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How a website works
A website is a collection of web pages, images, videos and other digital assets that are hosted on a web server. A web server is a computer that stores these files and makes them accessible via the Internet.
When you type a URL into your web browser, it sends a request to the web server for the files that make up the website. The server then responds by sending the requested files back to your browser, which assembles them into a webpage and displays it on your screen.
The process of requesting and receiving files from a web server is known as HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). Websites use HTTP because it’s an efficient way to transfer small files over the Internet.
How the internet works
The internet is made up of a worldwide network of computers that communicate with each other using a common protocol, or set of rules. Data is transmitted between these computers using cables, wireless technologies, and satellites.
The vast majority of the data on the internet is in the form of text documents, but there are also images, videos, and audio files as well. When you request a web page in your browser, your computer contacts the server that hosts the website and requests the specific file. The server then sends the file to your computer, where it is displayed in your browser.
To make this process more efficient, most websites are not just a single HTML file but are instead made up of many smaller files that are cached, or stored on your computer for future use. This way, when you request a page that you’ve already visited, your browser can load it from your cache instead of requesting it from the server again.
How web browsers work
How web servers work
Most web servers use the client-server model. This means that there is a central server that all clients (i.e. computers) connect to. The server stores all the website files (i.e. the pages, images, videos, etc.) and the clients request these files from the server when they want to view the website.
The communication between client and server is done using a protocol called HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). When you enter a URL into your web browser (e.g. www.howstuffworks.com), your computer sends an HTTP request to the web server telling it which files you want to download. The web server then sends back an HTTP response with the requested file(s).
The client and server are usually connected via the Internet, but they can also be connected via a private network (e.g. a local area network or LAN).
How DNS works
DNS is the system that translates a website’s name to its Internet address. When you enter a URL into your browser, your computer contacts the DNS server associated with your Internet service provider (ISP) and requests the IP address for www.howitshouldwork.com. The DNS server looks up the IP address and returns it to your computer. Your computer can then contact the web server at that IP address and fetch the website.
How domain names work
Domain names are what help us navigate to specific websites. When you enter a domain name into your web browser, the browser simply looks up the IP address for that domain and connects you with the corresponding website. Technically, domain names are case-insensitive, meaning you can type in a domain name with any combination of upper- and lower-case letters.
How web hosting works
Web hosting is a service that provides technology and services needed for a website or web page to be viewable on the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. When you create a website, you will need to register it with a web hosting service. After your website is created and registered, your web hosting service will give you instructions on how to put your website on their server.
The type of server you need depends on the type of website you have. For example, if you have a small personal website with only a few pages, you can host it on a shared server, which is much less expensive than having your own server. However, if you have a large website with many pages and many visitors, you will need to have your own dedicated server.
Hosting services can also provide other services needed for your website to run properly, such as email accounts and software programs.
How SSL/TLS works
The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are protocols that provide communication security over the Internet. They are designed to prevent eavesdropping and tampering with message data.
SSL/TLS works by encrypting data at the sender’s side, sending it across the network, and then decrypting it at the receiver’s side. The encryption process uses public-key and symmetric-key algorithms. Public-key algorithms use a pair of matched keys, one for encryption and one for decryption. Symmetric-key algorithms use a single shared key for both encryption and decryption.
The most common SSL/TLS protocol is TLS 1.2. It is an updated version of TLS 1.1, which was itself an updated version of TLS 1.0. TLS 1.3 is the latest version of the TLS protocol and is currently in draft form.
How website security works
Website security is essential for any site that wants to maintain a good reputation and keep its users safe. There are many different aspects to website security, but one of the most important is SSL/TLS encryption. This is a process that encrypts communication between a website and its users, making it much harder for third parties to intercept and read data.
SSL/TLS encryption is used by millions of websites to protect user data, and it is especially important for sites that handle sensitive information such as financial details or personal information. In order to maintain a good level of security, it is important to keep up-to-date with the latest SSL/TLS encryption methods and make sure that your website is using the strongest possible encryption.
How web development works
Web development is the catch-all term for the work involved in creating a website. It covers everything from developing the website’s structure and layout to coding individual pages and applications. And it can range from developing a simple single-page site to building a complex web platform or application.
Web development is usually divided into two main camps: frontend and backend. Frontend web developers are responsible for everything that users see and interact with on a website. This includes the layout, design, and content of the site. Backend web developers, on the other hand, build and maintain the server-side infrastructure (i.e., the “backend”) that powers frontend code. They also write code to connect the frontend to the database, store and retrieve data, handle user authentication, and more.