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A/B Testing
A/B testing is a method of marketing testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples in order to improve response rates. A classic direct mail tactic, this method has been recently adopted within the interactive space to test tactics such as banner ads, emails and landing pages.

Significant improvements can be seen through testing elements like copy text, layouts, images and colours. However, not all elements produce the same improvements, and by looking at the results from different tests, it is possible to identify those elements that consistently tend to produce the greatest improvements.

Employers of this A/B testing method will distribute multiple samples of a test, including the control, to see which single variable is most effective in increasing a response rate or other desired outcome. The test, in order to be effective, must reach an audience of a sufficient size that there is a reasonable chance of detecting a meaningful difference between the control and other tactics. Also Known As: split testing, bucket testing

The most common Web server (or HTTP server) software on the Internet. Apache is an open-source application originally created from a series of changes ("patches") made to a Web server written at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the same place the Mosaic Web browser was created. Apache is designed as a set of modules, enabling administrators to choose which features they wish to use and making it easy to add features to meet specific needs including handling protocols other than the web-standard HTTP.

A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network. The common rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent.

ASCII -- (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
This is the defacto world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111.

ASP -- (Application Service Provider)
A organization (usually a business) that runs one or more applications on their own servers and provides (usually for a fee) access to others. Common examples of services provided this way include web-based software such as Calendar systems, Human Resources tools (timesheets, benefits, etc.), and various applications to help groups collaborate on projects.

(Audio Video Interleaved) A Microsoft Corporation multimedia video format. It uses waveform audio and digital video frames (bitmaps) to compress animation.

A backlink is a link coming from another website to your own. The number and quality of backlinks that your site has can affect your search engine optimization efforts, as some search engines provide significant weight to the backlinks of a site.

If you are working on an SEO campaign, you should include efforts to get links to your site on related sites with high ranking in search engines for the terms you are targeting. This "link love" will help improve your search engine ranking as well. Try to avoid being linked on link farms as that can hurt your search engine results.

The capacity of an electronic line, such as a communications network or computer channel, to transmit bits per second (bps).

How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second (bps.) A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 57,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.

BBS -- (Bulletin Board System)
A computerized meeting and announcement system that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download files, and make announcements without the people being connected to the computer at the same time. In the early 1990's there were many thousands (millions?) of BBS's around the world, most were very small, running on a single IBM clone PC with 1 or 2 phone lines. Some were very large and the line between a BBS and a system like AOL gets crossed at some point, but it is not clearly drawn.

A representation, consisting of rows and columns of dots, of a graphics image in computer memory. The value of each dot (whether it is filled in or not) is stored in one or more bits of data. For simple monochrome images, one bit is sufficient to represent each dot, but for colours and shades of gray, each dot requires more than one bit of data. See more graphics formats

Blog -- (weB LOG)
A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently. It is common for blogs to be available as RSS feeds.

Blogosphere or Blogsphere
The current state of all information available on blogs and/or the sub-culture of those who create and use blogs.

a way of storing your favorite sites on the Internet. Browsers like Netscape or Internet Explorer let you to categorize your bookmarks into folders.

Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of visits that come to the site and only view one page. This is a good metric to have as you can then determine how popular your site is as well as how effective (or not effective) your navigation is.

Generally refers to connections to the Internet with much greater bandwidth than you can get with a modem. There is no specific definition of the speed of a "broadband" connection but in general any Internet connection using DSL or a via Cable-TV may be considered a broadband connection.

A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources.

A CAPTCHA™ is a part of a Web form that attempts to ensure that the person filling out the form is indeed a person, and not a computer. The goal of a CAPTCHA is to reduce the amount of spam received by forms.

The term CAPTCHA is trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University and stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.

CAPTCHAs are often referred to as reverse Turing tests because they are administered by a computer, attempting to prove that the test taker is a human.

A Turing test was invented by Alan Turing as a dialog between a human and a computer, where the human could not tell that they were talking to a computer. So a reverse Turing test would be determining when a computer is not human.

CGI -- (Common Gateway Interface)
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') talks to the Web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.

The most common name of a directory on a Web server in which CGI programs are stored.

Real-time, synchronous, text-based communication via computer.

