Want to learn the basics of a website and how it works? Here’s our complete guide explaining everything you need to know about websites.
What is a Website? – Definition
A website (also referred to as ‘web site’ or simply ‘site’) is a collection of web pages, typically served from a single web domain. It is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet address known as a uniform resource locator (URL).
All publicly accessible websites are considered a larger subset of the World Wide Web, or simply the Web, an architecture proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited for creating the first web server, web browser, and webpage.
Websites are one of the most important pieces of online real estate for both individuals and businesses on the internet. They can be used to represent yourself online or your business, sell products and services, or share updates and information with the world.
In this complete guide, we will go through everything you need to know about websites in detail so that you have a clear picture before you start creating and launching your website.
Let’s get started by looking at the high-level concept of what a website involves – specifically the website address, domain names, and web hosting.
What is a website address?
Your website’s address, also known as its URL (uniform resource locator), is how people will find your site online. A good web address is easy to remember, type, and share.
For example, the website address for Google is www.google.com.
Website addresses include domain names for the main part, and that’s what we will look at next.
What is a website domain?
A domain name is the unique address of your web site on the internet. It’s what people type in to find your site.
Domain names are made up of two parts: the first part is the name you choose, and the second part is the extension, which is typically .com, .net, or .org.
For example, in the website address www.google.com, “google” is the name, and .com is the extension.
Domain names can be anything you want, as long as they are not already taken by someone else. You can use your name or your business name or make up a new word or phrase.
Keep in mind that domain names are case insensitive, which means that www.Google.com and www.google.com are the same website address.
Now that you know what a domain name is let’s move on to another major part of websites – web hosting.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that provides technology and support for websites. When you create a website, you need to store the files somewhere so they can be accessed online. This is done by hosting your website on a web server.
A web server is a computer that stores all the files for your website and makes them available to visitors online.
When you type in a website address, your computer will connect to the web server and request the files for the page you want to see. The web server will then send the files to your computer, and the page will load in your browser.
Web hosting providers are companies that own and operate web servers. They provide the technology and support needed to make your website accessible on the internet.
There are different types of web hosting depending on your needs. For example, shared web hosting is a good option for small websites with limited traffic, while VPS (virtual private server) hosting or cloud hosting with many servers is a better option for medium-sized to large websites that receive a lot of traffic.
There are also web hosting providers for specific types of websites, such as eCommerce websites, forums, etc. Most eCommerce platforms, for example, also offer web hosting to build online stores in the form of Software as a service (SaaS) hosting.
How do Websites Work?
When you type a website address into your browser, your computer will connect to the web server and request the files for the page you want to see. The web server will then send the files to your computer, and the page will load in your browser.
The process of loading a website is actually quite complex, and it involves a number of different technologies working together.
First, the web server needs to know which files to send to your computer. This is done using the Domain Name System (DNS), which is a system that converts human-readable website addresses into numerical IP addresses.
For example, when you type in www.google.com, your computer will use DNS to look up the IP address for google.com and connect to that address.
Once your computer has connected to the web server, the next step is to send a request for the specific page you want to see. This is done using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is the protocol that governs communication on the web.
When you request a page, the web server will look for the requested file and send it to your computer. The page will then load in your browser, allowing you to access it.
In addition to HTML files, a website may also include images, videos, and other types of files. These files are all stored on the web server and are sent to your computer as needed.
That’s a basic overview of how websites work and how you can access websites. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into it, but this should give you a general idea of the process.
Now that you have a general overview of what a website is and how it works let’s take a more in-depth look at each component.
Parts of a Website
Websites include several standard parts such as content, homepage, header, navigation menus, and footer among others.
To understand websites further, let’s look into the granular details of what makes a website.
What is Home page of a website?
The home page is the first page that visitors see when they go to your website. It is typically used to introduce your business or brand and provide an overview of the services that you offer.
The homepage also includes other elements, such as a header, footer, and navigation menu that allows your visitors to find the information they are looking for quickly.
What is web content?
Web content refers to the information that is displayed on your website. This can include text, images, videos, or any other type of content that you want to share with your visitors.
Your web content should be well-written and organized in a way that is easy for your visitors to navigate. It should also be relevant to the products or services that you offer.
What is a web page?
A web page is a single document that is displayed in a web browser. It can include text, images, videos, or any other type of content that you want to share with your visitors.
Web pages are typically organized into sections, and each section has its own unique URL. For example, the home page of a website is typically www.example.com/, and the About page is typically www.example.com/about.
