Internet Glossary – A Beginners Guide to help those new to the Internet to understand some of those annoying and confusing terminologies used by the geeks
Terms beginning with the letter A
ADN – Advanced Digital Network
ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A line with a slower upload speed and higher download speed, e.g. downloads at up to 1.544 megabits per second and uploads at, 128 kilobits per second. Theoretically speeds could be much higher.
Affilaite – A web publisher who promotes a product in between the merchant and the end customers to earn a commission for referring clicks, leads, or sales.
Affiliate Link – A link including a piece of special code that is provided to an affiliate for the purpose of tracking referrals.
Affiliate Program – Revenue sharing program where an affiliate receives a portion of income for delivering sales, leads, or traffic to a merchant.
Anonymous FTP – Logging in to a site to transfer files without supplying a specific username and password.
Applet – A small program, written in Java, that is inserted in an HTML page. Applets, unlike full Java programs, can’t use the local computer’s files, modems, printers, etc. or communicate with other computers – only the computer which sent the applet.
Application Server – Software run from a Server to manage how other software is made available on a network. This enables more efficient use of resources e.g. memory and database access.
ASCII – The American Standard Code for Information Interchange is the commonly accepted standard for representing the numbers used by computers for all Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. The 128 standard ASCII codes can be represented by a binary number from 0000000 to 1111111.
ASP – Application Service Provider. The organisation which operates one or more computer services (called applications) on their own server and charges others a fee to use those services. The applications which are provided may include organizational or collaborative applications which require significant computing power.
Atom – A current protocol which is still under active development for sharing of information (content) which some see as an improvement of RSS. It is also based on XML but supports many additional features.
Auto-Responder – An email feature that automatically sends an email message to anyone who sends it a message.
Terms beginning with the letter B
Bandwidth – The amount of data bits which can be sent through a connection in a specified time, measured in bits-per-second (bps.) English text converts to about 16,000 bits and dial-up modems push up to 57,000 bits through per second. Video may need about 10,000,000 bits-per-second.
Baud – A standard measure of the speed of a modem. Usually defined as the number of bits it transfers per second. Technically, a 1200 bit-per-second modem runs at 300 baud, moving 4 bits per baud (1200 bits per second).
BBS – Bulletin Board System. These were networks, usually run by volunteers who provided their own computers and time, which pre-dated the Internet as a means of transferring messages, files and information between computer users around the World. Their numbers are much less than during their hey-day in the early 1990’s since services such as AOL, Internet Chat-rooms and Forums have spread.
Binary – A mathematical representation of data just with ones and zeros.
Bit – Binary Digit. The basic units of computer data – either a one or a zero.
Blog – weB LOG. A diary or journal on an Internet site. The focus may range from the blogger’s life to any subject which they are interested in. Blogs require regular updating to continue to hold the interest of visitors. Since the explosive growth in blogging and consequent interest from companies interested in promoting their products and services to people that maintain or visit blogs, many companies have started their own blogs.
Blogger – Someone who maintains and is responsible for the content of a blog.
Blogosphere or Blogsphere – An ever-changing ‘world’ composed of blogs and those who are interested/involved
BPS – Bits-Per-Second) The number of bits which are moved in one second. A 56K modem can transfer 57,000 bits per second though most dial-up modem transmissions move at less than 37,000 bps.
Broadband – Internet connections which allow transfers at much higher rates than through dial-up modems by accessing more bandwidth. They include DSL and Cable-TV connections.
Browser – Short for Web Browser; it’s the tool (program) that allows you to surf the web. You probably used your Web Browser to locate this page. The most popular Web Browsers right now are Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.
Byte- The bits for a single character, usually 8.
Terms beginning with the letter C
CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access. A protocol for wireless data and voice communication, used in cellphone networks and other communications systems. The transmitted data spreads over more than one radio frequency, which is a more efficient use of the radio spectrum. Other protocols, such as 1xRTT ( CMDA2000), are being developed on top of CDMA.
Certificate Authority – An organization which issues Security Certificates for SSL connections.
