Website development can seem like a complicated subject. We have put together some information to help you to understand how a website works. Below are some of the concepts - click on the links to read more about how it works. You can also read our information about the website development process.

A website is a way to display information to users. Web pages are documents that are stored on a server which can be accessed by computers that are connected to the internet. Your browser programme (e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox) opens the web page document and converts the information into visible objects.

A web page consists of a bunch of different pieces called elements such as an image, a button, a paragraph or a link. Each element has attributes or styles such as width, height, color or position. These attributes can be manipulated to produce the desired appearance.

HTML / XHTML - Standard website markup language used to transfer web page information to your browser.

Static web pages - Pages generated from HTML, XHTML or XML documents. The content of the web page is fixed and will be exactly every time the page is viewed.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) - A document used to set the styles of the elements on your web page.

PHP - A server-side scripting language allowing you to manipulate data, access external information and create dynamic web pages.

Dynamic web pages - Pages generated from a server-side script document such as PHP or Information is generated each time the page is loaded. The content can be retrieved from a database, be based on an input sent via the browser or come from another document. The PHP script will output the calculated HTML information to the browser. The PHP script stays the same, but the HTML sent to the browser will vary.

Databases / MySQL - Databases are commonly used to store information for dynamic websites. Databases organise the information so that is easy to retrieve the required data. MySQL is the type of database which is generally used with PHP.

Javascript / Jquery - Javascript is a client-side scripting language which allows different actions to be performed based on the web browser's activity, for example clicking on a button or moving your mouse over an image. Jquery is a compact version of Javascript.

CMS (Content Management System) - A system developed with the use of PHP and MySQL to allow users with no technical knowledge to be able to update the content of a website.

Website design - The planning and conceptualisation of a website including appearance, structure and navigation.

Web development - Building a functional website by creating the web pages in accordance with the design. This includes writing the scripts and content of the HTML, Javascript, PHP and CSS documents.