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Website Questions You Forgot to Ask

You have a website. I have a website. Everyone has a website. But what exactly IS a website? What should I know about this thing that is so critical to my business?

And, why should I care?

You might be a business owner hiring a freelance developer to build your website, a marketer pitching a vision to your development team, or a student learning about development as a career. Regardless of who you are or why you’re reading this guide, understanding the basics of website development can be helpful in this technology-driven world.

I got this!

The internet isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s become a portal and primary method of research, connection, education, and entertainment in the world.

As of 2018, there are 4.2 billion global internet users. That’s more than half the world’s population, and these folks are using the internet for a vast variety of reasons.

What’s the one thing those reasons have in common? They require a website, and each website requires a skilled web developer.

Web development is also a rapidly expanding industry. Between now and 2026, the employment of web developers is expected to grow by 15%. That’s much faster than most other technology careers.

Whether you’re looking to hire a web developer or become one, you should understand the different types of web development that developers can master — we dive into this below.

Finally, answers to the questions you forgot to ask.

Here we go: Website 101

1. What is a website?

Websites are files stored on servers, which are computers that host (fancy term for “store files for”) websites. These servers are connected to a giant network called the internet … or the World Wide Web (if we’re sticking with 90s terminology). We talk more about servers in the next section.

Browsers are computer programs that load the websites via your internet connection, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. Your computer is also known as the client.

2. What is an Internet Protocol (IP) address?

Internet Protocol is a set of standards that govern interaction on the internet.

To access a website, you need to know its IP address. An IP address is a unique string of numbers. Each device has an IP address to distinguish itself from the billions of websites and devices connected via the internet.

The IP address for HubSpot is 104.16.249.5. You can find any website’s IP address using Command Prompt on Windows or Network Utility > Traceroute on MacBooks or by visiting a site like Site 24×7.

To find your device’s IP address, you can also type “what’s my IP address” into your search browser.

While you can access a website using its IP address, most internet users prefer to use domain names or by going through search engines.

3. What is HyperText Transfer Protocol?

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) connects you and your website request to the remote server that houses all website data. It’s a set of rules (a protocol) that defines how messages should be sent over the internet. It allows you to jump between site pages and websites.

When you type a website into your web browser or search for something through a search engine, HTTP provides a framework so that the client (computer) and server can speak the same language when they make requests and responses to each other over the internet. It’s essentially the translator between you and the internet — it reads your website request, reads the code sent back from the server, and translates it for you in the form of a website.

4. What is coding?

Coding refers to writing code for servers and applications. It’s called a “language” because it’s comprised of vocabulary and grammatical rules for communicating with computers. They also include special commands, abbreviations, and punctuation that can only be read by devices and programs.

In a sense, developers are translators, too.

All software is written by at least one coding language, but they all vary based on platform, operating system, and style. There are many different types of coding languages … all of which fall into two categories (written by two different types of developers) — front-end and backend.

5. What is the front-end?

Front-end (or client-side) is the side of a website or software that you see and interact with as an internet user. When website information is transferred from a server to a browser, front-end coding languages allow the website to function without having to continually “communicate” with the internet.

Front-end code allows users like you and me to interact with a website and play videos, expand or minimize images, highlight text, and more. Web developers who work on front-end coding work on client-side development.

We’ll unpack more about front-end development in the next section.

6. What is the backend?

Backend (or server-side) is the side that you don’t see when you use the internet. It’s the digital infrastructure, and to non-developers, it looks like a bunch of numbers, letters, and symbols.

There are more backend coding languages than front-end languages. That’s because of browsers — at the front-end — only understand JavaScript, but a server — at the backend — can be configured to understand (pretty much) any language. We’ll cover more about backend development next.

7. What is a content management system?

A content management system (CMS) is a web application or a series of programs used to create and manage web content. (Note: CMSs aren’t the same as site builders, like Squarespace or Wix.)

While not required to build a website, using is CMS is certainly easier. It provides the building blocks (like plugins and add-ons) and lets you create the structure with your code. CMSs are typically used for e-commerce and blogging, but they’re useful for all types of websites.

And now you know.

Now I got this!

Note: This article is excerpted in part from the experts at Hubspot who are my go-to guys for good information and marketing assistance: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/website-development?utm_campaign=Marketing%20Blog%20-%20Daily%20Emails&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=84515872