Web development terminology, glossary

AJAX, stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, which is a term describing a web development technique for creating interactive web applications using a combination of: * HTML (or XHTML) and Cascading Style Sheets for presenting information* Document Object Model, JavaScript to dynamically display and interact with the information presented* XML, XSLT and the XMLHttpRequest object to interchange and manipulate data asynchronously with the web server.
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AJAX).

# Animation
It is referred to an image that changes over time. A simple example is Abacus logo where the red dot is moving up and down every several seconds.

Short for Active Server Pages that is used for creating dynamic content of a web page. Technically said it is a server side scripting language. It is mostly used on Windows platforms.

# Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can travel a communications path in a given time, usually measured in seconds. If you think of the communications path as a pipe, then bandwidth represents the width of the pipe that determines how much data can flow through it all at once.

# Banner
Also referred to as a banner ad, a banner is a typically rectangular advertisement placed on a Web site either above, below or on the sides of the Web site’s main content and is linked to the advertiser’s own Web site.

# Browser
Very often called Web browser, a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. There are many other browsers like AOL Browser, Opera, NeoPlanet and many others.

# Database
A special way of organizing computer data. It looks like a table implemented columns and rows for fast accessing data from any of the cells in the table. There are many different types of databases but all of them work on the same principle. Databases are very useful for storing and organizing data for later retrieval. Very often used for managing accounts, managing user information, creating guest books and bulletin boards, even this page (dictionary) is implemented with database.

# Discussion Group
A web page that supports interactive discussions by users. Users submit text content using a form, that is saved on the server and that way make it available to other visitors.

The Domain Name System which identifies each computer as a network point on the Internet using an internet protocol address systems to translate from domain name to IP and reverse.

# Domain Name
A unique name that identifies one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name abacus.ca represents one IP address. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. Every web site that you visit is stored under domain name.

# Domain Name Extension
Part after the dot in the domain name is a domain name extension. In the abacus.ca domain, domain extension is .ca . There are many other domain name extensions such as .com .net .org .gov .edu .mil .info .web .us .uk .cc .it .mx .ba and many others.

# Downloading
Downloading is the method by which users access and save or “pull down” software or other files to their own computers from a remote computer, usually via a modem.

# E-Commerce
E-Commerce means conducting business on the Internet. It is mostly referred to buying and selling items on line.

# Encryption
A way of coding the information in a file or e-mail message so that if it is intercepted by a third party as it travels over a network it cannot be read. Only the persons sending and receiving the information have the key and this makes it unreadable to anyone except those persons (your browser does it automatically).

# Flash
Browser independent vector and graphic animation technology owned by Macromedia Inc.. Most browsers support Flash technology and one flash animation looks the same on all browsers.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol which is one of the methods of transferring files over the Internet.

GIF stands for graphics interchange format, it is a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web. GIF supports colour and various resolutions. But it is limited to 256 colors.

# Home Page
It is a first page (also called opening page) of a Web site.

# Hosting
Hosting is a service provided by hosting company. That’s a place (a computer available on the Internet) where web site is stored and made available to web site users to view the content of that web site.

Stands for HyperText Markup Language, the authoring and editing language used to create web pages on the World Wide Web.

# Internet
The largest global network connecting millions of computers. It is strictly based on TCP/IP protocol for communication between host and server.

# Intranet
A private network belonging to an organization, usually a corporation, accessible only by the organization’s members, employees, or others with authorization.

# IP Address
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifier for a point or host connection on an IP network. An IP address is a 32 bit binary number usually represented as 4 decimal values, each representing 8 bits, in the range 0 to 255 (known as octets) separated by decimal points. It is just a number like

# Java applet
A short program written in Java (not JavaScript) that is attached to a World Wide Web page and executed by the browser machine. Often used for complicated web applications.

# JavaScript
JavaScript is a client-side scripting language that allows dynamic behavior to be specified within HTML documents. Most browsers support java however some browsers are disabled for JavaScript use.

Stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPEG uses compression technique for color images and therefore some details are lost in the compression yet giving relatively good quality. It is widely used on the Internet and other digital applications.

# Link
Sometimes called hyperlink. A link is object on the web page. When visitor of a web site click with the mouse on that object then user is taken to another web page where the link is pointing to. Different types of links are: text links, graphic links, java links, form links and some other which are not very important.

# MP3
MP3 is the file extension for MPEG, audio layer 3. Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for the compression of audio signals. MP3 files could be embedded into web site providing music while visitors are viewing the site. MP3 files are relatively small comparing to other audio files and therefore are quite suitable for transferring over the Internet.

PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is a server-side, HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. Designed for Windows and Unix type platforms.

# Protocol
A formal set of conventions that allow communication between two communicating functional units. Simply said it is a language that computers use to talk to each other. Of course there are many such languages. Most popular is TCP/IP used officially on the Internet.

# Search Engine
A program that performs searching on documents for specified terms or phrases and returns a list of the documents where those terms were found. Search Engines are lately referred to Internet Search Engines. Most popular search engines today are Google, Yahoo, MSN, AllTheWeb, Excite, Lycos, AOL, HotBot, Altavista. There are over several thousands search engines and growing every day.

# Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an act of of increasing the the number of visitors to a particular Web site by adding appropriate keywords and phrases, and such ranking high in the search results. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that your site will be found by a search user. For general and competitive web sites it takes a lot of professionalism to tweak the web site in order to be well optimized and search engine friendly.

# Spam
Spam referrs to the practice of blindly sending commercial messages or advertisements to email users or posting to newsgroups.

