Internet Glossary

By Corbin HartwickUpdated on June 10, 2018

There are lots of terms associated with the Internet that are unique, confusing, or just downright strange. We've gone over a few of them in our earlier tutorials, but here's a more complete list of some of the common Internet-related terms you'll hear.

Common Internet and World Wide Web terms

Blog — short for "web log", a website or service that allows someone to periodically record their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, similar to a diary or journal. Many are text-and-picture, but some are made of video or audio recordings.

Bookmark — Also sometimes called a "favorite", a web page that one has instructed their web browser to record the address of, so that they can easily access it later.

Client — A computer connected to the Internet that asks for information from somewhere else on the Internet, whether that's a web page, a computer file, or communication from another person.

Cloud — A term used to refer to networks of server computers on the Internet that, instead of storing web pages, store computer files or information for running applications that would be too large or inefficient for a single computer to store on its own. The term refers to the idea that this information is floating freely through the Internet, like a cloud, and can be accessed from any client computer (with the right credentials, of course) and from any server within the group.

Cookie — A small computer file that some websites will place on your computer when you visit them or interact with them in some way. It is a website's way of remembering you, so that it can provide you with personalized services the next time you visit.

Domain — General term referring to an area of the World Wide Web that contains a unique website (or websites).

E-commerce — Usually refers to a website where goods and services can be bought or sold. Common examples include Amazon and eBay.

Forum — A website, or component of a website, that allows people to create and contribute to discussions about particular topics by posting a series of messages. Also called a "message board" or "bulletin board service (B.B.S.)".

FTP — Stands for "file transfer protocol". A set of instructions that your computer uses when it wants to transfer computer files between itself and another computer.

HTTP — Stands for "hypertext transfer protocol". The set of instructions that your computer uses (via your web browser) when it wants to look at a web page on the World Wide Web. The more secure version is "HTTPS".

Hyperlink — A word, phrase, or image in a document or web page that you can click to take you to a different part of the same document or web page, or to a different web page.

Internet — A worldwide series of connected computer networks that allows for the sending and receiving of information between computers or networks.

IP Address — Short for "Internet Protocol address". A set of four numbers, each between 0 and 255, that uniquely identifies a computer when it connects to the Internet.

ISP — Short for "Internet service provider". A telecommunications company that provides you with a connection to the Internet. Common ones include AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.

Modem — Short for "modulator-demodulator", a device that lets you access the Internet by turning information from your computer into a signal that can travel along the Internet and vice-versa.

Node — A computer or other device (such as a router) that directs the flow of information on the Internet.

Phishing — Refers to when criminals attempt to steal personal information over the Internet, or trick people into downloading a malicious program onto their computer, by posing as a trusted person, business, or organization.

Search engine — A website that allows a person to find web pages and other content on the World Wide Web by matching them with key words or phrases, and sometimes other specialized criteria.

Server — A special type of computer whose role is to store and give out computer files on the Internet, or information related to websites or web pages.

Social network — A general term used to describe a website or other Internet-based application that allows individuals, companies, and organizations to connect with and broadcast information to one another, among other functions. Also often referred to as "social media".

Spam — Refers to when trivial information is sent in bulk to people over the Internet, usually through email, with the sole intention of annoying them or slowing down their computer or Internet connection.

Streaming — A computer technology that makes media files (such as videos and songs) available as they load, as opposed to having to load them entirely and then play them.

TCP/IP — Stands for "transmission control protocol / Internet protocol". A standard set of instructions that allows computer networks to connect to each other and form the Internet.

U.R.L. — Stands for "uniform resource locator". An address that helps uniquely identify a web page or other document on the World Wide Web.

VoIP — Stands for "voice over Internet protocol". A set of technologies and processes that changes analog voice signals to digital computer signals and back again, allowing people to make phone calls over the Internet.

Web 1.0/2.0 — Generally efers to the distinction between static and dynamic websites. Static websites appear in a web browser exactly as they are stored, and often can't be interacted with much. Dynamic websites run background processes that allow them to be updated in some ways with or without a user's actions, often without needing certain web pages to be reloaded from their servers.

Web browser — A program that allows a person to access the World Wide Web by asking for website or web page information from server computers, displaying that information, and allowing the user to move from one website or web page to another by clicking hyperlinks.

Website — A collection of multimedia documents on the Internet, usually connected by hyperlinks, that share the same (or a similar) domain. Sometimes just referred to as a "site", for short.

Wi-Fi — A technology built into many modern modems that allows them to provide Internet connections over short-range radio waves.

Wiki — A type of database website in which information is able to be contributed, edited, or removed by anyone who accesses the website. Dedicated wiki users often discuss the validity of added or edited information, and make corrections where necessary.

World Wide Web — A network of interconnected documents containing written information, photographs, animations, videos, sounds, games, etc. that is accessed through the Internet. Often abbreviated as "w.w.w." or "the Web".