Internet Glossary / Dictionary of Internet Terms

The Internet glossary provides definitions for many computer terms and abbreviations used on, or in relation to the Internet. This should help you to understand some of the web jargon that you may come across.

2FA (Two Factor Authentication)

This is an additional level of security for a web application or a website. While there are many types, a common type is an ever changing series of numbers that are generated by a trusted device.

Address Bar

The text field at the top of your Internet browser to specify which website or web page you are viewing. You can type a "www" address here and press enter to go directly to that website.

ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line)

This is a common type of broadband Internet connection with the upload and download data transfer speeds at different maximum rates. (The download rate is usually faster than the upload rate.)


An algorithm is like a complex mathematical equation. Search engines use algorithms to work out how to rank pages within their search results.


A way to prove to a computer that you are who you say you are. This can be in the form of providing a password, or other methods such as 2FA.

Back Link

A backlink is a link from another website that points "back" to your website.


The word "blog" was derived from the words "web log" and is a type of online diary/journal that is usually made to be publicly visible.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate of a web page is the percentage of people that visit your page, but then immediately leave without visiting any other pages on your website.


A software program on a computer or mobile device used to "browse" web pages on the world wide web.


In general language, these are the fluffy white things in the sky. In computing, it refers to things that are hosted on the internet.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS is the source code of how web page elements are formatted and styled, including text and images. While not required to create a web page, it does cut down on repetition when building a website and makes a website more efficient.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

When paying for advertising online, this is the amount that you need to pay for each click on your advert or link.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand)

This usually relates to impressions when advertising and is the cost of having your advert displayed 1000 times. (M is the Roman numeral for 1000.)


A crawler (or robot) is a search engine's program that visits (or crawls) many websites for the purpose of indexing these websites in their database.


A website dedicated to providing a directory of websites. Many directories are dedicated to a specific topic or niche. Yahoo is an example of a directory.

DNS (Domain Name System)

DNS is the system that controls where everything is located on the Internet. It is the Internet's version of a phonebook so that human readable web addresses can be translated into numerical IP addresses needed to find the intended destination.

Doorway Page

A doorway page is a web page that has been specifically set up to capture visitors looking for certain keywords and then redirecting them to another web page. This is not good practice and search engines may penalise you for this.


The process of transmitting data from a server, computer or other electronic device to the computer or electronic device that you are using. Typically, this would be a file on the Internet that you transmit to your computer. Browsing a web-page is also technically downloading the web-page to your browser.

Duplicate Content

If two or more web pages contain exactly the same information, then this duplicate content and some search engines can penalise some or all the pages that contain this duplicate content. It is best to always use your own created original content and never copy directly from another website.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic content on a web page is content that automatically changes. This can include text information, images, video, etc.

E-Commerce (Electronic Commerce)

Buying and/or selling online usually via a website. Stores that operate online are known as e-commerce websites. Also referred to as "ecommerce".

Email (Electronic Mail)

The sending and receiving of typed messages from one computer or electronic device to another.

Email Address

Similar to a real postal address, an email address is used identify a mailbox on the Internet for the purpose of sending email.


This is the mathematical scrambling of data and information to keep it private. Once encrypted, the recipient needs to decrypt the data in order to be able to read it.


A type of security barrier for computers on a network or the Internet. This can either be software or hardware. Software firewalls are installed on systems while hardware firewalls are built into network devices such as routers.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

This is a method used by computers to exchange files and the most common way that someone can upload their website to a web server.


This is Google's crawler program to index websites on the Internet for its database.


This is a measurement unit of the amount of times a server is "hit". Each "hit" represents a single file (or object) being downloaded (including html files, php files, image files, document files, etc.) It is therefore not a reliable measure of how well your website is doing, because one pageview can result in many hits.


Hosting (also known as web hosting) is the business of housing, serving, and maintaining files for one or more websites. Email, databases, and other services may also be offered as part of a hosting package.

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)

The coding language that web pages are written in and that Internet browsers can understand. When developing a website, HTML is the most common language used.

HTTP/HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol)

This is the data communication standard that browsers use to read websites and web pages. HTTPS is the secure version of this that encrypts the communication between the browser and the server hosting the web page.

IAP (Internet Access Provider)

A company that provides access to the Internet usually via a modem.

IP Address

Every computer, device or server that connects to the Internet is assigned an Internet Protocol Address for identification to be able to communicate with each other. (The IP address for computers functions similar to the phone number for telephones.)

