The Internet is full of new (and often inexplicable) terminology. Throughout your web experience, you'll encounter a number of new and often confusing terms. We have provided this list of very commonly used words, their corresponding definitions and in some instance examples. Terms found on the Web are sometimes used interchangeably (and sometimes incorrectly), and it can be very complex when just starting out. To aid you in your research we present this information hoping it will help you learn about the web development process and gain a better understanding of the terminology used so that together we can successfully create and launch your new web site.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Set of technologies from Microsoft that provides tools for linking desktop applications to the World Wide Web. For instance, ActiveX technology can allow users to view Word and Excel documents directly in a browser.

anonymous FTP

Anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) enables anyone to download files from a FTP server. Users without accounts can access files by entering the username anonymous, along with their email address as a password.


Allows you to automatically return a pre-set message whenever a selected mailbox receives a message.


This term describes information-carrying capacity. It can apply to telephone or network wiring as well as system buses, radio frequency signals, and monitors. Measured in cycles per second, hertz (Hz), or bits per second.


Interface to the World Wide Web; software that allows viewing web pages.

cable modem

Provides Internet access over cable TV networks (which rely primarily on fiber-optic or coaxial cable), they are much faster than modems that use phone lines.


Common gateway interface - The CGI standard lays down the rules for running external programs in a Web HTTP server. External programs are called gateways because they open up an outside world of information to the server.


Small data files written to your hard drive by some Web sites. These data files contain information the site can use to track such things as passwords, lists of pages you've visited, and the date when you last looked at a certain page.


Cascading Style Sheets - allow developers to control the style and layout of multiple Web pages all at once.


Software that is designed to help users organize information such as sounds, graphics, and related text files.


Dynamic HTML - combines HTML, style sheets, and scripts to make Web pages more interactive.

digital certificate

A digital certificate is a password-protected file that includes a variety of information: the name and email address of the certificate holder, an encryption key that can be used to verify the digital signature of the holder, the name of the company issuing the certificate, and the period during which the certificate is valid. These certificates can be used as online identification. If an email message or order form comes through with an attached digital certificate, the recipient can be more confident that the document is genuine.


Domain name system - When you send email or point a browser to an Internet domain such, the domain name system translates the names into Internet addresses (a series of numbers looking something like this: The term refers to two things: the conventions for naming hosts and the way the names are handled across the Internet.

domain name

The unique name that is used to identify an Internet site.


Digital subscriber lines - carry data at high speeds over standard copper telephone wires. With DSL, data can be delivered at a rate of 1.5 mbps (around 30 times faster than through a 56-kbps modem). DSL users can receive voice and data simultaneously, so they can leave computers plugged into the Net without interrupting phone connections.


Electronic Mail. A way of sending messages on computers attached to local or global networks. Sender sends it to a virtual mailbox, and the recipient has to pick it up or can use software that does it automatically.


Protects any networked server from damage (intentional or otherwise) by those who log in to it.


File transfer protocol - Internet protocol used to copy files between computers. A user can connect to FTP sites using a Web browser.


Graphics interchange format - compact file format ideal for graphics that use only a few colors.


(GB) - 1000 Megabytes.

home page

A home page serves as the site's introduction, starting point, and guide. Commonly used to refer to the first page of your web site.


Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is a collection of formatting commands that web pages.


The easy-to-spot underlined words or phrases you click in World Wide Web documents to jump to another screen or page.


A non sequential way of presenting information. Hypertext links information in a complex web of associations, powered by hyperlinks.


Consists of countless networks and computers across the world that allow millions of people to share information.

Internet backbone

A high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway within a network. The term is relative as a backbone in a small network will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network.


The InterNIC organization was formed in 1993 to handle domain name registrations.


An intranet is a restricted-access network that works like the Web, but isn't on it. Usually owned and managed by a corporation, an intranet enables a company to share its resources with its employees without confidential information being made available to everyone with Internet access.


The Internet protocol defines how information gets passed between systems across the Internet.

IP address

Internet protocol address - a unique string of numbers that identifies a computer on the Internet. These numbers are usually shown in groups separated by periods, like this:


Integrated Services Digital Network - allows for wide-bandwidth digital transmission using the public switched telephone network. Under ISDN, a phone call can transfer 64 kilobits of digital data per second.


