With all the do-it-yourself tools available today it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever need a professional web developer, right? Well, not exactly true. Even though many of the DIY website builders are awesome tools, they limit you to the features and tools that are available right out of the box. For many people, that’s more than sufficient. For most businesses, though, it’s not enough.
The trouble is, if you are only familiar with the front end, which is what you see when you working with a drag and drop or “what you see is what you get” tool, you have no idea what capabilities you may be missing out on. What really makes your website work is the back end.
Why should you care about the back end?
For one, it will make your experience working with a web developer more productive since you can speak the same language. It will also help you make more informed decisions about things like hosting since the capabilities of your host can affect the back-end operation of your website.
What is the “back end”?
It’s easy to understand the front-end of the website (sometimes called the client-side) since that’s what you see and interact with. But what exactly is the back end (sometimes called the server-side)?
The back end of a website usually consists of three elements: a server, an application, and a database. Using programming languages like PHP, Ruby, and .NET, developers enable these components to work together to interact with the front-end to create what is seen on the screen. They also control elements of the system that keep up with security, site speed, and resource allocation.
There is an element of risk in jumping into the deep end to learn what goes on with the back end of your website. You might decide that you like all that talk about databases and servers and decide you want to become a real expert. But chances are, you’ll learn enough to help you make better decisions about running the online elements of your business, better understand how to take advantage of today’s tools, and start spending your website dollars more effectively.
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