The workings of a web hosting server
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explanation of the type of information captured
in the URL:
- The type of information being transferred, and
the method of transfer:
· http -
hypertext transfer protocol. The standard format
for the Web. Your browser reads the contents of
the file and interprets how to display the
contents on your screen.
· ftp -
file transfer protocol. A method for
transferring files to your computer. Make sure
your virus detection software is up to date
before downloading any files if you are not
convinced of their safety.
- gopher was a text-only precursor to the Web,
still occasionally used for text files.
· news -
newsgroup, or online bulletin board. Newsgroups
can contain valuable and reliable information,
but most are unmoderated, and anyone can
contribute, so verify the information and/or the
contributor before relying on anything you find
in a newsgroup.
- The type of institution, organization, etc.
that hosts the computer on which the Web page
resides. Some common domains are:
· edu -
education. For pages at educational
institutions, be sure to determine whether it is
an "official" page whose contents are endorsed
by the institution or department, or whether it
is a personal page of a professor or student.
· gov -
government. Which department, agency, etc, is
responsible for the page?
· com -
commercial. Includes news sources, but also
includes companies' information and marketing
pages: who hosts the page, what is the purpose
of the page?
· org -
organization. Includes many advocacy groups:
what group is responsible for the page, what is
the purpose of the group and of the page?
· uk, jp,
aw, ... -
country codes (uk: United Kingdom; jp:
Japan; aw: Aruba). Usually, "us" (United States)
is not included in U.S. URLs, but other
countries' codes are.
- Personal pages often (but not always) have a
"~" in the URL, or a directory called "/users/"
or "/people/" followed by a name. The contents
of a personal page are not necessarily endorsed
by an institution or organization hosting the
- You can "chop" a URL to move up "higher" in
the hierarchy of directories and folders. This
can be helpful if you want to find out what else
is at the Web site or who is responsible for the
page or site you are viewing. For example,
chopping the URL for this page to "http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/tut/"
would take you to the list of all the online
tutorials which Wesleyan librarians have
created. Chopping it further to "http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/"
would take you to the Wesleyan Library home
page, where you can find out more about the
institution that hosts this page.
Wesleyan Library Tutorial
Once the browser
receives instruction from you as to where it
should go, it sends a request to the appropriate
Web server. The Web server evaluates the
request (is it a real address, does the
requestor have the necessary authorization), and
executes it. Most likely this request would be
asking for an exchange of information, and so
the Web server would respond with what was asked
for. If for some reason that material is not
available, the Web server responds with an error
message, such as 404 File Note Found. That is
probably the most common error code you will
see. There are a series of error codes that the
Web server could return depending on what the
problem was. If you are interested, just Google
Web server error codes and you can see the
series and learn about what each error code
continues until you ask to go someplace
different. Thats about it in plain English