What Are the Parts of a Website?

by Serm Murmson

A website is a collection of Web pages accessible through a single domain. Websites can serve many different purposes, and therefore they can have many different design styles. Regardless of the purpose or design, most websites share a common architecture. In addition to the way files are hosted on a server, most websites follow a set of general layout conventions. This ensures a streamlined user experience.

Behind the Scenes

While a website can consist of a single Web page, most sites exist on a server as a series of files. The main Web page of a website is the index file. This file may be named index.html or index.php, depending on whether it uses the PHP language. When you navigate your browser to a domain, your browser loads the index page for that domain. For example, if you navigate your browser to www.mywebpage.com, your browser would load the file located at www.mywebpage.com/index.html. Other pages can be accessed via their file names. For example, a contacts page might have the URL www.mywebpage.com/contacts.html.

Header

The header of a website typically includes a title and subtitle for the page. The header serves to orient the user to the site. In many cases, the header is the same across different pages on a site. This helps remind the user of the site he's visiting, and helps establish a specific design style for that site.

Navigation Menu

A website with multiple Web pages typically has some sort of navigation menu. This menu offers a number of hyperlinks that direct the user to the other pages on the site. Alternatively, links in a navigation menu may direct the user to an external website. The navigation menu of a website can be located anywhere on a page. Many websites feature a navigation menu at the top or side of a page. Some websites also have a series of links at the bottom of the page.

Footer

The footer of a website is located at the bottom of a page. Typically, footers include copyrights and credits for material on the page. Some website footers have links to other areas of the page. These links often exist in addition to any navigation menu. In general, the visual style of a website footer is very simple; the information typically appears in small, plain text.

Content

The content of a website is contained in the space between the header and footer. On many websites, the header and footer stay constant across all pages, while the content changes from page to page. The content can take many forms, depending on the site. Some sites feature content made entirely of text. Others, such as YouTube, feature videos. Some others feature only images -- some artist portfolio websites are structured this way.

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About the Author

Serm Murmson is a writer, thinker, musician and many other things. He has a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His concerns include such things as categories, language, descriptions, representation, criticism and labor. He has been writing professionally since 2008.

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