# Submission Forms
Forms are web pages “fields” for a user to fill in with information. They are an excellent way of collecting and processing information from people visiting a website, as well as allowing them to interact with web pages. Forms are written in HTML and processed by CGI programs. The output can be sent as an e-mail form, stored online, printed, and/or returned to the user as an HTML page.

# Thumbnail
A small version of a bigger image on a web page. Usually containing a hyperlink to a full-size version of the image.

It stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is a string that supplies the Internet address of a resource on the World Wide Web, along with the protocol by which the resource is accessed. The most common URL type is “http,” which gives the Internet address of a World Wide Web page. Some other URL types are gopher and ftp.

# Video Clip
A short video sequence that can be embedded into a web page.

# Web Application
Web Applications are web programs or real programs designed to be used on the web site using a browser. Example of web application would be e-commerce web site, web banking, stock exchange on the web, web games and many others. Web applications are becoming very popular due to wide availability of the Internet access.

# Web Based E-mail
Web based e-mail is a software on a POP3 server that allows you the luxury, if desired, to access your POP accounts by simply using a web-browser. It allows users to send and receive emails via any web-browser by viewing an HTML web page.

# Web Page
One of the pages one the web site including home page.

# Web Site
A site presence on the World Wide Web. Each Web site contains a home page (opening page), which is the first document users see when they enter the site.

# World Wide Web
A system of Internet servers that support specially formatted documents. The documents are formatted in a script called HTML (HyperText Markup Language) that supports links to other documents, as well as graphics, audio, and video files. This means you can jump from one document to another simply by clicking on hot spots. Not all Internet servers are part of the World Wide Web.

Web Development and programming terminology, glossary


Absolute path – A designation of the location of a file which is given in relation to the root directory; it includes the root directory and the descending series of subdirectories leading to the end file e.g. the absolute path to the file index.html on the LINUX operating system might be /home/sites/yoursite/index.html, where the root directory is / and the file index.html resides in the yoursite directory.

Access Provider – A company that sells Internet connectivity.

ActiveX – A Java-like Microsoft language that permits web-originated programs to be run from Microsoft Explorer browser.

Agent – Client or robot programs, often able to act autonomously or intelligently.

Alias – An alternative name for an object, such as a variable, file, or device.

Alt – An image (img) attribute specifying that text can be displayed by a browser as an alternative to the image.

Anonymous FTP (UNIX only) – Allows for users to access your web site with standard File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client software in order to upload/download files without supplying a unique username and password (anonymous). With the advent of the current HTTP specifications and browsers, however, this is fairly moot, since the same can be done through your browser.

Applet – A high-level program that can be included in an HTML page, most often an image. The program’s code is then executed by the browser. Note: Many older browsers cannot interpret Java applets and disregard them.

Application – Applications software (also called end-user programs) includes database programs, word processors, and spreadsheets. Figuratively speaking, applications software sits on top of systems software because it is unable to run without the operating system and system utilities.

Archie – A program that enables you to search for files anywhere on the Internet by filename.

Argument – Words or numbers you enter as part of an HTML tag to expand or modify how that tag operates.

ARPANET – The precursor to the Internet, ARPANET was a large wide-area network created in 1969 by the United States Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA).


ASCII vs. Binary files – Unix uses different signals for the end of a line of text than Windows or Macintosh. This instructs the FTP server to correctly convert the carriage return signals between formats when uploading or downloading ASCII text files. HTML Files [.html, .html], Perl/CGI Files [.pl, .cgi], and Text files [.txt] should all be transferred using ASCII modes. Any non-text files should be transferred Binary.

Authentication – The process of identifying an individual, usually based on a username and password.

Authoring Software – Computer programs that aid in creating HTML documents by inserting the code for tags. Netscape Composer and MS FrontPage are examples of authoring software.


Backbone (Internet Backbone) – A backbone is a large transmission line that carries data gathered from smaller lines that interconnect with it. On the Internet or other wide area network, a backbone is a set of paths that local or regional networks connect to for long-distance interconnection.

Backup Generator – W3U employs extensive emergency backup systems including redundant power generators capable of operating the equipment during a complete power outage.

Backup/Restore – The process of copying files so that they are preserved in the case of equipment failure or catastrophe. If files are damaged on the server, we resort to the backup copy to restore the files back to the machine.

Bandwidth – The amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. For digital devices, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second. Web hosting accounts usually offer bandwidth amounts in gigabytes per month.

Banner Advertising – A graphic advertising image on a web site.

Baud rate – The speed rate of a data channel – expressed as bits per second (bps) – which is usually used when referring to the speed of modems.

BBS – Bulletin Board System. An electronic message center. Most bulletin boards serve specific interest groups.

Binary – Pertaining to a number system that has just two unique digits. Computers are based on the binary numbering system, which consists of just two unique numbers, 0 and 1.

Binary vs. Ascii files – Unix uses different signals for the end of a line of text than Windows or Macintosh. This instructs the FTP server to correctly convert the carriage return signals between formats when uploading or downloading ASCII text files. HTML Files [.html, .html], Perl/CGI Files [.pl, .cgi], and Text files [.txt] should all be transferred using ASCII modes. Any non-text files should be transferred Binary.

Bit – Short for binary digit, the smallest unit of information on a machine. A single bit can hold only one of two values: 0 or 1.

Benchmark – A test used to compare performance of hardware and/or software.

Body – HTML tag used to enclose the body (all the text and tags) of the HTML document.

