8 September 2015

Internet and Website Technology Explained

There's a lot of technology and acronyms involved in the internet, and some of it can be quite confusing. Maybe you're just interested to finally know what some of these things actually mean, or maybe you want a website for your company - in which case you're going to need to know your DNS's from your IP addresses. Well never fear, we're here to explain it all in our simple guide to internet technology.

Domain name

Your domain name is your virtual address on the internet. Ours is sites.creou.com. Domain names often start with www. but don't have to, in fact it's a trend that's fading these days. They always end with a fixed part such as .com or .co.uk, this part is called the "top level domain" or TLD. Customers to your site will be able to type your domain name into their browser to navigate directly to your site.

IP Address

Computers on the internet use IP addresses to talk to each other. IP addresses uniquely identify each computer and allow the messages required to fetch and load your site to be routed between them. They usually look like four sets of numbers separated by a dot. For example, our servers IP address is 104.40.187.26. (This is actually what is called an IP version 4 address. These are going to be slowly phased out to be replaced with newer IP version 6 addresses, which will be made up of 8 groups of 4 characters).

DNS

DNS stands for Domain Name System. This is a system for converting your domain name into an IP address that your computer to use to fetch your site. Domain names on their own don't tell your computer where to fetch the website from. By using DNS your computer is able to lookup your domain name in a highly distributed database and find the IP address of the server that holds your website. Your computer can then use the IP address to fetch the site.

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Web Host

You web host is where the files for your website are stored. A web hosting company will usually have many servers that store websites. They will manage the connections between these servers to make sure that whenever your web site is requested the customer gets a response as quickly as possible.

SSL

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is technology to encrypt the data sent between your computer and the website's servers to keep it secure. Whenever you purchase something on the internet you should look for the padlock symbol to confirm that the site is using SSL before entering your card details. To use SSL on your website you need to purchase a certificate from your web host which will be used to do the encryption.

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HTML / HTTP

HTML (or Hyper Text Markup Language) is the language of the web. It's what the designers and programmers who build your web site will use to craft the layouts you want. If you want to see what it looks like you can right click on your website and click 'view source'. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, this is the standard communication rules that computers follow to request, send and receive the HTML that makes up your site.

Javascript

Javascript is another programming language. This time it's one that is used to create the more dynamic features or your site. Slideshows, popup photos galleries, search, all of these are implemented using Javascript.

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