Need a Little Help? The Jargon Behind the Internet Explained in Bite Sized Pieces

In the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics, it shows that 86% of adults (that is nearly 47 million) used the internet in the first quarter of 2015, an astronomical amount. It appears that we are all becoming internet savvy in some way, even if it is only to browse the news or look for something on e-bay. Those of us a little more adventurous, and those who have a business, may even have a website of our own; however, if you asked me or most people with a website what all the jargon means, and which piece of the jigsaw goes where we would probably have no idea.  Well, I’m inquisitive, so I decided to find out what all these strange words mean in computing terms. I thought that maybe you would be too, so here is a simple (hopefully) breakdown that will explain e vocabulary behind the website you are reading.

Domain Name

This may sound like something out of a Game of Thrones, but is the name you register as being a website. This is like your house’s address, and like that, it is the only one in the world. A domain name has to be registered with a registrar, and the registrar has to be accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Domain names come in various shapes and forms (click here for a comprehensive list) and the suffix tells us what kind of organization or affiliation you have (.net,  .org is restricted to non-profit organizations, .pro is restricted to licensed professionals, etc.)

Web Browser

This is a piece of software or a programme that allows you to search on the World Wide Web (www). Different web browsers are available, but the most popular are still Internet Explorer, Google, and Firefox.

Search Engine

Another programme that helps you find what you want on the internet, but this one uses the words you type in to help search for relevant websites. The difference between a web browser and a search engine is summed up nicely in this analogy taken from Computer Geek “If you are sitting in your car, the browser would be your windshield and the steering wheel would be the search engine”.

Web page

Documents or files that you want others to see will be placed on a web page. This is a collection of files grouped in one place, and what you look at on your screen. Imagine it as a  room that holds your favourite photographs, or a poem you want to keep for others to see.

Website

A website is a place that every file that you want to share with others are stored, and what comes up when we search for something through a search engine. Think of this as a collection of web pages grouped together. Much like combining rooms (web pages) to make your house.

Web Host

A web host is a service that owns the hardware that allows others to access your files and websites. So, if you want your website to be accessible to the internet, you will need a host service of some kind to situate your site before others can access it. Free webhosting is available for hobby sites and blogs, but if you want a business website, then you have a choice of a shared server as a starting point, a Virtual Private Server (learn more about VPSs and another hosting at Best VPS Hosting) for a growing company or a dedicated server.

Server

This is the computer that allows delivery of websites and web pages through the Internet to other places.  Websites need to be stored somewhere to enable others to access them efficiently, and the server is that location.

I now know how my site works and how others manage to see it but has it made me a better person? Probably not. However, hopefully, it will help you to understand what is happening in the confusing world of “The Web.”

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