You can link between several web pages within your website or add external links to other web pages. A website essentially consists of several webpages that are usually structured around a hierarchy referred to as website architecture.
What is a website navigation menu?
The navigation menu is a list of main links that are typically displayed on the home page or in the header of a web site. These links on navigation menus allow your visitors to quickly navigate to different parts of your website and find the information they are looking for.
A well-designed navigation menu is easy to use and has links pointing users to the key pages on a website. It is also usually consistent across all the pages on a website.
What is a website header?
A website header is typically located at the top of each page on your website. It includes your logo and navigation menu, and it may also include other elements such as a search bar or social media icons.
The header is one of the most important parts of your website because it is often the first thing that visitors see when they arrive on your site.
What is a website footer?
The footer is typically located at the bottom of each page on your website. It includes information such as your contact details, copyright notice, and links to other important pages on your site.
The footer is a good place to include social media icons, important internal and external links, and other contact information, such as website author details that you want your visitors to have easy access to.
What is a website title?
The title of your website is the text that appears in the tab at the top of your web browser when you visit a page on your site. It is also used by search engines to help visitors find your website.
Your title should be descriptive and keyword-rich so that it is easy for people to find your site when they are searching for something on search engines.
What are website pages?
The website pages are individual posts and pages on your site where you can add web content. A website can have just a few pages to tens of thousands of pages, depending on the size and complexity of the site. Each page has its own URL and can be accessed by anyone who knows the address.
You can use pages to share more detailed information about your business, products, or services. You can also use them to share blog posts, articles, or other types of content that you want your visitors to see.
Types of Websites
Now that you know a bit about websites, let’s look at the different types of websites and examples in different categories to help you further improve your understanding.
Websites can be classified into different types based on several criteria, such as the nature of websites, the topics they cover, the type of content they publish, and the purpose they serve.
Some of the popular types of websites based on all kinds of classifications include;
- Static Website
- Dynamic Website
- E-commerce Website
- Portfolio Website
- Landing Page
- Social Networking Website
- Mobile Site
Here’s more about different types of websites to help you understand them at a very high level.
What is a static website?
A static website is one that is built using HTML and CSS code, and its content does not change very often. Static sites are made up of static pages and are typically used for simple sites that do not require frequent updates, such as a personal portfolio or business website.
What is a dynamic website?
A dynamic website is one that is built using server-side programming languages such as PHP or ASP.NET. Dynamic websites can display different content for different users, and they can be updated more frequently than static websites.
Compared to static websites, dynamic websites are mostly interactive sites. They are often used for online stores, news websites, or other sites that need to display fresh content on a regular basis.
What is an e-commerce website?
An e-commerce website is one that allows users to buy and sell products or services online. E-commerce sites typically have a shopping cart and payment gateway so that users can purchase items on the site.
Some well-known examples of e-commerce websites include Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
What is a portfolio website?
A portfolio website is one that is used to showcase the work of an individual or company. Portfolio websites often include a gallery of images or videos, as well as information about the artist or company.
Many photographers, designers, and other creative professionals use portfolio websites to showcase their work and attract new clients.
What is a landing page on a website?
A landing page is a single web page that is designed to promote a particular product or offer. Landing pages are often used in online advertising campaigns, and they typically include a call to action (such as “Buy now!”) to encourage users to take the desired action.
Many sites include additional landing pages to promote a specific product or a service.
What is a blog?
A blog, originally referred to as a web log, is a type of website that typically contains articles or posts written by an individual or group of authors. Blogs can be about any topic, and they are often used to share opinions, post online diaries, or provide information on a particular subject.
Some well-known examples of blogs include The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Mashable. You can also check out our WebGuided blog on this website.
What is a forum?
A forum is a type of website that allows internet users to discuss topics with each other. Discussion forums are often organized around specific categories, and they can be used to discuss anything from current events to popular culture.
Some well-known examples of discussion forums include Reddit, 4chan, and 8kun.
What is a social networking site?
A social networking site is a type of website that allows internet users to connect with each other and share content. Social networking sites are often used for online communication, and they can include features such as user profiles, friend lists, groups, and private messaging.
Some well-known examples of social networking websites include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
What is a microsite?
A microsite is a small web site that is typically used to promote a specific product or offer. Microsites are often used in marketing campaigns, and they usually have their own domain name separate from the main website.
What is a mobile site?
A mobile site is a website that is designed to be used on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile sites are often simplified versions of larger websites, and they may include features such as touch-screen navigation and other responsive features.
