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Glossary of Internet Terms
Last Updated: Mon, 05 May 2014 > Related Articles
Learn the meaning of common Internet terminology.
ASCII - (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a computer code used to represent all Latin letters, numbers, punctuation and symbols. Each of the 128 standard codes can be represented by a 7-digit binary number. ASCII is also used to describe files displayed in plain text form.
Bandwidth - Measurement of amount of information that can be transmitted over an Internet connection. The more bandwidth you have the more information that can be moved from one computer to another.
Bookmarks - A feature on your browser that allows you to save a website address to your favorite list, or bookmarks list) so you can quickly access it later. When a site is added to your bookmarks you can give the site any name you choose and then return to it later.
Browser - A software application, such as Internet Explorer, or Safari, that lets you search for and browse information on the World Wide Web.
Cable Modem - An electronic adapter that permits a personal computer to receive Internet data from the high-speed information resources of a cable television system. Cable modems permit personal computers to receive Internet information at rates of up to hundreds of times faster than typical, consumer market telephone modems. A cable modem attaches to a personal computer through a network interface card (NIC) installed inside the computer. The cable television system's cable brings the information into the cable modem and then the cable modem sends the information into the computer through the NIC. An eMTA is a form of cable modem that also connects a digital phone line to your cable service.
CGI - Common Gateway Interface. A programming function used on Web servers that gives Web pages the ability to interact with Web visitors.
Client / Server - Computer technology that separates network-connected computers and their users into two categories: clients and servers. When you access information from a computer on a network, you are a client. The computer that delivers the information is the server. A server stores information and makes it available to any authorized client upon request.
Cloud - Also known as, The Cloud, is simply the ability to access applications on the Internet from any location. Your Google or Yahoo email messages are, in the cloud, in the sense that you can check your email from a variety of devices and from anywhere there is a connection.
Dial-in - The process of accessing the Internet by dialing in to it from a phone line. Dial-in access is much slower than wireless or cable access.
Domain Name - A registered name that identifies a website and is hosted on a server or servers. The domain name is the first name of the website, such as cox.com, or msn.com. Domain names have many extensions such as .net, .TV, or .org.
Download - The act of transferring computer information from a remote computer into your own local computer. Downloading allows you to acquire documents, images, and files from the Internet.
Email - (Electronic mail) Messages transmitted over the Internet from user to user. Email can contain text, but also can carry with it files of any type as attachments.
FAQs - (Frequently Asked Questions) are simply questions and answers on the Internet or elsewhere used to assist users in finding information about a particular subject.
Favorites Folder - An Internet Explorer feature that lets you store the location of favorite Web pages for quick access. This is a powerful and important feature because many Web addresses are difficult to remember. When you store a Web site in your Favorites folder, you can give it any name you choose, and then return to it by clicking on that name.See Bookmarks.
Firewall - A combination of hardware and software that protects a single computer or local area network (LAN) from Internet hackers, putting up a virtual wall that prevents intruders from stealing information online. It separates the network into two or more parts and restricts outsiders to the area outside the firewall. Private or sensitive information is kept inside the firewall.
Flames - Insulting, enraged Internet messages—the equivalent of schoolyard brawls but online --that are found most often on social media sites and in newsgroups.
Forums - Communities provided by a group or company that encourages users to ask questions of the provider or to assist each other. Forums can be divided a number of ways such as by topic or question asked.
FQDN - (Fully Qualified Domain Name) The official name assigned to a computer. Organizations register names, such as ibm.com, or utulsa.edu. They then assign unique names to their computers, such as watson5,.ibm.com, or hurricane.cs.utulsa.edu.
FTP - (File Transfer Protocol) The basic Internet function that enables files to be transferred between computers. You can use it to download files from a remote, host computer, as well as to upload files from your computer to a remote, host computer. FTP is often permitted on large systems that share files with outside users who otherwise would not be able to login for security reasons.
Gateway - A host computer that connects a network to other networks. For example, a gateway connects an individual or company's local area network computers to the Internet.
GIF - (Graphics Interchange Format) A graphics file format that is commonly used on the Internet to provide graphics images in Web pages. A gif is typically smaller than a jpeg because it uses less color in the image.
Hacker - Anyone who tries to gain unauthorized access into remote computers, or a computer system. Though many hackers work simply for the challenge of cracking a difficult security system, many hackers tap into remote systems for malicious purposes, such as theft of secure information, destruction of information, to disable a computer system, or to infect it with a computer virus. See Virus.
