A Beginner’s Guide to Web Development

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a network of computing resources. You can think of the Internet as a physical collection of routers and circuits as a set of shared resources. It emerged in the US in the 1970s but did not become visible to the public until the early 1990s. By the year 2020, approximately 4.5 billion people, or more than half of the world’s population, were estimated to access the Internet. This guide will help you to understand about Web Development.

Internet-based services

Some of the basic services that the internet offers are:

  • E-Mail- E-mail is an easy, fast, and inexpensive way to communicate with other Internet users around the world.
  • Telnet- It is a network protocol used to access a computer and offers a two-way, collaborative, and text-based communication channel between two machines.
  • FTP-It is a standard internet protocol offered by TCP/IP that is used for transmitting files from one host to another. It is also used to download the files to the computer from other servers.
  • UseNet News- It is a distributed bulletin board that provides a combination of news and discussion service on many topics.
  • WWW-It is a system that displays text, graphics, and audio. A hypertext document with its reader and hyperlinks is written in (HTML) and is assigned an online address called the Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

What is the URL?

URL means Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is the address of a unique resource on the Web. Each valid URL points to help, and these resources can be an HTML page, a CSS document, an image, etc. There are some exceptions in practice; the most common is a URL pointing to a resource that did not exist or moved. As the Web server handles the help represented by the URL and the URL itself, it is up to the server owner to manage the resource and its associated URL.

What is WWW?

It is a system that displays text, graphics, and audio. A hypertext document with its reader and hyperlinks is written in (HTML) and is assigned an online address called the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Users can access the content of the sites from any part of the world over the internet using their devices like computers, laptops, cell phones, etc. The WWW, along with the internet, helps retrieve and display text and media to your device.

What is HTTP?

The HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the WWW’s foundation and is used to load web pages. HTTP is an application layer protocol created to transfer information between networked devices and runs on top of other network protocol stack layers. A typical flow over HTTP involves a client machine requesting a server, sending a response message.

What is a Web Server?

It is a computer that runs the websites. It is a computer program that distributes web pages as they are requisitioned. The web server’s main objective is to store, process, and deliver the web pages to the users. This intercommunication is done using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. These web pages are static content that includes HTML documents, images, style sheets, tests, etc. Apart from the HTTP, a web server also supports Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and File Transfer Protocol to email and transfer and store the file.

What is a Web Browser?

A web browser is software you are using right now to search, reach, and explore websites. When you navigate through the pages of information, this is commonly known as browsing or surfing.

What is an ISP?

A company that offers Internet connections and services to individuals and organizations. Besides providing access to the Internet, ISPs may also offer software packages. They can host websites for businesses and can also build the websites themselves. ISPs are all connected through network access points, public network facilities on the Internet backbone.

What is the SMTP Server?

SMTP is part of the application layer. Using the process store and forward, SMTP moves your email on and across networks. It works closely with the Mail Transfer Agent to send your communication to the right computer and email inbox.

What is DNS?

The Domain Name System is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names such as nytimes.com or espn.com. Web browsers interact via Internet Protocol addresses. It translates the domain name to IP addresses so that the browsers can load Internet resources.

How The Web Works

When you insert the address in your browser and you hit the enter button, a lot of things happen:

  1. The URL gets resolved
  2. A Request is sent to the server of the website
  3. The response of the server is analyzed
  4. The page is rendered and displayed

The URL gets resolved.

The website code is not stored on your machine, and it needs to be fetched from another computer where it is stored. This is called a server. 

You enter “google.com” (known as “a domain”), the server which hosts the source code of a website is identified via IP  addresses. The browser sends a request to the server with the IP address you entered.

There’s a particular type of server on the internet called “DNS server (Domain Name System”). The job of the DNS server is to translate domains to IP addresses.  When you enter “google.com,” the browser, therefore, first fetches the IP address from such a DNS server.

A request is sent to the server

With the IP address settled, the browser goes ahead and requests the server with that IP address. “A request” is not only a term. It is a technical thing that happens behind the scenes. Some servers are programmed to generate websites dynamically based on the request; other servers return pre-generated HTML pages. Or both are done – for different parts of a webpage. There also is a third alternative: Pre-generated Websites, but that changes their appearance and data in the browser.

