Jargon Buster

A guide to some of the terms used when dealing with the Internet.

  • Applet – A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page.
  • Bandwidth – How much information you can send through a connection.
  • Blog or Web Log – A blog (short for “web log”) is a type of web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal (or log) for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
  • Broadband – Generally refers to connections to the Internet with much greater bandwidth than you can get with a modem.
  • Cache – A store for frequently-used data or files. Data can be accessed from a cache more quickly than from its original source. Internet Explorer uses a hard disk cache for web pages, while computer processors often have small amounts of very speedy memory as a cache.
  • Cookie – Text files generated by websites you visit and stored on your computer’s hard disk. Cookies contain preferences and other information about your use of the sites, and are not harmful.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) – A standard for specifying the appearance of text and other elements. CSS was developed for use with HTML in Web pages but is also used in other situations.
  • Domain Name – the name used to identify a site on the Internet, such as hp.com
  • DNS (Domain Name System) – The Domain Name System is the system that translates Internet domain names into IP numbers. A “DNS Server” is a server that performs this kind of translation.
  • Email Harvesting bots – A computer program that scans the internet for website pages that display an e-mail address. The bot will then record that e-mail address and may well sell it on to a third party company to be used in an advertising campaign. (Note: We make every effort to ensure that ALL e-mail addresses used on this website are encrypted so they cannot be ‘read’ by these e-mail harvesting bots)
  • FTP – (File Transfer Protocol) Ability to transfer rapidly entire files from one computer to another, intact for viewing or other purposes.
  • HTML – (Hypertext Markup Language) A standardized language of computer code, imbedded in “source” documents behind all Web documents, containing the textual content, images, links to other documents (and possibly other applications such as sound or motion), and formatting instructions for display on the screen.
  • IP Address or IP Number – (Internet Protocol number or address). A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 172.123.211.91. Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP address.
  • ISP (Internet Service Provider) A company that provides you with access to the internet usually for a fee. Examples are BT Internet, AOL, Orange.
  • Meta Tag – A specific kind of HTML tag that contains information not normally displayed to the user. Meta tags contain information about the page itself, hence the name (“meta” means “about this subject”)
  • Plug-In – 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.)
  • POP3 – Post Office Protocol 3. A protocol for remotely accessing and retrieving email from an ISP.
  • Popularity Ranking of search results – Some search engines rank the order in which search results appear primarily by how many other sites link to each page (a kind of popularity vote based on the assumption that other pages would create a link to the “best” pages).
  • Portal – Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is or is intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a “Portal site” has a catalog of web sites, a search engine, or both.
  • Script – A script is a type of programming language that can be used to fetch and display Web pages.
  • SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) – The main protocol used to send electronic mail from server to server on the Internet.
  • Spiders – Computer robot programs, referred to sometimes as “crawlers” or “knowledge-bots” or “knowbots” that are used by search engines to roam the World Wide Web via the Internet, visit sites and databases, and keep the search engine database of web pages up to date.
  • SQL (Structured Query Language) – A specialized language for sending queries to databases.
  • URL – Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address of any Web document. May be keyed in a browser’s OPEN or LOCATION / GO TO box to retrieve a document.
  • VOIP (Voice Over IP) – A specification and various technologies used to allow making telephone calls over IP networks, especially the Internet. Just as modems allow computers to connect to the Internet over regular telephone lines, VOIP technology allows humans to talk over Internet connections.
  • WAN (Wide Area Network) – Any internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus.
  • Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) – A popular term for a form of wireless data communication, basically Wi-Fi is “Wireless Ethernet”.
  • XHTML – A variant of HTML. Stands for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language is a hybrid between HTML and XML that is more universally acceptable in Web pages and search engines than XML.
  • XML – (Extensible Markup Language), a dilution for Web page use of SGML (Standard General Markup Language), which is not readily viewable in ordinary browsers and is difficult to apply to Web pages.