Top 3 Basic Things You Should Know About How a Website Works

how websites work

There are number of reasons why someone might need to have a website. From a business page to a personal blog, more and more individuals are finding themselves starting their very own website.

But before anyone should jump into starting a website, they need to understand how websites work. Specifically, there are three basic components of every website that any webpage owner needs to understand: the website, the domain name, and the DNS.

The Website

The very first thing someone must understand about how websites work is to know exactly what a website is.

A website is a collection of webpages, comprised of images, HTML code, CSS files, and more, that are kept on a web server. When we view a webpage, or one page of the entire website, what we are really looking at is an HTML file. These files instruct the computer on how to present the information. Regardless of the contents of the website or webpage, if it is a static or dynamic page, everything we see is part of the HTML file.

These webpages are held together and put on the Internet through a website hosting service. Through purchasing website hosting, you are essentially purchasing a space on the Internet to display your website and webpages. Without a web host, you are unable to place your website on the Internet.

Webpages also utilize CSS, or client side scripting, to promote interactivity of the user throughout the webpage and website. The most common CSS websites typically use is Javascript.

Each website should have a standard flow, meaning each page is connected in an organized and logical way. This usually means there is a single home page that is then broken into what are referred to as “main sections.” Then, each of these main sections can be broken down into subsections if necessary.

The Domain Name

Your domain name is what makes your website your website. Each website will have its own domain name, which is how your readers or customers will find your website. The domain name is what is typed in to find your page.

On the back end of things, what a domain name really does is give a memorable name to your website’s IP address. A websites IP address consists of a series of numbers. Because it would be impractical for people to remember the IP address for each website they visit frequently, the domain name makes it much easier to get where you would like to go. Additionally, because many companies have their business name as their domain name, it is easy to find the website you are looking for even if you have never visited it before.

A website’s domain name is also used in the creation of URLs for the website. A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, points an individual to a particular webpage within the website. The URL for each page should give some kind of indication of the information within the page, and can typically be customized to provide that. For example, you would want the about page of your website to be located at, and your website’s blog to be located at


The final part of a website you need to understand before you can make one is the DNS. The DNS, or the Domain Name System is what connects your website to your domain. When creating your website, you will typically find that you cannot store your hosting and your website in the same location. The DNS ties the two systems to each other.

For example, when you go to purchase your hosting and domain name, you will find that you will need to probably need to do this through a hosting company. But you will be unable to build your website in this same location. When you go to build your website on another platform, like WordPress, you will need to connect the hosting and the website through the Domain Name System.

The DNS makes the computer connection between the domain name and the website’s IP address so that we don’t have to. That way, when someone who wants to visit your website goes to search for your page, they simply type in your domain name, the DNS finds and locates your website IP address, and displays this information to the user.


An easy way to understand websites, domains, and the DNS is to view the system like a library. The websites are the books, the domain in the book title, and the DNS is the librarian.

Because we are unlikely to remember every IP address for the websites we would like to visit, we use a simplified version, or the domain name. In order to find the website we are looking for, we request it through the DNS, which has access to more information than we do. The DNS then goes and finds the IP address that is linked to the domain name we are searching for, and provides us with our information. Websites can also be located by searching directly for the IP address if the individual knows what it is.

Now that you have a better understanding of what goes into the creation of a website, you’re on track to developing a site that fits the needs of your business, blog, or personal page.

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