What is website development?
Website development is a catch-all term for the work that goes into building a website. This includes everything from markup and coding to scripting, network configuration, and CMS development.
While web development typically refers to web markup and coding, website development includes all related development tasks, such as client-side scripting, server-side scripting, server and network security configuration, eCommerce development, and content management system (CMS) development.
Why is web development important?
The Internet isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s become a portal and primary method of research, connection, education, and entertainment in the world. As of 2021, there were 4.66 billion global Internet users — more than half the world’s population.
Given the rapidly-increasing number of Internet users, it’s no surprise that web development is a rapidly expanding industry. Between now and 2030, the employment of web developers is expected to grow by 13%, much faster than most other technology careers.
1. What is a website?
Websites are files stored on servers, which are computers that host (fancy term for “store files for”) websites. These servers are connected to a giant network called the Internet.
Browsers are computer programs that load websites via your Internet connection, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, while the computers used to access these websites are known as “clients”.
2. What is an IP address?
To access a website, you need to know its Internet Protocol (IP) address. An IP address is a unique string of numbers. Each device has an IP address to distinguish itself from the billions of websites and devices connected via the Internet.
You can find any website’s IP address by visiting a site like Site 24×7 or by using Command Prompt on Windows or Network Utility > Traceroute on MacBooks.
To find your device’s IP address, you can also type “what’s my IP address” into your search browser.
While you can access a website using its IP address, most Internet users prefer to use domain names or by going through search engines.
3. What does HTTP mean?
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) connects you and your website request to the remote server that houses all website data. It’s a set of rules (a protocol) that defines how messages should be sent over the Internet. It allows you to jump between site pages and websites.
When you type a website into your web browser or search for something through a search engine, HTTP provides a framework so that the client (computer) and server can speak the same language when they make requests and responses to each other over the Internet. It’s essentially the translator between you and the Internet — it reads your website request, reads the code sent back from the server, and translates it for you in the form of a website.
4. What is coding?
Coding refers to writing code for servers and applications using programming languages. They’re called “languages” because they include vocabulary and grammatical rules for communicating with computers. They also include special commands, abbreviations, and punctuation that can only be read by devices and programs.
All software is written by at least one coding language, but languages vary based on platform, operating system, and style. All languages fall into one of two categories: front-end and back-end.
5. What does front-end mean?
Front-end (or client-side) is the side of a website or software that you see and interact with as an Internet user. When website information is transferred from a server to a browser, front-end coding languages allow the website to function without having to continually “communicate” with the Internet.
Front-end code allows users to interact with a website and play videos, expand or minimize images, highlight text, and more. Web developers who work on front-end coding work on client-side development.
6. What does back-end mean?
Back-end (or server-side) is the side that you don’t see when you use the Internet. It’s the digital infrastructure, and to non-developers, it looks like a bunch of numbers, letters, and symbols.
7. What is a CMS?
A content management system (CMS) is a web application or a series of programs used to create and manage web content. (Note: CMSs aren’t the same as site builders, like Squarespace or Wix.)
While not required to build a website, using a CMS makes things easier. It provides the building blocks (like plugins and add-ons) and lets you create the structure with your code. CMSs are often used for e-commerce and blogging, but they’re useful for all types of websites.
8. What is cybersecurity?
There are always malicious actors looking to find vulnerabilities in websites to expose private information, steal data, and crash servers. Cybersecurity is the practice of securing data, networks, and computers from these threats.
The methods used by hackers are constantly evolving, as are the security measures taken to defend against them. Failing to understand how your site could be targeted could result in disaster.
As a result, a basic understanding of cybersecurity best practices is critical for effective web development. You should also carry out security audits on a consistent basis.