Web Glossary

The following terms are some that you might come across as a lay person.

See Web Address. Also called the URL. Example:

Web advertising system provided by Google. Advertisers pay for the service.

A mobile phone operating system developed by Android Inc, later purchased by Google.

See Search Agent / Search Engine – Example: or

A set of pictures simulating movement when played in series.

Anti-Virus Program
A computer program made to discover and destroy all types of computer viruses.

See web applet.

In web terms: the method used to verify the identity of a user, program or computer on the web. Usually means the user has to log on with an ID and password.

AVI (Audio Video Interleave)
File format for video files. Video compression technology developed by Microsoft.

Banner Ad
A (most often graphic) advertisement placed on a web page, which acts as a hyperlink to an advertiser’s web site.

A measure for the speed (amount of data) you can send through an Internet connection. The more bandwidth, the faster the connection.

BBS (Bulletin Board System)
A web based public system for sharing discussions, files, and announcements.

Blog (Web Log)
A type of website with an ongoing log of comments, reflections, opinions, descriptions of events, and so on. Blogs can center around one or more related or unrelated topics. Blogs contain information, announcements, instructions, product reviews, news items, humor, recipes, testimonials, podcasts, and just about anything else.

A person maintaining or writing content to a web log (blog).

Writing or adding content to a web log (blog).

BMP (Bitmap)
A format for storing images.

In web terms: A link to a particular web site, stored (bookmarked) by a web user for future use and easy access.

Bounce Rate
The percentage of web site visitors who view only one web page before they leave (bounce out).

Term to describe a user’s movement across the web, moving from page to page via hyperlinks, using a web browser. (See Web Browser).

BPS (Bits Per Second)
Term to describe the transmission speed for data over the web.

See Web Browser.

Byte (Binary Term)
A computer storage unit containing 8 bits. Each byte can store one text character.

Case Sensitive
A term used to describe if it is of importance to use upper or lower case letters.

In web terms: A web browser or web server feature which stores copies of web pages on a computer’s hard disk.

An on-line text-based communication between Internet users.

In web terms: A mouse click on a hyperlink element (such as text or picture) on a web page which creates an event such as taking a visitor to another web page or another part of the same page.

Clickthrough Rate
The number of times visitors click on a hyperlink (or advertisement) on a page, as a percentage of the number of times the page has been displayed.

Cloud Computing
Storing applications and data on the internet (instead of on the user’s computer).

A method of reducing the size (compress) of web documents or graphics for faster delivery via the web.

Computer Virus
A computer program that can harm a computer by displaying messages, deleting files, or even destroying the computer’s operating system.

Information from a web server, stored on your computer by your web browser. The purpose of a cookie is to provide information about your visit to the website for use by the server during a later visit.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
A W3C recommended language for defining style (such as font, size, color, spacing, etc.) for web documents.

Data stored in a computer in such a way that a computer program can easily retrieve and manipulate the data.

Database System
A computer program (like MS Access, Oracle, and MySQL) for manipulating data in a database.

Discussion Group
See Newsgroup.

DNS (Domain Name Service)
A computer program running on a web server, translating domain names into IP addresses.

Domain Name
The name that identifies a web site. (like:

DOS (Disk Operating System)
A general disk based computer operating system (see OS). Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM personal computers. Often used as a shorthand for MS-DOS.

To transfer a file from a remote computer to a local computer. In web terms: to transfer a file from a web server to a web client. (see also Upload).

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
An Internet connection over regular telephone lines, but much faster. Speed may vary from 128 kilobit per second, up to 9 megabit per second.

E-mail (Electronic Mail)
Messages sent from one person to another via the Internet.

E-mail Address
The address used for sending e-mails to a person or an organization. Typical format is username@hostname. Example:

E-mail Server
A web server dedicated to the task of serving e-mail.

To convert data from its original form to a form that can only be read by someone that can reverse the encryption. The purpose of encryption is to prevent unauthorized reading of the data.

Software that acts as a security filter that can restrict types of network communication. Most often used between an individual computer (or a LAN) and the Internet.

A vector-based multimedia format developed by Adobe for use on the web.

See HTML Form.

In web terms: The same as Newsgroup.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
A compressed format for storing images developed by CompuServe. One of the most common image formats on the Internet.

Same as Gigabyte. 10GB is ten gigabytes.

1024 megabytes. Commonly rounded down to one billion bytes.

In web terms graphics describe pictures (opposite to text).

Graphic Monitor
A display monitor that can display graphics.

Graphical Banner
See Banner Ad.

The number of times a web object (page or picture) has been viewed or downloaded. (See also Page Hits).

Home Page
The top-level (main) page of a web site. The default page displayed when you visit a web site.

