Website Basics

How Websites Work

Your Device
When you want to visit a website, you type in its domain name/address like this - which is called its URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Each website has a unique URL.
Online Post Office
The URL request gets sent through the internet to a DNS (Domain Name Server) which looks up its (IP) address which is a string of numbers. It then looks up who looks after (hosts) this address and contacts their server.
Hosting Company
The website hosting company's server is the place where your website is stored. When it receives a request for your website, it then looks up the HTML, image and CSS files and sends them back to your device so that you can view it.
how a website works

Internet Terms Uncovered

There are so many confusing terms regarding the internet nowadays, in order to get your first website, you need to understand what some of these terms mean. We explain some of the most common ones below:

Byte/Megabyte/Gigabyte/Terrabyte - These are storage units used for digital content. A byte (b) is the smallest amount, a megabyte (mb) is around 1000 bytes, a gigabyte (gb) is around 1000 megabytes and a terrabyte (tb) is around 1000 terrabytes. To give you some idea, an mp3 music file is normally 5 - 6 megabytes, your hard drive total size could be 80 gigabytes and a terrabyte is the size of one of the newest hard drives and can store a very large amount of data.

Domain Name / URL - The domain name is your unique name for your website like The domain name is made up of several parts - the first part is http:// which stands for hypertext transfer protocol which tells the device you are using that you are looking up a website address. The next part is www. which says that it is part of the world wide web. The third part is your domain name daffodilsolutions and the fourth part is the TLD (Top Level Domain) which is the extension on the end such as or .com. A domain name can also be called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

Website - This is your set of pages which gets shown to a user when they type in your domain name address.

HTML - stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the programming language which forms the basic language of your website pages.

CSS - stands for Cascading Style Sheet. This tells the HTML programming what to do with things like where to move them or what colour the font should be.

Website Hosting - The website hosting is where your website is stored. Normally this is a server owned by your website hosting company. You pay them a monthly fee, and in return they offer email solutions, hosting and backup services etc. If you do not have your website hosted then it will not be on the internet and no one but you will be able to access it.

ISP - Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is the company who supplies your internet connection to your home or office. The ISP is completely different from your website hosting company. Examples of ISP's include; TalkTalk, Virgin, EE Broadband and BT Broadband.

Email and Websites

It can be quite confusing understanding how your email address relates to your website, and for many people this is probably the main thing that they don't understand about websites and emails.

Hosting - When you sign up with a website hosting company, you will normally be allocated several email addresses/accounts to go along with your domain name. The hosting company allocates you a space on their server (which you pay them monthly for). This space is then divided into the space available to be used by your website files and then another space which can be used for your email accounts.

Email Accounts - Your space on the hosting company's server for your email accounts is then divided up into equal portions, say 2 gigabytes each. Each account is given a unique name such as Kelly@ or Info@ and then ends in your domain name, and ends up looking like this:

Retrieving Mail - Whichever program you use to look at your email, whether it be Outlook or an online mail program, it will need to be updated to include your new email account names and the account details changed to point to your allocated spaces on the web hosting company's server. When someone sends you an email, then it will be stored in your allocated server space, then downloaded from there via your email program to your computer.

Back to top