Host - A system that includes TCP / IP and runs applications that provide files, or services or that shares the system's resources.
HTML - (Hypertext Markup Language) The basic language that is used to build documents on the World Wide Web. It is written with ASCII-text documents. Those documents are interpreted by Web browsers to display formatted text, color, fonts, graphic images, sound, video clips, to run programs, perform special effects, and to link to other Internet sites.
HTML5 - An advanced version of HTML that does provides more formatting capability than original HTML. It basically adds new tags for video and audio which older versions of HTML did not contain. Older versions had to link to another website, or use plug-ins to access video and audio files.
HTTP - (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) The protocol (rules) computers use to transfer hypertext documents.
Hypertext - Text in a document that contains a link to other text. You can click on hypertext to jump to the text designated in the link. Hypertext is used in Windows help programs and CD encyclopedias to jump to related references elsewhere within the same document. Using HTTP, hypertext can link to any Web document in the world.
Icon - A small, graphic image on a computer that is used to represent a computer application, data, or a feature of the operating system. Icons are also used as visual references to identify a section of a website.
IP - (Internet Protocol) The rules that support basic Internet data delivery functions. See TCP/IP.
IP Address - An Internet address that is a unique number consisting of four parts separated by dots, sometimes called a dotted quad. For example, 220.127.116.11. Every Internet computer has an IP address. Server computers also are assigned one or more Domain Names that are easier to remember than the dotted quad.
IPv6 - Is another iteration of IP that makes more addresses available, providing more space on the Internet. It offers 128-bits compared to 32 bits with IPv4.
IRC - (Internet Relay Chat) An Internet tool that lets users join a chat channel and exchange messages. IRC is soon going to permit the full-color, live-action video required for video-conferencing.
ISP - (Internet Service Provider) A company, such as Cox High Speed Internet, that is connected directly to the Internet, and which sells connection services to individuals and businesses who want to tap into the Internet.
Java - A programming language that permits Internet sites on the World Wide Web to include computer applications that run on the computers of people who visit the sites. Java programs only work on computers that have Java-capable Web browsers, such as the one we have provided to you. Java is nonspecific as to operating system, which means that one program can run on either Windows or Macintosh computers. Java programs can run games, create animation effects, drive database searches, and many other functions.
JPEG - (Joint Photographic Experts Group) The name of the committee that designed the photographic image-compression standard. JPEG is optimized for compressing full-color or gray-scale photographic-type, digital images. It doesn’t work well on drawn images such as line drawings, and it does not handle black-and-white images, or video images.
kbps - (kilobits per second) A speed rating for computer modems that measures, in units of 1,024 bits, the maximum number of bits the device can transfer in one second under ideal conditions.
kBps - (kilobytes per second) Remember, one byte is eight bits.
Latency - The amount of time it takes data to travel from source to destination.
Listserv - An Internet application that automatically serves mailing lists by sending electronic newsletters to a stored database of Internet user addresses. Most lists let users subscribe and unsubscribe automatically, not requiring anyone at the server location to personally handle the transaction. But for a reflector mailing list, the request to join goes to a real person's mailbox who must manually perform the subscribe, or unsubscribe transaction.
Mailing List - An email-based discussion group. Sending one message to the mailing list server sends mail to all other members of the group. Users join a mailing list by subscribing. Subscribers to a mailing list receive messages from all other members. Users have to unsubscribe from a mailing list to stop receiving messages forwarded from the group members.
MIME - (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) An Internet standard that lets computer files be attached to email and tells computers how to interpret downloaded files. Files sent by MIME arrive as exact copies of the original so that you can send word processing files, spreadsheets, graphics images and software applications to other users, provided the recipient has a MIME-capable email application—most today are MIME-capable, including the one we provided to you.
Modem - An electronic device that lets computers communicate electronically using regular phone lines. The name is derived from modulator-demodulator because of its function in processing data over analog phone lines.
Netiquette - Internet etiquette, good netiquette will keep you out of trouble in newsgroups.
Network Interface Card (NIC) - A card that is installed inside a personal computer that permits a personal computer to transfer data via a computer network. Commonly used in computers that are linked to office local area networks (LANs), a network interface card is required to connect to a cable modem. Some Macintosh computers and even some Windows computers have the functions of a network interface card built into the basic circuitry of the computer.
