Domains are the first key to having a place on the internet. If we didn’t have domain names we’d have to go around the internet by typing in IP addresses like 126.96.36.199. Instead we have Domain Names which allow you to point any URLs that belong to them to a place on the internet.
Top Level Domains (TLD)
Familiar TLDs are .com or .org or .com.au
They indicate something to the visitor, like that its a company, an organisation, or a network.
Some like .com.au or .gov.au have more specific rules about who can own them.
There are new domains like .art and .gallery which can try to be more exclusive by costing more money.
Choose the best TLD that is relevant and affordable.
Domains are the next level down which is the part that you buy. Eg rad.art
Factors for choosing a good domain name are
- interesting and cool
- is reusable because once you’ve bought it and set it up you might as well keep it
- you can say it on the radio without needing to spell it
- Cost – between $20 per year and 100s.
Well known places you can buy a domain are gandi.net, netregistry.com.au, godaddy.com, but a lot of hosting companies also sell them to you as part of a package.
Once you own a domain you can have as many subdomains under it as you like.
Famous subdomains are mail.google.com, blog.wordpress.com
The cool thing about subdomains is they don’t cost anything. So you can get a free subdomain @ yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.wix.com but you have to host it on their servers. Or you can get your mates domain name and put yours infront of it, eg forum.backtofrontdesign.co
Hosting / Servers
A server is the computer that’s sitting in a shed somewhere serving your website when people want to see it.
You could use your own computer that you’re using right now as a server, but you wouldn’t want to, because it would have to be on all the time and you’d have make sure it was secure and fast. There’s a whole science and stacks of software to run servers so lets skip over that bit and.
Pay a host to do that for us.
Well known hosting companies – there’s too many. But usually we’re going to choose what Content Management System (CMS) to use first. And then search for best [CMS name] hosting.
I want to jump to the fun part where we are putting content online. But if you guys have got the time I want to quickly introduce what are all the main parts of a website software that run all CMS.
We could skip this bit and get straight to building because nowadays you don’t need to know any code to make an awesome website.
But I think its worthwhile to understand the terminology that people use, so if you get stuck then you can know what to search for.
And also when comparing different softwares to know what they all have in common. There’s always new softwares but the main building blocks haven’t changed that much in our lifetimes and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Understanding what are the moving parts, even without knowing exactly how they work, can be useful for picking the right software and making an awesome website with it.
Everything on the internet is made of of html. If we go to any website and right click “View page Source” it will show us the html. Its like the internets print format. Everything gets spat out as html.
At first this looks convoluted but neatly packed into ‘nested’ sections. Every element of a webpage is packed inside <html> tags. [inspect element].
You don’t need to learn html, but its something you might interact with often just to make small adjustments. [view text]
A plain html website looks pretty boring so people started adding styles to make it look better.
But then the styles got messy. We want all the styles to be consistent and not have to type them over and over again.
‘Cascading Style Sheets’ are exactly as the name suggests, long documents that contain all the things that alter the default html style and make it look pretty.
So instead of writing inline styles, we can write styles that apply to our whole website, or be more specific and just apply them in certain circumstances.
CSS is the easiest and most rewarding thing to manipulate your default website with. As long as you have access to write CSS, then you can make things appear and most importantly disappear, its really useful when you have default websites cluttered with junk just to say display:none;.
databases and programming languages
Databases are an elaborate version of a spreadsheet. When you type content, create a username and password, set an option, these choices are all stored in a database.
They are useful because instead of writing a new html document for every single page, we can get the same content and display it differently in different places.
Programming languages are used in websites to write into a database, and also to get that information back out of the database and display it to the visitor.
Thats also what themes do. They grab content from the database using a programming language, and print it out in html that gets sent to the visitor. They also provide the css to make the content look cool.
Choosing a theme that works for your content is really important. Here’s a blog post to help https://www.backtofrontdesign.co/dont-become-a-fashion-victim-a-no-nonsense-guide-to-shopping-for-themes/
The cool thing to understand is that your content isn’t contained inside a theme. Its contained in a database, as well as media files which are contained in folders. So you should be able to switch themes whenever you like and print out the same content in a new format. And a good CMS should also allow you to export the database and files and move them to another platform without too much drama, (in an ideal world).
Content Management Systems
CMS put all those things, database, programming language, themes, html and css all together for you in a package!
So there’s lots of moving parts its hard to compare them so here is a comparison tablee.
Investigating other options
View Source 👾!
Inspect element 🧐