Like most of us, you daily visit websites and are permanently connected to your state-of-the-art Smartphone... And yet, I know that more than half of you don't know at all how it works.
For those who feel concerned, good news! I will share a little secret with you. No, the Internet is no magic. Even better: no need to have a PhD in quantum physics in order to understand!
Geeks of course won't learn anything new from what follows, but for all the others, take a good breath and... let's go!
First, let us point out a few Internet basics. If you already know them, feel free to jump to the next paragraph.
- Internet is a network that interconnects computers around the world.
- A server is a supercomputer that stores and transmits large quantities of information.
- The Web (short for World Wide Web, the famous www) is the system that allows locating and transferring data.
- To locate information on the web, we use a unique address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Google.com, adoraweb.lu or lessentiel.lu are URLs.
- To transfer data on the web, the Internet sites use the HTTP communication protocol or HyperText Transfer Protocol. Those rules govern communications between your browser and the servers on which the data you want to view is stored. That's why you find the "http://" in front of every website address.
Now that you're comfortable with the jargon, let's get to the nitty-gritty.
What is a website?
To keep things simple, a website is made out of coding (the famous baffling languages for the uninitiated) displayed on your screen through a browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox or even Internet Explorer for the more adventurous).
Coding is a bit like the instructions for use employed by browsers to know how to display the sites on your screen.
And so, where are these sites stored?
Of course, that coding... it must be stored somewhere before reaching your computer. And that's why the servers are so useful. These supercomputers are equipped with huge hard drives and ultra-fast Internet connections to distribute worldwide the information stored in them.
So how does it work?
To access a website, your browser communicates with the server of that site following several well-defined steps, all in a flash of seconds.
- You request your browser to display a site by giving him its address: adoraweb.lu
- Your browser searches the Internet through the web, finds the web server where the site is stored and requests it to deliver the necessary information to display the site.
- The server storing the site sends you the coding and all the elements of the site, including images.
- The browser then translates the coding into an intelligible version that is displayed on your screen by positioning each element of the page (titles, photos, texts, etc.) according to the instructions it received.
And here's the website on your screen... as simple as that!
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