Internet service provider. Most ISPs have a network of servers (mail, news, Web, and the like), routers, and modems attached to a permanent, high-speed Internet "backbone" connection. Subscribers can then dial into the local network to gain Internet access--without having to maintain servers, file for domain names, or learn Unix.


JavaScript code can be added to standard HTML pages to create interactive documents.


Joint Photographic Experts Group. A common format for image files. Generally used for photographs. JPEG compresses graphics of photographic color depth better than competing file formats like GIF, and it retains a high degree of color fidelity. This makes JPEG files smaller and therefore quicker to download. You can choose how much to compress a JPEG file, but since it is a lossy format, the smaller you compress the file, the more color information will be lost.


1000 bytes.


Freely distributed, Intel-processor-based operating system. Alternative to Unix.


One million bytes.


(modulation-demodulation) A modem is an external box or internal circuitry that converts computer data into sound that can be transmitted over phone lines.


(MPEG-1, Layer 3) MP3 is a codec that compresses standard audio tracks into much smaller sizes without significantly compromising sound quality.


Moving Pictures Experts Group. MPEG is a standard for compressing sound and movie files into an attractive format for downloading--or even streaming--across the Internet.


Worldwide bulletin boards, organized around a topic.


Operating system - manage a computer's functions, such as allocating memory, scheduling tasks, accessing disk drives, and supplying a user interface.



Text or graphic links to your web site. Each time the link is followed to your web site you are charged a small fee.


An application built into a browser or added to a browser to enable it to interact with a special file type (such as a movie, sound file, Word document, etc.)


Post Office Protocol. Internet email mailbox access standard, connects to a server and download all the messages, which are then deleted from the server.


Many different types of computers and operating systems that connect via modems or other connections, have to follow communications rules called protocols. (PPP, TCP/IP, SLIP, and ftp).

proxy servers

A system that caches items from other servers to speed up access. On the Web, a proxy first attempts to find data locally, and if it's not there, fetches it from the remote server where the data resides permanently.

public domain

Software or information for free download, there are no copyright restrictions whatsoever.

Quick Time

Developed by Apple Computer, Quick Time- a method of storing sound, graphics, and movie files (MOV files).


The number of dots per square inch (dpi) displayed on a screen. The higher the number of dots, the better the resolution.

search engine

When a user enters text into a search form, a program called a search engine analyzes the text and searches for matching terms in an index file.

Search Engine Submission

Adding a web site to search engine databases.


In a client/server setup, a server is usually a computer that provides the information, files, Web pages, and other services to the client that logs on to it (computer your web site is stored on).


The alternative to commercial software. Shareware is copyrighted but works on the honor system. User have a specified time period to try out the software for free; if he continues to use it, he's expected to register the program and pay a fee to its developer.

Shopping Cart

Software that permits users to set up an on-line store to sell merchandise via the Internet.


Mass mailing to bulletin boards, newsgroups, or lists of people.


Class of robot software explores the World Wide Web by retrieving a document and following all the hyperlinks in it. After following the links, spiders generate catalogs that can be accessed by search engines.


Secure Sockets Layer is a transaction security standard developed by Netscape Communications to enable commercial transactions to take place over the otherwise non secure Internet.


Transmission control protocol/Internet protocol. TCP/IP forms the basis of the Internet. developed by the U.S. military to allow computers to talk to each other over long distance networks. IP is responsible for moving packets of data between nodes. TCP is responsible for verifying delivery from client to server.


Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator." It is the address of a certain file or directory on the Web.


Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) is a scripting language developed by Microsoft that can be embedded in HTML web pages. These scripts make the web site more interactive.

Web Page

Web pages make up the World Wide Web. Documents written in HTML (hypertext markup language) and are translated by a Web browser.

Web site

A collection of web pages.


A person in charge of maintaining a company's Web site.


An Internet service that finds information about domain name or IP address.


Everything that is represented as hypertext and linked to other documents by their URLs.


Extensible Markup Language, a web development format for defining specialized markup languages, which can be used to transmit data that can be formatted for specific purpose.


"Year 2000" or "Millennium bug". Concern that computer systems would interpret the year 2000 as 1900 since many programs recognized only the last two digits of the year.

Zip Drive

A small, portable disk drive used to back up and archive personal computer files.