How Do Websites Work?

Updated Apr 06, 2022 ⤳ 3 min read

A website is a collection of web pages connected via hyperlinks or simply, links.

As you probably know, a hyperlink is a reference in the text that takes you from one page to another when you click on it. 

We all click on hundreds of links every day when surfing the web.

A text that contains links is called Hypertext. That’s pretty much everything we read on the Internet every day.

It’s what the Web is all about: billions of web pages connected via hyperlinks.

Static and dynamic websites

Every website has its content stored on a database or filesystem.

Every time you access a website, your web browser sends a GET request to the server that hosts that website.

There’s special software installed on this server, called a web server

The web server responds to your request by returning the requested content.

If the requested content is a simple HTML file or an image, the web server retrieves it from the filesystem directly and sends it to you.

Ready-to-serve HTML pages are known as static web pages or static websites.

But what if the web page contains dynamic content? 

What is dynamic content anyway? You may ask.

Here’s the explanation:

Sometimes you need to display customized information based on user interests, geographical location, profile settings, etc.

In that case, the web server needs to send customized content to each user.

That said, the web server needs to pass the request to a back-end code to prepare the customized content.

And when the content is ready, the web server sends it to the user.

These types of web pages are known as dynamic web pages or dynamic websites.

Front end and back end

There are two main specialties in web development: front-end development and back-end development.

And needless to say, developers working on each end are called front-end developers and back-end developers, respectively.

The front end and back end are the two essential elements of any website or web application.

Backend code would be useless without the front-end code.

It takes two to tango.

Tango Porteño (Remixed), Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Front-end development is about displaying information on a web page that people can see and interact with.

The back-end code, however, is about working with data.

On the other hand, The front-end code receives raw data provided by the back-end code and displays it in a formatted, structured, and interactive way.

Typically, you choose one specialty as your primary expertise.

However, when you pick one, it’s good to know a bit about the other one too.

Which one to choose?

It’s totally up to you!

If you prefer to work on the user-facing end, then you can start with front-end development.

However, if you like working with data, you’ll enjoy back-end development.

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