Dynamic Web Sites

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Previous nodes discussed creating static websites. That is fine for a simple website, but often you will want something more powerful. For example, you might want to store data in a database, or run specific code for specific users. For these things, you’ll need a dynamic web host, which doesn't just store and send static web pages, but can run code, edit databases and do various computer tasks. A static web server is like a hard drive with files that can be read by the whole world, while a dynamic server is like a full computer since it can access a CPU and RAM too.

On a dynamic web host you can write your own code from scratch to run on the server, but its much easier to install a ready-made application on it. There are free web applications available in many programming languages, but it's easiest to get started with PHP applications (or PHP "scripts"). Some popular PHP applications are the blogging platform WordPress and the ecommerce platform Magento. These applications are available for free and let you easily and quickly set up a blog or ecommerce website. Any applications that’s available online can be downloaded and then manually installed on your web host, but there’s often an easier way. Most web hosts come with a “one-click” installer, such as SimpleScripts, for installing the most popular applications. You can use such a tool to easily install any application that it includes. (See the SimpleScripts script list.)


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