CGI – Common Gateway Interface. Rules which define that way that communication between a Web Server is done. Any software which handles complies with this CGI standard may be a CGI program.
cgi-bin – The directory on your domain on a web server where you store CGI programs.
Chat Room – An Internet site (or part of a site) where people “chat” with other people in the room. There are thousands of Chat Rooms, usually organized by topic.
Click-through – The action when a user clicks on a link.
Click-Through Ratio (CTR) – Percentage of visitors who click-through on a link to visit the merchant’s web site.
Client – A program for connecting to and collecting data from another program on a computer Server. Client programs can only work with the type of erver(s) which they are designed to work with and vice-versa. A Web Browser is a Client.
Commission – Income an affiliate receives for generating a sale, lead or click-through to a merchant’s web site. Sometimes called a referral fee, a finder’s fee or a bounty.
Conversion Rate – Percentage of clicks that result in a commission-able activity (sale or lead).
Cookie – A “cookie” is an Internet site’s way of keeping track of you. It’s a small program built into a web page you might visit. Typically you won’t know when you are receiving cookies. Ideally a cookie could make your surfing easier by identifying you, tracking sites you visit, topics you search, and get a general feel for your preferences. It can also be used to collect your e-mail address for marketing purposes. You may use your (advanced) browser settings to warn you before you accept cookies or to reject them all. Keep in mind that some secure sites, such as stock trading sites, won’t work if you don’t accept their cookies.
Counter – A number on many web pages that will count the number of hits or count the number of times the page has been accessed. Basically, it counts the number of people that have visited that page.
CSS – Cascading Style Sheet) A standard way of specifying the appearance of text and other elements in Web pages and also in applications built using XPFE. You can put common font, color and other design aspects for several pages of a web site in one CSS files and then just place a reference to that file on each of the pages. To change any particular aspect of all those pages, you just change the relevant entry in the CSS file.
Cyberspace – Term used to describe the Internet and related networks; the term was coined by science-fiction novelist William Gibson in 1984 in Neuromancer.
Terms beginning with the letter D
Digerati – People that consider themselves as knowledgeable about, or connected to, the cutting edge of every part of the digital world.
DNS – Domain Name System. The Domain Name System is how Internet domain names (such as ‘mydomain.com’) are converted to IP numbers by the DNS Servers.
Domain Name – The name which identifies a web site on the Internet. For example, mysite.com This is what you type in your browser to be connected directly to the site you want to see. A site does not have to have its own domain name. Most ISP’s and some other web hosts offer web space to clients who do not want to buy their own domain name.
Download – The transfer of files from any other computer to your computer, including from the Internet to your computer. Every time you instruct your computer system to retrieve your mail, you are downloading your mail to your computer. You may also download programs to your computer. However, be careful about downloading files or programs from a site in which you are not familiar. You could download a virus and never know it until it’s too late.
DSL – Digital Subscriber Line. A circuit, connecting specific locations, which supports moving data over regular phone lines faster than a regular phone connection. This is like, but not the same as, a leased line.
Terms beginning with the letter E
E-mail – Electronic-mail. This tool is usually provided by your ISP. It allows you to send and receive mail (messages) over the Internet. Through e-mail you can write your friends, ask your ISP a technical question about your service, or even receive an Internet birthday card.
Email Signature – Signature option allows for a brief message to be embedded at the end of every email that a person sends.
Ethernet – A method for networking computers in a Local Area Network.
Extranet – A network owned and maintained by a company which can be accessed by other computers owned by associates/clients/suppliers which are not part of the network,but not anyone else outside of the company.
eZine – Short for electronic magazine. Some e-zines are simply electronic versions of existing print magazines, whereas others exist only in their digital format
Terms beginning with the letter F
FAQ – An acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. This is a list of Questions that are Frequently Asked, with the answers. This mini-help file saves time because clients can get the information they need without support personnel having to repeatedly send the same information to different clients.
Firewall – Either a software program or a combination of hardware and software that protects a computer or network from intruders.
