Don't understand the Web lingo? Here's
an abbreviated layman’s glossary of terms used on this site and elsewhere
on the Internet.
B C D E
F G H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
ADSL See DSL.
bandwidth Bandwidth is the carrying
capacity of any communications technology, the amount of information (usually
measured in bits-per-second) that can be sent through a network connection
(like the Internet).
bit The smallest unit of computer
data - either a zero or a one. Modem speed, for instance, is measured
in bps, or bits per second.
byte Unit of data that usually
represents a single character. There are generally eight bits in each
byte of information. (Making you hungry?)
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cyber Prefix added to many words
to refer to the "online," "virtual," or computer version of something:
"cyberspace," "cyberculture," and "cyberbabe" are examples of this usage.
Used loosely. (Sometimes VERY loosely...)
cyberspace The term coined by
novelist William Gibson in Neuromancer, which now refers to the entirety
of the "online world" of the Internet. (Cool bit of trivia, eh?)
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dial-up connection How most people
are connected to the Net - through a modem which dials into A server over
a regular phone line.
Digerati The digital version of
literati. Refers to folks allegedly hip, cool, and in the know of all
things digital and Internetty
digital certificate Also called
a digital ID, an increasingly popular security device, a digital certificate
is primarily a means of identifying individuals on the Internet. A digital
certificate can also be used to "authenticate" each member in a digital
transaction. VeriSign is a leading provider of digital certification.
digital ID Same as a digital certificate.
discussion group A group on Usenet
or a website devoted to a certain subject. Also called a newsgroup.
domain name The main part of
a URL or Internet address that is its unique identification. The domain
is the name associated with a connected group of computers. It consists
of at least two parts, separated by dots. (For example, the URL for WebMacster.com(SM)
is www.webmacster.com . ) The suffixes at the end of all domain names
indicates what kind of site it is: .edu is used for schools, .gov for
government agencies, .org for nonprofit organizations, .mil for the military,
.net for network organizations, and the most common, .com for commercial
download To copy a file from a
remote computer to your computer. You can download a whole program which
you would then install on your computer, or you may simply download a
Web page which displays in your browser temporarily.
DNS (Domain Name System.) DNS
is the Internet's standard that turns host names and domain name servers
into IP addresses. Other information, such as type of hardware, services
supported, and how long to cache the entry can also be stored.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
a method for moving data over POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines.
A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular telephone connection, and
the wires coming into the subscriber's locale are the same copper wires
used for regular voice telephone service. A typical DSL connection requires
a dedicated telephone line. The circuit configures connection to two specific
locations. Full-rate DSL modems require an external splitter device to
separate the data streams. There are a few flavors of DSL: ADSL,
SDSL, and HDSL.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital
Subscriber Line) receives data (download) at speeds faster than sending
data (upload). Thus, the "Assymetric" part of the acronym. ADSL modems
can deliver as much as 6- and 8 megabits per second. (The telecommunications
companies, along with Microsoft, Intel, and Compaq have created a smaller
g.lite standard that delivers a more modest 1.5Mbps/384Kbps service.)
SDSL (Single-pair Digital
Subscriber Line) Symmetric links offer a broad upstream channel, and
they work more reliably over older copper wire lines than ADSL. The
upload and download streams have the capacity to travel at the same
HDSL (High-bit-rate Digital
Subscriber Line) Similar to SDSL, but with broader (faster) bit rates.
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e-commerce A buzzword referring
to buying and selling products and services online.
electronic mail Usually called
email Abbreviation for electronic
mail. Email (also spelled e-mail) is the most popular use of the Internet,
allowing any Internet user to send a nearly instantaneous electronic message
to anyone else on the Internet who has an email address. email address
An email address tells the world where to send all your electronic mail.
You can usually spot an email address because it begins with a username,
has an @ sign in the center, and ends with a domain name, like email@example.com.
encryption A method of providing
secure communications by scrambling the message or information file so
that it cannot be read by anyone other than its intended recipient. This
enables you to perform secure transactions (like sending EarthLink your
credit card number).
Ethernet A common protocol used
on all kinds of computers for exchanging data across LANs (local area
networks). It is the most widely used LAN access method. Ethernet speeds
reach almost 10Mbps.
extranet A generally large intranet
used by corporations and other organizations that is open to selected
individuals outside the organization, such as customers, suppliers, and
partners. See also: intranet
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Abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions, usually pronounced "fack."
A FAQ is a document posted to answer common questions and to prevent the
same questions being asked over and over.
firewall Hardware and software
that provide security to a local-area network (LAN). Computers "outside"
a firewall cannot access information on computers "behind" the firewall.
flame An abrasive email or newsgroup
posting, usually containing abusive language. Flames often result from
spamming. Flames are B-A-D. Don't send them. Count to 10 instead.
frame relay A high-speed switching
protocol for wide area networks (WANs). It is also used for remote LAN
to LAN connections.
frames An HTML construction which
allows two Web pages to be viewed as one page divided into distinct areas
or frames. Usually one frame will remain static while the other changes.
