Website Basics

Before trying to make your own web page and publish it on the internet, you might want to know how web pages work. A user enters the address of your site in a browser (or follows a link to it from another site). The address is made up of several parts, including the protocol used to communicate with the server (usually http:// or https://), the domain name of the server itself (e.g., and the page to be displayed. Your computer works with a number of services provided via the internet to use this address to find the server which hosts that website and retrieve the desired information. The server then responds to the request by sending back the requested content.

Web pages are usually written in HTML (HyperText Markup Language). A markup language is a computer language that adds code to the content of a page which helps the software reading that page (usually a web browser) determine how that content should be displayed to the user.

In OU Campus, web pages are created when you publish a PCF (Publish Control File). The PCF tells OU Campus how to transform the content into an ASPX (Active Server Page eXtended) file, which is uploaded to the web server. The web server then reads that file and outputs HTML to be rendered in the web browser (though this file still typically uses the .aspx extension in its filename).

Additional Resources

See OU Quick Reference Procedures.

Next Up: How a Website Works.