Getting into Web Development – The Basics of How Internet Works

This article is going to be the first one in series of posts intended to let anyone get into web development without any prerequisites. In order to put something available online one should know how the internet works. Learning web technologies(HTML, PHP etc) isn’t just enough to get started online if you are really serious about getting into web development. Without delaying further lets get in.

What is a web page?

A web page is a file that contains code understandable by web browser which follows rules in the file and creates a Graphical Interface from code in the file. So in order to create a website one must first create a web page using web technologies like HTML, CSS & JAVASCRIPT. The process of creating a web page will be discussed in detail later.

Let say you created the web page. You can just open it using any web browser and you could see your web page.

How to make a web page available online?

Creating a web page is just the start but how could your friends see your page? Getting feedback is the first step of success to any art. You could send the file via E-mail so they could see and give you feedback but this tutorial is not about just creating a web page but to professionally show it off. In order to let your friends access your page. It should be placed on a web server. A web server is a computer connected to internet and loaded with a software that sends everyone the files requested.

You could convert your computer into a web server which is not a really good idea if you are serving a real website but it’s OK for now as the visitors are just your friends. There are many software’s that help you convert any computer into web server but I usually prefer Apache Web Server.

Installing Web Server in Windows

It’s usually cumbersome to install and setup a web server so the easiest way to start is by simple downloading a bundle like XAMPP. Download the bundle with PHP 5.6 for now which will be useful for the future tutorials. Keep everything to default and just install the bundle. After installing open the XAMPP control panel and start the apache and look for apache started message in the status. Open a browser and navigate to http://localhost/ and you should see the default server page of XAMPP. Now you are all done and your computer is converted into a web server.

Installing Web Server in Linux

I’m not going to be specific in each and every step because It’s been a while since I am on Linux so I would be putting it short. Install httpd using the package manager of your linux distro and that’s all you have to do. Just open your browser and navigate to http://localhost/ You should see the apache default page. If not then you might have not started the server. Try

service httpd start

Taking it live

Even though you have the web server installed. Due to the ISP restrictions now a days chances are that you might not be live yet. In order to check if your ISP allows you to host the server. Navigate to here and check your public ip address. Then enter your ip address in your web browser you must see the test pages you had earlier when you navigated to http://localhost. If not then your ISP doesn’t want you to host the web site. I will let you know a work around for this soon.

Now that you are aware of how to host a file. The next part will explain how to create the web page.