What's a website?

Three things that all websites have in common

You need something. So, you open your computer or smartphone and tap the internet.  You type in your search and a website pops up.  

Websites have become such an integral aspect of modern life, you can just talk to your device and it will find a website giving the answer.

But what is a website?  How do you make a website?  What’s the minimum you need to publish your own website?  

In a nutshell, all websites need 3 basic ingredients.

A Domain

A Hosting Service

Content

Here’s a simple explanation of the 3 basic components that all websites have in common.

First, websites have a domain.

A domain is a website’s address on the internet.  

Take the example – https://something.com. 

‘something.com’ is the domain, or where you could find that page.​


Choosing a good domain name is  important as it feeds into your brand and helps people to find you on the internet.  Search engines, like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo, constantly crawl through websites in order to index, or catalog, domains and their pages and content.

Next, let's talk about hosting

If your domain is like your online address, your web hosting server is like the land underneath your house.  Your pages need to be stored somewhere.  Your hosting provider gives you that digital ‘real estate’ where you can build your site.

Hosting servers store your site information, then offer it to your viewers on demand. 

It is incredibly important to have a reliable host because it affects your website’s security, performance and uptime (availability.) 

For more about hosting and security, please read this blog post.

According to yoast.com good hosting companies will include 

  1. Help in case your site is hacked (broken into) 
  2. A redundant (think, extra!) firewall 
  3. automatic site backups
  4. malware scanning
  5. DDoS protection

As in the previous article, HTTPS protocol and SSL certification is important in hosting security too.

Simon Peter Media provides a hosting service that includes all these things.  Here’s a list of other reputable hosting servers that are vetted by Yoast.

Finally - what everyone actually uses websites for - content!

Content is the ‘stuff’ on your website. Blog journal entries, news articles, how-to explanations or videos, photo galleries, recipes, e-stores – and everything else you can think of to post!  

It is what people search for, so it’s important to use the best quality content you can make if you want more people to use and trust the information on your website

Content is organised into the hosting server space through a Content Management System, or CMS. 

A CMS will organise your information, then access and bring it to your viewers when your website is opened. 

WordPress is a free, open source CMS that powers a staggering 35% of the whole internet. 

https://wordpress.org/.

If you liked the address and land analogy for the domain and hosting, a CMS like WordPress is your website’s ‘General Store,’ complete with a shop assistant who fetches your content for your viewers.

  • If you’re curious to know what CMS a particular site uses, check this out.

So, I hope this post has helped you understand the underlying structure that all websites share. 

The domain is a website’s address.  The host gives you a secure piece of real estate.  Your content is the ‘stuff’ that is on your site, like items in a general store.  Your content is managed by a system (CMS) like WordPress, which is like the shop premises with an assistant who can find what is ordered. 

Happy days!