How a Website Works

At the very basic level, a website is comprised of files stored on a server that are accessible publicly via an address that is rendered in your web browser.

The files that make up a website may consist of images, documents, plain text files, and scripts which may add dynamic functionality, such as retrieving information from a database to be displayed in the page. The website files are stored on a server and then accessed by your computer or device via an application (often a web browser). The application renders the code into an interface that you interact with.

To make changes to a website, you would typically need to understand various programming or markup languages, modify the code directly, then save the changes to the server. Although this process is still applicable today, many factors have made it possible for just about anyone to maintain website content without touching a single line of code. Advances in personal computing devices, greater access to faster and more stable networks, the maturity of web technologies and standards, and the ubiquity of cloud computing have all paved the way for the modern Content Management System (CMS).

Additional Resources

See, OU Quick Reference Procedures.

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