Website Owner's Glossary

Browser - a client program such as Firefox or Internet Explorer that is designed to accept and display web pages.

cgi - (common gateway interface) the general class of program on a server which accepts information requests from a client browser and responds to it. Often used to implement dynamic pages or to deal with information sent by forms filled out on a web page.

Client - a computer receiving information over the internet from a server. Also the programs on these computers which handle this function. See also server.

Database - a body of information such as a product catalog stored on a computer. It may be the source of information from which server programs construct dynamic pages.

Dedicated Host - A computer dedicated to a single web domain. See also virtual domain. Used primarily where a web site needs large storage or bandwidth, or where special functions or security are required.

dns - 'Domain Name Server.' A computer dedicated to providing browsers with translations between URLs such as domain names and IP numbers that correspond to physical computers on the internet. The function is similar to a telephone book providing translation of names into phone numbers that can actually be dialed to connect to a physical telephone.

Domain - a URL at the top level of a single web site. It is usually used as the address for the site as a whole.

Download - the process of transferring information from a remote computer to your computer. See also upload.

Dynamic pages - web pages that have content which is determined at the time they are viewed by a program on the server computer. Used to provide particularized or interactive content. Often the content is taken from a database.

Extension - the part of a web page file name following the last dot (.) that tells the server what type of page it is. Common examples are: html, php, shtml, pl, jsp, and asp.

ftp - (file transfer protocol) the protocol used by the internet service that is used to rapidly transport large bodies of information of any sort from one machine to another. Internet equivalent of a freight train.

Host - This may be used to refer to a computer that acts as a server for a domain or it may refer to a 'hosting service' which rents space on such computers. Also used as a verb as in 'to host a site.'

html - 'hypertext markup language.' A language used to write web pages which has commands that are interpreted by browsers to indicate formatting, positioning, and linking of text and other elements of the page.

http - 'Hypertext Transfer Protocol.' The method used on the internet for transfer of the kind of formatted documents used as pages in web sites. Also may refer to the internet service that uses this protocol to carry linked pages of text and graphics. See also protocol

https - A secure but slower form of http used for credit card and other sensitive information. Also may refer to the internet service which establishes encrypted connections between two computers for secure transmission of information using the secure socket layer protocol. For example, in e-commerce to transfer credit card numbers.See also protocol

Internet - the global "network of networks" that potentially interconnects every computer on the planet. It carries information from point to point in "bucket brigade" fashion. To do this it divides up the information stream into small "packets" which are handed from one machine to the next until they arrive at the destination where they are reassembled. The 'Web' is a subset of the internet.

IP Number - A routing number identifying a specific computer on the internet. In cases of virtual hosting a computer may have more than one IP number assigned to it.

irc - (internet relay chat) the internet service which permits people or groups of people to engage in real-time communications by typing to one another's screens.

Link - As a noun this refers to a URL coded into a part of a web page, that can be activated in a browser by clicking it with a mouse. When activated the link causes the browser to load the page at the URL given. Text or images on a web page can be made into links by html code. As a verb it is used to mean the process of causing an item on a web page to be a link to something else.

mail - (also e-mail) the internet service that carries messages addressable to a specific user at any machine.

PHP- a type of web page that implements dynamic content by calling a program on the server to plug particularized information into specific places. Also a language in which such pages are written. Pages written in PHP have an extension of .php, as in 'mypage.php' and usually intermix html commands that are shown to the browser on the client with php commands that are interpreted on the server.

POP - 'Post Office Protocol.' Often in combination with box as in 'POP box' to designate a mail repository using the POP protocol to handle mail delivery. Also the protocol itself.

Protocol - a specific rule for dealing with particular kinds of information in a defined manner. The programs which run the internet are written to precisely implement standard protocols in working with one another so that "everyone is speaking the same language." Examples are 'http', 'https', 'ftp', 'telnet', 'ssh', and others. Most people are most familiar with the http protocol used for transferring web pages.

Registrar - A business that leases you the right to exclusive use of a domain name. They are approved by regulatory bodies and have the responsibility of ensuring that no two domain owners get the same name. They also provide the dns network with information about the IP number to which you domain is pointed.

Server - a computer making information available over the internet to other computers. Also, the programs on these computers which handles this function. See also client

Service - Information transfer systems using any of the several kinds of information transfer protocols which the internet offers for data communications. Each has a specific format in which it encodes packets of information and a specific way in which it makes a connection to a computer on the internet. See also protocol

ssh - Secure Shell. Similar to telnet but with secure transmission. See also protocol

ssl - (secure socket layer) a protocol for encryption of information transmitted over the internet.

Streaming media - a method of sending audio or video over the internet in a manner that allows the material to begin playing shortly after transmission begins and to continue indefinitely. Similar in concept to radio or television broadcasting. Differs from older methods in which a complete audio or video piece needed to be completely downloaded and only then be played, and in which length was limited by the size of the file the receiving computer could store.

tcp/ip - (transmission control protocol/internet protocol) the two basic, underlying information transfer protocols which the internet uses for communications. All packets are routed and transferred using these protocols no matter what service they belong to.

telenet - A method to log into a remote Unix/Linux-based computer as a user from a remote machine. The internet service that is used to connect a remote user to a distant computer in a manner that allows him or her to log onto to it and operate it through his local screen and keyboard as if he or she were at the console of the distant machine. Think of it as a keyboard with a 12,000 mile-long cable. See also protocol.

Upload - the process of transferring information from your computer to a remote computer. See also download.

URL - 'Uniform Resource Locator' a specification for the location of a specific item on the internet. Depending on the number of elements in the URL it may specify a web site, a particular page, or a specific point on a particular page.

usenet - the internet service which carries messages organized into public newsgroups. Similar to e-mail in operation but with delivery to everyone subscribed to a particular newsgroup.

Virtual Domain - A web server can be made to host multiple domains. The most common method is to assign multiple IP numbers to the computer, one for each domain, and to let the web server use a lookup table to determine which IP number corresponds to which domain's pages.
Virtual Host - A computer hosting virtual domains. generally this is much less costly than dedicated hosting.

Web - (also called world-wide-web or www) that sub-set of computers on the internet which are at any given time using the http service to offer formatted text and graphics sent from machines that have such information arranged in "web pages" to client machines that have browser programs that can display them.

Web Page - A file on a web server containing information that can be transmitted in the http protocol. Usually designed to be viewed with a browser on the client machine.

Web Site - An informal name given to the collection of web pages at a specific domain.

WWW - "World Wide Web' an informal name for the subset of the internet that operates using the http protocol. It is often popularly confused with the internet as a whole, and many people believe that 'www.' is a necessary prefix to a domain name, but it is only a holdover of a convention used for naming servers when the web was still a research project. The belief is so common that hosts and dns are just set up to let people put it in or not and ignore it, although the use of both forms does cause some problems for secure certificates.


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Sidereal Designs™ is a trademark of Sidereal Designs, Inc. of Maryland.

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