The response of the server is analyzed

The browser receives a response from the server. Now the browser analyzes the response. The browser verifies the data and metadata that are enclosed in the response. 

The page is rendered and displayed.

The browser goes through the data returned by the server and builds a website based on that. It is essential to know that HTML does not include any instructions regarding what the site should look like. It defines the structure and tells the browser which content is a heading, which is an image and a paragraph. This is important for accessibility – screen readers get all the useful information out of the HTML structure.

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Web Browser Types

When we talk about web browsers, the market has several options. A few decades back, Internet Explorer was the only option people had. But after a while, different browsers started to emerge, and people quickly adopted them. Internet Explorer was so slow. Now rarely anyone uses Internet Explorer. While developing a site, we should try to make it compatible with as many browsers as possible.

  1. Google Chrome

It is one of the most popular browsers that people use today. The main reason behind this is its speed. If you are done waiting for the browser to open after clicking on its icon, you should use Chrome.

web development

You can sign into Chrome by using your Google account, and your data will be synchronized across all your Google devices. It is easily customizable and comes with a range of applications and themes. You can add different extensions to increase productivity. 

  1. Firefox

Firefox is slower than Chrome, and this is why it is the second choice for many people. The new Firefox consumes less RAM and is faster than the previous versions. One problem with Firefox is that it drains the battery very quickly. 

If you are a Chrome user who is tired of Chrome trying to incorporate all the features, you will find Firefox refreshing. Chrome has been adding so many features, and it does not seem like a browser anymore.

web development

When it comes to privacy, Firefox has the edge over Chrome. While more privacy-based browsers are better than Firefox and Chrome, you should go with Firefox if you must choose between the top two.

  1. Opera

Opera is another famous name in the browser industry. Chrome and Firefox allow users to have several third-party extensions, and Opera has its range of attachments that users might want to check out. Opera supports several significant apps, such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. 

web development

Opera can be synchronized across multiple devices. Some features of Opera included a newsreader that lets you access news direct from the browser. There is also a snapshot tool that enables you to take a screenshot of any page you view.

  1. Safari

It is a clean and straightforward browser with several features that make it a popular choice. It offers all the necessary functionalities – the ability to open multiple tabs, fast speeds, comfortable bookmarking, and a plugin library. 

web development

While Safari is used on Mac, it can also be used on a PC. On PC, Safari is just like another browser. You will be able to integrate your data across multiple platforms in Safari. It supports iCloud Keychain that allows you to access passwords that are saved on your Apple devices. 

  1. Tor 

Tor is one of the most secure browsers. However, it is not easy to use Tor. The plus side, it does not store history, and it changes your IP as well.

web development

Tor is slow because it skips data on many nodes, so your real IP stays hidden. That is why people love it. 

  1. Internet Explorer

Often called IE or MSIE, Microsoft Internet Explorer is an Internet browser that allows users to view web pages. Users can also use Internet Explorer to listen and watch streaming content, access online banking, make purchases over the Internet, and much more.

web development

Web Server Types

It is a computer that runs the websites. It is a computer program that distributes web pages as they are requisitioned. The web server’s main objective is to store, process, and deliver the web pages to the users. This intercommunication is done using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. These web pages are static content that includes HTML documents, images, style sheets, tests, etc. Apart from the HTTP, a web server also supports Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and File Transfer Protocol for emailing and for transfer and storage of the file.

  1. Apache Web Server

Apache is an open-source web server software that powers around 40% of websites worldwide. It is maintained and developed by the Apache Software Foundation.

Apache server is not a physical server; it is a software that runs on a server. The job is to establish a connection between servers and website visitors’ browsers while delivering files back and forth between them. It is a cross-platform software. Therefore it works on both Windows and Unix servers.

  1. IIS Web Server

The IIS web server runs on the Microsoft .NET platform. It is possible to run IIS on Macs and Linux; it is not recommended and will likely be unstable. It is versatile and stable, and it is widely used in production for many years.

IIS is used to host ASP.NET static websites and web applications. It can also be used as a host WCF service and can be extended to host web applications built on other platforms like PHP.

  1. Nginx Web Server

Nginx web server is an open-source web server that is now used as a reverse proxy, HTTP cache, and load balancer. Some high-profile companies using Nginx include Autodesk, Atlassian, GitLab, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Adobe, Salesforce, Xerox, LinkedIn, Cisco, Facebook, Target, Citrix Systems, Twitter, Apple, Intel, and many more.

