What are SEO, SSL and DNS? — Website jargon explained

Setting up a new website can be a daunting task if you know nothing about it, but here’s the Leeming Design ‘handy guide’ to all most things website design and hosting related. Let’s start from the beginning…

What are domain names?…

Example: YourWebsite.com — Your website’s going to need one of these because they make your site easy to find and hopefully, people remember the name so they can keep coming back. There are tons of places your can buy them from — or should I say RENT them from — because effectively, that’s what you’re doing.

You pay your fee for a fixed term and then the domain name has to be renewed, usually every couple of years although you can enter into longer or shorter-term agreements.

What’s hosting?

To explain hosting I’m going to use the analogy of the internet being like a huge library. Every website is a book and all those books need shelves to sit on. Think of hosting as your very own space on one of the bookshelves.

Putting it another way — when you buy hosting, you’re buying space on a computer somewhere that’s always switched on and connected to the internet so that when somebody wants to visit your website, they can.

Secure Web Design in southportWhat is SSL and do I need it on my website?

The are two answers to that question — the long complicated one and this, more simple one: SSL is nowadays a generic name for a secure way of making sure that when you visit a website, the communications are secure and encrypted.

So whether you’re buying yourself a new set of pyjamas from Marks and Spencer’s website or simply filling in the contact form on this website, all the details you enter are securely sent without anyone else being able to ‘hack’ into the data being exchanged.

You can usually tell if you’re using a secure website by the little padlock symbol in the address bar.

It’s highly recommended to have SSL installed and running properly on your website.

What’s the DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System and that’s all that most people need to know about it — unless you’re doing anything a bit more tricky under the bonnet of a website.

Most simple website setups just use a single hosting company to buy the domain and host the website and email.

However, some more complicated website setups might use different companies for web hosting and email hosting and more on top of this, and that’s where the DNS can come in handy for redirecting different types of traffic, like email or web browsing, to different hosting servers.

Finally, what’s SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and this is the key to getting your site ranked highly on sites like Google and Bing. SEO has lots of different elements to it and it’s important to get them right because it’s not just a case of the best optimised site rises to the top, do things wrong or badly and the search engines could penalise your site and move you down the ranks, further than if you’d made no effort at all.

For advice on how to get your site ranked highly by the big search engines, give Leeming Design a call on 07590 406 669.

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