This is your unique name that allows visitors to find your website on the Internet. Usually in the form of "http://mysite.com" or "http://www.mysite.com". Some common other domain suffixes besides .com are .org, .net, .info, .biz, .us. Different countries also have their own. For instance, a domain name ending with .cn is a Canadian domain name, .uk is United Kingdom, .au is Australia, etc.
The "www" that prefixes most domain names is a form of a sub-domain. This is pretty much a standard to include this when setting up a domain name. An example of a sub-domain besides "www" would be http://mystore.mysite.com
Once you have a domain name chosen, it needs to be registered. Originally, Network Solutions was the only domain registrar, but in recent years, the list has grown. CDS Web has exclusively been using a company called Direct Nic for the past 9 years.
Every domain name needs to be on a web server. This server can be located anywhere in the world and owners of these servers charge a fee to "host" your domain name. The fee varies and usually depends on how much disk space you will need, how many email accounts, how many sub-domains, etc.
In contrast, what CDS refers to as a dynamic database driven site is where all content of the website is contained in a database and is controlled via password protected maintenance screens. This type of website allows you to change website content without calling CDS Web and requesting us to do some work. You do it yourself and the changes are immediate.
Usually with a shopping cart where the visitor can add products to the cart and check out and pay with their credit card with a secure connection. Is a form of a database driven site. Shopping cart we use is a highly customizable cart with password protected maintenance screens where you can add products and pictures, change prices, etc.
Your organization needs to be setup as a non-profit organization. CDS has been known to give discounts to these type of websites.
There are basically two ways to password protect an area of a website.
- Basic athentication is where a specific folder on the server is protected with a common username and password.
- Database athentication is the most secure and flexible method. It allows you to have multiple users each with their own username and password. This method also allows you to password protect certain pages and even restrict what certain users can see or do on a page.
This can be setup where the passwords are stored in the database in plain text (least secure) but does allow easy lost password retrieval. Most secure is where the password is stored in the database encrypted. This method doesn't allow lost password retrieval. Password can only be reset and the new password is emailed to the user at a pre-defined email address.
Database athentication method in either form allows tracking users (where they go and what they do on your site) and to have this info stored in a database log.
Can be as simple as a 1-page site with your resume to multiple pages with a photo album, guestbook, etc.
Security Tip: If you plan on having a photo album on your site and plan on having pictures of minor children, consider having this section password protected. Then give the login info to anyone that have a need to see your minor children's pictures i.e. family, friends.
Shopping carts come in two basic designs.
- Static webpages: All products are arranged in static webpages. Are generally a pain because any changes need to be done via a html editor program and then pages re-uploaded.
- Database: All products are stored in a database. Can be maintained by yourself. Usually searchable. CDS uses this type of shopping cart.
Are basically two operating systems used on webservers.
- Can be a Microsoft Windows based, usually using Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) to display webpages to the public and using Microsoft designed database software such as MS SQL or even a MS Access database.
- Unix based. Examples are Sun Solaris, Linux and FreeBSD. Typically use server software called Apache and most commonly, mySQL databases. CDS uses a web server running FreeBSD, Apache and mySQL.
- A third configuration which is seen occasionally is a Windows based server using Apache and mySQL.
Web Page File Name Extensions
If you have ever wondered what the filename extensions stand for that are used on web pages, following is a short list of some of the more common filename extensions:
- .asp - Active Server Page (Microsoft)
A server-side scripting environment that can be used to create dynamic Web pages or build Web applications. ASP pages are files that contain HTML tags, text, and script commands. ASP pages can call Component Object Model (COM) components to perform tasks, such as connecting to a database or performing a business calculation. With ASP, the user can add interactive content to Web pages or build entire Web applications that use HTML pages as the interface to your customers.
- .aspx - ASP.NET Source File (Microsoft)
Is a technology for building powerful, dynamic Web applications. It is part of the Windows .NET Framework .
- .cfml, .cfm - Cold Fusion Markup Language
Cold Fusion is a general-purpose Web development system for rapidly building Web applications that integrate browser, server and database technologies. It consists of the Cold Fusion Markup Language (CFML), the Cold Fusion Application Server (NT & UNIX) and the forthcoming Cold Fusion Studio, a visual tool for building dynamic Web applications. . . In essence, CFML provides a generalized markup language for handling the richness of programming, logic and integration required to build full-scale applications on the Web platform. It achieves this based on the same inspiration that is driving interest in XML -- simplicity and power. . . Syntactically, Custom Tags are XML compliant custom markup language elements that allow developers to build reusable components that can be easily dropped into a dynamic Web application. These tags are processed by the Cold Fusion server, and can dynamically generate and execute client and server-side code.
- .cgi - Common Gateway Interface Script
A method of transferring data from web pages to scripts running on a web server and back again. CGI scripts on the server are most-often written in the Perl language.
- .htm, .html - Hyper Text Markup Language
A markup language which defines the structure of documents on the World-Wide Web. Elements of the language allow hypertext linking between documents. The language consists of text with embedded tags which can be open (e.g., <br> for a new line) or closed (e.g., <strong>Text</strong> for bold text). HTML is not a layout language in that different browsers can interpret the embedded commands in different ways on different systems and the user is in control of many of those display characteristics.
- .jsp - Java Server Page (Sun)
Server side scripting language using Java.
- .php, .phtml, .php3, .php4 - Personal Hypertext Preprocessor
Is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.
- .pl - PERL Program File
- .shtml - HTML File Containing Server Side Directives
A mechanism for including dynamic text in World Wide Web documents. Server-side includes are special command codes that are recognized and interpreted by the server; their output is placed in the document body before the document is sent to the browser. Server-side includes can be used, for example, to include the date/time stamp in the text of the file.
- .xml - Extensible Markup Language
Is the universal format for structured documents and data on the Web.