With the popularity of responsive design websites that adapt to all kinds of screen sizes, there’s less appeal and the need to build separate mobile sites.
What is an intranet site?
An intranet is a type of website that can only be accessed by employees of a particular company or organization. Intranets are often used to share internal information, and they may include features such as employee directories and document libraries.
As these types of sites are not available publicly, they are not available on the world wide web.
What is an extranet site?
An extranet is a type of website that can be accessed by both employees and external users such as customers or partners. Extranets are often used to share information between different organizations, and they may include features such as collaboration tools and project management software.
Examples of Websites
Let’s look at the most common types of website examples in this section.
While types of websites are broader classifications based on technology, web design and other factors, it’s easier to understand different websites based on who they are created by and what they represent.
Essentially, it is simpler to classify most websites according to their creators and their purpose. Here’re the most common types of websites examples:
- Personal websites
- Business websites
- Educational websites
- Government websites
- Nonprofit websites
- Portfolio websites
- News websites
A personal website is a site that is created by an individual to share information about themselves. Personal websites can be about any topic, and they are often used to share opinions or provide information on a particular subject.
Some well-known examples of personal websites include websites of authors, entrepreneurs, writers, or personal brands, among others.
A business website is a web site that is created by a business or organization for its web presence and to promote its products or services. Business websites are often used in marketing campaigns, and they usually have their own domain name separate from the main website.
Some well-known examples of business websites include corporate websites, eCommerce websites, and small business websites.
An educational website is a website that is created by an educational institution to provide information about its programs, services, or research activities. Educational websites are often used in marketing campaigns, and they usually have their own domain name separate from the main website.
Some well-known examples of educational websites include university websites (see university web guides here), college websites, and school websites.
A government website is a website that is created by a government or public agency to provide information about their programs, services, or research. Government websites are often used in marketing campaigns, and they usually have their own domain name separate from the main website.
Some well-known examples of government websites include state websites, city websites, and county websites.
A nonprofit website is a website that is created by a nonprofit organization to promote its cause or mission. Nonprofit websites are often used in marketing campaigns, and they usually have their own domain name separate from the main website.
Some well-known examples of nonprofit websites include charity websites, foundation websites, and social welfare websites.
A portfolio website is a website that is created by an individual to showcase their work. Portfolio websites are often used by artists, designers, photographers, and other creative professionals to showcase their creations.
Some well-known examples of portfolio websites include personal portfolios, artist portfolios, and design portfolios.
A news website is a site created by a news organization to provide information about current events. News sites mostly include news stories and other media about the latest updates in any particular niche.
Some well-known examples of news websites include CNN, BBC, and Fox News.
A blog is a type of website that is typically updated on a regular basis with new content. Blogs are often personal in nature, and they can be about any topic.
Some of the popular categories and examples of blogs include travel blogs, food blogs, and fashion blogs.
As you can see, there are different types of websites, each specializing in a particular type of content or use.
A quick search on Google for examples of websites will return all kinds of popular websites that you might be familiar with already.
All these websites are popular on the web and serve distinct purposes, from videos to tech news to e-commerce.
How to Create a Website?
If you are learning about websites to be able to create one, we will focus on the website-building process in this section.
If you start looking into creating a website, you will quickly discover that there are many different ways to do it. You can use a website builder, hire a web designer, or even code your own site from scratch.
The best way to create a website depends on your needs and skills. If you need a simple website, you can use a website builder. If you need a more complex website, you will need to hire a web designer or developer.
Creating a website is a multi-step process. You need to start by choosing a web host and a domain name. Then, you need to design your website and add important content about what your website represents. You will then finally launch your site and promote it online.
Creating a website can be divided into three main steps:
- Choose a web host and domain name.
- Design your website and add content.
- Launch your site and promote it online.
Choose a web host and domain name
The first step in creating a website is to choose a web host and domain name. A web host is a company that provides the technology and services needed to create a website. A domain name is the unique address of a website, such as www.example.com.
There are many different web hosts to choose from, and they offer a variety of services. Some web hosts offer website builders, while others offer more comprehensive services that include hosting, design, and marketing.
To choose a web host, you need to consider your budget, website needs, and level of technical expertise. If you are on a tight budget, you can use a free web host like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. These platforms are easy to use and don’t require any technical expertise.
If you need more control over your website, you can use a paid web host like Bluehost or SiteGround. Paid web hosts offer more features and services, but they are still easy to use.
Start with our exclusive Bluehost coupon link to get the cheapest web hosting deal for substantially discounted rates. You can claim up to 80% OFF hosting prices along with a free domain name from Bluehost.
