One of the rarely understood mysteries of web development is how a website is available to be seen on the internet. Many companies offer packages that put these items all in one which further mystifies the forces that must actually come together to have a website.
We as a company has a mission to take the burden of all things web off the shoulders of the small business owner, so we are more than happy to take care of all this for our clients. That said, an informed client is a happy client, so the information here ought to help you make your best buying decisions. Following is a quick primer for someone who wants to have a website but doesn’t know where to start.
The Components of A Live Website
There are three primary components of a live website and while many developers will handle this all for you, it helps to know what is involved.
The first thing you will need in order to have a live website for your business is a website domain. This is an identification label for what will become your website. There are two or more parts separated by dots for example – foowebs.com or example.co.uk. These domains are registered with a domain registry and point to your webhost (see below).
Once you (or your web developer) register your domain name, then you have completed the first component of the three. You will want to ensure that the web domain registrar that you choose makes changes easy and has good customer service, aside from that they don’t differ that much.
The second thing that you will need in order to have a live website for your business is a website host. Essentially, a web host is a computer that is always on the internet and can store the files (see below) to make your website live. Once you have a web host you will need to edit the settings of your domain (dns settings) and point them to the ip address of your web host. Your web host will provide you the ip address or dns server to point the domain to.
The web host you choose is a very big decision. If the server is overloaded with clients then your website could be really slow, which results in a lower google ranking and unhappy viewers. If your server is not built with good technology, it could have many outages and your website could go down often. If your web host provides inferior tech support, little problems can turn into large problems.
The third thing that you will need in order to have a live website for your business are the website files. A website is essentially a directory of files (text, image, code, video, etc) that are written in a format that web browsers (chrome, firefox, safari, internet explorer, etc) are programmed to read and display the way the designer intended. The website files are uploaded to the web host so that when someone types in your webdomain (pointed at the host) that these files show up. These files can be created in a number of ways (see below).
The recommended way to acquire these files is to hire a web developer to create them for you. If you go this route, all you have to do is provide content and approvals (depending on your developer of course), and wait for your beautiful site to be launched.
Alternatively, there are some sites that will help you build the website yourself. In the business we call these wysiwyg (what you see is what you get editors). While these could suffice for personal websites and blogs, if you have a professional business, then you should hire a professional web developer.
So, the toe bone is connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone…. Likewise, the domain is pointed at the host, the files are placed on the host, then when someone types in the domain on their browser, the files show up on their screen.