A great activity that will keep the brain active.

How do websites work?

    Websites or domains are set up on computers called hosts. A host will usually contain many domains on many high-speed computers connected to the Internet.

    A domain is like a home.   The home must have an address, the domain has a digital address.   A private company in the U.S. called ICANN or "Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers" translate domain names from to (0-255).(0-255).(0-255).(0-255), a digital address.  

    A domain host interfaces with ICANN to set the connection to a specific domain.   A sub-domain is a domain attached to a (main) domain example:

    ALL Internet traffic passes through ICANN.   There is a nominal charge for this service.   It is collected from the main domain owner every 1 to 5 years.   ICANN serves the entire world.   Several countries have been trying unsuccessfully to gain control of ICANN through the UN.  Update: Obama gave away ICANN on his way out.

    Some home Internet providers have a hosting setup to allow subscribers to setup a personal website as a sub-domain on its primary domain free of charge.

    There are free blog sites that provide space for personal web pages as a sub-domain.

    There are many commercial domain-hosting services at varying costs with different services.

    I started using a hosting service called Doteasy about 12 years ago because of their low cost.   I currently have 3 no-cost sites and one paid site.   The no-cost is for the hosting only, the domain cost is still there.   Doteasy always has a first year promotion if you register a domain with them, check their site.   They will auto-build you a site in minutes to get you started.

    Web browsers such as IE & Firefox translate program code to a displayable page.   The program code must be standardized so a page will display the same on all browsers.   IE has always been a problem browser, it is getting better but still not standard.   There are groups such as W3C developing and teaching the latest standards.

    You can view the program code for a page by clicking "Page Source" or "Display Source" on your browser pull-down menu.

    You can save most current web pages and all integral files using "Save Page As" on your browser File pull-down menu. 
You must create a new sub directory to save them in.

    There are many web programming languages to choose from.   The most common is Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML).   The latest is XHMTL 1.0 although HTML5 is being developed and is in beta test.   It will combine some of the best features of some other languages.   The main delay seems to be browser support.

    I use a free, easy to use web programmer called HTML KIT.   It in includes FTP communication and a lot of free add-ons.   There is also a premium version.   For miscellaneous file transferring I use the free home version of WS_FTP LE.

    For program modifing and even some program origination, I use Notepad++.   It too is completely free.  
For file transferring, again I use the free home version of WS_FTP LE.

    Web pages are programmed and tested on your local computer then up loaded using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to your Host.   Sub-domains are programmed the same as domains, they are just sent to a different directory on your host.

    W3Schools Online is one of the best tutorial sites and they are part of the standards group.   They train and test for most of the commonly used languages.   They issue certificates at a cost.

    Open Source Web Design contains hundreds of free downloadable site designs.  You use one as a starting point then build your site around it.

Setup your own home webserver on your home computer.

    Your hardware setup at a minimim should be a Windows computer with 4 or 8Gb of RAM memory with at least a 250Gb hard drive with a UPS power supply powering your computer, cable modem, router and any switches in the signal path.
Your cable upload speed should be at least 1mbs for a small use website.  My upload speed is 5mbs.

My home webserver is a Dell980, Intel(R) QuadCore(TM), i5 CPU 3.20 GHz, 8Gb RAM and a 1Tb hard drive running Windows 7 Pro.

    The most popular web hosting software is Apache.  It too is completely free. I use a free bundled version of WampServer64.
WampServer includes Apache, PHP & MySQL for Windows in both 32 and 64 bit versions.  Apache allows multiple virtual hosts.

    There is one fly in the ointment to be solved.  All internet connections require an internet digital address.  Your Internet Service Provider assigns your cable or DSL modem a dynamic or static digital address, your address is usually dynamically assigned.
Your ISP could change it at any time, you may never notice it but that causes a real problem for anyone wanting to find your webpage.

    There are companies that solve the ISP dynamic DNS problems. You establish an account with them, they monitor your router for a change in your internet address then re-direct traffic to your local router's new address.

    I did some searching and picked  They have dozens of domains for you to choose from, your local web page will appear as a subdomain on one of their main domains.  Currently, their cost is about $40 a year for up to 30 subdomains.
I presently host over 20 websites(subdomains) on my local home virtual web server.

Website Search Engine Optimization(SEO).

    The goal of SEO website programming is to see your website on the first search page on as many search engines as possible.
Google is the largest search engine by far and thus, they set the standards.  Google publishes SEO standards on their site.

    Back in the early days of web hosting things were simple.  Along came Google and things got very competive, complicated alogrithms were developed by all and the race was on.   Not all search engines use the same critera, a search on one may not give you the same result as others.  Many hidden and sometimes nefarious factors influence search results, money and politics come to mind.

    While it is impossible to influence money or politics we can design a website that meets the current programming standards.
SEO standards change by the hour.  A website that was 100% comliant last year may only be 50% comliant today.

    There are many websites that sell SEO programming help that is 3 to 4 years old.  Many of them are obsolete.
They will anaylize your page, report problems and give you a number.  Is that number based on the latest standards?  Who knows?

   A good starting point would be to go to 3 or 4 analyzers, print out their results and fix everything they all flag out.
This will get you close to optimum.  You will find that 100% on one site may get you only 80% on another.  Keep working, have fun.


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