The World Wide Web – How it Works

webdev

Here, we presume that you already know what a website looks like and about its usage.

Let us take a simple scenario. You are currently viewing this page (web page) on your browser. It has multiple elements including texts and graphics. You are probably here by clicking on an external link, or have manually written an address on the browser’s address bar that opened up this particular page. So how did all this happen? Let’s see it from a technical point-of-view.

A web browser is a program on your computer that lets you access pages on the internet, known as web pages. A website is a structured collection of web pages which is globally accessible on the Internet. Each website residing on the Internet is stored in a remotely accessible system known as a server. Each website/webpage is assigned to a different “address” to identify them uniquely. This is the address that you type on the browser’s address bar to open a website/webpage.

The visible contents of a website are processed and rendered before they are displayed in the web browser. A webpage is actually coded in a special markup language known as HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which is understood and interpreted by the web browser. Webpages are generally files with a .html / .htm extension. An html file generally looks like this.

<html>
<head><title> Webpage </title></head>
<body>
<h2>This is a test webpage</h2>
</body>
</html>

HTML is the basic building block of a webpage. It is recommended to have good understanding about the concepts of HTML in order to build and manage a website. These are some of the important HTML concepts that are useful while building websites.

HTML Tutorial by W3SCHOOL

Learn HTML

HTML Beginner Tutorial

Server

As mentioned above, a server is a remotely accessible system on which websites are stored. Every time you try to open any website on your browser, it makes a request to the server. The server, on receiving the request, sends back the requested webpage so that the browser can open it. The browser is also referred to as a client. The communication between the client and server takes place over a specific set of rules (or protocol) known as HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Server systems are usually powerful computers with huge capacity to handle large number of requests simultaneously.

URL and Domain

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) specifies the location of a particular webpage on a server. Part of the URL specifies the name of the website, which is known as the domain or domain name. For example, [http://7labs.heypub.com/web] is the URL of a particular webpage which belongs to the domain 7labsofficial.com. It is important to note here that every domain is a URL but every URL may not necessarily be a domain.

DNS

A browser makes a request for a particular website to the server using a unique sequence of numbers known as the website’s IP (Internet Protocol) address. Since it is not possible to memorize all the IP addresses of your favorite websites, a unique domain name is mapped to each IP address. A client makes a request using the domain name. A Domain Name System (DNS) is a special group of servers that maps a domain name to its corresponding (unique) IP address. They receive the browser’s request, finds out the corresponding unique IP assigned for that domain, and forwards the request to the main server with the corresponding IP address.

This article belongs to a special web archive [Web Development]. If you find the below information useful, you might want to go through other articles in this collection.

Next up: [Different Types of Websites]

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