Double click [insert favorite web browser here], type an address and voila! A web page appears. Just what the heck is that and how does it work?!? If you're reading this, you probably used a special type of web page called a search engine to find this page.

A website is a file, that is stored on a server. The server has public name thatyou use to find it and all the files on it called a "web address". The 'web server' which serves up the web pages, contains a set of files that the server will deliver to your web browser.

You access a website by opening a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox) and typing in the name of the website. Website addresses are referred to as Uniform Resource Locators or URL's. The web server's URL has a domain name associated with it to make it easier for us humans to remember it's address and the server has a default directory and file that it will deliver when someone connects to it. This makes it possible for you to get to the site's main page without knowing the name of the file that was created to be the main page.

The name of the website contained in the URL is converted by your web browser using the Domain Name Service into an Internet Protocol address. Your web browser uses this address to open a connection to the web server. Once the connection is opened, your web browser requests requests specific files from the web server and begins downloading them. The files stored on the server are text files called web pages and are written using a special set of coded tags called 'markup'. This markup is so special, it has a name: HyperText Markup Language or HTML. The markup language makes it possible for you to click on things in the web pages you download and without knowing the names of the files you want, retrieve the information you're looking for.

Websites come in all sizes and shapes. Websites are often categorized by the services they provide or the sort of people they serve or the people who created them.

Website Types

Search Engine
A search engine is a special website that has special software on it that 'crawls' through the Internet and creates a massive index to all the other web pages on the Internet it can reach. You can go to this site, type in specific words or phrases that pertain to what you are looking for information for and the search engine will return links to all the pages it could find that had the terms/phrases you were looking for in them. Search engines all work differently and rank pages differently, so searching can be a little challenging.
Web Portal
Web portals sites that have links to a lot of other sites or information. They tend to be either very focused to serve a special limited community of users, or very generalized to serve a large portion of the Internet users. Search Engines are a special kind of portal dedicated to providing search services. Another example are Health portals medical websites and articles on medicine, nutrition and health.
Corporate Website
This is the type of website we are probably most familliar with. It is the site where a company creates what marketing people call an 'Internet Presence'. These sites are dedicated to providing publicly accesable information about the company and it's products. These are the "dot-com" websites. Sometimes, the easiest way to find a company's website is to type in or For example: is the Wall Street Journal; is Cisco Systems; is AOL.
Government Websites
Government websites are sites hosted on servers owned or operated by the National or local government. In the United States of America, these addreses all end in .gov. For instance, there is, (this is the Thomas search engine for government legislation past, present and pending); and the dreaded!
Support Website
These websites are frequently part of larger corporate websites and many are absolutely fantastic. Who could complain about being able to instantly find the information you need to fix that broken gizmo or find out where to go for advice on home repairs or legal issues. Not all of these sites are free, but not all of these sites are run by corporations.
Personal Website
This is the most common sort of Internet site and often are nothing more than a single file with a lot of pictures and favorite links from a specific person. These sites are frequently hosted by the Internet provider and have addresses such as

In case you're wondering which category InetDaemon.Com falls into, your first guess might be wrong. InetDaemon.Com is actually not a corporate website. It is in fact a personal website run by a certain busybody we will simply refer to as 'InetDaemon'. Website names can be misleading in some cases (except .gov in the United States). Don't trust them and don't trust other names that look like them. One very famous example is the pornographic website that site has nothing to do with the United States Government and is in no way affiliated with anyone or anything at the Whitehouse... When you're not sure of a company website address, try using a search engine to find it.

What a website is made of

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Applets
    • Java
    • Flash
  • Computer Gateway Interface CGI (Dynamic Websites)



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