How do Websites Work ?

How do Websites work?

In the simplest terms a website works when a domain name into your web browser at the top of the internet screen your browser will send a request to a web server where the website’s files are located using the miles of cables that connect your house to the internet. Your browser then downloads these files which are normally HTML documents and connected images or videos straight to your screen.

HTML code

When we create websites we just type out what we want to write as I am doing now. All websites though are written in a language that is what your computer is reading as I type. This Language is called HTML which stands for: Hypertext Markup Language.

HTML is a universal set of instructions that every web browser and computer is capable of understanding including text, Images and formatting. These are all types of content that can be written in HTML code which is stored within documents and all file types that is recognised by .html. This allows your browser to recognise immediately and exactly how to display the webpage presented to you on your monitor. HTML documents can sometimes be referred to as assets.

If you have ever listed anything on EBAY and when you arrive at the item description you have a choice of writing in Text or HTML code. You can also observe the HTML code on a Hotmail email if you wish to do so but luckily it is all taken care of us however there are obviously people out there fluent is this computer Language.

Domain Names

I best describe a website to a novice as basically just an electronic magazine holding lots of information as in essence that’s what they are! The name of the website is called a Domain Name.

A domain name is the address of the website which can is shortened further to URL. If you look at one of my websites or this one, you will see its name in the search bar. That is the Domain name address/URL. Each page of my website will begin with the name of the website followed by a / then the title of the page you are visiting. The Domain name for websites normally starts with www. , This stands for “world wide web” however nowadays lots of search engines have dropped this.

Domain Names are actually used when you are connected to the internet your computer is recognised by its address which called an IP Address; this address is actually a set of 4 numbers as computers operate using numbers.  An IP address generally looks something like 121.547.326.389. Websites are also recognized by servers as a set of 4 numbers as the human brains does not like working with numbers and finds it easier remembering words hence we use worded names and not the IP address. There are other reasons but this is the easiest one and the one that effects the everyday browser!

The website displayed on the monitor in front of you is made up of multiple files and are stored in servers so the internet public can access them. These servers are called web hosting. The Website Hosting is basically a computer with many servers that is always turned on and holds all these files for a website which is connected to the Internet. It will hold millions of files for millions of websites.

When you type in a website address on your computer, your Computer will use the IP address and contact a Domain name server (DNS) which will locate the server holding the files to that website you want to browse.

For example:

  • You type in
  • Your browser will connect with the DNS to find out the IP address of Google
  • Your computer will then use the IP address to find the computer and servers that contain all the Facebook files.
  • The servers will send your computer all the relevant files you wish to look at.

Now for the amazing part! This is done in a matter of seconds! I can sitting at my computer in England and I might require information from a server in California U.S.A. The Information is bounced back to me in a few short seconds and I am none the wiser and carry on with what I’m doing! Now I think that’s awesome technology and its getting faster now we have fibre optic cables being installed. So next time you type in a webpage take a little time to what goes on behind the scenes.

Now you know how websites work I hope you enjoy creating one, if I can do it then so can you. The internet when used correctly is a treasure of information however as everything there is a minority who try and spoil it for the majority which is covered ibn other pages on my website. I hope you enjoy browsing!!

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