Website Checklist

Web site development checklist. Articles and resources related to building a website. Web site checklist topics include Website Planning, Building a Website, Publishing a Website and Maintaining a Website.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

More Internet Basics

Internet Basics related to websites.

Continued from Internet Basics

HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol

HTTP is a basic communication protocol (language) used to transfer information across the internet. It determines how information is formatted and transmitted over the internet.

More Information: WWW FAQS: What is HTTP?

DNS - Domain Name Server

A domain name server is a computer on the internet that translates the human version of a domain name ( to a IP address then returns the IP address to the computer that requested the information.

Within the network of the internet there is one central domain name server that keeps track of all the domain names and the paths to those domain names. Within the path are directions to your web hosting company which then directs the request to your website.

Web Server

A web server is a computer continually connected to the internet with software that uses HTTP. The web server can host a number of web sites or it can be dedicated to hold only one web site.

When you enter a web address in the address bar of the browser and hit Enter or Go the browser sends a request to the web server. The web server sends a response - the page you requested.

Secure Server - Secure Web Server

Secure servers (also known as secure web servers) use a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt information while transfering the information between the web browser and the server. These type of servers should be used when collecting sensitive information like credit card information from website visitors.

A page on a secure server will show a little lock in the browser window and the url in the address bar of the browser will begin with https://

Web Host - Web Hosting

A web hosting company is a company that provides web server space and web services for websites. The web hosting company can provide shared hosting (the more economical and most common type) or dedicated hosting (dedicated server for the website and more expensive).

Paid Web Hosting

The cost of web hosting can vary on the services and features the website requires. The more features, traffic and space required, the more web hosting will cost.

Paid web hosting gives a more professional appearance to a business or other professional web site.

Free Web Hosting

There are free web hosting programs available. These are not actually free, they come at a price of you providing free advertising for others. Free web hosting usually insert advertising for themselves or other advertisers within your web pages. e.g.

If you look at the address in the example you will see advertising inserted by GeoCities down the side.

Free web hosting addresses usually are a sub folder of their main domain. e.g. This type of web hosting is fine for a personal site where your visitors will be friends and family. It not suitable for a business or other type of professional web site. It maybe difficult to get the web site listed in the search engines as there are so many sites hosted at free web hosting the search engines can't list them all.

FTP - File Transfer Protocol

FTP is a protocol for transfering files between two computers.

As a web site owner you would use FTP to upload (transfer) the website files from a computer to the web server. This is a feature that you should look for when comparing web hosting packages. Some web hosts only allow web based transfers. If FTP is allowed with the hosting package this will save on time and bandwidth.

FTP can also be used to make files available to site visitors for download. The visitor could log on anonymously or it can be set up that a user name and password is required to use this feature.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Internet Basics

Here are some internet basics related to websites:

from HTML 4.01 Basics Simplified ebook

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a giant network of computers communicating with each other. Your computer connects to the Internet through a system of computers at your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The Internet Service Provider connects to other networks of computers to provide you with access to the Internet.

IP Address

An IP Address is a series of numbers that identifies your computer on the Internet. This address is used to transmit information to your computer and send your request for web pages when you are surfing the net.


When you type in the address bar of your browser and hit go your request goes to a server called a Domain Name Server. This server translates this human version of the website's address to an IP address then sends you off to the website.

Servers and Clients

Servers are the computers on the Internet that provide information. Your website is hosted (stored) on a web server. When someone requests to view your website the web server sends the page to the requesting computer.

Clients are the people who request to view your web page. They send a request to view your web page and the web server sends your page back to them.

Server-side Scripts and Client-side Scripts

Server-side scripts run on the web server. The script is processed on the web server and the results are sent back to your browser. These scripts can be slower, the web page asks the server for something and then you have to wait for the server's reply. E.g. CGI scripts

Client-side scripts are processed on your (the client's computer) by the browser. These can be faster as the browser does all the work and does not have to wait for a reply from the server.

What is a Browser?

A browser is a software program that allows users to access documents on the web. The browser can be either text or graphically oriented.

The user (client) enters in the address bar of the browser, hits go and is taken to the site. If the user did not indicate which page they wanted (e.g. ) then the browser shows the default.htm or index.htm page of the site (otherwise know as the home page).

Each web page is made up of different tags and scripts. The browser interprets these tags then displays the page in the order that the tags and scripts are written in. This is why on some sites it seems to take a long time to load the page. The browser is executing the code that the author of the site wrote in the order they wrote it. E.g. If you have a large sized image as your background or banner the page will load slowly because the browser has to download the file first from the web server then render it.

