What Is Needed to Build a Website?

by Michael Dance

At their simplest, websites are simply collections of interconnected pages, coded in HTML, put on a server and identified with a domain name. At their most complicated, they consist of hundreds of database tables, special JavaScript effects and extensive PHP forms. The needs to build a website vary between these extremes depending on how extensive the website to be built is.

Domain Name

A domain name is the identity of your site that allows your web browser to find the server that contains your website. "Google.com," "Navy.mil" and "NYU.edu" are some examples.


Your website must exist on a computer known as a server, which hosts the site on the Web. You commonly buy a hosting package from a company that hosts your website for you.

Web Pages

Basic web pages are structured in HTML code, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, and styled with a language called CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets. You need to understand how to code a website, or you need to find a host that will do the coding for you.


It's usually impractical to write every web page on your site manually with HTML code. Often, the content of your site is stored in databases with a database system called MySQL. To grab the data (such as the content of a blog post) from the databases, a language called PHP is used alongside HTML code.


While PHP exists on your server to grab information from databases, another advanced language, JavaScript, is executed on the user's computer to create cool effects: menus fading in or out or even simple web games.

Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems (CMS) can be installed on your server to provide a user-friendly interface for creating and maintaining your website without having to meddle with advanced languages like PHP and MySQL. Common CMS include WordPress and Drupal.

About the Author

Michael Dance is a freelance writer and the owner of MovieCultists.com. As a film critic for TheCinemaSource.com he has been quoted by RottenTomatoes.com and in national ad campaigns. He graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2007 and currently lives in Washington D.C.

More Articles