See Hyperlink.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
HTML is the language of the web. HTML is a set of tags that are used to define the content, layout and the formatting of the web document. Web browsers use the HTML tags to define how to display the text.

HTML Document
A document written in HTML.

HTML Editor
A software program for editing HTML pages. With an HTML editor you can add elements like lists, tables, layout, font size, and colors to a HTML document like using a word processor. An HTML editor will display the page being edited exactly the same way it will be displayed on the web (See WYSIWYG).

A form that passes user input back to the server.

The same as an HTML Document.

Code to identify the different parts of a document so that a web browser will know how to display it.

A pointer to another document. Most often a pointer to another web page. A hyperlink is a synonym for a hotlink or a link, and sometimes called a hypertext connection to another document or web page.

An extension to hypertext to include graphics and audio.

Hypertext is text that is cross-linked to other documents in such a way that the reader can read related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol. (see also hyperlink)

IE (Internet Explorer)
See Internet Explorer.

A world wide network connecting millions of computers. (See also WWW)

Internet Browser
See Web Browser.

Internet Explorer
A browser by Microsoft. Sometimes called “IE”. The most commonly used browser today. It comes installed with Windows.

Internet Server
See Web Server

A private (closed) Internet, running inside a LAN (Local Area Network). Usually operated for employees of an organization.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address)
A unique number identifying every computer on the Internet (like

IP Number (Internet Protocol Number)
Same as an IP address.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Someone that provides access to the Internet and web hosting.

The most popular scripting language on the internet, developed by Netscape.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)
The organization that promotes the JPG and JPEG graphic formats for storing compressed images.

Graphic formats for storing compressed images.

Same as kilobyte 10K is ten kilobytes..

Same as kilobyte 10KB is ten kilobytes..

In web terms: A word used by a search engine to search for relevant web information.
In database terms: A word (or index) used to identify a database record.

1024 bytes. Often called 1K, and rounded down to 1000 bytes.

LAN (Local Area Network)
A network between computers in a local area (like inside a building), usually connected via local cables. See also WAN.

The same as a hyperlink.

In web terms: the same as e-mail.

Same as Megabyte. 10MB is ten megabytes.

1024 kilobytes. Commonly rounded down to one million bytes.

Meta Data
Data that describes other data. (See also Meta Tags).

Meta Search
The method of searching for meta data in documents.

Meta Tags
Tags inserted into documents to describe the document.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
A standard protocol for communication between computers and musical instruments.

Hardware equipment to connect a computer to a telephone network Typically used to connect to the Internet via a telephone line..

A codec for computer video developed by Apple. Common file extension for QuickTime multimedia files.

MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3)
An audio compression format specially designed for easy download over the Internet.

MP3 File
An file containing audio compressed with MP3. Most often a music track.

MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group)
An ISO standard codec for computer audio and video.

Common file extension for MPEG files.

MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System)
A general disk based computer operating system (See OS). Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM computers, then developed by Microsoft as a basis for the first versions of Windows.

In web terms: A presentation combining text with pictures, video, or

In web terms: The same as Browse.

An on-line discussion group (a section on a news server) dedicated to a particular subject of interest.

News Reader
A computer program that enables you to read (and post messages) from an Internet newsgroup.

News Server
An Internet server dedicated to the task of serving Internet newsgroups.

The browser from the company Opera.

OS (Operating System)
The software that manages the basic operating of a computer.

Page Hits
The number of times a web page has been visited by a user.

Page Impressions
The same as Page Hits.

Page Views
The same as Page Hits.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
A document file format developed by Adobe. Most often used for text documents.

A type of blog usually containing audio recordings that can be played through a listener’s web browser. Frequently used for training, entertainment, inspiration, or instructions.

In web terms: The computer’s operating system like Windows, Linux, or OS X.

An application built into another application. In web terms: A program built in (or added) to a web browser to handle a special type of data like e-mail, sound, or movie files. (See also ActiveX)

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
A format for encoding a picture pixel by pixel and sending it over the web. A W3C recommendation for replacing GIF.

POP (Post Office Protocol)
A standard communication protocol for retrieving e-mails from an e-mail server. (See also IMAP).

A multimedia file format created by Apple.

Real Audio
A common multimedia audio format created by Real Networks.

Real Video
A common multimedia video format created by Real Networks.

In web terms: The action when a web page automatically forwards (redirects) the user to another web page.

RGB (Red Green Blue)
The combination of the three primary colors that can represent a full color spectrum.

See Web Robot.

A hardware (or software) system that directs (routes) data transfer to different computers in a network

Search Agent
Same as Search Engine.

Search Engine
Computer program used to search and catalog (index) the millions of pages of available information on the web. Common search engines are Google and AltaVista.

See Web Server.

Software that you can try free of charge, and pay a fee to continue to use legally.

A format (technology) developed by Adobe for embedding multimedia content in web pages.

Social Media
Websites such as Facebook or Twitter that encourage sharing of information.

In web terms: The action of sending multiple unwelcome messages to a newsgroup or mailing list.

See Web Spider.

Addressing a web page or an e-mail with a false referrer. Like sending an e-mail from a false address.

Computer software hidden in a computer with the purpose of collecting information about the use of the computer.

SQL (Structured Query Language)
An ANSI standard computer language for accessing and manipulating databases.

SQL Server
A database system from Microsoft. Mostly used on high traffic web sites running on the Windows platform.

SSI (Server Side Include)
A type of HTML comment inserted into a web page to instruct the web server to generate dynamic content. The most common use is to include standard header or footer for the page.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
Software to secure and protect web site communication using encrypted transmission of data.

Static IP (address)
An IP address that is the same each time connect to the Internet. (See also Dynamic IP).

A method of sending audio and video files over the Internet in such a way that the user can view the file while it is being transferred.

Streaming Format
The format used for files being streamed over the Internet. (See Windows Media, Real Video and QuickTime).

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
A W3C recommended language for defining graphics in XML.

In web terms: Notifications or commands written into a web document. (See HTML Tags)

Trojan Horse
Computer program hidden in another computer program with the purpose of  destroying software or collecting information about the use of the computer.

Computer operating system, developed by Bell Laboratories. Mostly used for servers and web servers.

To uncompress a ZIPPED file. See ZIP.

To transfer a file from a local computer to a remote computer. In web terms: to transfer a file from a web client to a web server. (see also Download).

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)
Term used to identify resources on the internet. URL is one type of an URI.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
A web address. The standard way to address web documents (pages) on the Internet (like:

A world wide news system accessible over the Internet. (See Newsgroups)

User Agent
The same as a Web Browser.

VB (Visual Basic)
See Visual Basic.

Same as Computer Virus.

In web terms: A visit to a web site. Commonly used to describe the activity for one visitor of a web site.

In web terms: A visitor of a web site. Commonly used to describe a person visiting (viewing) a web site.

Visual Basic
A programming language from Microsoft.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A private network between two remote sites, over a secure encrypted virtual Internet connection (a tunnel).

WAN (Wide Area Network)
Computers connected together in a wide network, larger than a LAN, usually connected via phone lines. See also LAN.

Web Address
The same as an URL or URI. See URL.

Web Applet
A program that can be downloaded over the web and run on the user’s computer. Most often written in Java.

Web Client
A software program used to access web pages. Sometimes the same as a Web Browser, but often used as a broader term.

Web Browser
A software program used to display web pages. Examples of popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari (for Mac) and Google Chrome.

Web Document
A document formatted for distribution over the web. Most often a web document is formatted in a markup language like HTML or XML.

Web Error
See Web Server Error.

Web Form
See HTML Form.

Web Host
A web server that “hosts” web services like providing web site space to companies or individuals.

Web Hosting
The action of providing web host services.

Web Page
A document (normally an HTML file) designed to be distributed over the Web.

Web Log
See Blog.

Web Robot
See Web Spider.

Web Server
A server is a computer that delivers services or information to other computers. In web terms: A server that delivers web content to web browsers.

Web Server Error
A message from a web server indicating an error. The most common web server error is “404 File Not Found”.

Web Services
Software components and applications running on web servers. The server provides these services to other computers, browsers or individuals, using standard communication protocols.

Web Site
A collection of related web pages belonging to a company or an individual.

Web Spider
A computer program that searches the Internet for web pages. Common web spiders are the one used by search engines like Google to index the web. Web spiders are also called web robots or wanderers.

Web Wanderer
See Web Spider.

A character used to substitute any character(s). Most often used as an asterisk (*) in search tools.

Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 95/98, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
Computer operating systems from Microsoft.

Windows Media
Audio and video formats for the Internet, developed by Microsoft. (See ASF, ASX, WMA and WMF).

A computer program for compressing and decompressing files. See ZIP.

Audio file format for the Internet, developed by Microsoft. (See also WMV).

Video file format for the Internet, developed by Microsoft. (See also WMA).

A computer virus that can make copies of itself and spread to other computers over the Internet.

WWW (World Wide Web)
A global network of computers using the internet to exchange web documents. (See also Internet)

WWW Server
The same as a Web Server.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
In Web terms: To display a web page being edited exactly the same way it will be displayed on the web

A compressing format for computer files. Commonly used for compressing files before downloading over the Internet. One or more files can be compressed into a single ZIP file. The ZIP file will be smaller than the original size of the file(s).  ZIP files can be compressed (ZIPPED) and decompressed (UNZIPPED) using a computer program like WINZIP.

Another web design glossary can be found at

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