Forum – Section of a web site where people can discuss topics related to the subject which the site is focused on. Some Forums have paid or restricted Membership. Even the free Forums usually require you to register with a confirmed email address.
FTP – File Transfer Protocol. A program to move files over the Internet between your computer and a web site, uploading to the site and downloading from the site to your computer.
Terms beginning with the letter G
Gateway – Hardware or software which transfers and translates data between different Internet Protocols (such as different email formats). Also used to describe sites or services which give people easier entry to particular areas of the Net or the Internet itself.
GIF – Graphic Interchange Format. A format for image files, most suitable for images with large areas of color(s).
Gigabyte – 1000 x 1024 bytes
Terms beginning with the letter H
Hacker – Also known as a “Cracker”, a Hacker is a person who breaks into a site through a computer’s security.
Hit – A hit occurs each time some one’s Browser connects with any part of a web site. If someone goes to 3 different pages and then returns to a page they’ve already seen,that is 4 hits.
Home Page – The web page which your browser shows when you open it to start surfing. Also refers to the main page of a web site which is reached by typing in the site’s domain name.
Host – The computer where the files which make up one (or many) web sites are physically located.
HTML – Hypertext Mark-up Language. HTML is not a programming language, but a way to format text by placing marks around the text so they can be used as web pages. For example HTML allows you to make a word bold by word etc. Early word processing programs used similar marks for the same reason – to show how the text should be displayed.
http Hypertext Transfer Protocol. This protocol rules how computers communicate over the Internet, using an http client program on one machine and an http server – program in the other.
Hypertext – Text on a web page that links the user to another web page. The hypertext, or links will usually be a different color than the other text on the page and also usually underlined.
Terms beginning with the letter I
IMAP – Internet Message Access Protocol is an advanced protocol used by email clients as a replacement for POP.
IMAP – lets an email program get emails from multiple accounts and also manage messages on the server without actually downloading them.
Impression – Advertising metric that indicates how many times an advertising link is displayed.
Internet – Originally called ARPANET after the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. This electronic network connects the hosts together so that you may go from one web page to another efficiently. The electronic connection began as a government experiment in 1969 with four computers connected together over phone lines. By 1972, universities also had access to what was, by then, called the Internet.
Intranet – Computers in an organization connected together so they can exchange files and use common equipment (printers etc) and operate programs which may only reside on one particular machine in the network.
IP Number – A number with 4 sections separated by dots which signifies the unique location of a system on the Internet. With the growth of the Net, shared IP addresses are now used by Internet Service Providers for some of the domains which they host.
ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network. A method of moving data over normal phone lines at nominal speeds of up to 128,000 bits-per-second though most users get speeds of up to 64,000 bits-per-second. ISDN can connect to many locations, one by one if both systems have ISDN capability.
ISP – Internet Service Provider. This is your connection to the Internet. You use an ISP to connect onto the Internet every time you log on.
IT – Information Technology. Covers everything to do with computers, programming and related functions including administration.
Terms beginning with the letter J
Java – A programming language, developed by Sun Microsystems, used for small programs (applets) that are embedded in Web pages and that run when a user accesses the page or clicks on a certain area. If you have visited sites that play sounds, have animated figures trotting across the screen, or display scrolling text, you have already seen Java.
JDK – Java Development Kit. A software development package from Sun Microsystems with the basic tools for writing, testing and debugging Java programs and applets.
JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPEG is a good format for image files with fine details (like photographs).
Keyword – A word you might use to search for a Web site. For example, searching the Web for the keyword “Dictionary” or “Terms” might help you find this site.
Terms beginning with the letter K
Kilobyte – 1024 (210) bytes
Terms beginning with the letter L
LAN – Local Area Network. A computer network which may spread over several floors of a building but has a central control in the same building.
Logging In – Connecting with a username and password to a website or a special area on a site, such as a Forum or download area.
LOL – Acronym for Laugh Out Loud. Look for it in your e-mail, or chat rooms.
Laptop – A computer small enough to sit on your lap. The laptop computer’s small size allows you to take it almost anywhere and access the Internet. Great if you travel a lot and don’t want to go too long without your e-mail.