Content Management System -- (CMS)
A content management system (CMS) is usually implemented as a Web application for creating and managing HTML content. It is used to manage and control a large, dynamic collection of Web material (HTML documents and their associated images). A CMS facilitates content creation, content control, editing, and many essential Web maintenance functions.

Information (in this case URLs, Web addresses) created by a Web server and stored on a user's computer. This information lets Websites the user visits to keep of a user's browsing patterns and preferences. People can set up their browsers to accept or not accept cookies.

CSS -- (Cascading Style Sheet)
A standard for specifying the appearance of text and other elements. CSS was developed for use with HTML in Web pages but is also used in other situations, notably in applications built using XPFE. CSS is typically used to provide a single "library" of styles that are used over and over throughout a large number of related documents, as in a website. A CSS file might specify that all numbered lists are to appear in italics. By changing that single specification the look of a large number of documents can be easily changed.

Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer the word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information resources available through computer networks.

DHTML -- (Dynamic HyperText Markup Language)
DHTML refers to Web pages that use a combination of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to create features such as letting the user drag items around on the Web page, some simple kinds of animation, and many more.

DNS -- (Domain Name System)
The Domain Name System is the system that translates Internet domain names into IP numbers. A "DNS Server" is a server that performs this kind of translation.

On the Internet or Web a domain is the name by which a computer is identified. It is mapped to a number called an IP address.

Domains can be purchased in any combination of letters, numbers, and hyphens (-) and up to between 26 and 63 characters long (not including the TLD: .com, .net, .org, etc.).

Some example domain names include:


Domain Name
The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names: coastalwebdesigns.ca mail.coastalwebdesigns.ca workshop.coastalwebdesigns.ca can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine. Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names (matisse.net in the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.

Transferring data (usually a file) from a another computer to the computer you are using. The opposite of upload.

Ecommerce is the sale of goods and services on the Web or through other online mechanisms.

Web designers who focus on ecommerce sites need to focus on issues like conversion rate and the conversion funnel. They also have to be able to accept monetary transactions from credit cards and online services like PayPal. Shopping carts are a common tool found on ecommerce websites and many designers use click heat maps to improve site performance.

An easy way to get started with ecommerce is to install and configure a tool like osCommerce to help you build catalogs and shopping carts without reinventing the wheel.

Also Known As: ebusiness, electronic commerce, online business, electronic marketing

Alternate Spellings: E-Commerce, e-commerce

Email -- (Electronic Mail)
Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses.

External Link
An external link is a hyperlink that points to another website on the internet, typically on another domain from the current website.

Your linking strategy should include what types of sites you will and will not link to as well as how many external links there should be on any given page. External links are important to Web pages because they provide additional information and give your audience a breadth of resources to follow.

External links on your site become backlinks for the sites you link to. And many sites are more likely to link to you if you link to them first.

Also Known As: outbound link, link

Frequently Asked Questions. A list of questions and answers to explain products and troubleshoot problems.

A favicon or Favorites Icon is a small graphic that is associated with a page or Website. The favicon allows the Web developer to customize the site in the Web browser, both in the tab bar that is displayed in many browsers as well as in the bookmarks when a site is saved.

It was named the favicon because it was first developed in Internet Explorer, which calls bookmarked sites "favorites" and this icon was displayed in the favorites menu.

Most site favicons are designed as a small rendition of their logo or other branding mechanism.

The name "firewall" derives from the term for a barrier that prevents fires from spreading. A computer "firewall" is a barrier between your computer and the outside world. Just like a fire is most likely to spread through open doors in a building, your computer is most vulnerable at its ports (the doors). Without ports you could not go on the Internet or let Internet traffic enter your computer. An effective software firewall isolates your computer from the Internet using a code that sets up a blockade to inspect each packet of data, from or to your computer — to determine whether it should be allowed to pass or be blocked. Firewall software operates in various ways: Packet filters block traffic from IP addresses and/or port numbers. Proxy servers can break the connection between two networks. NATs (Network Address Translators) hides the IP addresses of client stations by presenting one IP address to the "outside" world. Stateful inspection verifies inbound and outbound traffic to be sure the destination and the source are correct. Firewall software can allow your computer to operate in stealth mode, so that its IP address is not visible.

Also Known As: Firewall

A collection of glyphs of a typeface, defining the size, family, weight, and style of the text.

