Do you want to know what is a website and how does it work?
If you’re curious about the current online business trend, then you may have probably heard about websites. Or if you asked people how to build a cool online presence, then they might have suggested you create a website.
So, what’s a website actually?
In simple terms, a website is a collection of webpages. The ‘webpages’ are online pages that you can view by using the internet and web service on a computer or smartphone.
For example, SiteSaga.com is a website and you’re currently viewing a web page on it (this article) with the help of the internet.
We’ll provide the definition of a website, how it works, types, examples, etc. in the sections below. Keep reading to know everything about websites!
A. What is a Website? – Definition
As the name implies, a website refers to a ‘site’ on the ‘web’ where you can put information about yourself, your business, or any other topic and users can access it by using the internet.
To understand this better, here’s an analogy! Just like a physical ‘site’ on land where you make a house and live, you make a website on the web and your information lives on it.
And, just like the address of your house, your website also will have a unique address called ‘web address’. With the web address, internet users can easily find your website and access the information on it.
Technically, a website is a collection of interlinked pages on the internet grouped under a unique name or online address.
These pages, known as web pages, contain information or services by a business or organization. The information may be in different formats like text, images, videos, audio, and animation and the services may be like buying or selling products, downloading digital products, etc.
For example, the page you’re viewing right now is a web page. It’s one of the several pages on our website ‘SiteSaga.com’. This page and several other pages are arranged under the name ‘SiteSaga.com’ which you can access by entering ‘www.sitesaga.com‘ in a web browser.
As a user, you just need a computer, a smartphone, or any device having a web browser, and an internet connection to access a website.
You need to enter a web address on the address bar of the web browser of your device. After that, it takes you to the front page called the home page of that site. We’ll explain more about the different types of pages on a website below.
B. What is a Website Used For? + Types of Websites
Every website on the internet is built with a specific purpose or goal. The organizations and businesses through their websites, aim to provide information and services to their members and customers.
Websites also have become a medium of entertainment like playing online games, watching movies, listening to music, and so on.
Similarly, e-commerce websites let us sell and buy things online. For example, www.amazon.com is one of the top eCommerce companies that runs a billion-dollar business via its website.
Types of Websites with Examples
Here’re some of the popular types of websites along with what they’re used for:
- Blog website – Provide information on various topics. Example: www.sitesaga.com (our website is a technology blog about building websites).
- Entertainment website – Allows watching movies and videos, listening to songs, playing games, and so on. Example: www.youtube.com (free videos of different types like music videos, movies, comedy shows, etc.)
- News portal – Makes readers updated with the latest news on the world scenario. For Example, www.bcc.com (a news site featuring news on health, world politics, sports, culture, future, etc.)
- Membership site – Offers premium content to registered or paid members. Example: www.netflix.com (a video and movies streaming site where only paid members can access them). More examples.
- Social media site – Let users engage and interact with other users. Example: www.facebook.com (a social network site where people can connect, communicate and share ideas with one another).
- Education website – Websites of schools, universities, or independent academic organizations that provide information about various courses available or offer online learning materials. Example: www.yale.edu (website of Yale University which provides information about various undergraduate and graduate programs, admission procedures, and also offers some online courses).
- Government website – Provides different types of information and services and saves a great deal of time. Example: www.USA.gov (official website of the United States government which includes information on various government programs like health, education, passports, etc.).
- Search engine site – Help users search for things on the web and get useful results. Example: www.google.com (most popular search engine website).
If you want to learn more, you can see our article on types of websites with examples.
C. How Many Websites are there Online?
The number of websites released per day is massive. It’s hard to say how many websites exist there in total. So, it’s impossible to make a list of all websites.
But we can always count! Here are some striking statistics about websites according to Internet Live Stats (retrieved on December 2021):
- An unbelievable number of over 1.5 billion websites are there on the world wide web.
- Among them, around 200 million websites are actively online.
- According to the same source, there are more than 5 billion internet users in the world as of December 2021.
- These users make about 3 to 4 billion Google searches per day!
- And, about 4 million blog posts are published everyday.
You can find more stats on www.internetlivestats.com/.
Now, let’s find out which are the top 10 websites on the internet!
Which are the Top Websites on the Internet?
