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What Is A Website?

A website is a collection of documents that live on a computer somewhere in the world, is connected to the Internet, and has an address assigned to. Individual website domains can be pointed to a specific document (using index.html), within that folder, on that computer connected to the Internet--also called a web server.

A Website Always Begins With A Domain, Your Domain

A website begins with you purchasing a domain name. In the early days most domains ended with .com, but today, there is almost any top level domain you can possibly imagine. Anyone can purchase a domain, I recommend using a domain registrar named Hover, a service that allows you to purchase any available name, and manage all of the detail of where your domain will live.

Where Is The Computer Will Host Your Website(s)?

Before we will actually have a website, we need to figure out where the website will live. There are thousands of place you can publish and host your website. The goal is to find a host that will allow you to setup your basic website, expand and grow the amount of data, content, and other media for your web site. Ideally your host will let you manage the setup, configuration, and maintenance of more than one site, within your domain. I personally recommend Reclaim Hosting, which is the most forward thinking ISP in existence today, when it comes to the concept of taking control of your digital presence.

Each hosting provider will have a different setup for the computers they run, and connect to the cloud. I run Linux servers, within the Amazon Web Services cloud platform. I use an open source web server software called Apache to deliver web sites on my Linux servers. To setup a new website, all I do is create a new folder, add a new entry to the configuration file for Apache Web Server, restart the service, and my basic website is up, and running for potential visitors. However, before I can actually visit my website, I need to setup the DNS, which is the address language that is used route all Internet traffic.

DNS Is How You Connect Your Domain To Your Host

We now have a domain, we know where our website(s) will live, and have created the folder for our new website, including configuring the Apache web server to accept visitors for my domain. Before the rest of the Internet will be able to find my web website, I have to use DNS to connect my domain to the IP address of my web hosting server which I have setup and configured. All I need is a new DNS (A record), which tells my domain the IP address of my website hosting provider. Providers like Reclaim Hosting will help you with DNS, hosting, and other issues you will encounter along the way.

That is it, obviously there are many other very technichal things you can do with a website, but this shows should help you understand that websites are just documents sitting on a computer somewhere that is connected to the Internet. It is up to you to purchase hosting, purchase your omain, and connect your domain and subdomains to that location on the computer.