Also Known As: font family, typeface

Examples: times new roman; courier new 5pt bold

Animation software used to develop interactive graphics for Websites as well as desktop presentations and games (Windows and Mac) by the company Macromedia. Flash on the Web is displayed by a browser plug-in. Non-Web presentations are run by a Flash player, included on a floppy or CD-ROM. Flashcan be used to create vector-based graphics in one or more timelines that provide a sequential path for actions.

FTP -- (File Transfer Protocol)
A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites. FTP is a way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name "anonymous", thus these sites are called "anonymous ftp servers". FTP was invented and in wide use long before the advent of the World Wide Web and originally was always used from a text-only interface.

GIF -- (Graphic Interchange Format)
A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same colour. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.

1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.

As used in reference to the World Wide Web, 'hit' means a single request from a Web browser for a single item from a Web server; thus in order for a Web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics, 4 'hits' would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page, and one for each of the 3 graphics.

Home page
Generally the first page retrieved when accessing a Website. Usually a "home" page acts as the starting point for a user to access information on the site. The "home" page usually has some type of table of contents for the rest of the site information or other materials. When creating Web pages, the "home" page has the filename "index.php," which is the default name. The "index" page automatically opens up as the "home" page.

Home Page (or Homepage)
Several meanings. Originally, the Web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main Web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of Web pages, e.g. "Check out so-and-so's new Home Page."

Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as SMTP (email) and HTTP (web).

HTML -- (HyperText Markup Language)
The coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear. The "hyper" in Hypertext comes from the fact that in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or an image, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a "Web Browser". HTML is loosely based on a more comprehensive system for markup called SGML, and is expected to eventually be replaced by XML-based XHTML standards.

An HTML tag is a code that describes how a Web page is formatted. HTML tags are defined by the characters < and >.

There are dozens of HTML tags in valid HTML, another dozen or so deprecated tags (tags that are no longer part of the specification), and a few tags for specific browsers like Internet Explorer only tags, Netscape only tags, MSN TV/WebTV only tags, and others.

See a list of all HTML tags.

HTML tags are an important part of HTML. Learn the attributes and uses of XHTML and other HTML elements. There are many XHTML elements and this library includes all of them, as well as other HTML tags that are either not a part of the XHTML specification or are supported by some Web browsers. There are three ways you can look up the XHTML element or HTML tag you're looking for.

HTTP -- (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program (such as Apache) on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).

Text, images, graphics that, when clicked with a mouse (or activated by keystrokes) will connect the user to a new Website. The link is usually obvious, such as underlined text or a "button" of some type, but not always.

Text that is non-sequential, produced by writing in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) language. This HTML coding allows the information (text, graphics, sound, video) to be accessed using HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

Instant Messaging (IM)
a text-based computer conference over the Internet between two or more people who must be online at the same time. When you send an IM the receiver is instantly notified that she/he has a message.

A global network of thousands of computer networks linked by data lines and wireless systems. [Background history on the Internet -The Internet, originally the ARPAnet (Advanced Research Projects Agency network), began as a military computer network in 1969. Other government agencies and universities created internal networks based on the ARPAnet model. The catalyst for the Internet today was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Rather than have a physical communications connection from each institution to a supercomputing center, the NSF began a "chain" of connections in which institutions would be connected to their "neighbor" computing centers, which all tied into central supercomputing centers. This beginning expanded to a global network of computer networks, which allows computers all over the world to communicate with one another and share information stored at various computer "servers," either on a local computer or a computer located anywhere in the world. The Internet is not governed by any official body, but there are organizations which work to make the Internet more accessible and useful.]

internet (Lower case i)
Any time you connect 2 or more networks together, you have an internet

Internet (Upper case I)
The vast collection of inter-connected networks that are connected using the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's. The Internet connects tens of thousands of independent networks into a vast global internet and is probably the largest Wide Area Network in the world.

IP Address
(Internet Protocol) The number or name of the computer from which you send and receive information on the Internet.

IP Number -- (Internet Protocol Number)
Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number

ISP -- (Internet Service Provider)
An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money.

IT -- (Information Technology)
A very general term referring to the entire field of Information Technology

a computer language, developed by Sun Microsystems, that lets you encode applications, such as animated objects or computer programs, on the Internet

is a network-friendly programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java is often used to build large, complex systems that involve several different computers interacting across networks, for example transaction processing systems. Java is also used to create software with graphical user interfaces such as editors, audio players, Web browsers, etc. Java is also popular for creating programs that run in small electronic devices, such as mobile telephones. Using small Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can include functions such as animations,calculators, and other fancy tricks.

