Web Design Terms And Definitions A-N
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London
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Ad Banner

ad banner a.k.a. banner ad, online ad An online advertisement on a Web page, it links to another Web site or buffer page or landing page.


Aliases can be used to identify different e-mail accounts and can redirect mail to other POP3 accounts or to another folder within the same address. A catch-all alias can be used to process e-mail from unknown senders, and is often known as a “junk-mail” sorter.

Alt Tag

An HTML tag that provides alternative text when Web pages are displayed without images. This text is helpful for the visually impaired or those who choose not to download images on Web pages in order to increase their surfing speed. With some browsers, this text appears when you put your mouse over an image and leave it there. It is not necessary for Web designers to put any text there, but if they include terms specific to the Web site, some of the search engines may list the site higher in their results.

Auto responder

Auto responders are not true email accounts, but they do have an e-mail address and reply to anyone who sends them an e-mail. This is a handy tool if you want to send out the same information to anyone who asks for it. The pre-formatted e-mail is automatically sent as a reply, guaranteeing that every response is identical.


Back End

The portion of a program that accomplishes the processing tasks the program is designed to perform. In a LAN with client/server architecture, the back end app may be stored on the file server while the front end programs handle the user interface on each workstation.

Backwards Compatible

A term used to describe a program's ability to read a file created in an earlier version of it.


Bandwidth is a term used to describe the amount of data that can pass through a communications channel (such as an Internet connection) in a given period of time. Bandwidth is often measured monthly


A browser is a program that allows access to the web visually by allowing requests from special files known as HyperText Markup Language, The language of web sites. There are many web browsers out there to choose from. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer program is one of the most popular.


Business-to-Business An acronym that describes business-to-business relationships or applications. Many Web sites focus on B2B solutions that cater to a vertical market. These sites are for businesses, and only other businesses can access them or make purchases.



Common Gateway Interface A standard script for running programs on a server from a Web page. CGI programs (also called scripts) can be run independently and were designed to be external so they can run under various (possibly different) servers interchangeably. The most common CGI scripts found on the Web are programs that process the information a user enters on a form.


A client is a computer program that can download files for editing, run applications, or request application based services from a file server. An FTP client is a common software package used for uploading and maintaining web sites.


A relationship in which one computer program (the client) requests information from another computer program (the server), whereby the server responds in fulfilling the request. In terms of "client/server architecture," it is the design model for applications running on a network. The bulk of the back end processing, such as performing a physical search of a database, takes place on a server. The front end processing, which involves communicating with the user, is handled by smaller programs distributed to client workstations.


cascading style sheets (CSS) A format used to separate style from structure on Web pages, it is a feature of HTML that gives both Web developers and users more control over how Web pages are displayed. With CSS, designers create style sheets that define how different elements, such as headers and links, will appear. These style sheets can then be applied to any page or all pages on a particular Web site, which makes coding much easier.


Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting is a service that Web hosting companies provide to their customers whose web sites. generate a lot of traffic. Essentially, and entire server is used for a single customer, ensuring that all of the server’s resources are used to that customer’s needs. This is important for companies that do business online, as heavy traffic tends to eat up bandwidth and make sluggish web sites.


DNS stands for “Domain Name System”, and it is a way for institutions differentiate themselves from each other. The most famous domain is the “dot com” (.com) domain, which denotes a commercial web site. Other domains include the name of the host country (.us, .ca)

Domain Parking

Domain Parking refers to when individuals or companies buy up domain names before they are ready to use them. A simple web page describing the future content or advertising the new owners of the web site. is then “parked” on the address in order to generate interest before the website actually goes online.


Simply put, when you download data or programs you are transferring data from a server or host computer to your own computer.



Conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional sense, is possible to do electronically because of certain software programs that run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product display, online ordering, and inventory management.


Created by Roy Tomlinson for ARPANET in 1971, e-mail is a system for sending and receiving messages electronically over a computer network. E-mail has revolutionized personal communications in the 21st century.

e-mail forwarding

The process of redirecting your incoming mail to a different mailbox. For example, if you have a number of e-mail addresses, you can have them forwarded to a single mailbox. This makes it easier to retrieve and manage your messages.


The process of protecting information as it moves from one computer to another. Passing through a complex mathematical process (an encryption algorithm), the information is encoded before it is sent and decoded with a secret key when it is received. Without this key, the information is undecipherable. Computers use a binary number, usually 40- to 128-bits in length, as the key. The larger the key, the more difficult it is to break the encryption and decipher the message in transit.