According to Statista, the most popular websites in 2021 include Google.com, YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Wikipedia.org, etc. The statistics are based on a survey conducted in June 2021 (a report published on July 2021).
Here, we’ve presented the list of the top 7 websites according to the total monthly visits as per the report.
- www.Google.com – 86.9 billion visitors per month
- www.YouTube.com – 22.8 billion visitors per month
- www.Facebook.com – 20 billion visitors per month
- www.Wikipedia.org – 13.6 billion visitors per month
- www.Yahoo.co.jo – 5.2 billion visitors per month
- www.Amazon.com – 4.4 billion visitors per month
- www.Instagram.com – 4.4 billion visitors per month
You can learn more about these stats and their source by going to the global top websites report 2021 by Statista.
Also, you can check the top websites ranking table by Similarweb as an alternative source.
With that, you know which are the giants of the web engaging billions of internet users every day. So, let’s go ahead a learn about the technology of how a website works in brief.
D. How Does a Website Work? (Explained)
In simple terms, a website is built with some software or set of code. But it works only on top of powerful inventions. Those are technologies that make the content created on some remote computers accessible to people worldwide.
First of all, let’s briefly talk about the internet and the web that provide a ground for websites. Normally, people these terms interchangeably but they’re different technologies.
- Internet – It’s the technology or infrastructure that connects computers worldwide and lets sharing information.
- World Wide Web (or Web) – It’s the system that enables sharing of information using the internet.
In other words, the web is the vast collection of digital documents, websites, webpages, media, etc. And you can access them using the web browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc.
More precisely, the web is one of many ways you can share information via the internet. Others include email, instant messaging, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), etc.
So, in a nutshell, the internet and the web are the fundamental technologies on which websites are based.
Website Software, Domain, and Hosting for Websites
The next set of technologies that you need to understand are the 3 things mentioned below:
- Website Software/ Code
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting
First of all, a website is made of a set of code or programming languages. The most common programming languages are HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), etc.
These platforms also use coding but you won’t necessarily need to know coding to use them. They provide a user-friendly interface for non-coders and enable website-building for everyone.
Next are domain name and web hosting. They’re the 2 most essential things you need to create a website. A website works when these two things work together.
In simple terms, the domain name is the name of your website. You need to register your website name with a domain registration company in order to get a unique web address.
So, every website on the internet has a web address that locates the position of the website. When you enter the web address of a website on your web browser, the browser navigates through the web, finds the location of the requested page, and brings out the information for you.
This is where web hosting comes in. The storage location where your website files and content are stored is called web hosting.
Hosting services are also called web hosts and servers. Precisely, they are special computers situated in remote locations. They consist of huge memory and very powerful processors.
How do Websites Process Information and Serve Users?
Behind the scenes, when you type in a web address on the web browser, it starts to search for the particular website on the server where it is located.
And then, the web browser fetches website files and HTML code from that server and formats them to a pleasing web page, and displays it on the browser window.
Website vs Web Pages – What’s the Difference?
As stated above, a website is a set of interconnected webpages grouped under a domain name. Whereas a web page is any single page on the website.
Websites normally include multiple pages. Some of the common webpages are as follows:
- Home page – It’s the first page that’ll appear when you type a website’s domain name. It contains the basic overall information regarding what the website is about and what services the site offers. There are links on the home page that direct you to internal pages with more detailed information.
- Contact page – Most websites have a contact page. It offers a way for users to connect with the site owner via a contact form. Or it may include contact information.
- About us page – It contains general information about the individual, organization, or business that manages the website. It may also include information about the history or timeline of the organization’s journey.
- Blog – This page features the list of the most recent articles or news published by the website. Whereas some websites are full-fledged blog websites. We’ll explain blog vs website differences in the next section below.
Other pages may be services, portfolios, galleries, testimonials, etc.
One important thing to note is that some websites may have just one web page. Such websites are called one-page websites or single-page websites.
E. What is a Blog? How does it Differ From a Website?
A blog is a type of website that is focused on providing information on different topics. The content of the blog is called a “blog post“. The content of the blog appears in reverse chronological order (newer posts appear on top).