Newsgroup - An electronic, community bulletin board that enables Internet users all over the world to post and read messages that are public to other users of the group. There are more than 30,000 public newsgroups and thousands of private newsgroups collecting tens of gigabytes of data daily. No one knows the actual count of current newsgroups because it changes so rapidly as new ones are added and older ones are dropped.
NNTP - (Network News Transfer Protocol) An Internet protocol that handles the transfer of Usenet newsgroups between news servers.
NINRP - (Network News Reading Protocol) An Internet protocol that handles the transfer of Usenet articles, and information between a news server and news clients—like your news reader.
Open source - Software that is readily available to developers rather than proprietary, meaning the code can be accessed by just about anyone, and used by them if they agree to certain conditions outlined by the manufacturer.
PNG - (Portable Network Graphics) A new standard for Internet graphic images that is planned as a replacement for the GTE format. PNG has similar characteristics to GTE, with improved network performance.
POP - (Post Office Protocol) An Internet protocol that enables a single user to read email from a mail server. A POP address is needed in order to receive incoming email messages.
Port - Physical network ports are basically in points on a computer that accept connecting cables. For example, a USB cable plugs into a computer port. Virtual ports are part of TCP / IP networking. These ports allow software applications to share hardware resources without interfering with each other.
Post - An article in a newsgroup. Posting is the act of sending a post to the newsgroup so that other subscribers can read the article.
Protocols - Computer rules that provide uniform specifications so that computer hardware and operating systems can communicate. It's similar to the way that mail, in countries around the world, is addressed in the same basic format so that postal workers know where to find the recipient's address, the sender's return address and the postage stamp. Regardless of the underlying language, the basic protocols remain the same.
Router - A network device that enables the network to reroute data it receives that are intended for other networks. The network with the router receives data and sends it on its way exactly as received.
Search Engine - A Web service that permits access to and searching of a computer-generated index of Web pages. A search engine lets you enter keywords and then finds and displays a list of all pages that contain the keywords that you entered.
Server - A computer that stores information and then sends its stored information across a network. Servers deliver information upon request from a client, see client / server entry, who is attached to the network.
Signature File - A customizable ASCII text file, maintained within email programs, that contains a few lines of text for your signature. The programs automatically attach the file to your messages so you don’t have to repeatedly type a closing.
SMTP - (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The simple, classic protocol used to handle Internet email functions.An SMTP address is needed to send email messages to others. An SMTP address is needed to send email messages to others.
Social Media - Describes the varied types of participatory services one can use to communicate with others. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums.
Spam - Any email message that is unwanted.
SSL - (Secure Sockets Layer) The Web-based security technology that encrypts computer data to maintain privacy. SSL protects computer users from theft when sending, or receiving personal data online. SSL also enables Web merchants to accept credit card numbers without risk that your card number will be picked up by a computer hacker.
TCP / IP - (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) The basic protocols that enable computer communications around the globe via the Internet.
Telnet - An Internet protocol that lets you connect your PC as a remote workstation to a host computer anywhere in the world and to use that computer as if you were logged on locally.
UDP - Stands for User Datagram Protocol. It is part of the Internet Protocol group such as TCP / IP. This protocol is typically preferred for its speed rather than its reliability, particularly when short, time-sensitive messages need to be sent in a hurry between computers.
UNIX - The computer operating system that was used to write most of the programs and protocols that built the Internet. The name was created by the language programmers to indicate that UNIX was one of the Multics, an experimental MIT operating system.
Upload - The act of transferring computer information from one computer to another, such as putting a file on the remote server of your website hosting company.
URL - (Uniform Resource Locator) This is the equivalent of having the phone number of a place you want to call. You will constantly use URLs with your Internet software to identify the protocol, host name and file name of Internet resources you want—such as www.cox.com.
Usenet - Another name for Internet newsgroups. A distributed bulletin board system running on news servers.
Video Sharing - The act of sharing a video with someone else or a group through the Internet.
Virus - A computer program that can automatically jump from one computer to install itself on another computer. Viruses are harmful because they generally damage any computer on which they're installed. The damage can be anything from simply displaying a message, to deleting files, to totally wiping out all data on the computer. There are many computer programs on the market that will monitor your computer for the presence of a computer virus and either alert you when a virus is detected or eliminate the virus from your system.
VoIP - Voiceover Internet Protocol is the means by which users can use telephone service over the Internet.
World Wide Web - (WWW) (W3) (the Web) An Internet client-server distributed information and retrieval system based upon the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that transfers hypertext documents across a varied array of computer systems.