Glossary of Web Design & Development

Active Server Pages (ASP) allows developers to deliver dynamic content that is viewable in virtually any browser. Developers can use the scripting language of their choice to give their website ability to create pages ‘on the fly,’ access databases, send email and much more. An ASP may contain a mix of HTML and ASP script. When an ASP is requested, the server processes all of the ASP script and delivers a page in plain HTML to the end-user.
Anonymous FTP allows you to let other people log into your website and download software that you have made available. This is a great way to distribute your products or your favorite programs.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

an international standard in which numbers, letters, punctuation marks, symbols and control codes are assigned numbers from 0 to 127. Easily transferred over networks, ASCII is a plain, unadorned text without style or font specifications.

Asynchronous Connection the type of connection a modem makes over a phone line, this connection is not synchronized by a mutual timing signal or clock.
Attachment a file that is sent as part of an email message but that is not part of the main message. Images, programs, or word processor files are usually sent as attachments, because most email programs allow only plain text in the body of the message.
Auto Responders sends a reply to incoming email automatically. For example, you can use this feature to reply with a standardized message when someone sends an email to You can also create an automated ‘extended absence’ reply to be sent in response to messages.
Avatar refers to an interactive representation of a human in a virtual reality environment.
Bandwidth the range of transmission frequencies a network can use. The greater the bandwidth the more information that can be transferred over that network at one time. The term bandwidth also broadly includes throughput, meaning the amount of data sent. Data Transfer, also called ‘bandwidth,’ refers to the amount of electronic data sent over the network each month in response to visitors’ requests. This varies depending on the size of the web pages and the number of visitors to the site.
Baud a unit of speed in data transmission, or the maximum speed at which data can be sent down a channel. Baud is often equivalent to bits per second. Named after J. M. E. Baudot (died 1903).
BBS (Bulletin Board System) a computer equipped with software and telecommunications links that allow it to act as an information host for remote computer systems.
Boolean Searching uses operators (AND, OR and NOT) in the search expression. Especially helpful in multifaceted or specific topics, Boolean operators help expand or narrow the scope of your search. A search for rivers OR lakes returns documents with either word in them. A search for rivers AND lakes returns documents with both words in them. A search for rivers AND lakes NOT swamps returns only documents that mention both rivers and lakes but omits those that also mention swamps.
Broadband a general term for different types of high-speed, high-bandwidth connections to the Internet, including DSL and cable.
Browser (see Web Browser)
Cache a portion of memory (either in RAM or on a disk) set aside to hold the items retrieved most recently. For Netscape Navigator, this refers to recent web pages and images. It’s used so that items may be retrieved from cache rather than going back to the Internet. Netscape can be set so that, in the case an item hasn't changed, it will be retrieved from the cache.
CD-R (Compact Disk-Recordable) refers to computer peripheral disk drives that allow the user to record content on to a blank compact disk.
CD-ROM (Compact Disk-Read Only Memory) an optical disk from which information may be read but not written.
CGI Scripts programs used by a browser to run interactive site features; they are stored in a separate directory on a web server. CGI scripts run behind a wide variety of common web procedures, from simple email forms to complex shopping cart programs. When you set up your site on a server, you'll have access to a personal cgi-bin directory where you can store scripts that you've written or copied from the web.
Common Gateway Interface (CGI) a set of rules that describe how a web server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the CGI program) communicates with the web server. Many scripting languages, such as Perl, follow the CGI standard. This allows you to develop more interactive sites by making use of system features.
Cookie a mechanism for transmitting information containing the name of a server and data about a client between a web server and a web client or browser. Netscape developed the term and the method for working with cookies. The collection of cookies on a computer is kept in a file named cookies.txt. A web server writes a cookie to your computer only if you access a web page that commands it to do that. A web server reads a cookie only if it wrote the cookie.
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) an Internet standard protocol that allows IP addresses to be pooled and assigned as needed to clients.
DHTML (Dynamic HTML) the next generation of HTML, the language that specifies exactly how text and images will be displayed on a web page. Dynamic HTML, developed by Netscape and the World Wide web Consortium (W3C), is based entirely on industry-standard HTML and Java. New features in Dynamic HTML, such as absolute positioning, give designers and developers greater control over the look and feel of web pages.
DNS (Domain Name Server) refers to a database of Internet names and addresses which translates the names to the official Internet Protocol numbers and vice versa– a mechanism that maps domain names to IP addresses. When you specify a domain name, your browser sends an address resolution request to a domain name server asking for the IP address of that host. The DNS return the actual IP address, and your browser uses this address to communicate with the host directly.
Domain Name the unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domains always have two or more parts, separated by dots. Example: Domains are tied to name servers, which direct to which IP number the domain should point. Any server can have multiple domain names, however, a domain name can only point to one server.
Dynamic IP the IP address may change (typically via DHCP) each time you login to the Internet. (see also Static IP)
Dynamic Content a web document that is created from a database in real-time or "on the fly" at the same time it is being viewed, providing a continuous flow of new information and giving visitors a new experience each time they visit the website.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) a system that allows linked computers to conduct business transactions such as ordering and invoicing over telecommunications networks.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions a common feature on the Internet, FAQ's or Frequently Asked are files of answers to commonly asked questions.
Firewall security measures designed to protect a networked system from unauthorized or unwelcome access.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) a protocol that allows the transfer of files from one computer to another. FTP is also the verb used to describe the act of transferring files from one computer to another.
GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) a commonly used file compression format developed by CompuServe for transferring graphics files to and from online services.
GUI (Graphical User Interface) refers to a software front-end meant to provide an attractive and easy-to-use interface between a computer user and application. The Macintosh operating system has a GUI, DOS does not.
