What is a Website? Basic Answer: A Website is simply a main/root folder, with website pages inside it, that is stored on a Master Internet Computer known as a Server. The Internet itself, or World Wide Web as it is known, is simply a collection of Master Internet Computers (Servers) from all around the world that are able to connect to each other in order to share/display website content with you. Content such as Text Information, Audio/Video files, Downloadable Software files and other Website Page files. The main/root folder of a website is usually named after its www domain name, such as maccomputerlessons.com or bbc.co.uk.
You view the contents of a main/root folder (website folder) by using an application called a web browser or internet browser. Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome are all website browsers / internet browsers. It is a website (internet) browser's job to connect you to a specific Master Internet Computer (Server) in order to view the website pages stored inside a specific main/root folder (website folder). Being able to view the contents of a specific main/root folder (website folder), from anywhere around the world via the Safari website browser application for example, gives you the ability to read/view the contents of its website pages as well as download its media files and fill in its application forms for example; if the website folder contains application forms and/or downloadable media files of course.
What the above means is: If you type www.bbc.co.uk into safari's Address Bar edit box for example and press the ENTER keyboard key, safari should then connect to the Master Internet Computer (Server) that is storing the main/root folder (website folder) called bbc.co.uk. Furthermore it should then display the contents that makes up the main website page you see when first visiting bbc.co.uk. That main website page, stored inside the main/root (bbc.co.uk) folder, is known as the Index Page (see below).
Fig 1.0 A website is just a folder containing website pages made up of Text, Images and Audio/Video files.
The following example shows what a website's Main Folder looks like behind the scenes. Here I am showing you what the main folder of this website (maccomputerlessons.com) looks like. On the left-side are the website sub-folders and files as I create them on my computer and on the right-side are exactly the same website sub-folders and files when they have been uploaded to (stored inside) the main/root folder called maccomputerlessons.com that resides on my web hosting company's Master Internet Computer (Server).
Fig 1.1 Inside the main/root folder of this website (right-side) on my web hosting company's computer (server)
The codes/instructions tell Safari what content to use (i.e. Text, Image, Audio/Video and/or Animation files), which folder or sub-folder within the Master internet Computer (Server) to fetch that content from and how to display the content; how to display the Text Information itself, the Media (Audio/Video/Photo file) and the HyperLinks (Text Links, Picture Links, etc). An example of a website page is Fig 1.0 (above) and Fig 1.2 (below) - Their website page content (i.e. text and images) has been downloaded (fetched) from their respective Master Internet Computers (Servers) onto my computer ready for display by the Safari web browser application. So my computer now has an exact copy of that downloaded (fetched) website page content on it.
Inside each main/root folder, or sub-folder, of a website there is normally a text file (website page) called index.htm, index.php or index.html. It is called the Index website page because it is supposed to index all the other website pages and/or multimedia files within its folder, and because it is normally the first website page (text file) that a website browser application (such as Safari) will open/read/display when no reference to an index website page has been specified in the URL (explained later).
Fig 1.2 The BBC's WEATHER Index Page - Its URL is not displaying index.html in the safari Address Bar edit box
In the above example if you type www.bbc.co.uk/weather/ inside safari's Address Bar edit box, instead of www.bbc.co.uk/weather/index.html for example, and then press the ENTER keyboard key safari will still display the Index website page (i.e. the website page content making up the index.html text file) by default. Why? Because behind the scenes the computer that is hosting the website (the web hosting computer - server) tells safari (or whatever web browser you are currently using) to display the content of the index.html text file (website page) whenever no specific website page has been typed into the Address Bar edit box.
A website address (web address) is normally a full www domain name. For example. This website's full www domain name is www.maccomputerlessons.com. So when someone asks me "What is your Website Address" I reply with "www.maccomputerlessons.com". Strictly speaking though, a website address (www domain name) does not have to end with .com. It can end with .net, .co.uk, .biz and so on. The full www domain name for the BBC website is: www.bbc.co.uk. So when someone says "Visit the BBC website" that is their short way of saying "Visit w w w dot b b c dot co dot uk".
Fig 1.3 The BBC's website address (www.bbc.co.uk) is being displayed inside the safari Address Bar edit box
A website address, just like a house address, tells you where to find something. For example. My house address tells everyone where I live and www.maccomputerlessons.com tells everyone where my Free Apple Mac Computer Lessons are.
An URL (Earl or U, R, L) is just another way of saying Path Name or website address that also states/includes the direct path to a specific website page or downloadable file for example. So if you wanted to view the website page on this website called How To Create An E-Mail Account for example you could type the website address www.maccomputerlessons.com into safari's Address Bar edit box, click on the INDEX link and then click on the link called HOW TO CREATE AN E-MAIL ACCOUNT USING MAIL. Or you could just type its URL directly into safari's Address Bar edit box: www.maccomputerlessons.com/how-to-create-an-e-mail-account.html. Either way will display the website page called How To Create An E-Mail Account Using Mail. With website addresses and URLs the forward slash / is used instead of a Path Name back slash \.
URLs come in all shapes and sizes. Take a look at the URLs in these next two examples. This first is a URL that displays a BBC iPlayer web page. Its main/root folder is bbc.co.uk. It then has four sub-folders - iplayer, episode, b01p8sr5 and EastEnders_07_12_2012. No index page was stated in the URL though, such as episode1.html.
Fig 1.4 This is an URL that displays the BBC iPlayer website page for an episode of tv programme Eastenders
With the second URL it displays a YouTube Video website page. Its main/root folder is youtube.com and its index page, which derives from the code: watch?v=4qV143L-G3U, tells the YouTube Video website what video to play. In other words, these kind of URLs pass a code to the index page which in turn may pass that code onto the actual video player on the website. This is what all URLs are ultimately doing anyway. Passing information through the Address Bar edit box (URL edit box).
Fig 1.5 This is an URL that displays the BBC iPlayer website page for an episode of tv programme Eastenders
So with the above knowledge: If someone said "Please e-mail me the link to that YouTube Video" they would be asking you to write down http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qV143L-G3U (or even www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qV143L-G3U) in an e-mail and send it to them so that they can then watch the same YouTube Video.