Nginx is built to provide low memory usage and high concurrency. Rather than creating processes for each web request, it uses the asynchronous, event-driven approach where requests are handled in a single thread.

  1. LiteSpeed Web Server

LiteSpeed Web Server is a high-performance, high-scalability web server from LiteSpeed technologies. It can replace an Apache server without changing any other programs or OS details. It can be integrated without breaking anything. LiteSpeed Web Server can quickly return a significant bottleneck in your web hosting platform.

With its wide range of features and easy-to-use web administration console, LiteSpeed Web Server can help you conquer the challenges of deploying a significant web hosting infrastructure.

  1. Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is a web server in which Java code can run. Tomcat is a subset of the Java EE technologies that includes the Servlet, JavaServer Pages, and WebSocket APIs—to run applications built on the Java programming language. 

Apache Tomcat powers large-scale, mission-critical web applications across various industries and user organizations, including Walmart, The Weather Channel, and E*Trade.

Website Advantages

  1.  Cost-Effective: Online advertising is cost-effective compared to print advertisements and enables you to make changes.
  2. Wider Demographic Reach: A Website spreads your business profile around the world, permitting exposure and sales due to a broader demographic reach.
  3. Business Credibility: Suppose you have a professional-looking and user-friendly Website. In that case, the consumers will likely have a chance of considering your business credible over the companies who either do not have a Web presence or have a low Website presence.
  4. Around-The-Clock Availability: A website offers your consumers availability in terms of access to products, information, and much more. This type of 24*7 service generates more profits than the traditional storefront.
  5. Targeted Marketing: A strategic Website can attract the targeted audience.
  6. Increased Sales: A useful Website with great content increases the probability of increased sales.
  7. Fosters Customer Rapport: Providing special offers to customers on your website lets them know you appreciate their business.
  8. Showcase Your Work: You can put your work on display if you have a website. Anytime a client wants to see your past work and projects, refer him or her to your site—no need to scan and mail pictures or bring your client to a finished building project.
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Skills Required for Maintaining a Website 

For maintaining a Website, one should have a specific set of skills. There are various technologies available, and many are coming every day. So you have to plan and affirm any one of the available technologies and go-ahead for your project.

The rest of the skills are required if you’re going to go for a more prominent and more interactive Website.

  1. Computer Operations: You need to know how to operate on Windows, Linux, or Macintosh. It depends on which Web Server you want to host the Website. You should have a basic understanding of operations such as creating the file, deleting the file, updating the file, directory creation, file permission, etc.
  2. Remote Access: Most of the time, your Web Server will only be accessed from a remote site. You should be well aware of how to connect a computer from a remote site. Many service providers will provide you a control panel to manage your Website.
  3. HTML / XHTML Knowledge: You should have a vivid knowledge of the markup languages. 
  4. CSS Knowledge: Knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets is required to achieve many results that are not possible through HTML or XHTML.
  5. PHP Script: Many sites are developed using PHP language. This helps you to create an interactive website.
  6. AJAX Technology: It is the latest technology on the Web. Google is using this technology to give a better browsing experience to their site visitors.
  7. HTTP Protocol: You should go through the web backbone, i.e., HTTP protocol.

Tools required for Building a Website

The essential thing required for building a website is a good internet connection with decent speed. The following are a few tools that will help you in creating the website.