Account Forwarding accounts are special e-mail accounts that allow e-mail to be redirected to another account as soon as they come in. This can be helpful when you have several accounts running at once and would like to consolidate your email to a single address.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a communications protocol that governs the transfer of files from one computer to another over a network.



A gigabyte is a unit of computer memory or data storage capacity equal to 1,024 megabytes. One Gigabyte (Gb) is equal to about one billion bytes (230 bytes).


A system for exchanging information across networks that are incompatible and use different protocols. Basically, a gateway is a combination of hardware and software that connects two different types of networks so that information can be exchanged.



HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is a special computer language used to structure the text and multimedia documents of a website. It also is used to create hypertext links between electronic documents. HTML was invented in 1991 by Tim Berner-Lee, and makes use of specifications made by URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).


HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is mostly used to request and transmit web pages and web page components over the Internet or other computer networks.



The Internet is an interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world. The Internet was developed by many different minds, but most agree that the real birth of the modern Internet was the ARPANET program in the 1960’s. The Internet connects networks together using the TCP/IP protocol.

IP Address

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) Often called a dotted quad, it is a a unique number consisting of 4 or 6 parts (octets) separated by periods (or dots), and which designates a hexadecimal address used to identify server locations on the world wide web. It may appear like this: in its most common form, but could also be expressed hex decimally. Note that IPv4 addresses have four octets, but the soon-to-be-in-use IPv6 IP addresses will have six octets, and will appear as follows: In general, each domain name must resolve to an IP address registered to the web server which is hosting the domain. More commonly explained, an IP address is a number analogous to a street address on the Web. When the internet was first created in the 1960's as part of the Department of Defense, IP addressing provided a means to identify unique locations on the internet, much as street addresses are unique and identify houses and buildings in a given city. IP addresses may be dedicated, in which case they are hard-assigned to a given computer or internet connection, so that other computers may reach a given computer at an IP address simply by using the IP address and without a (canonical) domain name. Each web server has a dedicated IP address or addresses, and individual domain names can have dedicated IP addresses.


ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. An ISP is an organization which creates connections from its customers to the internet, thus allowing the customer to access the internet. ISP's have come a long way in the last 10 years, from a patchwork of local providers with a few dominant nationwide ISP's such as AOL, Earthlink, Mindspring, NetZero, MSN and Compuserve to a consolidated few national providers and few remaining local providers, with new competition now arising around low-price point (sub $5 monthly) dial-up access, and greater competition among multiple large providers of high speed (broadband) connections based on DSL (via telephone line) and cable (via TV cable provider) service. ISP's are sometimes also hosting providers, but have a very poor record as such. In general, companies such as realwebhost.net which specialize in domain name and hosting services provide far better value, price, and telephone technical support to assist customers with hosting needs.



A scripting language to enable Web page authors to design interactive sites. Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was developed independently. JavaScript can interact with HTML source code, enabling Web developers to jazz up their sites with dynamic content.


JPG or .jpg Joint Photographic Experts Group (pronounced: jay-peg) One of the two most common types of image formats used on the World Wide Web (the other being GIF). The shorter extension, JPG (without the E), is usually used in association with PC platform files.

Jump Page

A Web page that appears to users that have clicked on a link in an online ad. The purpose of this "jump page" or splash page is to capture the user's attention in order to promote special offers or to measure the response to an online ad.


landing page

landing page Another name for a page on a Web site to which people are referred via links from other Web sites, especially from ad banners.


a.k.a. links, absolute link, relative link Text or images on a Web page that a user can click on in order to access or connect to another document. Links are most commonly thought of as the technology that connects two Web pages or Web sites.

Long Domain Name

domain name that contain more than 26 characters are said to be long. In the past, domain names could not be longer than 26 characters, but the limit was later increased to 67 characters (including the extension, such as .com or .org).



a.k.a. autoresponder An e-mail server that automatically responds to requests for information.

Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is when a web hosting company provides services for their dedicated servers. Managed hosting can be thought of as having the space and freedom of a dedicated server, but with the perks and services that are provided to shared-server packages. As businesses continue to grow online, so has the need for managed security, storage, and database monitoring.


A megabyte is a unit of computer memory or data storage capacity equal to 1,048,576 bytes of information. A single keystroke is equal to a single byte of information.


News Feed

Refers to RSS, a technology that allows you to see when Web sites have added new content. For example on a news Web site, you can subscribe to the news feed and get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as its published.

New Media

Refers to any kind of communications medium that is interactive, such as the Internet.

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