When considering your online presence, there are many moving parts. And if you’re unfamiliar with the internet and its makings, then many of those parts can be confusing. But with the help of this non-technical illustration, you’ll begin to grasp some of these more nebulous concepts.
The background code and framework of your website are the foundation, studs, walls, and roof. They all make up the structure and support of your house.
The pages of your site are rooms in your house. Your house has pictures, colors, catchy Lindsay Letters-styled artwork strategically staged throughout the rooms.
Your house is great, but it has to physically exist somewhere. It needs to be built on land. That ‘land’ is called a server.
Simply put, a server is a special kind of computer that is always connected to the internet. When someone is talking about a web server, they’ll typically use phrases like “web hosting” or “the cloud”. Any time someone is mentioning those terms, they’re referring to the place on the internet where your website lives.
Just like there are many options when considering purchasing land, there are many types of servers to choose from when it comes to web hosting. If you’re interested in a deep dive into the various types of web servers, check out our What Is Web Hosting? article.
But for the purpose of our illustration, we’ll keep it simple.
This sweet infographic might help make things a bit clearer.
Now, we’ve got our house (website) and that house has been built on a plot of land (server). We still need a way to distinguish our house from every other house in the neighborhood.
Our house needs a unique identifier–our house needs an address. This brings us to your domain.
Sometimes called a “url” or “web address”, or simply, “address”, your domain name is the unique identifier that allows visitors to reach your site. Think of it as your house’s address.
To put everything together, we have our house (website) built on some land (server) with an address (domain). These three components make up the core functionality of your website. And if you remember this illustration, you have a solid conversational understanding of your website!
Many people use the words domain and web hosting interchangeably, and while they’re closely related, they’re also very distinct from each other. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the differences between your domain and web hosting, check out our What’s the Difference Between a Domain and Web Hosting? article.
If this house illustration is helpful, we can build on it with other related items. For example:
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