Chapter 9. Getting Your Site Online

By this point, you know how to build a complete, basic website. You’ve written HTML pages, formatted them with style sheets, incorporated some pictures, and linked everything together. But all this work is for naught if you don’t put your page online so your legions of fans (or your uncle Dan in Fresno) can visit it on the Web.

In this chapter, you’ll learn how web servers work and how to put them to work for you. Armed with these high-tech nerd credentials, you’ll be ready to search for your own web host, a company that lets you park your site on its web server. All you need to do is figure out your requirements, see which hosts offer what you need, and start comparison-shopping.

How Web Hosting Works

As you learned in Chapter 1, the Web isn’t stored on any single computer, and no company owns it. Instead, the individual pieces (websites) are scattered across millions of computers known as web servers. And while it may seem like all these sites are part of a single environment, in reality, the Internet is just a set of standards that let independent computers talk to one another.

Understanding Web Servers

Web servers are the computers that store HTML pages. When you type a web address into your browser, the browser sends your request to the web server that hosts the site. When the server receives the request, it carries out a simple and essential task—it serves the corresponding page to the person who wants it.

For a busy website, this basic task can ...

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