Almost everyone knows how to use the internet these  days.  Whether you want to play poker or find out when the ferries are running, you have a pretty good idea how to do that. You are familiar with the whole process as a user or visitor to various websites. Now that you are thinking about being the owner of  a website, you are going to find yourself on the other side of that process. Do you know what  the World Wide Web is and how it works? Let me explain it for you in simple terms.

First of all the “internet” and the “world wide web” are not the same thing. The internet is the global interconnection of computer networks. The entire internet is like one gigantic, sprawling agreement between companies to inter-communicate freely. The world wide web is a way to navigate this massive network. There are LARGE national and regional  internet service providers (ISP’s) that provide the physical backbones of the system; for example fiber optics, undersea cables, satellite links etc.  When you access the web at home you are getting your information from a local ISP or service provider. You talk to a web server  by opening a browser on your desktop. There are many different browsers available free of charge. These include Google, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari to mention the most common. You enter the name of what you are searching for in their search boxes and voila! a list appears of possible matches and you choose the one you want to look at.  If you know the “address” you can enter that in the empty bar at the top of the page and go directly to that website. This bar is called the URL or uniform resource locator. A typical address has http:// www. at the beginning and an extension at the end like .com or .ca (more about extensions later). Sometimes it is not necessary to type in the http:// part as the browser fills it in for you.

But how to all those websites get there? I may have built a website on my home computer but how do I then publish it so that people can find it by doing a search? Where do you get an “address” so people can type it into their browser and find my business?

The first thing you must do is register a unique Domain Name with an approved registrar. There is a small annual fee associated with this. The next step is to find a Hosting Company. There is another larger fee for this as well.  Some web design companies include these fees in their prices. When your website has been created and is ready to Go Live it will be uploaded to your chosen host and your clients will be able to see it!  Cool eh? I will talk about some of the finer concideration when choosing a domain name in my next post.

See you then! – Olwen