Link – A link is text or an image on a web page which you click your mouse on. Code associated with the text or graphic will direct you to another location on a different page of that site or even a different site. Text links are usually underlined and a different color to the other text on the page.
Linux – An Open Source (free) operating system similar to Unix. Versions are available for all common types of computers.
Load – Short for download and upload. If someone asks how long did the page take to load? He/She is referring to the time it takes a page to appear on your screen. If a web page is loading slow it means that it’s taking a long time to fully appear on your screen.
Location – An Internet address. In your browser you will see a box at the top of the page with a title such as “location”. That’s where you will see the location of whatever web page is open in your browser. The address you type in the location bar must be an exact match for the page you want.
Login – The name and password needed to access a computer system or restricted web site (or the act of accessing the system or site).
Terms beginning with the letter M
Mailing list – The list of people who have voluntarily subscribed to a particular publication.
Megabyte – One thousand kilobytes.
Merchant – On online business that markets and sells goods or services. Merchants establish affiliate programs as a cost effective method to get consumers to purchase a product, register for a service, fill out a form, or visit a Web site.
Meta Tag – A type of HTML tag that contains information about the page content and the person/organization which owns it for the benefit of Search Engine spiders, not other (human) users.
MIME – Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. A standard which defined what type of files were attached to email messages, also used for computer systems to tell other systems what type of files they are sending to them.
Mirror – Generally speaking, “to mirror” is to maintain an exact copy of something. Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers to “mirror sites” which are web sites, or FTP sites that maintain copies of material originated at another location, usually in order to provide more widespread access to the resource. For example, one site might create a library of software, and 5 other sites might maintain mirrors of that library.
Modem – Modulator-demodulator. Device attached between a computer and a phone to convert data from the form which the computer uses to a form suitable for transmission through the phone and the Internet and convert data which comes to it from the phone (and the Internet) back in to a form which the computer can use.
Mosaic – An early browser which was used by Macintosh, Windows and UNIX computers. The source-code to Mosaic became the basis for early versions of some other web browsers.
Terms beginning with the letter N
Net – Short for Internet.
Netiquette – Net etiquette; a system of interaction between Internet users on the Internet.
Netizen – A citizen of the Internet or, more plainly, an Internet user.
Netscape – A web Browser and also the Company which developed it, based on the Mosaic program.
Network – Two or more computers connected together and probably sharing resources such as printers etc.
Newbie – Someone that may have many talents, skills and vast knowledge in other areas but, at this point, is not very familiar with the Internet and how to use it.
Newsgroups -Groups whose Members come together on USENET to discuss a mutual interest.
Node – A computer which is connected to a network. More particularly, one that distributes material received from other parts of the network to computers which may have slower network connections than it does.
Terms beginning with the letter O
Online – Being connected to the Internet.
Open Content – Information or other data which is made freely available by the copyright owner under the terms of a license which defines the allowed uses and distribution of the material.
Open Source Software – Software where the developer makes the original source code freely available to anyone that might want to read, use, enhance or change it. Open Source Software is subject to license terms specified by the developer which require that any software based on it must also be made freely available and carry an acknowledgement of the original developer and their license terms.
Terms beginning with the letter P
Password – A secret string of characters which identify an authorized user when they try to log into a system or web location.
Pay-Per-Sale – Program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sale of a product or service that they refer to a merchant’s web site. Pay-per-sale programs usually offer the highest commissions and the lowest conversion ratio.
Pay-Per-Lead – Program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sales lead that they generate for a merchant web site. Examples would include completed surveys, contest or sweepstakes entries, downloaded software demos, or free trials. Pay-per-lead generally offers mid range commissions and mid range to high conversion ratios.
Pay-Per-Click – Program where an affiliate receives receive a commission for each click (visitor) they refer to a merchant’s web site. Pay-per-click programs
generally offer some of the lowest commissions (from $0.01 to $0.25 per click), and a very high conversion ratio since visitors need only click on a link to earn the affiliate a commission.
