From HTML to Hosting: A Beginner's Guide to Web Development

In today’s world having a fully functioning, high-quality website is a must-have for a business to be successful. The Zen Agency originated as a web development agency, before branching out to become a complete digital marketing agency. As a web development first agency, we understand how intimidating terminology can be and how hard it is to wrap your head around it, especially if you have no experience. As a result, we’ve drafted up this basic guide to web development for the novices.

From HTML to Hosting: A Beginner's Guide to Web Development

What is Website Development?

Web development is the process of creating and maintaining websites. It involves designing, coding, and programming the various elements that make up a website, including its layout, graphics, and functionality. In this article, we'll cover some of the fundamental principles of web development, including the essential programming languages and tools used to create websites.


HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the foundation of all websites. It's a markup language used to structure and format web pages, including headings, paragraphs, and lists. HTML uses a series of tags to define the structure of a web page, such as <html>, <head>,<body>, <h1>, <p>, and <ul>. These tags are used to define the content and layout of a web page, including its headings, paragraphs, and lists.


CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is used to control the visual presentation of a web page. It's a language used to describe the appearance of a web page, including its colour, font size, and layout. CSS can be used to style individual elements of a web page, such as headings, paragraphs, and images. It can also be used to create responsive designs that adjust to different screen sizes, such as those on mobile devices.


JavaScript is a programming language used to create interactive elements on a web page. It's used to create dynamic effects, such as drop-down menus, slideshows, and pop-up windows. JavaScript can also be used to create more advanced functionality, such as form validation and web applications. JavaScript is often used in conjunction with HTML and CSS to create a fully-functional website.

Web Development Tools

There are a variety of tools used in web development, including text editors, integrated development environments (IDEs), and content management systems (CMSs). Text editors, such as Sublime Text and Atom, are used to write code manually. IDEs, such as Visual Studio Code and Eclipse, provide a more integrated environment for coding, testing, and debugging web applications. CMSs, such as WordPress and Drupal, are used to create and manage content on a website without needing to write code.

Web Hosting

Once a website is created, it needs to be hosted on a server so that it can be accessed by the public. Web hosting providers offer a range of hosting services, including shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers. Shared hosting is the most affordable option and is suitable for small websites with low traffic. VPS hosting is a more advanced option and is suitable for larger websites with moderate traffic. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option and is suitable for websites with high traffic and advanced functionality.

Website Development Tasks

Web development is a complex and time-consuming job as it requires working across multiple disciplines. We’ve compiled a web development checklist featuring 7 essentials you should consider when building your next project:

  • Planning and analysis – Before any web dev project, it’s important to plan the scope of your project and what you want to achieve. This will help you stay focused on your website needs and ensure that you end up with a website that meets your business needs.
  • Define and Research your target audience – To create a user-friendly website, that resonates with your target audience, it’s vital you understand who they are, their motives, their needs and what inspires them. By carrying out research you’ll be able to use these insights to make design and development decisions. 
  • Design – Once the planning phase is complete, the next stage is visual design. This is when we design the layout of the website, including colours, typography and visual elements (icons, images and graphics)
  • Front-end development -This is the process of building parts of the website that users interact with (buttons, menus and forms). This typically involves HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create interactive visuals.
  • Back-end development – This is building the back-end of the websites which users won’t interact with, like databases and servers. We use programming languages like PHP or Ruby to create infrastructure to power the website.
  • Content Creation – Web Development involves migrating existing content across or creating new contacts such as videos, images and text. In this process, we would format existing content to fit the design and layout.
  • Testing & Optimising - Once the website is built, it's important to test it thoroughly to ensure that it works correctly and is free of bugs and errors. We would optimise for speed, performance and user experience. 

Web hosting is also an essential part of web development, as it allows websites to be accessed by the public. At the Zen Agency, we are Microsoft Azure hosting partners, meaning our clients get the best and most innovative cloud hosting platform on the market. As a web development agency, Zen can walk you through each stage of your website development.

Are you interested in working with Zen? Get in touch to discuss your website needs.