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Website Terminology

It can be confusing to understand the terminology used in website design and maintenance.  Many times multiple words are used to describe the same item.  What do all the acronyms mean?  Small business owners may be overwhelmed by the terminology and thereby avoid the issue of creating and maintaining a website for their business.

Websites are useful to inform and educate customers and clients on your business' products or services, location and directions, advertising specials, means to contact, etc.  For a relatively reasonable cost, you can create a web presence to help launch, grow or update your business.  You've probably heard the phrase, "You're nobody unless you have a website." While that's quite the extreme, having a website has proven results to publicize your business, educate your customers, and answer questions about your business even when you're closed.

Here are a few common useful terms on the World Wide Web:


Using software applications known as browsers, users can find just about any information imagineable on the Web or buy any product or service that is available.  Common browsers are Google™ search, Yahoo!® search, Dogpile® search, to name a few.

Home Page

A home page is a Web page that serves as the starting point or introduction to a Web site.  A home page displays some general information about the site and contains links to other pages within the site.

Domain Name

The domain name is the logical name of the server (computer) that the website file is on. Generally a Web page's address or URL is comprised of the name of the server along with the path to the file on that server.  For a fee, you can purchase a domain name which will help users find your site easily and lends another level of legitimacy to your business. This domain name is then linked to the web host for ease of access and use by your website designer and your website visitors and customers.


Graphic Interlaced Format, or GIF, images are commonly used for logos, buttons, drawings, and other non-photographic images.  The GIF format compresses images down to a small file size limited to 256 colors, which means they usually download quickly.  This format may not be appropriate for images with many colors such as photographs, which might look distorted if saved as GIF files.


Web hosting is the name used to describe businesses and organizations which sell space on their servers for users to view and access your website. There are a multitude of hosting companies and services available. If you do not want to research these options yourself, your website design and maintenance company can do this for you.  You will need to consider the size of your website (the number of pages and images and their size), the speed and reliability of the servers (are there enough ports to allow users to access the site during busy times), customer service, cost and longevity of the business (will they be in business next year or will you have to find another host if they go out of business).


Hypertext Transfer Protocol
, the standard protocol for accessing documents on the Web.


The Internet is a vast network of networks.  The networks of universitites, businesses, organizations, governments, and individuals form the Internet.

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JPG or JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This file format can include over 16 million colors and is best suited for photographic images.  Many software programs are available that make it easy to manipulate digital photos and save them as JPG images for use in Web pages.


Also known as hyperlinks, links enable visitors and users of a website to navigate through the site and quickly locate pertinent information.  Pages on the Web are connected with hyperlinks allowing visitors to use a single click to jump or move from one page to another within a site or even move to another site.


Using hyperlinks to move from one page to another on the Web is called surfing or browsing.  Users can access Web sites and pages either by clicking hyperlinks or by using the browser's address bar.


A Web address is known as a Uniform Resources Locator, or URL.


The World Wide Web, or Web for short, is an internet-based network of documents that reside on computers or servers all over the world.  The Web is a universal-access network, meaning anyone can access Web documents from anywhere. The Web is the Internet's most popular service.

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Web Browser

See browser definition above.

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