A quick look at how websites work. Understand what servers, hosting and domains mean.
Welcome to Chapter 3!
This is where the fun really starts, because in this chapter, we’re going to get to actually building websites. But, before we dive headlong into building them, let's first understand how websites work. Imagine you are trying to set up a business, one that needs a store of some sort. What you would need is a physical space with an accessible address, maybe like in a mall, so that your customers can find you.
The mall itself might be owned by a realtor but you rent that space from the mall. Once you have the space, you begin setting up the store so you can selling whatever it is that you’re offering.
Websites work pretty much the same way. Just like you rent space in a mall for your store, on the web you can rent space from servers. Servers, like malls, do the job of maintaining the space, while you get to set it up as your own, to sell your product or service. Renting space from a server is called hosting, which means the server hosts your website on its web space.
Now if all this is something you already know and you’re rolling your eyes at me, this section is just to teach you some patience, and character, and good transitions from one slide to the other, like this.
Now like any good store, you want to have an address where customers can easily find you. The equivalent of this on the web is what you call a domain. This is basically the address that users will enter into their browser to find your website. Simple stuff. Now a key difference between a store in the mall and a store on the web, other than the obvious ones you’re thinking of, is that, in the mall you first get the space and then you set up, whereas on the web, you would first set up what your website looks like, and then host it on the space you’re renting on the server.
And once you have uploaded your website to the server, you can then connect your address or your domain to it.
The question is, how do you build your website in the first place?
Well, traditionally, building websites was only for developers and techies who knew how to code. It required writing very complex lines of code that took years of training to master. However, that is not the case today. Like dial-up internet, floppy disks, and portable CD players, website building has come a really long way.
Today there are several tools you can use to build entire websites without having to write a single line of code. These tools have pre-built designs for you to use and tweak to build your own websites. They function, and look and feel the same as a website coded entirely from scratch.
And there are several no-code website tools out there but we’re going to focus on one particular tool - Webflow. Despite being a fairly new tool Webflow has become quite popular in the tech and startup community primarily because of how user friendly it is, but more importantly, how much creative freedom it allows you. Think of Webflow as the kid in high school that walks in with a new pair of kicks while most kids are wearing boring worn out white sneakers. That kid is you now. Embrace it.
And in the next episode, we’re going to set you up on Webflow so let’s get it.