Web servers are at the heart of the Web, and when you build web pages, you're going to spend time with servers. So you should get to know one before you visit. Web servers can be any kind of computer. They can be Windows-based PCs, Macintoshes, or computers that run the Unix operating system, or a popular variant of Unix called Linux. These servers run software called web server softwarethe software that speaks HTTP.
Every server on the Web has its own unique number, called an IP address , such as 126.96.36.199. There's no way for human beings to remember every single number of every single website, so the server also has a domain associated with it, such as gralla.com. When you type in the address of the website, special servers on the Internet called DNS server s translate that address into an IP address, and your web browser goes to the right location.
IP address A unique number, such as 188.8.131.52, that identifies a computer on the Internet. In order for a computer to be connected to the Internet, it must have an IP address.
DNS (Domain Naming Service) server An Internet server that translates web addresses such as www.samspublishing.com to 184.108.40.206. When you type in a web address, the request is first sent to a DNS server, which translates the address into an IP address. Your computer then uses the IP address to contact the website you want to visit.
You won't be running a web server yourself. Instead, a company called a hosting service or an Internet service provider (ISP) runs the servers.
For someone to visit a website you build, you'll have to put onto the server the files that make up the site. There are two primary ways to do this:
You can create the files first on your own computer, and then upload the files to the serverthat is, send it from your PC to the server. You'll usually upload the files using FTP by running special FTP software on your computer. You'll learn how to do this in Part III, "Build Your Own Website Using Netscape Composer."
You can use built-in design tools so that you'll create the site right on the server itself, rather than first building it on your computer. You'll learn how to do this in Part II, "Building Your Own Website on GeoCities," Part V, "Make Money Building Auctions on eBay," and Part VI, "Build a Blog."