll be directed over the internet to the web server hosting the website.
How websites work
As mentioned above, the files and database of the website are stored on the hosting. When a visitor goes to your website via their browser, it’s the website that’s going to do the work to present this to the visitor.
The website files must be stored on reliable hosting that is secure and performs well. Having poor performing hosting can cause problems for your website, and if the site and hosting isn’t maintained you could end up losing your website, all for the sake of saving a few dollars.
Why have a website and what can it do
Most businesses these days have a website. You’ll see the website of a business on most advertising products (brochures, flyers, business cards), as well as email signature files. A website also serves as a front end marketing potential for your business. You can show off your brand and your products, as well as provide information to potential clients about what you do.
You can also have website visitors provide information to you via contact forms on the website, purchase your products (with an eCommerce site), and provide downloadable content to your visitors.
How to create a website
There are many ways to create a website, and many different tools to be able to perform this task. If you are after a simple website and have the initiative, time and creativity then you can create a website yourself. Many business owners have a go at creating their first website, and then as the business grows they have the opportunity to invest in a professional website development agency to take their website to the next level. If you are looking to have quite a custom website to begin with, then you are best to look for a professional website developer
In summary, this article should have given you a high level overview of the basic components of a website and how it all fits together. Are you ready to take the next steps with getting your website or do you have any questions? Please feel free to get in touch with Sherpa Digital and we’ll be glad to assist.