Home Page typically refers to the first web page you come to as a startup introductory page to a website.
Host a computer acting as an information or communications server.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) the language used to tag various parts of a web document so browsing software will know how to display that document's links, text, graphics and attached media.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) used to link and transfer hypertext documents.
Hypertext describes the system that allows documents to be cross- linked in such a way that the reader can explore related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol.
IAB (Internet Architecture Board) provides long-range technical direction for Internet development, ensuring the Internet continues to grow and evolve as a platform for global communication and innovation.
IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) a subgroup of the Internet Architecture Board that focuses on solving technical problems on the Internet.
Internet Protocol (IP) Number a unique number used to identify a machine on the Internet. The number consists of four numbers between 0 and 255 separated by dots (e.g., Every machine on the Internet must have its own IP number. Domains are tied to name servers, which direct to which IP number the domain should point.
IP (Internet Protocol) the set of communication standards that control communications activity on the Internet. An IP address is the number assigned to any Internet-connected computer.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) a telecommunications standard that uses digital transmission technology to support voice, video and data communications applications over regular telephone lines.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) a company or organization that lets users connect to the Internet by dialing into its computers using a modem. ISPs typically charge a fee for providing a dial-up telephone number, an email address, and some technical assistance (usually via email).
JavaScript a scripting language that is built onto an HTML document, not to be confused with Java (a programming language). Originally developed in Netscape, today, JavaScript is a trademark of Oracle Corporation.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) an image compression format used to transfer color photographs and images over computer networks. Along with GIF, it's one of the most common ways photos are moved over the web.
Key Phrases (Keywords) are sets of words used to improve ranking in search engines for those key phrases or keywords. You need to put careful thought into selected key phrases. For example: If a person does a search for ‘pet supplies,’ while a person who has the keyword ‘pet’ in his page, the page with the key phrase ‘pet supplies’ will be ranked higher in the search results.
Links hypertext connections between web pages. This is a synonym for hotlinks or hyperlinks.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) a messaging standard that allows Internet users to exchange email messages enhanced with graphics, video and voice.
Mosaic the common name of a World Wide Web multimedia browser program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana-Champaign, Ill. The official, copyrighted name of the program is NCSA Mosaic
MySQL a multi-user, multi-threaded SQL Database Server. SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standardized database language that simplifies storing, updating and accessing information such as customer or product data. Its flexibility and speed allow you to also store logs and pictures. MySQL is Designed to scale well, under heavy traffic conditions, and is ideal for database-intensive or e-commerce-enabled websites.
Platform a computer operating system such as Sun, Unix, Windows, or Macintosh.
POP (Point of Presence) a service provider's location for connecting to users. Generally, POPs refer to the location where people can dial into the provider's host computer. Most providers have several POPs to allow low-cost access via telephone lines.
POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) Email an alternative to email forwarding, which directs mail from an alias to an email address, you can retrieve email directly from POP (Post Office Protocol) mailboxes on a mail server using any standard email client. All plans include a master POP account that can receive all email and control optional POP account settings. In addition, each plan includes a specified number of configurable POP accounts that can be assigned unique IDs and passwords for privacy.
PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) an Internet connection where phone lines and a modem can be used to connect a computer to the Internet.
Protocol a set of rules (standards) governing behavior in certain situations – define how traffic and communications are handled by a computer or network routers. Computers need protocols to ensure that they can communicate with each other correctly and to ensure data is exchanged correctly. The Internet is made up of various protocols for various functions.
Router a communications device designed to transmit signals via the most efficient route possible.
Search Engine refers to programs that help users find information in text-oriented databases, i.e., Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL, Baidu, WolframAlpha, DuckDuckGo
Server a computer system that manages and delivers information for client computers. Note: in an X-11 environment, the meanings of client and server are reversed.
SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) an international standard for the publication and delivery of electronic information.
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) a method of Internet connection that enables computers to use phone lines and a modem to connect to the Internet without having to connect to a host.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypts your customers’ credit card numbers as well as other confidential information. This allows for secure online business. When your web page has an SSL certificate, your page will show a small gold lock or key in the lower right hand side of your browser.
Static IP an IP address which is the same every time you log on to the Internet. (see also Dynamic IP)
Synchronous Connection an analog to analog or digital to digital connection that is able to perform two or more processes at the same time by means of a mutual timing signal or clock.
T-1 Line a high-speed data line connection. T-1 operates at 1.45 Mbps
Tags formatting codes used in HTML documents. Tags indicate how parts of a document will appear when displayed by browsing software.
TCP-IP transmission control protocol/Internet protocol – basic protocols controlling applications on the Internet.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) a graphic file format developed by Aldus and Microsoft.
URL Uniform Resource Locator, the addressing system used in the World Wide web and other Internet resources. The URL contains information about the method of access, the server to be accessed and the path of any file to be accessed.
Web Browser software that allows a user to access and view HTML documents. Examples of web browsers include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
Web Page an HTML document that is accessible on the web through a browser.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Led by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe, W3C's mission is to lead the Web to its full potential.
XML eXtensible Mark-up Language, a specification developed by the W3C (World Wide web Consortium). XML is a pared-down version of Standard Generalized Mark-Up Language, Designed especially for web documents. It allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.