If you have the budget, you can also hire web designers or developers from popular freelance websites to create your website for you. This is the best option if you need a complex website or don’t have the time to create a site yourself.
Design your website and add content
Once you have chosen a web host and domain name, you need to design your website and add content. The design of your website should be based on your target audience and the type of website you want to create.
If you are creating a portfolio site, for example, you will need to focus on design and make it look professional. If you are creating a blog, you will need to focus on writing content and making it easy to read.
To design your website, you can use a website builder, hire a web designer, or code your own site from scratch. If you use a website builder, you can create a professional-looking website without any technical expertise. Besides, there are website builders for specific purposes, such as eCommerce platforms for building online stores.
If you hire a web designer using freelancing websites, they can create a custom website for you. This is the best option if you have a specific design in mind or need a complex website.
If you want to code your own website, you will need to learn HTML, CSS, and other web programming languages. This is the best option if you are an experienced programmer and want complete control over your site.
Launch your site and promote it online
Once you have designed your website and added content, you need to launch your site and promote it online. To launch your site, you need to register your domain name and set up web hosting.
After your site is live, you need to start promoting it online. You can do this by;
- Submitting your site to search engines,
- Creating social media accounts, and
- Running online advertisements such as Google ads.
Depending on the nature of your business and website, you can also promote your site offline by;
- Passing out business cards,
- Printing flyers, and
- Sponsoring events.
Creating a website takes time and effort, but it is a worthwhile investment. By following these steps, you can create a website that will help you reach your business goals.
What are Website Builders?
We will now look at some of the most popular Website builders that you can use to build websites quickly.
Website builders or website creators are online tools that allow you to create a website without any technical expertise.
Most website builders are drag-and-drop, which means you can simply add content and design your site without having to deal with code.
There are many different website builders to choose from, but we recommend using WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix. These platforms are easy to use, and they offer a variety of features and services.
List of Website Builders to Create a Website
There are many several other popular website builders available today, and the best one depends on your needs and the type of website you want to create
Some of the popular website builders for different kinds of sites include:
Weebly is a popular website builder that offers a variety of features, including a drag-and-drop interface, customizable templates, and a wide range of integrations.
Squarespace is a popular website builder that offers a variety of features, including a drag-and-drop interface, customizable templates, and eCommerce integration.
WordPress is a popular content management system that offers a variety of features, including a wide range of plugins and themes.
Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that offers a variety of features, including a drag-and-drop interface, customizable themes (see best Shopify themes), and integrations with a wide range of payment processors.
Zyro is a new website builder that offers a variety of features, including a drag-and-drop interface, customizable templates, and a wide range of integrations.
How to choose the right website Builder?
To decide which website builder is right for you, consider the following factors:
- The type of website you want to create
- Your budget for the website
- Your level of technical expertise
- The features you need
- The integrations you require
- The template designs you prefer
- Whether you want a drag-and-drop interface
- Your level of comfort with code
- The amount of control you want over your website
- The level of customer support you need
Once you’ve considered these factors, you can start to narrow down your options and find the best website builder for your needs. Also, check out our tutorial to create simple web guides.
Each website builder has its own set of features and advantages. You’ll need to decide which one is best for you based on your needs.
You can also check out our best website builders list for a complete guide on choosing the best one for your needs.
Website Basics FAQs
Here are some basic faqs to understand websites and website builders before you get started.
How do you define a website?
A website is a collection of web pages that are hosted on a web server and can be accessed by using a web browser.
What is the purpose of a website?
The purpose of a website can vary depending on the type of site. For example, a business website might be used to sell products or services, while a personal website might be used to share information about the owner.
How much does it cost to build a website?
You can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a basic website. The cost of building a website varies depending on the type of site you want to create, the features you need, and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into it.
How long does it take to build a website?
You can expect to spend anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks on a basic website. However, the amount of time it takes to build a website can vary depending on the type of site you want to create, the features you need, and your level of technical expertise.
What do I need to build a website?
To build a website, you will need a domain name, web hosting, and a website builder. You can also hire a web designer or developer to help you with the design and development of your site.
Start with a Website
Now that you understand the basics of websites and know all about available website builders, it’s time to start creating your own site.
To do this, you’ll need to start by carefully planning what you want your website to achieve and who your target audience is. Once you have a clear vision for your site, you can start to research the best website builders available and find the one that’s right for your needs.
Creating a website doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. With the right website builder, you can create your first website in just a few hours — even if you’ve never built anything on the web before.
Start planning your website today!