JavaScript is a programming language that is mostly used in Web pages, usually to add features that make the Web page more interactive. When JavaScript is included in an HTML file it relies upon the browser to interpret the JavaScript. When JavaScript is combined with Cascading Style Sheets(CSS), and later versions of HTML (4.0 and later) the result is often called DHTML.

JPEG -- (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art.

In SEO, the keywords or keyword phrase is the phrase that the author is trying to target for search engines. Most of the time, you should focus on one keyword or keyword phrase per page.

Keywords should represent the main point of a page. They are the words that someone would type into a search engine and find your page.

A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (210) bytes.

Link Farm
A link farm is a website set up with the sole purpose of increasing the link popularity of other sites by increasing the number of incoming links to those sites. They are typically made up of long lists of unrelated links. Some link farms are created as networks of sites that contain numerous links to one another.

Nearly all search engines remove link farms from their directories when they find them. And many also penalize other sites that link to them. It is not a good idea to link to a link farm if you rely at all on organic search for page views.

The most common kind of mail list, "Listserv" is a registered trademark of L-Soft international, Inc. Listservs originated on BITNET but they are now common on the Internet.

Noun or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a computer system. Not a secret (contrast with Password). Verb: the act of connecting to a computer system by giving your credentials (usually your "username" and "password")

Long Tail
The term "long tail" refers to a typical graph of probability distribution. In a typical probability distribution, the majority of the items graphed will be in the middle portion, with a the distribution getting thinner and smaller as you move to the right.

When you apply this to SEO, you can see that there are a small number of keywords that are extremely popular, a large group that has middling popularity, and then lots and lots of different keyword phrases that get only a few clicks. The red area of the image, represents the long tail.

Maillist (or Mailing List)
A (usually automated) system that allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the maillist. In this way, people who have many different kinds of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.

A Web page or site made by automatically combining content from other sources, usually by using material available via RSS feeds and/or REST interfaces.

Technically speaking, a million bytes. In many cases the term means 1024 kilobytes, which is a more than an even million.

Meta Tag
A meta tag is a specific HTML tag used to define meta data on your Web pages.

Meta tags are placed in the <head> of an HTML document, and they typically do not display where the reader can easily see them. They are used to provide additional information about the page either for databases and search engines or for the author of the site to keep a record of the pages.

Meta tags are most often used for search engine optimization (SEO). The two most critical meta tags used in SEO are: description and keywords. These are sometimes used by search engines to place the pages in the search directory, and they are used to provide a short description of the Web page in the search results.

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 websites, 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.

A device that connects your computer to the Internet, when you are not connected via a LAN (local area network, such as at work or on a campus.) Most people connect to a modem when using a home computer. The modem translates computer signals to analog signals which are sent via phone lines. The telephone "speaks" to the computer/server which provides your Internet access.

The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh, Windows,and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic was licensed by several companies and used to create many other Web browsers. Mosaic was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, in Illinois, USA. The first version was released in late 1993.

(Short for: Moving Picture Experts Group) MPEG-1

The Web's integration of audio, video, graphics and text.

The etiquette on the Internet.

Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet,or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic responsibility and participation.

A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The Netscape (tm) browser was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.

The name for discussion groups on USENET.

New Visitor
A new visitor is someone who has never come to your website before. It is important to make a good impression on new visitors so that they become a repeat visitor.

Open Content
Copyrighted information (such as this Glossary) that is made available by the copyright owner to the general public under license terms that allow reuse of the material, often with the requirement (as with this Glossary) that the re-user grant the public the same rights to the modified version that the re-user received from the copyright owner. Information that is in the Public Domain might also be considered a form of Open Content.

Open Source Software
Open Source Software is software for which the underlying programming code is available to the users so that they may read it, make changes to it, and build new versions of the software incorporating their changes. There are many types of Open Source Software, mainly differing in the licensing term under which (altered) copies of the source code may (or must be) redistributed.

Organic Search
Most search engines offer two types of search results to their customers: paid results (typically at the top or on the side) and organic or natural results. While paid results can get your Website to rank higher for a specific keyword phrase (because you've paid to be high in the results), most customers consider these results to be little better than advertising, and will often skip over them in favor of the natural or organic search results.