PDF – Portable Document Format. A file format, developed by the Adobe Corporation and based on their Postcript document-description language which allows consistent viewing and printing of digital documents with the fonts, images and layout on any computer system.
Ping – Contacting another computer on the Internet or other network and using the response, if any, to confirm the health of the connection.
Plug-in – Software which enhances the usability or features of a more complex program. For instance, WordPress Blogs, graphics programs and web browsers use plug-ins.
PNG – Portable Network Graphics. A graphics format specifically for the Internet. It enables users to compress images without losing quality. Anyone may develop software to use PNG because the PNG standard does not carry any licensing fees.
POP – Either Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. Point of Presence is somewhere that a network, such as a phone system, connects to or where an ISP, perhaps from another area, provides access to their network for users without the need to incur long distance phone charges. Post Office Protocol is currently the most common way that an e-mail program gets mail from servers.
Port – Physical or software connection where data is transferred to and from computers.
Portal – A web site that offers information and links intended to help people with limited experience of the Internet or, alternatively, with extensive information and links (including related advertising) about one particular topic to encourage people who share that interest to use the site to begin each of their Internet sessions.
Posting – A message which is submitted or ‘posted’ to an online forum or other discussion medium.
PPP – Point (to) Point Protocol. The protocol connecting home computers to the Internet over a phone line through a modem.
Protocol – A set of rules that lets computers agree how to communicate over the Internet or elsewhere.
Proxy Server – A Proxy Server deals with all requests from a client machine which are addressed to the main server on a Local Area Network. It pesonds to some requests with results of previous queries which it has stored and thus reduces the load on the main server.
PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network. The traditional telephone system.
Terms beginning with the letter R
RDF – Resource Definition Framework. Rules about how to describe categorised information to be made available on the Internet. The RSS data format follows RDF rules. RDF is also valuable for defining relationships between a collection of data and how it is displayed for users.
Residual Earnings – Programs that pay affiliates not just for the first sale a shopper form their sites makes, but all additional sales made at the merchant’s site over the life of the customer.
Router – A dedicated computer or program which manages the traffic of packets through connections between Packet-Switching networks.
RSS – Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication. A standard protocol for sharing of content such as news articles and very popular with bloggers. RSS “feeds” are sources of information in RSS format and RSS “readers” are programs or scripts which read RSS feeds and display their content.
Terms beginning with the letter S
Scroll – Using the vertical bar at the right of your browser window or the middle button (or wheel) of your computer mouse to move up or down a web page or other document on your monitor.
SDSL – Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A type of DSL with identical upload and download speeds.
Search Engine – A publicly accessible site where people can browse information on any topic or question they like gathered by the Search Engine provider who uses special ‘bots’ to roam the Internet collecting the information.
Security Certificate – Information, usually a text file which the SSL protocol uses to make a secure connection.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Designing web pages with the goal of attaining high ranking listings in your results from search engine queries by potential customers.
Server – A dedicated computer or a program which supplies service(s) to other computers. For instance, a WWW server which is used to host web sites or an email server which processes e-mail between its client computers and the Internet.
Servlet – A small program which enhances the capabilities of server software.
Site – A place on the Internet. Every web page has a specific location which is its site with an address, usually beginning with “http://”
SLIP – Serial Line Internet Protocol. An early standard by which a serial telephone line and a modem connected a computer to an Internet site. Now replaced by PPP.
SMDS – Switched Multimegabit Data Service. A very high-speed data transfer standard.
SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. Used to send email between servers on the Internet.
SNMP -Simple Network Management Protocol. Communication standards for devices on TCP/IP network.
SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol. A protocol providing sophisticated handling of complex data between a client and a server.
Microsoft’s “.NET” system was based in large part on SOAP.
Spam (or Spamming) – The Internet version of junk mail. Spamming is sending the same message to a large number of users, usually to advertise something. E-mail address may be collected using cookies or a mailing list from a newsgroup. An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or other networked
communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn’t ask for it. (Spam® is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat product.)
Spyware – Software introduced covertly to a computer and which secretly monitors its use. It may send information such as keystrokes, including passwords, to other places on the Net without the owner of the computer being aware or giving permission.