Bookmark – Nearly all web browsers support a bookmarking feature that lets you save the address (URL) of a web page so that you can easily revisit the page at a later time.

Browser – Short for web browser, a software application used to locate and display web pages.

Byte – Eight bits; the fundamental unit of personal computer data.


Cache – Pronounced cash, a special high-speed storage mechanism. It can be either a reserved section of main memory or an independent high-speed storage device.

CERN – European Particle Physics Laboratory, the developers of the World Wide Web.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) – The scripting language used to write gateway scripts for CERN and NCSA web servers. CGI programs are the most common way for web servers to interact dynamically with users. Many HTML pages that contain forms, for example, use a CGI program to process the form’s data once it’s submitted.

Chat – Real-time communication between two users via computer. Once a chat has been initiated, either user can enter text by typing on the keyboard and the entered text will appear on the other user’s monitor.

Cisco – One of the leading manufacturers of network equipment. Cisco’s primary business is in Internet working products, such as routers, bridges, and switches.

Click-through Rate – In web advertising, the click through rate is the number of clicks on an advertisement (such as a banner ad) is expressed as a percentage of the number of times that the page where the ad appears was downloaded. Thus, the click through rate would be 10% if one in ten people who viewed the advertisement clicked on it, and landed on the advertisers’ site.

Client/Server Architecture – A network architecture in which each computer or process on the network is either a client or a server. Servers are powerful computers dedicated to managing disk drives (file servers), printers (print servers), or network traffic (network servers). Clients are PCs or workstations on which users run applications. Clients rely on servers for resources, such as files, devices, and even processing power.

Co-located Server – Some companies own a server, but want to locate it in the secure environment of a web hosting provider. That way they can take advantage of the fastest possible connections to the Internet while handing over day-to-day management of the site.

Connectivity – A computer buzzword that refers to a program or device’s ability to link with other programs and devices.

Control Panel – Every W3U customer is given access to a wide range of site utilities including; account administration, site performance, a web site toolbox, e-mail, server management and permissions.

Cookies – A message given to a web browser by a web server. The browser stores the message in a text file called cookie.txt. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.

Coordinates – Pairs of numbers used to define the edges of the clickable areas in clickable image maps.

Current working directory – Directory that you are currently in.


Daemon – Pronounced demon or damon, a process that runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events. The term daemon is a UNIX term, though many other operating systems provide support for daemons, though they’re sometimes called other names. Windows, for example, refers to daemons and system agents and services. Typical daemon processes include print spoolers, e-mail handlers, and other programs that perform administrative tasks for the operating system. A UNIX program that runs continuously in the background, until it is activated by a particular event. This word is often used to refer to programs that handle email. The word daemon is Greek for “an attendant power or spirit.”.

Database – A database is a structured set of records, such as a mailing list. A web browser can access a public database by Perl Scripts. There are many ways for a user to find information in a database. When the data is structured as a table in a single file, a user need only browse the page and use the browser’s “find” feature. However, to search a relational database spread over many files, a sophisticated CGI script is required to access the data.

Data Transfer – The outward bound traffic from a web site, with the exception of e-mail. Any HTML, graphic, audio or video file that is accessed by someone viewing your site is included. High rates of data transfer indicated a heavily trafficked site.

Dedicated Line – A permanently connected telephone line between two computer systems. Dedicated lines make up the bulk of the Internet.

Dedicated Server – A dedicated server is a single computer in a network reserved for serving the needs of the network. For example, some networks require that one computer be set aside to manage communications between all the other computers. A dedicated server could also be a computer that manages printer resources. In a web hosting context a dedicated server is a server allocated to one customer.

Dial-up – An “on ramp” to the Internet-the service which allows one to “dial” into the Internet through their communication lines.

Digital Certificate – An attachment to an electronic message used for security purposes. The most common use of a digital certificate is to verify that a user sending a message is who he or she claims to be, and to provide the receiver with the means to encode a reply.

Digital Picture – A photograph stored in a format recognizable and usable by computers.

Directory – A major division on a hard drive or server used to divide and organize files. The organization of directories (or folders) and files and on a hard drive, like the branches of an upside-down tree. The main directory is called the “root directory”.

Directory Path – 1.) The exact directions to a file on a computer. These directions are usually described by means of the hierarchical filing system from the top down, stating the drive, directory, any subdirectories, the file itself, and its filename extension if it has one e.g. on a PC, c:\jobscompany\resume.txt or on the Internet http://www.w3u.com/index.html. This complete set of information is a fully qualified path. 2.) The route between any two points, such as the communications channel between two computers.

Disk Storage Space – In a shared hosting environment, the amount of server disk storage allocated to your account. This space can be used to store HTML and graphics files, programs or scripts, mail messages, compressed files, or other files that make up your web site. This does not include the log files, as they are owned by the processes on the server.

DLT – Short for Digital Linear Tape, a type of magnetic tape storage device. DLTs are half an inch wide and the cartridges come in several sizes ranging from 20 to over 40 GB. DLT drives are faster than most other types of tape drives, achieving transfer rates of 2.5 MBps.

DNS – Short for Domain Name System (or Service), an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name www.example.com might translate to

Document – An article, book, or other work, typically containing text or other media, that includes information content.

Domain – The name for a company, organization, or individual’s Internet connection. Individual computers within this domain all end with the domain as a part of their host name.