  1. HTML/Text Editor: HTML is the primary computer language used in the creation of websites. If planning on building a site from scratch, it’s essential to know the basics. There are HTML editors available that can streamline creating Web pages with features like tag completion. Professional packages such as Adobe Dreamweaver, CoffeeCup HTML Editor, and Komodo IDE have additional features to speed up the coding and debug process by highlighting coding errors and auto-completing often used tags.
  2. Flash Creator: Adding videos and animation to your website will enrich the experience of the visitors. Most Web browsers have in-built support for Flash, but you will need special software to create these files. Adobe Flash allows you to create very complex Flash products. 
  3. Image Editors: If your site is for imaging work, large file sizes might be helpful. To resize images to fit and convert within an image-editing application, paint, an essential program included with Windows, allows you to do this with crucial files. If you want to use buttons on your site, the professional software will allow you to create these and achieve similar results using free software such as GIMP and Paint.net.
  4. Analytics Tools: Creating a website is an ongoing process. Once you’ve completed the basic design, you need to update the content to keep it new and fresh to visitors. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Open Web Analytics allow you to see what draws the visitors to your site. This will enable you to add more interesting content to your visitors and delete the content that is not drawing the attention that it should.
  5. File Transfer Protocol Tools: Once you have created the website on your computer, you’ll still need to upload it to a Web hosting service. While most Web hosting providers have a Web-based interface for you to upload the files, it can be a slow process if you are doing it in bulk. By using an FTP program, you can connect to the Web server that you are using to upload or download files. Use free software such as FileZilla, Free FTP, and Go FTP.
  6. Browsers: If you want your website to work correctly and look, you should test it in different browsers. Browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are available online. After creating the HTML file for the website, use a browser to open it and check whether the content is displayed correctly. For more accessibility, test the website on mobile devices as well.

Domain Names

Once you are done with building a website, you need to make a crucial decision, What is your domain name going to be. Purchasing a name is a simple process, but there are a lot of factors that you should consider. You have to make sure you get the right domain name. This is not necessary because whatever domain name you are looking for is available, so you will have to opt for any other right domain name in that case.

When you buy a domain name, it is registered, and when the domain names are noted, they are added to a domain name registration. Information about your site that includes your Internet IP address is stored on a DNS server, and your contact information is registered with your registrar.

Domain Extension Types

Top-Level Domain refers to the suffix or the last part of a domain name. There is a limited list of predefined suffixes, which includes:

  • .com – commercial business
  • .org – organizations 
  • .mil – military
  • .net – network organizations
  • .gov – government agencies
  • .edu – educational institutions

TLDs are classified into two categories: 

  • Generic top-level domains (gTLDs)

It is a generic top-level domain name that identifies the domain class associated with (.com, .org, .edu, etc.). 

  • Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

It is a two-letter domain extension, such as .uk or .fr, assigned to a country, geographic location, or territory.

nTLDs refer to new top-level domain names geared towards brands, organizations, and services, as they’re more customized, flexible, and relevant. Examples of nTLDs include “.voyage,” “.app,” “.ninja,” “.cool,” etc.

How to Choose a Domain Name?

  • Select a name that is easy to pronounce:

If people struggle to pronounce it correctly, it will affect the name’s memorability and hurt your brand.

  • Pick a name that can be turned into a brand: You do not want exact and partial keyword match domain names because they’re too generic and challenging to the brand. 
  • Keep it short and straightforward: Long, complicated domain names run a massive risk of being misspelled and mistyped.
  • Use an appropriate extension: With the TLDs rocking the internet, you have to think that everyone is going for something good. If you are targeting the local market, then ccTLDs is a better choice for your business.
  • Choose a name that indicates your business: You must be careful not to get too literal. But a creative domain name that suggests to consumers what they can expect to find when they land on your site is an excellent advantage to any business.

Website Construction

What to Put on your Website?

  1. Logo: The first thing that the visitor should see is your logo. You may love your logo, but making it larger, will not increase the impression. Instead of that, surround your logo with ample space, so it instantly stands out.
  2. Site menu: Create a menu that features your website’s essential pages that allow visitors to navigate the sections they are interested in quickly. A menu with a lot of items will confuse the visitors.
  3. You can’t-miss a call to action: Your homepage should have multiple calls-to-action. Make one visually eminent by creating a button.
  4. Introduction: Your homepage is the place to interact with your visitor. An introductory copy should be tight, informative, and friendly. It is a perfect place to include keywords and internal links.
  5. Blog: The majority of online marketers are content marketers; therefore, they publish blogs. By directing visitors who are cruising your homepage for the first time to your blog, you’ll increase engagement, and hopefully, gain subscribers.
  6. Search function: If your website has many pages, it is right for you to offer a search function on your homepage. The search function is a convenient shortcut for the visitors, enabling them to discover content without needing to navigate quickly.
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How to Design your Website?

  • Consider the technology that you are going to use to develop your website. 
  • Design a framework to enhance and modify your website by putting minimal effort into the future.
  • Keep your design simple so that any developer should become familiar with your system as soon as possible.
  • Identify the repeatable components of your website and then keep them separate and try to use them wherever possible.
  • Identify the nature of your site visitors and give importance to look and feel accordingly.
  • Think from the perspective of a site visitor. If you are a visitor, then how would you like to see this website?

