How Websites Work For Newbies

how websites work for newbies

How do websites actually work? If you come from a non-technical background this is probably a question you have asked yourself multiple times. Trying to understand a website’s workings can be a strenuous task and when you come across terms like servers and databases, it doesn’t take long to start losing interest.

In 2021, we interact with websites on a daily basis and depend on them for almost all aspects of life. On the surface, they may seem pretty simple. You type in the name of the website you want to visit and it’s there at your disposal. However, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes. We have put together the following information to help you understand how websites work.

Every so often you hear about a company’s servers being attacked or going down. If this has never really made sense to you, we are writing this for you!

We will try to keep things interesting and help you understand what really goes into making a website function. We will be using a restaurant analogy to explain things in a simpler way.

Hosting Server / The Waiters and Waitresses

A hosting server can be likened to the waiters and waitresses at a restaurant. They act as the buffer between the kitchen and the guests as they handle their demands and convey information between the two. Once the kitchen is done preparing the order, the waiters/ waitresses bring it out to the guests.

A hosting server handles the requests that are sent by the visitors to the website. This means that the hosting server is responsible for allowing visitors to communicate with the website. We use programs such as Nginx or Apache to resolve client requests.

Application Server / The Kitchen

The application server is like the kitchen of a restaurant as it handles the processes that are required to fulfil the guests’ requests, i.e. cooking the food. The kitchen receives an order from the waiting staff and starts preparing the meal and once it is ready, it’s sent out. 

An application server can be described as a combination of hardware and software that essentially provides an environment for programs to run. This is the server that processes any of the work that is required by the website. We use CSS, JS, and HTML to create the frontend of the website, which is what the clients see, and PHP as our server-side language.

Database Server / The Freezer

When the kitchen receives an order, they need to get the materials to cook the food from somewhere. They typically grab the things they need from freezers, fridges, dry storages, etc., and proceed to cook. This is the closest thing to a database server at a restaurant.  

The database server is what hosts the database that is used by a website to manage information. This is where the data required to satisfy the visitors’ requests are stored. We use the MySQL database management system to create database solutions for our websites.

The process

When someone visits a website and interacts with the pages, what goes on in the background can be broken down into a few steps.

  • When the client enters a URL in their browser, the hosting server handles this request and presents the website.
  • When any feature of the website is used, which requires further processing, it is carried out on the application server.
  • When the application server requires any information to conduct actions, it reaches out to the database server.

How Selexweb can help with your website

At Selexweb we like to make things simpler for you. Nowadays, most businesses require an online presence to succeed. If you are looking to grow your business but do not want to create a website on your own, we are here to help.

We aim to offer our clients affordable solutions to bring their business to the internet.

We will help you create a beautiful, robust and secure website to conduct your business online. We also provide maintenance services including customer support, regular checkups, and frequent backups to ensure that your business is thriving.

Written By

Sayem Shahid

Sayem Shahid

Sayem is a web developer who loves writing code and making magic happen. The most exciting part of his job? Connecting the dots: figuring out how to translate what people want to happen in computer languages! When it's not work time, you'll find him in the kitchen cooking up something delicious or playing billiards with friends on the weekends.

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