Creating a website and maintaining it is a daunting task. And if you are trying to understand all the tech terms while creating one, it’s even more intimidating. Here is an explanation of six tech terms that you’ve probably heard, but aren’t sure what they actually mean.
1. Domain Name
Technically speaking, the term ‘domain name’ is actually short for Domain Name System or DNS. DNS is the most recognized system for assigning addresses to the Internet web servers. So what does that mean? It’s very similar to an international phone number — the domain name system helps give every Internet server a memorable and easy-to-spell address. It also keeps the technical IP address (we will address this guy further down the list) invisible to most viewers.
Domain names are organized RIGHT to LEFT. General descriptions are on the left and specific on the right. Let’s use flex360.com as an example.
The domain name is the “address” of your website — where it is located on the web. And at that address lives a family. Think of the top domain as a parent, and the mid-level domains are their children. As you drill down, you get to the grandchildren — much like a family tree. Most American servers use a three-letter top domain. For example, .com, .org, .net, .edu, etc. Countries other than the US commonly use two letters or combinations of two letters such as .au, .co, .jp. Using the example above, you can see .com is the top level domain and flex360 is the mid-level domain.
Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Is it the same as a domain name right? Actually, a domain name makes up part of the URL, but not all of it. We described the domain name as an address. Well, think of the DNS as a generic address, such as downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. With the URL, you’re going to get into more detail. You’re going to get the street name and address, the description of the structure at that location, whether there’s nice landscaping, etc. See where we are going here? The URL has the domain name, a specific page address, folder name and protocol language included.
Let’s use FLEX360 as an example again. When typed or copied into a browser, the URL below will go directly to a specific blog post on the website. The “8 tips on where to start when writing web content” blog post resides under the news tab on the site and is previewed on the page. To read more, there is a link to that specific blog article. The domain name, flex360.com is located in the URL as well as the news page and the article name.
Basically, a URL takes you to specific web content on a site.
We’ve covered the difference between domain names and URLs, but what about IP Addresses? An IP Address or Internet Protocol Address is a unique identifying number given to every single computer on the internet. So not only does your computer have an IP address, your mobile phone and Xbox does as well. Think of it as a car license plate and telephone number. It’s a special serial number used for identification and allows the machine to be located by other machines.
4. Web Hosting
So you’ve decided on a domain name for your website. Isn’t that the same thing as web hosting? While you can purchase both in the same place (Go Daddy is a popular place to do this), it’s not the same thing. Web hosting is where your files are stored. Think of it like this, using our same address and family analogy — you have a specific address, but you need a place to put your things. You need a structure. Web hosting is paying for space, so think of it as a mortgage payment for your house. It doesn’t include your furnishings (files), just a place for them to reside. If you don’t don’t have hosting services, then your domain would become like a disconnected phone number, and your site files would have nowhere to stay.
This may be relatively simple for some, but there are a lot of people who don't know what a web browser actually is. Many think it is Google or Yahoo, which is incorrect. A web browser is different from search engines like Google and Yahoo, which are websites that allow you to search the internet. Browsers are programs on your computer that allow you to visit websites.
There are different types of web browsers, and choosing a browser you are comfortable with will help you move about the web much easier. Every web page runs through a web browser. Some examples of browsers may include: Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. Your computer will come with a browser installed, and you can go to a search engine like Google or Bing to search for a different browser if you prefer.
Standing for "content management system", a CMS is a computer application that allows publishing, editing, organizing and deleting content on your website. This is where files are stored and organized and you have access to their data. A CMS is designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and manage their website. They can also do a lot of “behind the scenes” work regarding users, navigation elements, searchable content, and more.
Hopefully, these six terms will help you take on the challenge of creating a web presence with a little less apprehension. Itf you get too overwhelmed, remember we are always here to help, so reach out to our team!