Often used as a navigational devise. These are best viewed with browser
versions 4.0 and above.
freeware Freeware is software
which is free to use and distribute. Often grouped with shareware, which
is software which you are supposed to pay a small fee to use, usually
after a trial period.
Frequently Asked Questions Usually
referred to as FAQ.
FTP File Transfer Protocol. Internet
standard for transferring files from one computer to another over the
Internet. Software can often be downloaded from company Web sites via
FTP. Web pages are uploaded to servers with FTP enabled programs.
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HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol. the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested Web page.
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Internet "Net" for short. A computer
network connecting tens of thousands of smaller computer networks all
around the globe that use the TCP/IP protocol. Any computer can communicate
with any other computer on this network. See also: The Web
intranet An internal network used
primarily by companies to increase internal communications efficiency.
Intranets function much like the Internet as a whole but files and Web
pages are only accessible from computers connected within a local network.
Intranets that are open to selected partners and clients are called extranets.
IP number Every computer on the
Internet has a unique IP number, which consists of four parts separated
by dots. The number identifies the computer on the Internet. Domain names
are the much-easier-to-remember alternative to IP numbers.
IRC Internet Relay Chat. A protocol
used to enable real-time chatting on the Internet. Those new to IRC might
want to start exploring at the NewIRCusers Start Page.
ISDN Integrated Services Digital
Network. A special kind of high-speed phone service that allows simultaneous
voice and data transmission over the same phone line. ISDN lines provide
transmission speeds of around 128Kbps, or double the fastest modems. EarthLink
offers ISDN service to homes and businesses.
ISP Internet Service Provider.
A company that provides access to the Internet, as well as other types
of services, such as content, gaming, and Web page development. An ISP
owns or rents the equipment required to have POPs on the Internet.
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A general-purpose programming language developed by Sun Microsystems that
can be used on computers using any kind of operating system. Java is used
to develop small applications for Web pages called applets. Java applets
are sent over the Internet and run on your computer immediately, and are
often used to create dynamic Web page features like stock tickers, animations,
by Netscape and is NOT technically Java. Rather, it is a "scripting" language
is often used to create "rollover" effects which change page content when
the mouse cursor runs over a specified image or link.
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Link Farming A link farm is a website that has little or no original content and is created for the sole purpose of exchanging links with other websites. Like free-for-all (FFA) pages, link farms have nothing but links to other websites. Link farming has flourished in response to the growing emphasis on link popularity for search placement by many search engines. Link farms are not the same as directories. See Web Directories for information on these.
Never exchange links with a link farm. Many search engines will penalize or even ban your site for linking to link farms. Obviously, you have no control over who links to you, so you cannot be penalized when link farms link to you. But linking back to them is another story.
Free-for-all (FFA) sites allow anyone to post links on their pages. FFA's generally don't require you to link back to them, so listing your site on FFAs will not hurt your rankings. However, link popularity is not so much as about the sheer number of links to your site as it is about the number of quality links to your site. Search engines are smart enough to tell which links are relevant and which aren't. Securing a handful of inbound links from qualified sites will do you more good than having your site listed on a thousand FFAs.
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'Net Short for the Internet.
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Pop-up/Pop-under Traffic Schemes Have you seen ads offering "1,000 visitors for $9.95"?
Consider this: many companies are willing to pay up to $10 or more for every visitor Google or Overture sends to their site. Why wouldn't they spend their $10 to get 1,000 visitors from pop-up ad brokers, instead?
Perhaps they're smart enough to realize that the 1,000 "visitors" they would get from having their sites displayed in pop-up and pop-under windows on other sites are worth less than the one legitimate visitor Google or Overture sends them.
While not necessarily unethical, pop-up advertising is no longer as effective as it used to be. Most web surfers find pop-ups annoying and intrusive, and many now use pop-up blockers to avoid them. Even those who don't have blockers installed on their browsers have grown accustomed to instinctively close pop-ups and pop-unders without taking a glance at them.
A pop-up exchange is a program that allows members to show pop-up windows linking to one another's site. As a member of the exchange, your site would display a pop-up linking to another member's site every time someone visits your site. There is usually an exchange ratio involved. A 2:1 exchange ratio means that for every two pop-ups you show on your site, your pop-up would be displayed once on someone else's site.
Pop-up exchanges aren't especially effective for the reasons mentioned above. Furthermore, they are vulnerable to cheaters who use automated means to fraudulently inflate their credits.
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secure browser A Web browser that
uses a secure protocol, like SSL , to access a secure Web server. Versions
of Navigator and Internet Explorer of 3.0 and later are secure browsers.