An organic search is a search that generates results that were not paid advertisements. Many customers feel that these results are a more accurate reflection of what they might want when searching for a specific phrase, because they are generated by popularity and common usage.

When you do SEO or search engine optimization you are attempting to adjust the content of your Web pages to rank well in the organic search results.

Also Known As: natural search

PDF stands for "portable document format". It is a file format that was created by Adobe as a way to store documents for exchanging. The PDF format was meant to be independent of the hardware or platform it was being viewed on.

In many ways, a PDF document was intended to be a digital print out of a document. Like a paper print out, it cannot be readily changed (without appropriate software) and looks the same no matter what operating system displays it.

Alternate Spellings: Portable Document Format

PHP -- (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor)
PHP is a programming language used almost exclusively for creating software that is part of a website. The PHP language is designed to be intermingled with the HTML that is used to create Web pages. Unlike HTML, the PHP code is read and processed by the Web server software (HTML is read and processed by the Web browser software.)

An acronym standing for Portable Network Graphics. A graphics format for lossless, highly compressed rastered images.

A pageview is a request for an item called a page in Web analytics. A page is loosely defined as all the requests required to build one Web page. A pageview can include many hits, as the page is built with CSS, scripts, and images.

Pageviews are a good unit of measure in Web analytics. The number of pageviews a website gets is a measure of how popular it is and how attractive it will be to advertisers. Most Web analytics tools will show you pageviews.

Alternate Spellings: page view

A code used to gain access (login) to a locked system. Good passwords contain letters and non-letters and are not simple combinations such as virtue7. A good password might be:


Perl -- (Practical Extraction and Report Language)
Perl is a programming language that is widely used for both very simple, small tasks and for very large complex applications. During the 1990s it became the de-facto standard for creating CGI programs. Perl is known for providing many ways to accomplish the same task, with "there's more than one way to do it" being something of a motto in the Perl community. Because it is so easy to perform simple tasks in Perl it is often used by people with little or no formal programming training, and because Perl provides many sophisticated features it is often used by professionals for creating complex data-processing software, including the "server-side" of large websites. Perl does not provide significant support for creating programs with a graphical user interface.

A "permanent link" to a particular posting in a blog. A permalink is a URI that points to a specific blog posting, rather than to the page in which the posting original occurred (which may no longer contain the posting.)

To check if a server is running. From the sound that a sonar systems makes in movies, you know, when they are searching for a submarine.

Dots on a computer monitor. The resolution on a computer monitor is measured in dots per inch or pixels per inch.

Also Known As: dots

A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape browser and Web server. Adobe Photoshop also uses plug-ins.

A podcast is a digital recording that is sent to subscribers over the Internet through an RSS feed. A podcast can be sent as audio or video files.

The term was developed by combining the words "iPod" and "broadcast". There are many ways to promote your podcast, including direct from the Apple iTunes store.

POP -- (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol)
Two commonly used meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dial up phone lines. So if an Internet company says they will soon have a POP in Belgrade, it means that they will soon have a local phone number in Belgrade and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A second meaning, Post Office Protocol refers to a way that e-mail client software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain an account from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail. Another protocol called IMAP is replacing POP for email.

A single message entered into a network communications system.

Repeat Visitor
A repeat visitor is someone who comes to your website more than once. Repeat visitors are important as it means that your site keeps its value for your customers.

The number of dots per inch on a computer monitor

Also Known As: DPI, dots per inch

Examples: Most small monitors are set at 640x480 resolution, but some are defaulting to 800x600 and higher.

A special-purpose computer (or software plan) that handles the connection between 2 or more Packet-Switched networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the source and destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on.

RSS is an abbreviation that stands for either Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. The most common definition is Really Simple Syndication.

RSS is a type of XML that allows Web content producers to provide content from their website for publication on other websites. It allows readers of the website to stay informed easily about changes on that website because the information is collected in a standard format and is readable by many different types of RSS tools and RSS readers.

Search Engine
A (usually web-based) system for searching the information available on the Web. Some search engines work by automatically searching the contents of other systems and creating a database of the results. Other search engines contains only material manually approved for inclusion in a database, and some combine the two approaches.

Security Certificate
A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection.