Domain Name – An Internet address in alphabetic form. Domain names must have at least 2 parts: the part on the left which names the organization, and the part on the right which identifies the highest subdomain, such as the country (fr for France, uk for United Kingdom) or the type of organization (com for commercial; edu for educational, etc.). Directory levels can be indicated in other parts. The IP address is translated into the domain name by the domain name server.

Download – To transfer a file from another computer to your computer.

Dynamic Web Pages – Web pages more animated and more responsive to user interaction than previous versions of HTML. Dynamic web pages are constructed using the DHTML language (standard HTML, style sheets and programming).


E-commerce (electronic commerce) – The purchasing of goods and services over the Internet.

E-mail (electronic mail) – A communication system that allows you to send text, files and/or graphical messages over the Internet.

E-mail Autoresponders/Lists – An autoresponder will send a standard response e-mail message (based on a text file you specify) to anyone who sends an e-mail to a specific e-mail address (which you specify) at your domain.

E-mail Hosting – W3U offers POP3 compliant e-mail boxes that can be used to send and receive e-mail from any connection to the Internet. W3U has a wide selection of options and features including unlimited aliases, forwarding and autoresponders as well as attractive volume discounts.

Encryption – The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Unencrypted data is called plain text; encrypted data is referred to as cipher text. Most e-commerce software applications utilize encryption technology.

Ethernet – A local-area network (LAN) protocol developed by Xerox Corporation in cooperation with DEC and Intel in 1976. Ethernet uses a bus or star topology and supports data transfer rates of 10 Mbps. It is one of the most widely implemented LAN standards. A newer version of Ethernet, called 100Base-T (or Fast Ethernet), supports data transfer rates of 100 Mbps. And the newest version, Gigabit Ethernet supports data rates of 1 gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second.

Extranet – An extranet is a private network that uses Internet protocols and public telecommunications lines. An extranet can be viewed as part of a company’s intranet that is extended to users outside the company. The main purpose of an extranet is to share information with individuals or groups outside a company, such as suppliers, customers and partners.


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions – the role of these is to answer the majority of questions commonly asked by newcomers. FAQs provide a means by which questions that are frequently asked can be collated into one document. The majority of FAQs are posted on the USENET in related groups.

File Formats – The patterns and standards used to store a program on a disk. Examples are GIF, JPEG, AIFF.

File Server – A file server is a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.

Firewall – A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both.

Floppy Drive – The device in a computer that reads a “floppy disk,” a random access, removable data storage medium that can be used with personal computers and web servers.

Form – HTML documents designed with fill-in text boxes, lists of options, and other elements that allow the user of the form to send information back to the web server. (E.g. registration form, order form, etc.)

Frame – An HTML tag introduced by Netscape to allow partitioning of the browser window into independent document display areas.

Frame Relay – A packet-switching protocol for connecting devices on a Wide Area Network (WAN). Frame Relay networks in the U.S. support data transfer rates at T-1 (1.544 Mbps) and T-3 (45 Mbps) speeds. In fact, you can think of Frame Relay as a way of utilizing existing T-1 and T-3 lines owned by a service provider. Most telephone companies now provide Frame Relay service for customers who want connections at 56 Kbps to T-1 speeds.

Freeware – Copyrighted software given away for free by the author. Although it is available for free, the author retains the copyright, which means that you cannot do anything with it that is not expressly allowed by the author. Usually, the author allows people to use the software, but not sell it.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – A client/server protocol for exchanging files with a host computer. Examples are Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem and Kermit. The primary method for moving files to and from your home/office computer and the Internet.

FTP/FrontPage access – You will have unlimited access to your account via FTP or FrontPage 24 hours a day in order to maintain your site. It is recommended that the majority of work on your site be done locally on your own system and then uploaded to our server. This affords you the most flexibility and safety in regard to backing up your data.


Gb (Gigabit) – In data communications, a gigabit is one billion bits (1,073,741,824 bits to be exact). Bit – the smallest unit of data in a computer. A bit has a single binary value, either 0 or 1.

GB (Gigabyte) – In data communications, a gigabyte is one billion bytes (1,073,741,824 bytes to be exact). Byte – a group of eight binary digits processed as a unit by a computer and used especially to represent an alphanumeric character.

GIF – A popular type of image file format. Stands for Graphic Image Format.

Gigabytes – 2 to the 30th power (1,073,741,824) bytes. One gigabyte is equal to 1,024 megabytes. Gigabyte is often abbreviated as G or GB.

Gopher – A menu-based information system on the Internet popularized because of its ability to interconnect different Gopher sites on the same menu.

Groupware – A class of software that helps groups of colleagues (workgroups) attached to a local-area network organize their activities. Typically, groupware supports the following operations: scheduling meetings and allocating resources, e-mail, password protection for documents, telephone utilities, electronic newsletters, file distribution. Groupware is sometimes called workgroup productivity software.


Hard Disk Drive – The mechanism that controls the positioning, reading, and writing of the hard disk, which furnishes the largest amount of data storage for the PC. Although the hard disk drive (often shortened to “hard drive”) and the hard disk are not the same thing, they are packaged as a unit and so either term is sometimes used to refer to the whole unit.

Head – The HTML tag used to enclose the beginning elements in the HTML document, including the title.

Hits Counter – A hits counter is a tool that allows a Webmaster to determine how many times a particular page is accessed.

Home directory – The directory where the main page on a World Wide Web site, is usually located.

Home Page – The first page that you intend people to see at your web site.

Host Name – The name of a computer on the Internet, used to identify it in the URL naming scheme.

