A website is a group of computer files which are accessible to the public through the internet. Normally this means storing (hosting) the files on an internet server which is then requested (downloaded) by a users internet browser (eg. Firefox or Internet explorer). Pinkbird.org makes it easy for anyone to create their own website without any further knowledge. This following article will give an over view of how websites may otherwise be built.
The first step to creating a website generally is through the acquiring of internet website server hosting. A Google search of 'website hosting' will provide millions of companies which provide this service around the world. Internet hosting when purchased gives the user a location to place computer files which will then be accessible to other people on the internet.
- Purchase internet hosting.
- The hosting company provides the customer with information to upload files and how to access the files through the internet.
- Upload files to the hosting company. (eg. MyFile.html)
- View the hosted files through the internet. eg. http://www.hostingcompany.com/MyNewWebsite/MyFile.html
FTP is generally utilised to upload files to the internet server provided by the internet hosting company. The company will send the owner a username and password, and a FTP address to connect to. Using FTP software (eg. FileZilla) the individual is able to upload files from their PC to the web server.
|HTML||Hyper Text Mark-up Language||Language for writing website pages.|
|HTTP||Hyper Text Transfer Protocol||Method to transfer websites from web server to user|
|FTP||File Transfer Protocol||Method to transfer website from owner to web server|
|URL||Uniform Resource Locator||The location of a website.|
Internet hosting providers will generally provide the user with a URL which points to the new website. As this URL may be very long (eg. http://www.hostingcompany.com/MyNewWebsite/index.html) this will be difficult for other people to remember. For this reason domains are utilised to create small URLs such as Google.com or MyNewWebsite.com. These domains may be purchased from a domain provider (eg. GoDaddy.com) and then directed to the new website.
Website files generally need to be written in HTML. Internet users use an internet browser to peruse a website which has been written in HTML. HTML allows for websites to be fast and for links to be included which direct users to other internet pages. If you right click on this page and select 'View Page Source' you will be able to see the HTML of Pinkbird.org. A simple website HTML file might look like the following.
<html> <head> <title>My Website</title> </head> <body> This is my website! </body> </html>
You can create such a file by opening notepad within Windows, pasting the above text, selecting Save As, and setting the name as 'index.html'. Double click on your new file 'index.html' and it should open automatically in your internet browser.
Static vs Dynamic
Websites send static HTML to users browsers when a user clicks on a page. This means the content of the page does not change once it arrives at the browser. This static HTML may either be stored on the web server as static HTML files (eg. Index.html) or it can be created by other dynamic files (eg. Index.asp or index.php). When a user clicks on a dynamic file the web server uses the dynamic file to output static HTML to the users browser. Because the static HTML is created when the user requests it, the HTML may be made specifically for the user rather than the same HTML for all users. All popular modern websites (eg. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc) are all dynamic as the content displayed is different depending on the user.
To make a website that is dynamic you need to utilise a programming language which is dynamic and usually employ a database to store information.
As HTML is static, to make dynamic HTML you need a language (platforms) which may be 'run' such as .Net (read 'dot Net') or PHP. When the .Net page is 'run' the code will make decisions and create HTML that is sent to the users browser. Generally the decision to use .Net or PHP is dependent if the web server is Windows (.Net) or Linux (PHP). Other languages exist but are not as common.
- Install a programming development solution. Eg. Microsoft Visual Studio
- Create a new project of type 'Web Site'.
- Compile the new website code.
- Upload the website to the internet hosting server.
A database is a piece of software which is used to store and retrieve information. The most common databases include Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle. The decision on which to use is again based on the web server operating system and cost, eg. Windows (MS SQL Server) and Linux (MySQL or Oracle).
- Install the database server. (eg. Microsoft SQL Server Express (Free))
- Create a database with the database management software (DBMS). Eg. Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
- Connect to the database with code. Eg. Within C#.Net
- Save or retrieve data with the code and database.