Have you ever thought about how a website works, most people have no idea they just take the internet for granted these days.
Your website is made up of web pages which are a collection of text, images and other elements that make up a single page this article for instance is a single web page and all the pages together form your website.
A website is like a book some small websites may only have a few pages while a large eCommerce shop may have thousands of web pages.
Web pages are stored in a data base on your web hosting account which are arranged into tables for easy identification and retrieval, your domain name is pointed to the domain name server for your hosting account which knows where your data is located.
When someone searches online for your website the domain name server locates your web pages and sends the requested page to your browser for you to view.
There are many elements required to make a website work and the first step for a website to work is web hosting, why do you need web hosting, you can actually host your website on your own personal computer at home but generally this is not a good idea you will need to keep your computer on 24/7 and if your website becomes popular and you start getting traffic through your website the resources that your computer has may not cope and your visitors will not be able to access your site or your site will be extremlly slow.
Web hosting services are available from hosting providers in four configurations to suit the many types of websites that are on the intenet, a web server is similar to your home computer but on a much larger scale able to cope with thousands of websites at a time, the web server is where your websites pages are stored in the form of data and the web server also provides browsers with the information when a visitor searches online for your website.
Another very important element in order for your website to work is your domain name and a domain name is essentially like your home address this is how your website visitors will find you through the thousands of other websites just like yours, your domain name is unique there are no two domains that are the same and your domain name is very important for the success or failure of your website it needs to stand out and be as short as possible and easy to remember, domain names can be country specific like .co.nz for New Zealand websites or .com for international websites.
Domain names can be extremely important for businesses as they tend to become a brand that identifies the business or service this why your domain should incorporate your business name providing it is easy to remember and kept short, domain name trading is a big business these days and unless you come up with a unique domain chances are some has already brought the domain name you need and will resell back to you at a crazy price this is more evident with the popular .com extension which are in high demand.
Domain Name Server
Now that you have a domain name this domain is stored in a server called a DNS or domain name server this is not your web hosting server but a separate server just for domain names, when you search for a website or information through your browser on the internet this request goes to the domain name server which stores the machine names and the ip addresses of the website domain you are searching for.
The browser then asks the server to translate the domain you are searching for into the ip address, the browser then sends a request to the server for the particular web page that you want to view and this is then displayed in your browser.
The domain name server is just like a phone directory for websites enabling you to search for the information that you need and sort through through the billions of web pages on the internet, when you purchase a domain name and hosting account the domain name needs to be pointed to the correct domain name server for your web hosting account with out the domain pointed to the correct DNS your browser will not be able to retrive data from the website that you requested.