SQL – Structured Query Language. A special language for querying databases.
SSL – Secure Socket Layer. A protocol from Netscape Communications for secure communications over the Internet.
Super Affiliate – An affiliate capable of generating a significant percentage of an affiliate program’s activity.
Surfing – Looking around the Internet for business or pleasurable purposes.
Sysop – System Operator. Person in charge of a computer system or network’s operations or resources.
Terms beginning with the letter T
Targeted Marketing – Offering the right offer to the right customer at the right time.
TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The protocols which define the Internet. Originally set up for UNIX but now available for all computer operating systems.
Telnet – A program which may be used to connect from an Internet site to another.
Terabyte – 1000 gigabytes.
Terminal A machine for sending commands to a remote computer.
Terminal Server – A dedicated computer with several modems connected to it and connected to a LAN or host. Terminal servers provide PPP or SLIP services to the Internet.
TLD – Top Level Domain. The highest part of a complete Domain Name, such as com, net or org.
Trojan Horse – Like the Trojan horse of mythology, Trojan horse viruses pretend to be one thing when in fact they are something else. Typically, Trojan horses take the form of a game that deletes files while the user plays.
Two-tier – Affiliate marketing model that allows affiliates to sign up additional affiliates below themselves, so that when the second tier affiliates earn a commission, the affiliate above them also receives a commission. Two-tier affiliate marketing is also known as MLM (Multilevel Marketing).
Terms beginning with the letter U
UDP – User Datagram Protocol. A protocol in the TCP/IP suite which covers data transfer.
Unix – A computer operating system for servers on the Internet which can have many concurrent users. It includes TCP/IP.
Upload – The process of transferring information from your computer to another computer or a web site through the Internet.
URI – Uniform Resource Identifier. An address for a resource on the Internet.
URL – Uniform Resource Locator. It’s the address of each web site. It usually begins with “http://”
URN – Uniform Resource Name. A URI controlled by an organization which has accepted an obligation to keep the resource available there.
Usenet – A collection of ongoing discussion groups for people on the Internet who share a mutual interest. They rarely have anything to do with news.
User ID – This is the unique identifier (like your logon name) that you use to identify yourself on a computer.
Terms beginning with the letter V
Viral Marketing – The rapid adoption of a product or passing on of an offer to friends and family through word-of-mouth (or word-of-email) networks. Any advertising that propagates itself the way viruses do.
Virus – Program which can infect your computer like a medical virus might infect and damage your body. Always use an anti-virus program, keep it updated and you’re your entire computer as well as any disks or CD Roms and programs (especially games and other interactive software such as chat programs) which you intend to use on it .
VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol. A specification and programs which can be used for making phone calls over the Internet.
VPN – Virtual Private Network. A network which used the Internet to transfer data in encrypted form, maintaining the privacy of the network.
Terms beginning with the letter W
WAIS – Wide Area Information System. Lots of large databases which you can search using methods developed by WAIS Corp..
WAN – Wide Area Network. A network which has parts that are not all in the same building or other physical location.
Web – World Wide Web.
Web Browser – The program) you use to surf the Internet, such as Netscape Navigator, FireFox and Internet Explorer.
The HTML pages you look at on the Internet.
Website – The web pages and multimedia files etc are located at the same domain
Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity. A type of wireless data communication, more correctly described as Wireless Ethernet.
World Wide Web – A full-color, multimedia database of information on the Internet. The World Wide Web is a universal mass of web pages connected together through links.
Worm – A computer virus designed to affect or destroy files on your computer, or secretly install other nasty programs. It spreads of itself to all other computers which it can reach.
WWW – World Wide Web.
Terms beginning with the letter X
XML – eXtensible Markup Language. A common system which defines data formats, easily handling complex documents like business forms, news feeds and catalogs.
XMLRPC – XML Remote Procedure Call. A protocol involving a particular XML format for sending and receiving information over HTTP between clients and servers.
XUL – eXtensible User-interface Language. A markup language based on XML resembling HTML.