How to Make your Website Search Engine Friendly

After you make your website that works well on the iPhone and iPad, don’t forget to make it search engine friendly as well. Search Engine Optimization is the key to make your website search engine friendly.

Scoring high in the search engine results is complicated because millions of sites eying for the top spots and search engines use complicated formulas to determine which website should match any given keyword search. 

  • Add the meta tags that identifies your site as mobile-friendly
  • Make sure your code is valid.
  • Invite other sites to link to you,
  • develop a list of keywords, and write a good description for your site.
  • Include the most critical keywords in the title of your web page and the name of the file.
  • Include the keywords in the headlines on your web page. 

Web Hosting Concepts

The hosting deals with putting the contents of the website on a Web server. Hosting your website on the server could be an option. It is very much expensive unless you are hosting a site like yahoo.com or google.com. Buying a server space from an Internet Service Provider is the most used option.

Hosting Types

1. Shared Hosting: 

This hosting store’s many websites on one shared server. This server is great for businesses with a limited budget; no technical skills are required. This hosting saves the running costs of a business.

2. VPS Hosting

It uses a virtual private server to store websites of a business. It offers financial flexibility to a place without any physical liabilities.

3. Dedicated Server Hosting

This hosting enables a business to rent a server and control the server.

4. Managed Hosting

This type of hosting involves hardware, applications and technical assistance from the Hosting Providers.

5. Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a place where the host provides many remote or virtual servers.

6. Diverse location Hosting

This hosting involves servers in wide geographical locations. This is also called ‘Geo-location Hosting.’

How does Web Hosting Works?

  1. You host your website on a web hosting service provider
  2. You can also have your domain name or ask the hosting company to create one for a fee.
  3. Now, your website is hosted with a domain name or website address 
  4. Visitors can now access your website by typing in your website address in the browser.
  5. When the visitor types your address, their computer connects with the server on which your website is hosted.
  6. The host server will then serve or send your website files that the user wants to view.

E-Commerce Hosting

E Commerce is a way of doing business through the Internet. You are doing eCommerce, mostly when you are selling your products or services through the Internet. If you are planning to put a website that will have transactions such as buying or selling items or services, you will set up an e-commerce website. 

You can still start from here Ecommerce hosting is a bit expensive, but they are not so expensive that you cannot begin an e-commerce website. Nowadays, it is effortless to set up an e-commerce site. All that one needs to do is get in touch with any right service provider and start gathering the necessary information.

Many service providers help you set up your virtual store and charge you unexpectedly very low. Google has also started a google account service in which you can sell your products.

Website Backup

Backing up your computer helps you to prevent data loss if anything occurs such as your computer gets hacked, and you need to reinstall your Operating system and start from scratch.

What Is a Website Backup?

A website backup means a copy of your website data. What the backup storage consists of will depend upon your online backup provider. As a general rule, the more data included in the data backup, the better.

How Often Should You Back Up Your Website?

The website backups should also be done regularly. The best-case scenario is either weekly or daily backups. Whether you go with weekly or daily depends on how often you update the website. If you only publish a single blog per week, then weekly backups are enough.

Why Do You Need to Backup Your Site?

It is hard to imagine what losing your website data feels like until you have gone through it yourself. More importantly, it is completely avoidable with the right online backup software behind you. Here are three situations that could occur when you do not back up your site:

  • Loss of website revenue during recovery.
  • Loss of time during website rebuild.
  • You lose all the work you have done.

Website Statistics

You must track your visitors and analyze their use. You should have information on the following 

  • Who is your visitor? : You should have your visitor’s IP address to know the location and identity of the visitor.
  • Visitors’ Timestamp: You should be aware when your site gets the maximum visitors so that you can plan a server down easily. 
  • What do the visitors prefer? : What pages did the visitor view on your website give you an idea about the importance of various sections of your website.
  • How long do they stay?: The amount of time the visitors are spending on your site. If the visitors are leaving your site just after browsing 1 or 2 pages, you should develop innovative ways to retain them for a longer duration.
  • Visitors’ Browser: This information is essential to improve your website for that type of web browser.

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