HTML - HyperText Markup Language

HTML is a non-proprietary standard mark-up language used for web pages that allows various computers to interpret the page information in the same way. The last version of HTML is HTML 4.01. The HTML 4.01 Specification is located at . W3C has now moved onto developing XHTML (The Extensible HyperText Markup Language) which is a combination of HTML 4.01 and XML. To learn more about XHTML visit

Web Page

A web page (also known as a HTML document or HTML file) is a text file made up of text content and HTML tags (instructions).

More Internet Basics

Website Technologies

Once you have determined your target audience the next step in the development of a website is to assess the website technologies available and which are suitable for your target audience.

Before you can determine which technologies are suitable for the website you need to understand some basic concepts of the internet.

Internet Basics What is the Internet?, IP Address, URLs, Servers and Clients, Server-side Scripts and Client-side Scripts, What is a Browser?, HTML - HyperText Markup Language, Web Page

More Internet Basics HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol, DNS - Domain Name Server, Web Server, Secure Server - Secure Web Server, Web Host - Web Hosting, FTP - File Transfer Protocol

What Website Technologies Does the Website Need?

The type of website you are building and the targeted audience chosen will determine the website technologies required.

Ecommerce Websites

Ecommerce websites would have to consider website technologies such as shopping carts, secure servers, customer payments and shipping issues.

Are you planning on using a third party shopping cart or hosting your own shopping cart?

How are visitors going to pay for the merchandise? Does the web host have secure servers or will a third party service be required?

How is shipping to be handled?

Website Communication Technologies

Website communication technologies would include email, auto responders, email forwarding, mailing lists, guestbooks, forums, bulletin boards, chatrooms and/or blogs.

  • How many e-mail accounts do you require?
  • Are auto responders needed?
  • Is email forwarding needed?
  • Will there be a mailing list?

Should the website include a guestbook, forum, chat room or blog or use a third party for these features?

Advanced Website Technologies

Advanced website technologies may be at an additional cost. The type of database, web programming type and whether Front Page extensions are used can all affect the cost of website hosting.

Is a database needed? Which, SQL or MySQL?

Are you planning to use ASP, PHP or some other web programming feature?

Are you planning to use client side scripts?

Are Front Page Extensions required?

Website Graphics

If the website is going to use a lot of images then a large amount of webspace will be required. Images use a lot of bandwidth so having the technology to reduce/optimize images does come into play.

What type of website graphics are going to be needed? Flash? Animated gifs? Static graphics? Do you have your existing graphics (logo etc.) available in a suitable format for the web?

If using Flash or some other media requiring special software is the target audience going to already have the software installed on their machine? Will there be different versions of the media for the different types of software? These extra website technologies require more website hosting space and bandwidth.

Webspace Host Operating System

Once the website technologies are decided on you will have to select a web host that has the correct type of operating system for those technologies. Technologies such as PHP and MYSQL usually are used on a Lynx operating system. ASP, SQL, .Net and Front Page extensions are Microsoft specific technologies and are usually offered on Windows based servers. Other servers can offer Microsoft specific technologies but it is reccommended to stick with Windows servers if using Microsoft specific technologies for better performance.

What operating system will your hosting company need to have?

Can the website technologies chosen be run on the operating system offered?

All of the above influence the type of audience you target and can affect your hosting costs.

The next few posts will cover different types of website technologies. This post will act as an index so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

Internet Basics

Internet Basics

Before you can determine which technologies are suitable for the website you need to understand some basic concepts of the internet. What is the Internet?, IP Address, URLs, Servers and Clients, Server-side Scripts and Client-side Scripts, What is a Browser?, HTML - HyperText Markup Language, Web Page

More Internet Basics

Continued from Internet Basics. HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol, DNS - Domain Name Server, Web Server, Secure Server - Secure Web Server, Web Host - Web Hosting, FTP - File Transfer Protocol

Server Side and Client Side Scripts

Server Side Scripts

Server side scripts, as the name suggests, run from the web server. The browser sends a request, the script is run on the server and the results are sent back to the browser.

Client Side Scripts

Client side scripts are scripts the browser runs on the visitor's computer. There is no communication between the web server and the browser. All the script processing is done via the browser.

Using Databases - Website Databases

Including a database for use with a web site will require that the web hosting company supports the type of database selected.

A database can be used for user login, product cataloges, image galleries, mailing lists, just about anything.