How a Website Works

At the very basic level, a website is comprised of files stored on a server that are accessible publicly via an address or URL that is rendered in your web browser.

The files that make up a website consist of images, documents, plain text files, and database files that are all pulled into a single file via code. The website files are stored on a server and then accessed by your computer or device via an application called a web browser. The browser renders the code into a visual interface that you interact with.

To make changes to a website, you would typically need to understand various programming languages and markup, modify the code directly and then save the changes to the server. Although this process is still applicable to today, many factors have made it possible for just about anyone to maintain website content without touching a single line of code. Advances in personal computing devices, greater access to faster and more stable networks, the maturity of web technologies and standards, and the ubiquity of cloud computing have all paved the way for the modern Content Management System (CMS).

Essentially, a CMS sits on top of the coded files and creates a user interface for updating web pages. We are using OmniUpdate's OU Campus as the Content Management System for PCC’s website. In addition to editing web pages, OU Campus, gives us the ability to manage permissions, upload images, manage documents, create forms and many other useful features.

Still, at the core, sits a bunch of files filled with code that even we have a hard time debugging at times, but this is the beauty of a CMS, it removes the barrier to maintaining and updating content online.


Next Up: 1.2 - What is a Responsive Website?