Web Site Design and Web Site Hosting Business Terminology

People new to the internet who want a web presence either for personal or business use often find themselves confused by the terminologies. I hope this article will make it clear as I defined the termiologies and make an analogy to the real world in which a layperson can understand.

Since ITHelpMe is in the business of web hosting, I sometimes get questions from my customers as to the itemized charges on the invoice. Website creation from start to finish can be a complex procedure with many steps involved. I'll outline the process from the beginning:

An Idea is born:
A customer approaches me with an idea to set up a website for their business to sell widgets. The first thing to do is to get a DOMAIN NAME. A domain name is something like widgets.com, ithelpme.com, google.com. In a House analogy, the buyer is buying a plot of empty land to claim ownership of the land. Domain registration is done via a domain registar ( a company such as GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com) and typically costs around $10 a year. Domain registration has a reoccurring fee, usually annually. This is analogous to the property tax on that plot of land.

Website and Web page:
These are often use interchangeablly and can be assumed to mean the same thing but technically they are different in which I'll explain shortly. Once a Domain Name is purchased (remember, it's analogous to the plot of land), the website needs to be created. A website is analogous to having a home sitting on the plot of land. The difference between a website and a web page is that a website is referring to the overall content while a web page is specific to the individual page. To elaborate, this website at ITHelpMe.com has many individual page (web page); i.e, a specific product page that describes the product, a page that allows a person to add the product to the shopping cart, email page, etc. Putting or combining all of these individual pages together makes a "website". Keeping up with the analogy, a website is the whole house, while a web page can be one component of the house such as doors, windows, couch, TV, bathroom, etc. The cost involving a website usually is paid to a web designer and web site creator and the costs is usually a one time fee. A web designer plans the aesthetics of the website with a overall look and feel. The web designer is analogous to an architect that draws the blueprint of the house. Once the design is complete it goes to the web site creator/builder. Often times, the website designer and creator/builder are the same person and usually the terms website designer/creator/builder are used interchangeable. The website creator's job is to actually do the coding to bring the overall look and feel from the blue print into actual web pages. The website creator can use code such as HTML, JAVA, PHP, and so forth. The website creator is analogous to a home builder that builds the homes from the blue print plan.

Once the website creator completes all the coding of each web page, it's time to put it all together. It's time to host or put all these files on a server somewhere. This is analogous to moving into a new home. It's time to get a rental truck, load your furniture and other stuff into the truck and start settling into your new home. Hosting has a reoccurring costs because visitors who visit your website are utilizing the server resources such as CPU, memory and bandwidth. This is analogous to the home's utilities.

Open House:
Putting this all together and tying it up, your visitors would visit your website using a browser such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Chrome by typing in your domain name in the address field, the domain name is also referred to as a URL address because it's analogous to your house address.

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