For the uninitiated, the world of websites can seem completely alien and quite daunting. There are numerous terms and acronyms to get to grips with. This guide should hopefully boost your understanding.
To get started on creating a website, you actually need two things: web hosting and a domain name. Companies like names.co.uk offer a wide range of options for website owners.
There are currently in excess of 1.8 billion websites available worldwide.
So What Exactly Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is basically the storing of key website files. These files, together with a domain name, enable a website to be accessed by billions of people around the world.
It is possible to host your own website on your own machine, but doing so is extremely complex. Subsequently, most business owners will use a web hosting provider. These companies have access to more resources, equipment and expertise.
Most hosting providers will offer several different types of hosting – the main ones are:
– Shared hosting: this is where a single server hosts multiple clients’ websites. This is good option for small businesses, as it keeps costs down.
– Dedicated server hosting: this option (usually the most expensive) gives one client exclusive access to one physical server. This is usually reserved for very big projects or for websites expecting large numbers of visitors.
– VPS hosting: this is where clients are given a dedicated virtual section of a physical server. Each mini-server has a designated proportion of resources.
What Exactly Is a Domain Name?
Every website has an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This is made up of a series of numbers.
A domain name is used as substitute for this string of numbers and is much easier to remember. This is very important, because users have to type this into the address bar of their browser in order to access the site.
Other Key Terms
Servers: These are powerful computers which host websites and are online almost permanently. They are often stored in dedicated server rooms or even specialist data centres.
Data Centres: These are dedicated buildings where multiple servers are stored. The servers in these buildings will all have superfast internet connections and significant bandwidth capacity.
Bandwidth: This is the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an internet connection in a specified period of time.
CMS: A Content Management Systems (CMS) is a piece of software that is used to build and manage a website. Popular examples include WordPress and Joomla.
URL: This stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is the technical name for a link to a specific site or webpage – e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport.
DNS: The Domain Name System (DNS) is like the phone system of the internet. It matches domain names of websites to the IP addresses of the server that they are located on.
SSL certificates: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates encrypt website traffic so that any data shared is secure and protected.