Before you learn how to build a website of your own, you'll first need to understand how one works. And to understand that, we'll first take a look at how the Internet itself works.
Let's take first things first: The Web ( formally called the World Wide Web) is not the same thing as the Internet. The terms are often used interchangeably, but in fact, they're different. The Web is only one part of the Internet. There are many other parts as welland in fact, the Web was developed many years later than many other parts of the Internet.
The Internet is a vast network of computers connected to one another, communicating and offering information in many different ways. One way is the Web. But there are other ways as well, including email, discussion areas called Usenet newsgroups, and the FTP (File Transfer Protocol). We'll cover FTP more (later in this chapter) because you'll be using it when you build a website.
Computers on the Internet connect with each other using what are called protocolsessentially standards, conventions, and rules that govern how they communicate with one another. Different parts of the Internet use different sets of protocols. The Web's protocol is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol , known as HTTP for short. Acute observers will recognize that acronym because it always precedes any website's address. Putting those letters in front of the address alerts computers that they should communicate using HTTP.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) The communications language, or protocol, used by the World Wide Web.
Whenever you visit a website, your web browser contacts a computer on the Internet called a web server . When it makes that contact, it asks the server to send information to it, and the server happily complies. The server sends to your browser the web page and any files associated with that page, and your web browser displays it on your computer.
Web server A computer on the Internet that contains web pages, and that delivers those web pages to computers that contact it.
By the way, you'll often come across the terms website and web page . The terms are often used interchangeably, but they're not quite the same thing. A web page is one individual location, whereas a website is made up of multiple web pages.