Let's lift the hood and check out the engine that makes the World Wide Web run.

Browsers - what do they do?

  • A web browser is a computer application that reads files.
  • When entering a URL (ex. into the address bar in a browser, the browser requests information in the form of a file associated with that specific URL.
  • Your browser renders code in the form of a website.

Request - Response

  • HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
  • In a nutshell, an HTTP request is sent by the client (a browser), which is used to locate information in the form of a file.
  • This file contains code, which tells your browser how, and what, to render.
  • A web server responds to this request, by telling the browser where the file lives.

HTTP Request (via

HTTP Methods

HTTP is a protocol that allows clients to communicate with web servers, and is a primary underlying infrastructure of the Internet. The two most common HTTP methods are:

  • GET
  • POST

When a URL is inputted, the browser sends a GET request to a web server. When a form is submitted on a website, a POST request is submitted, and the browser hands off the form data to be handled by the web server.

(There are several more HTTP Methods but GET and POST are used for 99.99%+ of Web traffic.)


  • DNS stands for Domain Name Service
  • This is a standardized way for a browser to know where your website lives.
  • Your browser communicates with a nameserver, which tells your browser the IP address of where the files for your website are located.
  • Information on your nameservers are known as DNS Records.

DNS illustration

Remember, websites live at an IP Address. This is a string of numbers, (ex. that locates a specific computer (or "host") on the Internet. A domain name is simply a translation that provides humans with an easy way to remember where a website lives.

Other DNS Info

Your nameservers may also contain other information about your domain, such as where your email server lives. For example, if I try to send an email to [email protected], your email server is going to communicate with the nameserver for and say, "Where does this email server live?".