Blogs may provide general information, experience, reviews, critics, suggestions, or reactions through their posts. A reader can get an insight into what the post is trying to convey.
In the early days, people started blogging as a personal diary where they shared their daily life activities. Over time, blogging has become popular for sharing ideas on various topics like education, health care, business, fitness, tech, motivation, etc.
Some people seem to find it a little uneasy to distinguish between blogs and websites. Here are some of the things that differentiate blogs and websites.
- Blogs are only a type of website. A blog is aimed at providing information on various topics. So, a blog is a subset of websites.
- Blogs are dynamic. It means they are frequently updated with new content. And users can interact by adding comments, etc. Whereas, websites may be both static or dynamic in nature (explained in the next section).
- Blogs can be a small part of a big website. On many websites, blogs appear as a section of large sites. For example, business websites create a blog page to educate users about their products and services.
For more information, see our detailed article on what is a blog.
F. Static vs. Dynamic Websites
There are mainly 2 types of websites according to their ability of user interaction.
- Static Websites
- Dynamic Websites.
Static websites are ones with fixed information and the same content to display. Whereas dynamic websites are those with the ability to change web page content as per user interaction.
For example, let’s take the example of our blog www.sitesaga.com. It’s a dynamic website because it includes a comment form after every article where users can add a comment. Once approved, the comment will appear on the page.
Similarly, the eCommerce website www.amazon.com is also a dynamic site. From this site, you can view products, add to cart, checkout, and purchase things. As you proceed, you’ll see the different designs on each page.
Dynamic websites can update web pages as per users’ behaviors. It’s capable of engaging users with the use of the database. The database allows the addition and removal of web page components.
Static websites contain a few fixed pages holding only information, and no interactive components. Brochure websites, portfolio websites, informational websites, etc. are examples of static websites.
They’re mainly built with basic coding languages HTML and CSS. Whereas, dynamic websites require more complex programming languages like PHP.
However, you can make either static or dynamic websites easily using website builders, without having to write any code.
G. Do You Need a Website for Your Business?
No matter what scale your business is, having a website is super important nowadays. That goes without saying, most of do online research before buying anything.
According to purchase statistics by Think with Google, 53% of shoppers say that they research before purchasing. Now, suppose you don’t have a website. Then how will people know about your products?
To make it more clear, here we’ve enlisted the main reasons why you need a website for your business:
- Increase in Reach: Your website helps your product to get in reach of more people who can be your possible customer.
- Online Presence: It lets your customers find you anytime and from anywhere. And, by being online everytime, you’ll stop losing customers to your competitors.
- Increases Credibility: Online presence of your business makes your business more professional. It enhances the trust factor of your customers.
- Market Expansion: Your website can be viewed from all around the globe. So, you may meet your potential customers from different parts of the world.
- Cost-Effective: Having an eCommerce site can be cost-effective as compared to an actual store. It cuts the cost of operating, wages, utilities, etc. Cutting such overhead costs will lower your product prices and hence, increase your sales.
- Customer Interaction: It’s easier for your customers to reach you online, ask questions and give feedback. Communicating with users helps you to improve your products. And it’ll eventually grow your sales.
H. How to Start a New Website?
Now that you are familiar with the importance of a website, you might want one for your business. Chances are that you have no idea about making websites.
Normally, making a website involves learning codes that take months of practice and experience. We suppose you don’t want to learn it.
Another way to get a website is by hiring a web developer or web development company to create it for you. It keeps you from learning the codes yourself, but you’ll need to pay a big chunk of money.
But thankfully, there’re many beginner-friendly website platforms like WordPress available nowadays. They allow you to create websites easily and at a much more affordable price.
For example, to create a site on the WordPress.com platform, all you have to do is to sign up, choose a beautiful theme, and add content. WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform where you can make a free website.
You can learn the entire process of website building by following the guide below!
That’s all. We hope this article helped you to get a clear picture of what a website is, how it works, its types and uses, and how to get one for your business or company. If you already have a site, then please feel free to share your experience with us.
And, you may find it confusing which one to use, “web site or website”. They mean the same thing. Sometimes, you’ll find the only “site” written. It also means the website. So, don’t waste time on it.
If you want to build your own website, then you can pick one of the best site builders and start right away.