Hosting, Web Hosting – To provide the infrastructure for a computer service. For example, a company like W3U hosts web servers. This means that we provide the hardware, software, and communications lines required by the server, but the content on the server may be controlled by the customer.

.htaccess – This is an apache directives file. It is a method for modifying the way apache behaves for a specific directory. An example of this is password protected directories.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – The coding scheme used to format text for use on the World Wide Web.

HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol) – The transmission standard used to send HTML documents across the World Wide Web.

Httpd – Hypertext Transfer Protocol daemon. A World Wide Web server from NCSA, which is compatible with HTTP/1.0.

Hypertext – A special type of database system, invented by Ted Nelson in the 1960s, in which objects (text, pictures, music, programs, and so on) can be creatively linked to each other.

Interactive Site/Page – Site or documents that can be automatically updated or provide a measure of interaction with the viewer.


Internet – The general term used to describe the worldwide network of computers and services encompassing some 20-40 million computer users and dozens of information systems including e-mail, Gopher, FTP, and the World Wide Web.

Internet Explorer – Microsoft’s web browser. Like Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer enables you to view web pages. Both browsers support Java and JavaScript. Internet Explorer also supports ActiveX.

InterNIC – Internet Network Information Center. A group of three organizations which together provide services for NSFNet. General Atomics handles information services, AT&T handles directory and database services, and Network Solutions, Inc.(NSI) handles registration services. Network addresses and domain names for the Internet are assigned by InterNIC through NSI.

Intranet – An intranet is a private network that is contained within a company or enterprise. The main purpose of an intranet is to share company information and computing resources among employees.

IP – Internet Protocol. The IP part of TCP/IP; the protocol that is used to route a data packet from its source to its destination over the Internet

IP Address – Every computer connected to the Internet has to have an address. This is expressed in two ways: as an IP address in dotted decimal form, e.g.; or by a more memorable machine name, e.g. w3u.com. Each computer has a unique IP address, allowing computers to address the data that they send to the correct computer on the Internet.

ISDN – An Integrated Serviced Digital Network allows you to send digital information at speeds of 128Kb over the normal telephone network. Just like a telephone call, you dial the number of the computer you are calling and establish a digital connection. It takes only a few milliseconds and the cost is the same as a normal telephone call.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) – A company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider gives you a software package, username, password and access phone number. Equipped with a modem, you can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web and USENET, and send and receive e-mail. In addition to serving individuals, ISPs also serve large companies, providing a direct connection from the company’s networks to the Internet. ISPs themselves are connected to one another through Network Access Points (NAPs).

ISV – Short for Independent Software Vendor, a company that produces software.


Java – A programming language designed for program execution on the client side, i.e., in a browser. It is best for creating applets and applications for the Internet, intranets and any other complex distributed network.

JavaScript – A proprietary scripting language by Netscape that adds author-specified user events to static pages.

JPEG, JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group, ISO/CCITT standard for compressing still images (grayscale or color). Image files.


KB – Short for kilobyte. When used to describe data storage, KB usually represents 1,024 bytes. When used to describe data transfer rates, KB represents 1,000 bytes.

Keyword – In text editing and database management systems, a keyword is an index entry that identifies a specific record or document or a searchable term extracted from a data set during indexing.


LAN – Short for Local Area Network or a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. However, one LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves. A system of LANs connected in this way is called a wide-area network (WAN).

Link – The text or graphic used in an HTML document to jump from one document to another. Typically underlined.

Linux – Developed by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki (Finland), is a UNIX-like operating system. It provides computer users a free or very low-cost operating system comparable to traditional and usually more expensive UNIX systems.

Localhost – The computer system the user is working on. The remote system is any other system in the network with
which the local computer can communicate

Log File – A file that lists actions that occurred. For example, web servers maintain log files listing every request made to the server. With log file analysis tools like WebTrends, it’s possible to get a good idea of where visitors are coming from, how often they return, and how they navigate through a site. Using cookies enables Webmasters to gather even more detailed information about how individual users are navigating through a site.

Login / Username – An individual name of a user on a computer network, which is used for login. It is often the first initials and last name: jdavis. The username is also the part of an email address before the @ symbol:
[email protected]


Majordomo List Server – A program, written in Perl language, that automates management of and distribution to e-mail lists.

Mb (Megabit) – In data communications, a megabit is one million bits (1,048,576 bits to be exact). Bit – the smallest unit of data in a computer. A bit has a single binary value, either 0 or 1.

MB (Megabyte) – In data communications, a megabyte is one million bytes (1,048,576 bytes to be exact). Byte – a group of eight binary digits processed as a unit by a computer and used especially to represent an alphanumeric character.

Menu – An on-screen display that lists available choices.

Merchant Account – An Internet merchant account allows a merchant to process credit cards online and to have the funds electronically transferred into his/her bank account.

Merchant Payment Center – A merchant payment center consolidates and automates the tasks of establishing a merchant bank account and accessing a payment gateway for online transaction processing.

MHz (Megahertz) – A million cycles of electromagnetic currency alternation per second and is used as a unit of measure for the “clock speed” of computer microprocessors.

Microsoft FrontPage Extensions – FrontPage extensions are available on both Unix and NT in order for you to use the FrontPage web site creation software to build your web site. Support for FrontPage software is provided by Microsoft.

MIME – Short for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, a specification for formatting non-ASCII messages so that they can be sent over the Internet. Many e-mail programs now support MIME, which enables them to send and receive graphics, audio, and video files via the Internet mail system. In addition, MIME supports messages in character sets other than ASCII.

