The difference between the ASCII encoding and UTF-8 encoding is the same on how a shipping company for small, same size, anonymous little boxes, decides to drop the packages for its customers.
One package for one customers, that makes for ASCII. That is, if your customer is 'a', it will get one box, one encoded package (a small numeric value, that fits in a byte).
Now, the bigger customers, like 'ă', they can't seem to fit their bigger stuff in just one little package, so it takes two or more little boxes, two or more bytes for them (bigger numeric values, that takes more bytes to store).
The problem the shipping company has to sort out is how to distinguish among these little packages to correctly give 'a' just one little package and to give 'ă' more than one. Also, more importantly, where do the little packages for one customer start and where do they stop, since all the packages look the same and customers have different numbers of them.
That problem has been sorted out by encoding, sorting out the packages.
The same way we separate the luggage at the airport: every traveler chooses how many suitcases are his. That is, how many he puts in it at the start of the journey must be equal to how many he gets at the end.
A sort of putting stops in the flow of boxes. Each encoding has different ways to put those stops in the bytes flow, and each encoding can handle specific luggage sizes: one suitcases for one, three suitcases for another.
Another parallel: cars. Let's say that ASCII only handles minis while UTF-8 can also handle up to lorries.
Another parallel: if the server and the browser where in a water gun fight, they'd talk in squirts. A little squirt for 'a', a longer squirt for 'ă'. When the water gun is empty, that's when it's the end of file.
Now, what poes and Jason are trying to say, is that when it comes to files you create, you're actually the head of that shipping company, and you have to make all the decisions. You get to decide what the encoding is, hands on, by specifying this option for the files you create. I repeat, for the files you create.
How do you do that? The same way you take control and specify the formats for the content in a word processor: using the options the editor of your choice gives you. You just have to know where to go to set the font as Arial instead of Times New Roman, meaning specifying UTF-8 instead of ASCII.
If you use Notepad++, you have the Encoding entry in the menu bar. If you use other editors and you can't find the encoding option, I'm sure we can help you.
I thought you needed a little more insight on what's the encoding about:
- files are streams of little anonymous small, same size boxes (bytes)
- interpreting a stream of bytes: a way to select how many boxes (bytes) belong to a character, how many bytes it takes to hold the numeric value (encoding) of a character, and where those boxes start and where those boxes end.
Finally, the part about being kind and letting the browser know you're sending it a file, a stream of bytes, you've decided to encode as UTF-8, that is covered by that meta declaration. But if you didn't actually took care on your part to create a file where you knowingly have the UTF-8 encoding set, that remains just a false declaration.
So, to answer to your question, no, it's not that simple, and yes, you need to do more.