If you’re looking for information on the basics of web development, you’ve come to the right place. This article goes over the broad strokes of the process of building a website, hosting a website, and a critical choice businesses must make when it comes to creating their website.

The Process of Building a Website

Web designers and web developers create individual webpages that come together to form a website. Designers are responsible for coming up with the look of the website—that is, its colors, layout, theme, and visuals. A web developer uses coding to put those elements in place on each page. (Sometimes, the jobs of developer and designer overlap.)

Hosting a Website

When it comes to actually getting a website online, there are three important terms you should be aware of:

  • A domain is a website’s unique name that allows users to easily look it up through their web browser. For example, the domain for website of The New York Times is www.nytimes.com. 
  • Hosting providers allow you to buy a domain. Typically, this is paid for annually. 
  • Hosting services make your website available through its domain. This can be paid for by the month, quarter, or year. Examples of hosting services include GoDaddy and Bluehost. (These services can also be used to purchase domains, meaning they double up as hosting providers.)  

A Critical Choice

For web development, businesses have to make a critical choice: deciding between using a content management system (CMS) or using a text editor. A CMS, such as WordPress or Drupal, does a lot of the coding work for web developers (though coding knowledge can still be helpful). A CMS can be useful for a small business where a web designer is doubling up as the web developer.

For those confident in their coding skills—or those willing to learn—a text editor lets users write code for their website. Examples include Notepad++, Atom, and Brackets. This approach is useful for businesses who have a strong coder on staff.