Modem – Stands for MOdulator/DEModulator – a device that translates the digital information from your computer into analogue signals that can be passed down an ordinary telephone line. This allows one computer to ‘talk’ to another computer using the telephone line as a medium.

Monospaced Font – A typeface in which the width of each character is the same.

Mosaic – One of the first graphical browsers. Developed by the NCSA, this browser fueled the growth of the Web. It is available in versions for Windows, Mac, and UNIX.

Mozilla – The original name for Netscape’s browser, now called Navigator. Some people claim that the term is a contraction of Mosaic Godzilla (e.g., Mosaic killer), since Mosaic was the number one web browser at the time Netscape began developing its product. The term Mozilla is still used by many web developers and appears in server log files that identify the browsers being used.

Multimedia – Documents that combine text, graphics, sound, movies, or other media.

MySQL – A true multi-user, multi-threaded SQL (Structured Query Language) database server. SQL is the most popular database language in the world. MySQL is a client/server implementation that consists of a server daemon mysqld and many different client programs/libraries.


Nameserver – NameServer or named. A UNIX process that converts hostnames to Internet addresses for TCP/IP.

Netscape – A popular commercial graphical browser. It is available in versions for Windows, Mac, and UNIX.

NICs/Dual NICs – A computer circuit board or card that is installed in a computer to allow a connection to a network.

NOC – Short for Networks Operations Center. The W3U NOC provides 24×7 monitoring of our Network including: real-time network status, performance reporting, real-time alarming, event correlation and forecasting.

Node – In networks, a processing location. A node can be a computer or some other device, such as a printer. Every node has a unique network address, sometimes called a Data Link Control (DLC) address or Media Access Control (MAC) address.

NT (Windows NT) – An advanced version of the Windows operating system. Windows NT is a 32-bit operating system that supports preemptive multitasking. There are actually two versions of Windows NT: Windows NT Server, designed to act as a server in networks and Windows NT Workstation for stand-alone or client workstations.


OC-3 – An optical fiber that transmits data between two network devices. An OC-3 line runs at three times the base rate (3 x 51.84 Mbps).

OEM – Stands for original equipment manufacturer. OEMs buy computers or components in bulk and build or customize them for a particular application. They then sell the customized computer under their own name.

Online Stores – A database of products and services that customers browse on the Web, select the items they want, and purchase.

Open-Source Software – Software that is developed, tested, and improved through public collaboration. It is distributed with the intent that the source code will be shared among others, ensuring an open future collaboration.


Packet – A piece of a message transmitted over a packet-switching network. One of the key features of a packet is that it contains the destination address in addition to the data. In IP networks, packets are often called datagrams.

Parent directory – In a database, the main file containing basic information about an item. One or more child files can be created with more detailed information.

Parked Domains – A parked domain is a reserved domain name that does not load any web site. It sits in wait on a name server to be used by its owner at a later date.

Payment Gateway – As it applies to e-commerce, a payment gateway is software that is hosted on a server that links an online store to a process that verifies that a customer, who is placing a credit card order, has the credit available and that the order should be accepted. Later, when the merchant is ready to submit the charges for processing, the payment gateway accepts them and submits the charges to a payment processor who facilitates the transfer of funds to the merchant.

PERL – Popular Extraction and Report Language, the most widely used language for programming CGI applications.

PERL – Popular Extraction and Report Languagem, the most widely used language for programming CGI applications. Perl is a general-purpose programming language invented in 1987 by Larry Wall. With over one million users worldwide, it has become the language of choice for World Wide Web development, text processing, Internet services, mail filtering, graphical programming, systems administration, and every other task requiring portable and easily-developed solutions.

Permissions – The set of identifiers that control access to files. Permissions consist of three fields: user, group and world. The user field controls access by the user owning the file, while the group field controls access by anyone matching the files group specification. As the name implies, the world field controls access by everyone else. Each field contains the same set of bits that specify operations that may or may not be performed, such as reading, writing and executing. Permissions are usually expressed as numbers: the read permission is assigned a value of 4, the write permission is 2, and the execute permission is 1. Therefore, a file with a permission setting of 755, has a user value of 7 (read, write, and execute permissions, 4 + 1 + 2 = 7), the group value of 5 (read, execute permissions, 4 + 1), and the world value of 5 (read, execute permissions, 4 + 1). 755 is the permission value that is usually set for a cgi file to run. You might also see the permission expressed in letters, e.g.. 755 = rwxr_xr_x

Ping – Packet Internet Groper. A program used to test whether a particular network destination is online, by sending an Internet control message protocol (ICMP) echo request and waiting for a response. (Also called packet internet gopher).

Pixel – Short for Picture Element, a pixel is a single point in a graphic image. Graphics monitors display pictures by dividing the display screen into thousands (or millions) of pixels, arranged in rows and columns.

POP3 Account – Storage space for e-mails delivered via the most recent version of the Post Office Protocol (POP). Your POP3 Accounts with W3U will end in @yourdomainname.com. You can use a standard e-mail client, such as Eudora, Netscape Mail or Internet Explorer Mail to download the e-mail to your computer.

Port – An interface on a computer where you can install/connect a device. Personal computers have various types of ports. Internally, there are several ports for connecting disk drives, display screens, and keyboards. Externally, personal computers have ports for connecting modems, printers, mice, and other peripheral devices.

Processor – The logic circuitry that processes and responds to basic instructions that operate a computer.