SEO -- (Search Engine Optimization)
The practice of designing Web pages so that they rank as high as possible in search results from search engines. There is "good" SEO and "bad" SEO. Good SEO involves making the Web page clearly describe its subject, making sure it contains truly useful information, including accurate information in Meta tags, and arranging for other websites to make links to the page. Bad SEO involves attempting to deceive people into believing the page is more relevant than it truly is by doing things like adding inaccurate Meta tags to the page.

A computer, or a software plan, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. "Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out." A single server machine can (and often does) have several different server software plans running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. Sometimes server software is designed so that additional capabilities can be added to the main program by adding small programs known as servlets.

A three dimensional (3D) animation technology/format created by the Macromedia company. Macromedia Director produces Shockwave files, which can be viewed through a Shockwave player, a browser"plug-in" computer program or other multimedia applications that access the player. Shockwave can be used to create more sophisticated animations than the Macromedia Flash format. Shockwave uses the .dir file extension for source files and .dcr extension for Shockwave "movies."

SMTP -- (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
The main protocol used to send electronic mail from server to server on the Internet. SMTP is defined in RFC 821 and modified by many later RFC's.

Spam (or Spamming)
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. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python skit which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone's low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. (Spam is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat product.)

A somewhat vague term generally referring to software that is secretly installed on a users computer and that monitors use of the computer in some way without the users' knowledge or consent. Most spyware tries to get the user to view advertising and/or particular Web pages. Some spyware also sends information about the user to another machine over the Internet. Spyware is usually installed without a users' knowledge as part of the installation of other software, especially software such as music sharing software obtained via download.

SQL -- (Structured Query Language)
A specialized language for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application will have its own slightly different version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL.

Streaming Media
Streaming media are multimedia that are sent continuously by the Web server to the client. Typically they are treated as a form of presentation or broadcast that is delivered to the customers.

Streaming media can be sent as video or sound files. They can be served by a standard Web server using HTML or by a streaming server set up specifically for the task.

Many sites use streaming to server larger video (and audio) files because streaming is somewhat less arduous on the server. Streaming also allows larger files that would take hours to download completely to be viewed relatively quickly. The user begins viewing the file while the server continues sending the rest of the file in the background as they watch or listen.

Other sites use streaming media because the files are not downloaded by the customer. They are viewed as soon as they arrive at the client. This provides a level of copyright protection that straight download of video and audio files does not. Keep in mind that streaming is not a secure method of protecting your video and audio copyright, but it does provide some protection.

The style of an element is the way it looks or acts on the Web page. This includes the colour, layout, position, and sometimes sound (in aural style sheets).

A subdomain is a more specific portion of a domain name. Subdomains are used to divide up Web domains without registering a new domain name.

Subdomains use the Web server to define the location of files for that site, rather than using DNS. The easiest way to do this is to set up virtual hosting on an Apache Web server.

Alternate Spellings: sub-domain

Examples: Subdomains are the most specific portion of the domain name, so they are found in the left-most portion of the domain name. Such as:


The term "tag" can be used as a noun or verb. As a noun, a tag is a basic element of the languages used to create Web pages (HTML) and similar languages such as XML. Another, more recent meaning of tag is related to reader-created tags where blogs and other content (such as photos, music, etc.) may be "tagged" which means to assign a keyword, such as "politics" or "gardening", this enables searches for "all the blog postings in the past week that are tagged 'prenatal care'"

1000 gigabytes.

Text Editor
An editor where you primarily work with HTML or XML tags and the actual Web Design code

Examples: Notepad - a text editor, HomeSite - an HTML text editor

The letters, numbers, and symbols that make up the design of type. The typeface generally refers to the actual design of the type rather than a specific family or category.

Also Known As: font

A computer operating system (the basic software running on a computer, underneath things like word processors and spreadsheets). Unix is designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet. Apple computers' Macintosh operating system, as of version 10 ("Mac OS X"), is based on Unix.

Transferring data (usually a file) from a the computer you are using to another computer. The opposite of download.

URL -- (Uniform Resource Locator)
The term URL is basically synonymous with URI. URI has replaced URL in technical specifications.

