Web Jargon Glossary

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Web jargon can be annoying.

Our Web Glossary explains some of the more commonly used terms, so the next time a web geek throws them at you, you can impress them!


The most commonly confused terms are domain name, URL and hosting. Their definitions are in the web glossary below, which should clear up this mystery once and for all.


The word blog comes from a blending of the original term, weblog. A blog is a type of website characterized by a list of posts or entries, usually displayed in reverse chronological order. Traditionally, blogs are maintained by an individual but companies and other organizations commonly maintain one as well. Network9’s Ideas to Spin Ideas blog is right over here!

Read our post on 7 SEO tactics you can do yourself


Short for web browser, a browser is a software application used to locate and display web pages. The most popular browsers are Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer (according to W3C’s statistics).

Though much is standardized for obvious reasons, each browser has a slightly different way of reading and displaying web pages so designers and programmers have to make minor adjustments in the code so their pages display correctly, regardless of their choice of browser. Network9 will rigorously test your site to make sure it is compatible across the web.


No, it’s not cache, like in fashion. It’s more like storage. Once your web browser accesses a web page, it references that page and the graphics on it within your computer’s “cache” (or more simply, your computer takes a “snapshot” of every page you visit and stores it in the “cache”).

The next time you visit that same page, your download time will be quicker as the images and much of the page is already available on your computer for your browser to reference instantly instead of waiting for the page and images to download again.

Clickthrough Rate

The number of times visitors click on a link (or advertisement) on a page, See your Google Analytics.

Cloud Computing

Storing applications and data on the internet (instead of on the user’s computer). It saves space as well as backs up data and applications, making it accessible anywhere you have an internet connection.

Content Management System (CMS)

Back in the day, you needed to know HTML or have a webmaster in order to alter or update your website.

Today we have ultra-sophisticated Content Management Systems, or CMS. A CMS allows the content manager or author, who may not know Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), to manage the creation, modification, and removal of content from a Website without needing the expertise of a webmaster.

WordPress is the CMS we prefer. It allows for near-complete customization while allowing administrators to quickly and easily add, edit, and delete content.

Squarespace, Drupal and Joomla are other examples of CMS’s but there are many others, some privately run, some associated with hosting companies.


No, it’s not a tasty Tate’s. It is a tiny data file that is stored on the hard drive of the computer you use when you view a Web site. Cookies are placed by that site or by a third party with a presence on the site, such as an advertiser, and are accessible only by the party or site that placed the cookie.

They often are used to make the site easier to use. For example, you can choose to store your username for a site on your computer so that you don’t have to enter it each time you visit the site, as it’s stored in a cookie on your computer.


Data stored in a computer in such a way that a computer program can easily retrieve and display the information. Websites have a t=on of image, text and functionality information, which stays in the database. Lose your database and you lose your site. All websites and applications operate from a database to hold your site’s files until needed.

Domain Name

The unique name that identifies a web site and what is displayed in the URL of a web page. Our domain name is network9.biz. These need to be registered so that there are no two alike.


This stands for Domain Name Server. Once you register your name, you can control where it points to. Our DNS points to https://archive.network9.biz. Sometimes, but not always, people register the domain name along with their hosting with the same company.


The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. This is typically done to secure computer systems. Any site that processes credit card transactions, for example, will use encryption to keep your information safe.


A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a public or private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private portions of public networks. All messages entering or leaving the network pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.


A vector-based multimedia format developed by Adobe for use on the web. It requires a plug-in to play film-like animations in most browsers. It is often used for animations and is sometimes used to build whole sites, although this practice has gone out of fashion in favor of Javascript.


An online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. Typically, users have to sign up and login before they can post, but anyone can read posted messages. Forums can contain any number of topics and subtopics.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

One of the most common methods for sending files between two computers. It requires that you have an FTP server, which is a web server you can logon to, and download files from (or upload files to). Once you have a server, you’ll need an FTP client such as Fetch, Cyberduck, or Filezilla in order to connect to your server and upload or download files.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)


A compressed format for storing images developed by CompuServe. One of the most common image formats on the Internet. While it is not ideal for photographs, its small file size and ability to handle transparency makes it ideal for graphics, such as logos. Gifs are wildly popular and used all over the Internet, in texts and just about everywhere digital.

Animated GIFs are so popular because of the small file size and fun factor.

Google Analytics

The most widely used website statistics service and it’s free! Having Google Analytics installed on your site will allow you to view detailed statistics about the visitors to your site, including what pages viewers spend the most time one, how viewers got there, and what keywords people type in to get to your site. It does NOT increase SEO value but is a valuable tracking tool.


