When creating your website, it can be typical to see a database associated with it. You might be asking yourself what a database even is, or what its purpose is. To clarify, databases are useful tools that can be used for storing data and information on a website such as users, simple raw data, and easily manage data driven web pages.
Here are some great tips on how to use a database with your website if you’re considering using one.
Database platform: In order to make use of your database you will have to acquire some knowledge. First, you will need to learn a language like ASP that will allow you to manipulate your pages with the information you have stored in your database. Knowing some basic SQL (Structured Query Language) commands will allow you to communicate with your database. This will allow you to add, delete, update and retrieve any information you need. The most popular platforms to use include Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and Access. PhpMyAdmin is also a very popular tool to edit and access databases with which is usually found in web hosting packages.
Incorporate login details: Whenever you are setting up a database, there should always be at least some kind of login interface used with it. This can be tailored to varying levels of access for users, whether it be public or private. This usually incorporates a username and password but can include additional security measures such as captcha verification or four-digit code input. An example can be found when using a WordPress account, since there has to be an active database used with it. It’s also recommended to limit root access and backup access information to the user accounts.
Database connection/identification: Knowing the names and location of your databases used with your website is crucial in order to properly manage them. Scripts are often used in order to connect and modify databases, with the most common being MySQL. Whenever login credentials are generated, they can be shown within the file path generated for that database and usually presents itself as the following:
<? php mysql_connect(“database_host”, “username”, “password”); ?>
This is useful to know in case you forget any credentials for an account, and have the ability to look into your database files.
User permissions: As stated earlier, setting the correct permissions for each user accessing your database is a good practice. Keep in mind that this may require some scripting knowledge to utilize but it’s good to understand the mechanics. The following table should be considered when doing this:
By adding up each row to a total of 7, it’s possible to adjust the level of access for each individual file if needed. For example, setting to 700 would allow only the user permission to the account and all files on the account. 644 on the other hand would allow files to be downloaded from a user’s account from within the browser.
Dynamic database pages: Databases have the capacity to make your web pages dynamic. Information from the database can be inserted into the web page each time it is loaded. The best part of this is that every time the database changes, it will also change the web page without any manual intervention. Some examples of this being used is for weather updates, bank information and stock markets. This correlates with a static HTML page that generally won’t change, and can help keep a website fresh whenever visitors continuously come to it.
Databases can be amazing tools if used correctly. They can, however, also be a liability and are frequently subject to hackings and corruption. If any part of it doesn’t agree with something as simple as a password change for a user, it could possibly bring an entire website down. Put simply, it’s sometimes better to not use a database if it’s a simple website since they can get away with lighter resource usage. For most websites, however, the benefits far outweigh the cons of using one.