A computer program usually hidden in an existing program. Once the existing program is executed, the virus program is activated and can attach itself to other programs or files. Viruses can range from benign activities such as attaching a harmless message to performing malicious activities such as destroying all the data on a computer hard drive. Viruses are commonly distributed as e-mail attachments which activate when the attachment is opened. Virus protection software, updated regularly with the latest virus definitions, can help protect computers from viruses.

A visitor is a unique individual coming to a website.

The best way to identify a visitor is with a cookie that identifies that unique system. But many Web analytics plans try to identify visitors through IP address and browser/OS information. It is possible to get decent information without a cookie, but cookies are more accurate.

The number of visitors to your website is an excellent metric regarding how popular your site is. The more visitors your site has, the more attractive your site will be to advertisers.

Also Known As: unique visitors, unique users, uniques

Short for "World Wide Web."

Web page
A document designed for viewing in a Web browser. Typically written in HTML. A website is made of one or more Web pages.

The entire collection of Web pages and other information (such as images, sound, and video files, etc.) that are made available through what appears to users as a single Web server. Typically all the of pages in a website share the same basic URL, for example the following URLs are all for pages within the same website: http://www.baytherapy.com/ http://www.baytherapy.com/whatis/ http://www.baytherapy.com/teenagers/ The term has a somewhat informal nature since a large organization might have separate "websites" for each division, but someone might talk informally about the organizations' "website" when speaking of all of them.

Web Designer
A Web designer is someone who designs Web pages. A Web designer is more focused on the look and feel of a website than how it works, and often uses WYSIWYG editors rather than diving into the HTML directly. Web designers have the following skills:

Project management

Companies looking for Web designers are looking for people with a good aesthetic sense that can build and maintain websites that look good.

Web designers won't be asked to build Web programs or applications or maintain databases for data driven websites.

Some people use the term Web Designer to refer to anyone who does anything on a website. Most freelancers refer to themselves as Web designers.

Be sure to read the job description carefully for any job you are applying for to make sure you meet the requirements.

Web Page
A Web page is a document written in HTML and meant to be viewed in a Web browser on the Internet or World Wide Web such as Netscape, Internet Explorer, or Opera. Examples: /web-design-gallery.php is a Web page.

Web Server
A Web server is a computer that is set up with software and networking capabilities to deliver Web pages on the Internet or an Intranet. Web servers use programs such as Apache or IIS to deliver Web pages over the http protocol.

White Space
White space is the empty spaces in a design. White space is used to separate disparate design elements and group similar ones. White space is the lack of graphics or text in the layout.

White space is not always "white" — it is the empty parts of the page, but if the page has a different background colour that will be the colour of the white space.

In HTML there are several characters that create white space. They are: a space, a tab, and a carriage return (or linefeed).

Also Known As: white space, empty space, negative space, breathing room

Alternate Spellings: white space

Wide World Web (WWW)
A hypermedia information storage system which links computer-based resources around the world. Computer programs called Browsers enable words or icons called hyperlinks to display, text, video, graphics and sound on a computer screen. The source of the material is at a different location

Wi-Fi -- (Wireless Fidelity)
A popular term for a form of wireless data communication, basically Wi-Fi is "Wireless Ethernet".

A wiki is a Website that is managed by its readers. Readers are invited to login and edit any page of a wiki to make the whole more inclusive and correct. Wikis are a way to take the anarchy that defines the Internet and give it form and substance.

Examples: Arguably the best known wiki is the Wikipedia an online encyclopedia in wiki format.

Working Draft
A working draft is a specification that is still being worked on by the committee for that specification. This allows developers to get a sense of where the technology behind the Web may be heading. Working drafts are works in progress, and should not be considered final in any way.

What You See Is What You Get

WYSIWYG editor
An editor where you primarily work with the layout and design of the page.

Examples: FrontPage, DreamWeaver

WWW -- (World Wide Web)
World Wide Web (or simply Web for short) is a term frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major meanings: First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP,telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools.

XHTML -- (eXtensible HyperText Markup Language)
Basically HTML expressed as valid XML. XHTML is intended to be used in the same places you would use HTML (creating Web pages) but is much more strictly defined, which makes it a lot easier to create software that can read it, edit it, check it for errors, etc.

XML -- (eXtensible Markup Language)
A widely used system for defining data formats. XML provides a very rich system to define complex documents and data structures such as invoices, molecular data, news feeds, glossaries, inventory descriptions, real estate properties, etc.