In order to have a page on the web, you need to have a place to “host” your database and site files. Hosting companies provide space on servers that they own, typically in a data center or in the cloud, where the information for your site is stored and served up on the web.

Hosting companies come in all shapes and sizes and support and offer many different services such as email, domain name registration, and website builders.

They vary in price depending on the size of your site and traffic. Large companies that need security often have their own servers. Alternatively, you can use cloud hosting.


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


If you haven’t heard of it, where have you been? Here’s the definition: A worldwide network of cables and wires connecting millions of computers. 

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

A company that provides access to the Internet and web hosting. ISP service differs from region to region, depending on the area’s infrastructure. Here in NYC, we have the choice of a variety of ISP’s, including Spectrum and Verizon who own and operate the hardware you use every day.


The most commonly used image format for digital photographs. Its ability to be compressed without a noticeable loss in quality makes it ideal for use on the web.


A word or phrase used by a search engine to serve up relevant web information. For example, Network9’s keywords would be “website design”, “brand strategy”, or “graphic design company NY”. A good SEO team will help you pick keywords for your site that are relevant to your business, and will help you increase your page ranking on search engines.

Keyword Analysis

A KWA is performed by SEO experts, who research to determine the most relevant keywords for a website, and how much traffic there is for these phrases. They are then used to optimize the pages and posts on a website.


Opting in means you are actively indicating your preference to participate in a program, email, feature, tool, or enhancement on a website. Typically, if you opt-in you must provide certain information to the web site or otherwise actively indicate your choice or preference to participate in the website program. For example, if you wish to receive N9’s email newsletter, you must enter your email address and first and last name and click “submit” to join, effectively opting in.


When you opt-out you must uncheck a box next to a stated preference or otherwise take some indicate action to indicate your preference not to participate in a program.


A secret series of characters, typically alphanumeric (meaning it consists of both letters and numbers), that enables you to access a file, computer, or program. Ideally, the password should be something that nobody could guess. Thinking of “123456” or “password”? We strongly advise against that—Try again!


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. Netflix, for example, requires Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in in order to play movies.

In WordPress terms, a plug-in extends WordPress’s basic functionality to enable it to do things like add a gallery, create forms, import posts from another site or a million other cool things.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

A graphics format designed specifically for use on the web, as an alternate for the GIF. It also has a very small file size, and can support transparency.

Search Engine

A computer program used to search and catalog (index) the billions of pages of available information on the web. Common search engines are Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Semantic Web

A web of data with a meaning in the sense that computer programs can know enough about the data to process it.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is the science of search, designed to increase organic traffic from search engines. An internet marketing strategy can improve a website’s visibility on search engines using the search engine’s own algorithms, i.e. not through paid ads.

there are about 200 factors in SEO to consider. We think of it as a jar of marbles. Learn more about our SEO services here.

SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.

Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and back end coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links is another SEO strategy.

Network9 works with an SEO team that will help you structure your site in a way that will boost your rankings, target your audience, and increase your business.
For more detailed information about SEO, take a look here, and for more on how SEO can improve your business take a look at our blog article, What is SEO?


A chunk of hardware that provides services to other computers. A web server stores your website database and files and “serves” them to people who request them. While larger companies with more complex needs often buy their own private servers, most companies and individuals purchase access to a shared server. Server access is provided by hosting companies (see hosting).

Social Selling

The practice of using social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a host of others to market your products. Building a presence in this arena boosts your rank and helps connect you directly to prospects.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer):

A security protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private information via the internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that’s transferred over the SSL connection. Many web sites use the protocol to obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers. By convention, URLs that utilize an SSL connection start with https instead of HTTP.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A web address. The standard way to address web documents (pages) on the internet. Look in the address bar of your browser and you’ll see ours: https://archive.network9.biz/

Web Address

The same as a URL, just like your house number. See URL.

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 super popular content management system (CMS), originally developed for blogging, but has developed into an insanely sophisticated system. The code is kept updated and innovative by many really smart developers and is hence called “open-Sourced” sort of like crowd-sourced for websites only under control.

Wysiwyg editor (What You See Is What You Get)

A user interface that allows the user to view something very similar to the end result while the page is being created. WordPress uses this type of interface to allow you to edit pages and post in a way that is similar to editin a  word document.

Now you can look smart when some web designer throws this jargon at you!

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