We know how confusing some of the terminology used
in the web business can be to those who don't work in the field.
With that in mind, we've put together a basic glossary to help you
understand what these words and phrases mean. If there's some web-related
word or phrase you don't understand and don't see it here, drop
us a line and we'll help clear it up for you.
Bandwidth: The amount of
computer resources used by a website.
Browser: The software program
you use to surf the Web. The most common browsers are
Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
CGI (Common Gateway Interface):
CGI scripts can be written in any language, and are used by a website
to accomplish actions that otherwise would be difficult or impossible
with just HTML.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): CSS is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation of the content on a website. It can control where things are located, how text looks, etc.
Disk Space: The amount of
space your website is using on the hosting company's computer.
Domain: Also referred to
as web address or URL (Uniform Resource
Locator), this is your website's location on the Internet.
DS3: This abbreviation stands
for Digital Signal level 3, an Internet transmission method
capable of speeds of 44.736Mbps.
Electronic Commerce: Also
called ecommerce, this refers to the buying or selling
of products electronically.
FAQs: This popular term
stands for Frequently Asked Questions. Many companies include
an FAQ page on their website.
Gigabit Ethernet: A network
transmission method capable of speeds of 1,000Mbps.
Hosting: This is the process
of holding the files needed for a website on a server computer connected
to the Internet. In essence, you rent space on the hosting company's
server and pay them on either a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
HTML: Usually pronounced
hitmul, this abbreviation stands for HyperText Markup
Language. This is the computer "language" used to
Internet: A huge conglomeration
of computers connected by an electronic superhighway for
the purpose of exchanging data worldwide.
ISP (Internet Service Provider):
A company that provides consumers and businesses with Internet access
and/or web hosting.
Mbps: This abbreviation
stands for Megabits per second. A bit is a single binary
digit (1 or 0) which is the native language of computers. A megabit
is approximately a million bits of information. Mbps is a measure
of digital transmission speed.
Meta Tags: Part of the HTML
used to build a website. They're sets of words describing key features
and characteristics of your website. Search engines used to rely heavily on
your meta tags, but that's less true today. Even still, iit's important your web designer knows how to
use them effectively.
MySQL: A client-server SQL
database and language popular for use on the World Wide Web.
OC3: This is the abbreviation
for Optical Carrier level 3, an Internet transmission method
capable of speeds of 155.52Mbps.
Open Source: Software which
includes its source code along with the program itself.
PHP: This abbreviation stands
for PHP Hypertext Processor, an open source general purpose
scripting language specially suited for web development. It can
be embedded in HTML.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO means to optomize your site so it shows up fairly high in search engines' rankings. There are a lot of companies out there offering to do SEO and charging quite a bit for their service. If any claims to promise you top-10 placement, run, don't walk away. Google, the only search engine that really matters, works diligently to ignore gimmicks to boost rankings. These days, the three most important factors Google looks at are:
- Popularity, calculated by how many other legitimate sites link to yours (link farm sites — sites that are just filled with links — don't work),
- Timeliness, calculated by how current your site is (and why it's good to regularly update your site), and
- Content, where you need to be sure to include your 'key words' and terms you think people might use to search for your site throughout the body text on the site (remember, this must be 'readable' text, not text within graphic images).
Search Engines: Programs/websites
that enable you to search for information on the Internet. Each
engine has its own method for indexing websites so various engines
may produce different results from the same search. Google is still, by far, the most popular. Yahoo! comes in a distant number two and is really a hybrid — part search engine and part directory, like the Yellow Pages. Coming in third, and barely registering, is Bing. For those not happy with their searches being used and sold, there's DuckDuckGo, a relatively new search engine that emphasizes privacy and doesn't record your info. There used to be a lot more, but they've been bought and folded into others.
Security Certificate: An
electronic "certificate" designed to authenticate a web
server. Such authentication is meant to prove to your web browser
the server is what/who it says it is. Security certificates are
generally used to initiate encrypted sessions with web servers.
Once the server has "proved" its identity with a certificate,
further electronic traffic with that server is encrypted. This allows
you to do things like enter a credit card number on a website without
hackers being able to intercept the number when you transmit it.
Server: A fast, high-powered
computer designed to serve up data to a network of computers. Your
website sits on one of your hosting company's Internet servers.
At Quill & Mouse Studios, our servers use the Linux operating
most secure and safe servers available.
Shopping Cart: A program
providing ecommerce websites with a virtual shopping cart, allowing
customers to view, add, and delete items before making their electronic
Source Code: The English-like
text that programmers type in to create programs. Once they've entered
in the source code, programs are usually "compiled," which
converts the source code into binary language a computer can understand.
SQL: This abbreviation stands
for Structured Query Language, a standardized language primarily
used for querying databases of all types.
SSI: This abbreviation stands
for Server Side Includes. These are commands generally embedded
in HTML which direct a web server to do certain actions. By contrast,
although languages like PHP can also be embedded in HTML, they're
aimed at influencing browser behavior, rather than the behavior
of the web server.
SSL: This abbreviation stands
for Secure Socket Layer. This is the technology that handles
authentication and data encryption between a Web browser and a Web
server. If you're going to accept personal information like credit
cards, you should provide your website users with this security.
This also requires obtaining a Security Certificate.
URL: This abbreviation stands for Uniform Resource
Locator and is your website's location on the Internet.
This is the person or company that designs and creates your website.
This is also usually the person or company who maintains your website,
making any needed changes or updates.
Web Page: There is no hard
and fast definition of a web page. Some people call the portion
of a website that fits on a screen a "web page," but this
is more accurately called a screen page. Others refer to
each HTML file as a "web page" and this is the meaning we use.