They enable visitors to Web sites to conduct secure transactions, like
the transmission of credit card numbers. When a browser connection is
secure, you will see a blue band under the browser's location field, or
a whole key image (versus the unsecure broken key), or a locked padlock
image in the lower left hand corner of your browser window.
server A computer connected to
the Internet which stores and provides information of some sort. Your
email is kept on a server. So are Web pages. A server is also called a
host . site A particular "place" on the Internet. A Web page is often
called a Web site, but usually sites are made up of many pages. Also used
to refer to a server connected to the Internet.
spam Spam is unsolicited email
or newsgroup postings. Oftentimes, it's simply advertising. It's often
thought of as the junk mail of the Internet, and is usually considered
rude. This is not the same as email you've allowed when registering software
via the web, for example. Digital Community does not tolerate spam.
spamming Blatant advertising or
the posting of off-topic messages to newsgroups or emailboxes, after which
a flame war usually erupts, resulting in more spamming. Spamming disrupts
the usefulness of the Internet. Sending spam is B-A-D.
SSL Secure Sockets Layer. SSL
is the protocol for Internet security. With both the server (i.e. WebMacster.com)
and the client (i.e. your secure browser) implementing SSL, all communications
are encrypted to ensure complete security.
Surfing Exchanges Surfing exchanges are programs where you surf other people's web sites to get others to surf yours.
In home page exchanges you set your home page to a special URL on which another member's site will be displayed every time you start your browser. Alternatively, you may simply bookmark the URL and receive credit every time you visit it.
Click exchanges allow you to earn credits by clicking on other people's links. There is usually a 20- or 30-second timer that counts down the required amount of time you must spend on the site. In return your link will be exposed to other members to click on.
Like pop-up exchanges, these schemes will get you traffic just for the sake of getting traffic- little of it be of any use. Most people who join these programs are more interested in accumulating credits rather than looking through your site. Many run several traffic exchange programs simultaneously (in different windows) to gain credits on multiple programs rather than exploring a site that they're supposed to explore.
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URL the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.
The first part of the address indicates what protocol to use, for instance an executable file could be fetched using the FTP protocol or the HTTP protocol; and the second part specifies the IP address or the domain name where the resource is located.
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W3C standardsThe World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C's mission is:
To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.
W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines. Since 1994, W3C has published more than ninety such standards, called W3C Recommendations. W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software, and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web. In order for the Web to reach its full potential, the most fundamental Web technologies must be compatible with one another and allow any hardware and software used to access the Web to work together. W3C refers to this goal as "Web interoperability." By publishing open (non-proprietary) standards for Web languages and protocols, W3C seeks to avoid market fragmentation and thus Web fragmentation.
Web Directories A web directory is a directory on the World Wide Web. It specializes in linking to other web sites and categorizing those links.
A web directory is not a search engine, and does not display lists of web pages based on keywords, instead it lists web sites by category and subcategory. The categorization is usually based on the whole web site, rather than one page or a set of keywords, and sites are often limited to inclusion in only one or two categories. Web directories often allow site owners to directly submit their site for inclusion, and have editors review submissions for fitness.
RSS directories are similar to web directories, but contain collections of RSS feeds, instead of links to web sites.
webmaster Formal name for the
person in charge of maintaining a Web. Other names that describe the same
position: Web administrator, Site Administrator, or Content Editor. Personal
homepages are not usually said to have webmasters, but rather site authors,
site designers, or pagebuilders.
Website A particular "place,"
or set of pages, on the Web. A homepage is the top page, or main page,
of a Web site.
Website design is basically about making the website look good. Designing the layout and choosing the colours.
Website development is constructing the design using code like HTML. Other code like DHTML, Flash (actionscript), PHP, and ASP add interactivity.
Website hosting gives the website a home, somewhere that makes it accessible to the people using the internet (ie. a plot of land). Hosting also gives your website an address called an IP (ie. house numbers). Sometimes a website is given a unique IP (ie. like for a house) but most often many websites share the same IP (ie. like apartments).
Website maintenance keeps your site current by updating styles and incorporating new forms of interactivity, attractive by adding new content often like updating rates or daily online journal entries, and safe by monitoring the code and potential security issues that sometimes arise.
Website optimization makes your website load quickly (less than 8 seconds is ideal) and makes the entire website run smoothly and efficiently.
webspace The amount of space,
measured in megabytes, allocated to a Web site.
WPP Web Presence Provider. WPPs
are Web hosting and Internet services providers who manage the Web server
hardware and software required to make your Web site available on the
Internet. You essentially rent space on their Web servers. Additionally,
WPPs may provide customer technical support, training and consulting services,
24-hour site monitoring, maintenance and traffic reporting, security management
and other Web-based services.
World Wide Web Also WWW, or Web
for short. The part of the Internet that allows you to navigate through
all kinds of graphical information (the stuff with pictures). To view
the Web, you'll use a browser such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft's
Internet Explorer, for example. Information on the Web is formatted into
"pages." Each page might contain some text and possibly pictures, sound
or even video. A page is actually a file stored on a remote computer somewhere
on the Net. (A Web hosting service or ISP provide the remote computers
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