A website is a machine you leave outside

always on.

James Ellis@jamesellisnyc

Chris Black@donetodeath

We don’t have many machines that we leave outside. Cars, trucks, motorcycles. But not much else. People usually bring everything inside. In fact, many people only have indoor stuff. They have no car. No motorcycle. No outdoor machines.

But everyone keeps machines on their person. We all have a phone. Most have a laptop. We tote this stuff place to place. These are just for us. We don’t let anyone touch them.

A website is a particular kind of machine you leave out for people to mess with, click and surf. It’s all happening inside the internet. It’s software. So it’s not outdoors. It’s not anywhere really. It’s just out here, available to anyone with a connection.

Websites are always on. Which is odd, because very few things are always up and running. Most stuff switches on and off. Shops open and close. Cars drive until they’re out of gas. But websites go and go.

You tend to a website, like a garden. They require regular updates. Security patches. Upgrades. Software demands a level of participation.

You have to pay the website, like a water bill. If your site is a popular destination serving many thousands, it will cost you. But otherwise, web hosting is within reach. The costs are nothing compared to a car or jet ski.

Websites are not like other machines, and they’re not like other software. Most software is authored for specific platforms and hardware. Significant effort goes into making cross-platform apps, whereas websites are already universal. They work everywhere. Every computer. Every phone.

Despite global ubiquity, websites are not for everyone. We visit them constantly every day to conduct our affairs, but we’re not all destined to operate an abstract machine in public. We’re not all meant to garden either. Only so many have the itch. Our recommendation for those that do: try building one website for years and years.


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