It’s hard to believe, but if you’re over the age of 25 you can probably remember a time when the Internet didn’t really exist outside of universities, government agencies, and some corporations. It only gained mass acceptance and popularity in the 1990s. Many other staples of modern life, such as the automobile, television, and telephones, have existed for many decades and used the entirety of most of our lives, yet the Internet has only been a part of our lives for just two decades. Because of this relatively short period of time, many business owners have only a rudimentary understanding of how the Internet actually works, leaving the work of developing, building, launching, and maintaining a web site and many associated web services to web designers and IT specialists. Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing that since very few of us are experts on every piece of modern technology that plays a part in our lives. We all rely on other professionals to keep our homes, cars, and other possessions functional, yet it is always a good idea to have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of these technologies.
The Starting Point!
Before you make a decision as to the future of your company’s website, it is important to understand the basics of how websites function so you can properly communicate with the professionals you will rely on to create your next website.
Computers, Servers, And Websites
The easiest way to understand the basic functionality of the Internet is to first understand the difference between a web server and your personal computers at home, including traditional PCs and your mobile devices. All are computers, and they share many of the same components. Personal computers and servers are both integral to making the Internet work. A computer server is a powerful computer that “serves” content upon request. When you use a personal computing device (which, again, includes both traditional personal computers and mobile devices) and input a website address or URL, you are sending a request to a computer server to send content back to your device.
The information you send through a website or web service is sent to a computer server to be processed and often stored. When a computer server provides a particular service, like an email or word processing application through a web browser, that is considered a “cloud” service. A smaller website may share space on one server with other websites, while the most prominent websites on the Internet, such as Google or Facebook, use hundreds of thousands of servers to process billions of requests each day from around the world!
The Brains of Your Website
The majority of modern websites have four primary components that are stored on a server beginning with a Content Management System (CMS) and other pieces of software that serve as the backbone and brains of the website. Databases are used to organize and store important data, and lines of text or markup is used to structure the website and tie all of the other content together. Great websites take and use these components in such a way that your customers and other website visitors are presented with a website that is functional, aesthetically-pleasing, easy to use, and secure. Experienced website designers will not only combine these components harmoniously in order to build a great website for your company, but they will also implement a strategy to ensure that your website can expand and grow as your company grows, extending the life of your website while making it more relevant and cost effective as well!
In our next post, we will discuss how our designers at Blue Zenith get to know you, ensuring that your new website is perfect for you and your company, now and into the future!