Prompt – A message from the computer that asks the operator to do something, such as enter a command, enter a password, or enter data. An example is the DOS prompt, C:.

Protocol – A set of rules that regulate the way data is transmitted between computers.


Query – A request for information from a database. There are three general methods for posing queries: (1) Choosing parameters from a menu: In this method, the database system presents a list of parameters from which you can choose. (2) Query by example (QBE): In this method, the system presents a blank record and lets you specify the fields and values that define the query. (3) Query language: Many database systems require you to make requests for information in the form of a stylized query that must be written in a special query language.


Rack Space – Physical storage unit for computers or network devices.

RAM – An acronym for Random Access Memory, a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers.

Real-Time – Occurring immediately. The term is used to describe a number of different computer features. For example, real-time operating systems are systems that respond to input immediately.

Real-Time Credit Card Transaction Processing – Includes the establishment of Internet merchant accounts, and provides the ability to immediately accept and process credit cards online including authorization and daily online settlements.

Registry/Registrar – (IR). A service provided by the Defense Data Network’s Network Information Center, which has the responsibility of handling network address and Autonomous System identifiers for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)

Relative path – A designation of the location of a file in relation to the current ‘working directory’, as opposed to an absolute or full path which gives the exact location. e.g. the absolute path to file 1 is /home/sites/yoursite/docs/index.html, and the absolute path to file 2 is /home/sites/yoursite/index2.html, the relative path from the index.html file in the ‘docs’ directory to the index2.html file in the ‘yoursite’ directory would be ../index2.html (i.e. the ../ moves you up one level in the directory tree, or in this case moves you up to the ‘yoursite’ directory, where the index2.html file resides)

Remote Administration – Administering a computer or network from a remote location.

Remote host – A computer system connected to a network such as a LAN or the internet that you have to connect to remotely.

Resolve – The process in TCP/IP that sends requests to the Domain Name Server to convert hostnames (such as www.liquidweb.com) to Internet addresses (such as

ROM – Pronounced rahm, acronym for Read-Only Memory, computer memory on which data has been prerecorded. Once data has been written onto a ROM chip, it cannot be removed and can only be read.

Root Directory – The top directory in a file system. The root directory is provided by the operating system and has a special name; for example, in DOS systems the root directory is called \. The root directory is sometimes referred to simply as the root. In the UNIX/Linux system the root directory is designated by /

Router – A device that connects two Local Area Networks. Routers are similar to bridges, but provide additional functionality, such as the ability to filter messages and forward them to different places based on various criteria. The Internet uses routers extensively to forward packets from one host to another.


SCSI – The Small Computer System Interface is a set of evolving standard electronic interfaces that allow personal computers to communicate with peripheral hardware such as disk drives, tape drives, CD-ROM drives, printers, and scanners. SCSI (pronounced “scuzzy”) is faster and more flexible than previous interfaces.

Search Engine – A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. Although search engine is really a general class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Alta Vista and Excite that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web and USENET newsgroups.

Secure Cabinet – A locked cabinet located in a monitored data center where customers can connect their servers to the Internet.

Sendmail – The most popular UNIX-based implementation of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for transmitting e-mail.

Server – A computer or device on a network that manages network resources. For example, a file server is a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server. A print server is a computer that manages one or more printers, and a network server is a computer that manages network traffic. A database server is a computer system that processes database queries.

Server-Side Scripting and Programming Languages – A variety of scripting and programming languages is available to you in order to give greater function to your web site. Some of the primary examples are: Unix, Perl, shell script, Server-Side Includes (SSI), PHP, Miva (formerly HTMLScript), NT, ColdFusion, and Active Server Pages (ASP).

Shared Server – Shared web servers are a very popular way of providing low-cost web hosting services. Instead of requiring a separate computer for each site, dozens of sites can co-reside on the same computer. In most cases, performance is not affected and each web site behaves as if it is being served by a dedicated server.

Shareware – Software that is distributed at no cost to the user (the author maintains the copyright).

Shell – A software interface between the user and the computer’s operating system. The shell interprets commands
entered by the user, and passes them on to the operating system. DOS shells are COMMAND.COM and DOS shell; some UNIX shells are the Bourne shell (sh), the C shell (csh), and the Korn shell (ksh).

Shell Access – Access to an interactive user interface where the user can connect with a Unix operating system. The shell is the layer of programming that understands and executes the commands a user enters.

Shopping Cart – Shopping cart software acts as an online store’s catalog and ordering process. Typically, it allows a consumer to browse the web site, select items for purchase as they browse, review what they have selected, make necessary modifications or additions; and purchase the merchandise.

SMTP – Short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a protocol for sending e-mail messages between servers. Most e-mail systems that send mail over the Internet use SMTP to send messages from one server to another; the messages can then be retrieved with an e-mail client using either POP or IMAP.

Sockets – In UNIX and some other operating systems, a software object that connects an application to a network protocol. In UNIX, for example, a program can send and receive TCP/IP messages by opening a socket and reading and writing data to and from the socket. This simplifies program development because the programmer need only worry about manipulating the socket and can rely on the operating system to actually transport messages across the network correctly.

Source code – A computer program written by a programmer in a source language. Source code is input to a compiler or assembler, in order to derive object code (machine code).

Spool – Simultaneous Peripheral Operation On-Line. To perform a peripheral operation while the computer is busy with other work. The most common use of spooling is with the printer; files are sent to the print spooler, which organizes a queue and then prints one file after another.

