The Server, the Database, and the Browser

Those three components make up the basis of any website.

The server holds the files which are used to produce the website. These files include HTML files, images, videos, and the code files used to create the site’s layout.

A server is also referred to as a web server or the back-end.

Resources for learning more about web servers:

The database holds the data used in a website. The data in a database is stored in multiple tables that look similar to a spreadsheet. Each distinct database table holds data specific to a topic, function, or user.

The server adds data to the database tables and copies data from the tables. The server is the connection between the stored data and the web browser.

For example, when you log into Facebook the Facebook server copies all of the data needed for your profile from the database and sends it to your browser in a format which the browser can read .

The database is also referred to as the DB, or the data table.

Resources for learning more about databases:

The browser is the program you use on your computer to interact with the internet. There are a few different browser programs currently used: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are some of the most popular.

You tell the browser which website or webpage location you want to visit and the browser retrieves the code and data from the server for that website. The browser then shows the data in the correct layout to you.

The browser is also referred to as the client or the front-end.

You interact with the browser using these program languages:

Websites, Webpages, and Web Applications

A webpage is a single page shown in a web browser. A single video page on is a webpage.

A website is a collection of webpages under a single URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Youtube ( is a website.

A web application is a website which offers advanced functionality like a computer program would. An example of a web application would be a web based calendar, or web based email. is also a web application

What is a Web Host?

A web host is the computer which holds the web server and database.

Setting up and maintaining a reliable host computer is expensive and difficult.

Most people and companies pay a hosting company a monthly rate to use one of their computers as a web host.

In the section Build Your First Website we will point you to a low cost web host you can use to setup your first website.

Resources for learning more about web hosts and web hosting:

What is a Server-side (or Back-end) Language?

A server-side language is the programming language (also known as a code or a script) used on the web server to produce the website.

There are a variety of server-side languages. Each has their own pros and cons, but they all perform the same tasks.

Read more about server-side languages in general:

You should have a basic understanding of the most popular server-side languages.

back-end developer is skilled at least one server-side languages. Most back-end developers know at least two languages well.

Some front-end developers do not know any server-side languages at an expert level, and some front-end developers know multiple server-side languages very well.

All  front-end developers eventually work with server-side languages, but rarely at a complex level.

Read through these links to gain a basic understanding of these popular server-side languages:

What is HTML?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the programming language used by browsers to render the webpage. It is an essential language that all web developers must know.

The content of a webpage is a collection of HTML elements.

There are many different types of HTML elements. Some elements show text, others show images and videos, and another class of elements are used to control the layout of the webpage.

Becoming an expert in HTML requires you to know the most popular HTML elements and how they function.

Resources for learning more about HTML

What is CSS?

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a  language used to tell the browser how to style the content inside the HTML code.

CSS tells the browser what each HTML element should look like and where it should appear on the page.

All web developers are expected to understand what CSS does and what the syntax of CSS looks like. Front-end developers should know the popular CSS properties and their options.

Resources for learning more about CSS:

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a programming language which is run by the browser. It is different than server-side languages because it is used by the browser and not the server.

JavaScript is often used to change HTML or CSS after the webpage has loaded. It can be used to create slideshows, dropdown menus, and animations.

Front-end developers are usually very knowledgeable about JavaScript and back-end developers usually have a basic understand of it.

Resources for learning more about JavaScript: