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Website Glossary

This web glossary is intended to make website development and website ownership a bit less intimidating. While recently reviewing these terms, I recognized that many of them are not necessary for most non-professionals to know. Therefore, I am slowly weeding out many terms and add some other, more common, ones.

Last update 9/27/2017

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

See Web Address. Also called the URL. Example: www.addedvalueweb.com

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

See Search Agent / Search Engine - Example: Google.com or Bing.com

A set of pictures simulating movement when played in series.

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.

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.

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).

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).

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.

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 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.

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: AddedValueWeb.com)

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).

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: steve@addedvalueweb.com

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.

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).

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

K (or KB)
Same as kilobyte -- 10K or 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.

The same as a hyperlink. 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.

MB (or Megabyte)
10MB is ten megabytes or 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.

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

In web terms: The same as Browse.

The browser from the company Opera.

OS (Operating System)
The software that manages the basic operating of a computer. Examples: DOS, Windows, Linux, OSX

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.

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).

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. Examples: Google, Yahoo!, Bing

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.

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.

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)

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).

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
A web address. The standard way to address web documents (pages) on the Internet (like: http://www.w3schools.com/)

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.

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

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 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. Examples: GoDaddy, Bluehost

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

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 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.

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

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

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 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/21/web-design-industry-jargon-glossary-and-resources/

Additional terms to be added to this page.

  • menu
  • WordPress
  • dashboard
  • drag and drop
  • template
  • theme
  • hack
  • malware
  • spam
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • best practices
  • analytics
  • SEO - Search Engine Optimization
  • public domain
  • Creative Commons
  • royalty free
  • stock images
  • open source
  • file size
  • image dimensions

anchor text
back end
back link
below the fold
bounce rate
CSS Cascading Style Sheets
Content Management System or CMS
fixed width layout
fluid layout
font family
font style
font weight
front end
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
image map
landing page
meta data
open source
RSS - Really Simple Syndication
web page
web site
web server