A few technologies every client should understand

April 6, 2017
Posted in: How To, Web Design, Web Development

Notice: This blog post is intended for a non-technical audience, and should not be used as the sole resource for learning about any of the included technologies.

HTML, SEM, CSS these are just a few of the many technologies that are used to build a website. To help our clients and others who are new to WordPress and web development, we have created a list to help you understand what each technology does.


A browser is a software that allows one to access information from the web. Some browsers you may be familiar with are:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Apple Safari

Operating Systems:

An operating system is the software that manages the computer’s hardware, memory and software. Most people use Windows or Mac OS X.


HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the code use to dictate the structure of your site. This code gets processed by a browser and displayed to the user.


CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is what describes the appearance of the website. It allows you to change colors, fonts, etc.


JavaScript allows you to make your website interactive and engaging. Using JavaScript, you are able to process logical expressions and perform complex actions in the browser.  JavaScript is one of the key components of HTML5 games.


PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a programming language that gives you the ability to process logical expressions on the server-side, connect to databases, and output information customized to a user.

Databases (MySQL):

A database is essentially where all of your data is stored. When using WordPress, your data will be stored in MySQL. MySQL is quick and scalable.

Hosting / Web Servers:

A web server is a computer that’s specifically built to process scripts intended for use on the web, and serve the resulting content to users.  Every website needs hosting, and the website’s files will reside on a web server.

Responsive Layouts:

Responsive layouts allows for your website to be viewed correctly, regardless of the user’s device. The layout will change to fit the size of the user’s device.


Accessibility is setting up your website so people with disabilities can access it properly. For instance, all images are given and “alt” attribute, which allows someone using a screen reader to have the images described to them.


A domain is the name that people use to connect to your website (machine-agency.com, for example). When someone types your domain name into their browser, they will be connected to your website.


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is used to increase a website’s visibility and rank in search engines. This means that when people search for your business or related keywords, your website will appear in the search results.


SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is used to increase a site’s visibility online through paid advertisements.

Front-end vs Back-end:

The front-end of your website is everything that the client can see; HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The back-end is everything that keeps the website running, like the database and web server.

Caching (CloudFlare):

Caching is a way to optimize your site’s response time. Caching allows the user’s browser to temporarily save parts of your website so the next time that they come back, they don’t need to download everything from the server again.


Jessica Bennett

Content Specialist
[email protected]
Jessica is a content specialist here at Machine, and helps us populate websites, handle social media, and review our work. View full profile