A modern website is more than just a collection of some HTML pages.

If all you have is some basic information that you want to make available for the world to see, then you can create HTML files and put them in your website directory. You might have other files to put on the server too such as images and cascading style sheets.

You can build a website like this and each time you add a new HTML file, you’ll have to link it into your website by finding an existing HTML file that you can modify to place a hyperlink to your new file. This is a lot of work and as your site gets bigger, the chances are greater that you’ll make a mistake and end up with broken links. These are links that no longer point to a valid file.

If all you have is a few pages, then maybe this is all you need. But there’s two big problems with this type of website beyond just the extra work of trying to keep everything linked together. Both problems come back to the need to be able to offer different content to different visitors. That means the web server needs to be able to send different HTML files to different visitors. How do you do this? There’s nothing in HTML that allows this.

Listen to the full episode for more information and how a language like PHP solves this by generating HTML for your website visitors.