The Journey of a Page Request: How Websites Work

Have you ever wondered how website works?

How it is that after clicking on the link to open up a webpage, you are actually able to view what’s on the computer screen in front of you? Well, this blog post will attempt to answer all of those questions about how websites work. We’ll start at the very beginning with how someone makes a request to visit a website and go all the way through until they see what appears on their screen. This journey will include many different components: DNS servers, IP addresses, HTML files and more!

how website works

A website is your business’s face in the digital world. Knowing how a website works will help you communicate better with a developer or create the perfect site for your company. Understanding the basics of how a website works will help you communicate better with your developer, leading to a powerful digital representation of your business.

Web means business!

No matter your level of experience or how “techie” you are, you should know how a website works. In fact, it’s easy to understand the process even for those who have zero technical knowledge.

Click here to know 11 Reasons Why You Need a Site to do Business in 2021!

So let’s get started!

What is internet? How internet works?

The internet is a vast world of knowledge, communication, and commerce. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of content that fills it up every day. But if we simplify how the internet works, you’ll be able to navigate this world with ease so you can focus on your business goals instead of wasting time trying to figure out what all these acronyms mean. To get started let’s take a look at how data gets from one point to another on the internet:

  • The first step begins when someone types a website address into their browser and hits enter. For eg. you’re sitting in front of your computer and type www.google.com into the address bar of your browser. This tells your computer that you want to connect with google’s servers so it sends out packets of information as an HTTP request which travel along cables all over the world until they reach google’s server.
  • This request is sent through networks called “routers” which are connected by cables or wirelessly.
  • These routers then pass along the information until it reaches its destination where a webserver (a computer that stores and serves websites), which stores google’s website, will then hand it back to the router.
  • It is then routed back to our browser, it’s final destination. And all of these steps happen in a split second.
Simply, user types in google.com and sends packets over networks, until reaching the web server that stores it. The router then takes information back to browser where it is requested by user.

What is a website?

A website is your digital address and showcase for your brand. It is a content-driven, digital publishing platform that is created by web developers and designers to be viewed using internet browsers. In today’s time it is the backbone of your business success. It helps your company grow with its high visibility on search engines and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.

Each website will have one or more of the following webpages:

Homepage: This is the page that all internet users initially see when they visit your website.

About Us: This page is a brief introduction, usually of one to two paragraphs in length, about who you are and what services or products you provide.

Contact Us: All businesses should have at least this web-page which will allow potential clients to contact the business directly via e-mail, telephone or postal mail.

An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page is a great place to provide answers and information about your business, products or services that are often asked by clients.

One of the most important pages on your website will be your Service / Products page which highlights what you offer and how it benefits potential customer.

Blog: A blog provides a platform for the company to publish articles and other content that will be of interest to people who visit your website.

A more complex website will include services such as E-commerce, Social Platform or a membership site

What is a webpage? How a webpage is build?

Websites consist of many pages, known as webpages, which together constitute a complete website. A webpage is constructed using a programming language called HTML. A web developer plans the layout of page by writing a code with instructions for how to display text, images and videos on the page.

In order to access a website, your computer is using a browser. Regardless of which browser you use, it takes the code that the web developer has written out and decodes it into what you see when typing in a website address.

The following steps will allow you to view the source code of any website:

PC

  • Firefox: CTRL + U (Meaning press the CTRL key on your keyboard and hold it down. While holding down the CTRL key, press the “u” key.) Alternatively, you can go to the “Firefox” menu and then click on “Web Developer,” and then “Page Source.”
  • Edge/Internet Explorer: CTRL + U. Or right click and select “View Source.”
  • Chrome: CTRL + U. Or you can click on the weird-looking key with three horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner. Then click on “Tools” and select “View Source.”
  • Opera: CTRL + U. You also can right click on the webpage and select “View Page Source.”

Mac

  • Safari: The keyboard shortcut is Option+Command+U. You also can right-click on the webpage and select “Show Page Source.”
  • Firefox: You can right-click and select “Page Source” or you can navigate to your “Tools” menu, select “Web Developer,” and click on “Page Source.” The keyboard shortcut is Command + U.
  • Chrome: Navigate to “View,” click on “Developer,” and then “View Source.” You also can right-click and select “View Page Source.” The keyboard shortcut is Option+Command+U.

All the information you provide for your business website–be it to a web developer or using a DIY (do-it-yourself) service–is translated into HTML code so that any computer can understand and read it. Which brings us to our next question:

Where is a website stored? What is web hosting?

Well technically your sites can be hosted on your computer as well but this poses danger as it leaves you vulnerable to viruses, crashes during peaks with no backup to restore from, and other potential threats. Therefore, we need web hosting instead.

Servers

Web hosting refers to the process of storing your website on a machine that is hosted by another company. This means other companies are usually charging you, depending on how much bandwidth and storage space you need.

A hosting service has more than one server and can have servers in different data centres, located either at a single physical location or globally across multiple locations to protect against natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes. These companies are often referred to as managed web hosts because they provide the monitored 24/hours, powered by electricity at all times, and overseen by web hosting professionals.

There are broadly two types of Web Hosting services: Shared and Dedicated. Shared hosting is cost-effective as you’ll share the “server space” with other customers and the data is stored on a single server. This means that it’s less expensive to set up and maintain, but if certain customer(s) requires more resources than are available with one server, performance can suffer for all customers in some way or another.

A dedicated hosting service gives you exclusive access to an entire machine which has far more resources and data storage capacity than a shared server. It’s much more expensive to set up, but it will perform better when your site has high traffic.

How is a website accessed? How do domain names work?

Your domain name is your website’s virtual address and it connects to a set of digital coordinates called an IP address. When you want to find something on the web, your browser needs a way to get there. There are two possible things needed for this: A domain name, and an IP address. The domain name is that human-readable web address you type into your URL bar (www.google.com), while the IP address connects all the dots so your browser can find where to go.

While people are capable of remembering and recalling addresses, computers often can’t. Instead, they rely on systems called DNS or Domain Name Systems to translate web addresses that have human-readable (URLs) and numerical identifiers like IP addresses which your server address is recognized as.

Need help in choosing a domain name click here!

So whenever you enter a domain name in your browser, your domain provider kicks in and provide your browser with the IP address it needs to direct to. You’ve probably seen an example where you can view a website by typing its domain name in your browser at “www.google.com” instead of its numerical IP address – which would look like “142.250.64.110” instead of the more intuitive “google.com”.

try typing 142.250.64.110 in your browser

With all the different terms and jargon that come with website development, you might be wondering if it’s worth your time to try to understand how everything works. The answer is absolutely yes!

It may seem daunting at first, but as long as you have a little patience and take things one step at a time, you can make sense of this confusing world in no time. We are happy to help walk through these steps with you so feel free to reach out anytime for more information or book a strategy session for your website today! Hiring an expert will save not only money but also lots of headaches down the road when something goes wrong. You deserve someone on your side who understands what they’re doing – don’t settle for anything less.

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