SQL – Structured Query Language (pronounced SQL or Sequel). A language used to create, maintain, and query relational databases. It is an ISO and ANSI standard. SQL uses regular English words for many of its commands, which makes it easy to use. It is often embedded within other programming languages.

SSI – Server Side Includes. The ability to include files from the server inside an HTML document by placing tags in the HTML file that link to those files. Using server-side includes makes it unnecessary to include multiple copies of the same information in the HTML file, and make it easier to work with frequently-updated information.

SSL Support – Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, support allows the transfer of data in a secure environment.

Symlinks – Symbolic Links. A way of linking or pointing a link to another file or directory in the system.


T-1 – A dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of 1.544Mbits per second. A T-1 line actually consists of 24 individual channels, each of which supports 64Kbits per second. Each 64Kbit/second channel can be configured to carry voice or data traffic.

T-3 – A dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of about 43 Mbps. A T-3 line actually consists of 672 individual channels, each of which supports 64 Kbps.

Tag – The basic unit of HTML coding, consisting of a word inside less-than (<) and greater-than (>) brackets.

Tarfile /tar archive – A UNIX command which copies a file or files to or from an archive.

TCP/IP – Acronym for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, the suite of communications protocols used to connect hosts on the Internet. TCP/IP uses several protocols, the two main ones being TCP and IP. TCP/IP is built into the UNIX operating system and is used by the Internet, making it the de facto standard for transmitting data over networks. Even network operating systems that have their own protocols, such as Netware, also support TCP/IP.

Telephony – The science of translating sound into electrical signals, transmitting them, and then converting them back to sound; that is, the science of telephones. The term is used frequently to refer to computer hardware and software that performs functions traditionally performed by telephone equipment.

Telnet – A method of logging onto remote computer systems using a terminal program or other applications using the Telnet protocol. You can use the Telnet application to run commands and programs on a remote computer.

Traceroute – Traceroute is a way of tracing hops or computers between you and the networked computer you are trying to reach.


UNIX – A host operating system developed by AT&T that allows multiple clients to access the resources of one host simultaneously. Many of the news, mail, World Wide Web and name servers on the Internet use this operating system.

Upload – The transmission of a file from one computer system to another, usually larger computer system. In terms of web hosting, it would happen when a file is transmitted to the host’s web servers.

URL – For instance, http://webhosting.w3u.com will take you to W3U’s Web Hosting information.

USENET – A worldwide bulletin board system that can be accessed through the Internet or through many online services. The USENET contains more than 14,000 forums, called newsgroups that cover every imaginable interest group. It is used daily by millions of people around the world.

UUCP – Short for Unix-to-Unix Copy, a Unix utility and protocol that enables one computer to send files to another computer over a direct serial connection or via modems and the telephone system. For most file transfer applications, UUCP has been superseded by other protocols, such as FTP, SMTP and NNTP.


Visitors/Users – People who come to a particular web site.

VPN – Short for virtual private network, a network that is constructed by using public wires to connect nodes. For example, there are a number of systems that enable you to create networks using the Internet as the medium for transporting data. These systems use encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that the data cannot be intercepted.

VRML – Pronounced ver-mal, and short for Virtual Reality Modeling Language, VRML is a specification for displaying 3-dimensional objects on the World Wide Web. You can think of it as the 3-D equivalent of HTML. Files written in VRML have a .wrl extension (short for world). To view these files, you need a VRML browser or a VRML plug-in to a web browser.


WAN – A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area. Typically, a WAN consists of two or more local-area networks (LANs). Computers connected to a wide-area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet.

Web Business – An entity conducting commerce on the Internet.

Web Consultant – A person or company that can help you create or improve an online business.

Web-to-Database Support – A variety of methods is available in order to create dynamic sites that interact with databases. PHP-mSQL or PHP-mySQL and HTMLScript to dBase-compatible are available on Unix, while coldfusion-ODBC compatible (Access, FoxPro, dBase) are available for NT.

Webmaster – An individual who manages a web site. Depending on the size of the site, the Webmaster might be responsible for any of the following: Making sure that the web server hardware and software is running properly, designing the web site, creating and updating web pages, replying to user feedback, creating CGI scripts, monitoring traffic through the site.

Web Operations – The operation of your web site, the server on which it is located, as well as its connection to the Internet.

Web Presence – A web site.

Web Server – A computer that delivers (serves up) web pages. Every web server has an IP address and possibly a domain name. For example, if you enter the URL http://webhosting.w3u.com/home.asp in your browser, this sends a request to the server whose domain name is webhosting.w3u.com. The server then fetches the page named home.asp and sends it to your browser.

Web Site Creation – A phase in creating a web presence, where the site navigation, images and content are determined and a developer writes the code.

Whose – An Internet utility that returns information about a domain name or IP address. For example, if you enter a domain name such as w3u.com, whois will return the name and address of the domain’s owner.

Wildcard – A special symbol that stands for one or more characters. Many operating systems and applications support wildcards for identifying files and directories. This enables you to select multiple files with a single specification. For example, in DOS and Windows, the asterisk (*) is a wild card that stands for any combination of letters.

WWW – The World Wide Web in simplest terms is an internationally networked organized collection of information. What does this mean? Basically this means using the right software, you can read, see and even hear specific information that someone else has made public via your computer.


XML – Short for eXtensible Markup Language, a new specification being developed by the W3C. XML is a pared-down version of SGML, designed especially for web documents. It enables designers to create their own customized tags to provide functionality not available with HTML. For example, XML supports links that point to multiple documents, as opposed to HTML links, which can reference just one destination each.