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

This is a company that provides an Internet service and includes IAPs (Internet Access Providers), website development companies and website hosting providers.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

A more advanced method of accessing emails on a mail server. Using this method, you are able to keep your emails stored on the server and you simply view them from your email software program. This means that you can synchronise all your emails between multiple computers or devices.

Keyword / Keyphrase

The keyword or keywords that people enter into search engines to provide search results.

Keyword Research

The important process of finding out which keywords or keyphrases to target for the purpose of Search Engine Optimisation.

Keyword Stuffing

When adding so many keywords that it becomes inappropriate. This is not good practice and can get you penalised in many search engines.

Landing Page

This is the page that a visitor lands on after clicking your link on another website or search engine. Some web pages have been specifically designed to be landing pages for marketing or advertising campaigns.

Link / Hyperlink

A link (or hyperlink) is an element on a web page that, when clicked on, will lead you to another part of the page or another web page.

Link Building

This is the process of building up the incoming links to your web page or website.

Link Popularity

The measure of how popular a website or web page is based on the number and quality of links coming in to it.


This broad term describes any malicious software such as viruses, trojans, worms, keyloggers, and more.

Meta Tags

Special HTML tags near the top of the website that are hidden to viewers but are used by search engines. These special tags could include a description of the web page, keywords for the web page, and many more.

Natural Search Results

These are search engine results that do not cost anything to be displayed or clicked on.

Organic Search Results

These are search engine results that do not cost anything to be displayed or clicked on.


This is a value between 0 and 10 that is assigned to each web page by Google's special algorithm and is used to determine how you rank in Google's search results. The term "PageRank" is named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google Inc.


This is what someone does when they are attempting to obtain private or sensitive information from your computer by using fake emails that appear legitimate.

PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor)

This is a coding language for the Internet and is used for most interactive and dynamic content. This website uses PHP.

POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3)

This is a method of retrieving emails from a mail server. Emails are stored on the mail server until they are downloaded to your computer or device using an email software program or email client. Once the emails have been downloaded, they are removed from the mail server.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

A method of billing for advertising on the Internet where you are charged for each click on your advert or link.

Reciprocal Link

A reciprocal link is a link back to a website that is linking to yours. This is also somethimes called an exchange link.


To automatically redirect a visitor to another web page or website. A redirect can be put in place using a number of different methods.

ROI (Return On Investment)

The value that you will get back in return, usually after advertising or other investment.

SDSL (Synchronous Digital Subscriber Line)

This is a type of broadband Internet connection with the upload and download data transfer speeds at the same maximum rate.

Search Engine

An Internet website that offers people the ability to search for things, usually other websites.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is generally referred to as the paid advertising on search engines but could also mean any type of marketing on search engines whether paid or free.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of optimising web pages so that they get the best chance of appearing high for their relevant keywords or keyphrases.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

This is the page of results that are displayed after searching for a particular keyword or keyphrase.

Site Map

A section on your website that has links to all your web pages within your website to make it easier for people to find a specific web page.

SMM (Social Media Marketing)

This is generally referred to marketing on social websites like Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)

This is the protocol used on the Internet to send email. If you have an email program and send emails, then you are most likely using SMTP to send the email.

Social Media

This is a broad term used for online tools that allow many users to interact with each other. Some examples include Facebook, Instagram, and many more.


Although this term can refer to different media including instant messaging spam, search engine spam, wiki spam, social spam, etc, it is usually referring to email. Email spam (or sometimes referred to as junk email) is bulk unsolicited email messages that are mostly commercial in nature. These messages can not only be annoying, but some can be dangerous or malicious as well.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

This is a security protocol to encrypt communication between your computer and the server that you are connecting to. See TLS.

Static Content

Static content is content on a web page that does not change.

TLS (Transport Layer Security)

This is a security protocol to encrypt communication between your computer and the server that you are connecting to. This is also commonly referred to as SSL.


The process of transmitting data from the computer or electronic device that you are using to a server, computer or other electronic device. Typically, this would be a file on your computer that you transmit to a server on the Internet. FTP is one method used to upload files to the Internet.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is the web address of a website or web page.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

An online server that handles websites, email, databases, file storage, etc. A virtual server can be used for many different tasks. VPS hosting is a major step up from shared hosting.

Web Application

Similar to a desktop application, this is software but run on a remote server via a browser.

Web Page

A page of a website on the Internet that is generally written in HTML and viewed through a browser.


A collection of web pages on the Internet usually on a single domain name that consists of a home page and other sub-pages.

Zone File

Stored on a nameserver, a zone is a text file that holds details about domain names and DNS records. These records contain the IP address of the server that hosts the domain name as well as details about the mail server.

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