Glossary of Website Terms

Breaking down the language barrier to owning a website

Owning a website comes with its own glossary of technical jargon that can be confusing when you first look at it. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a guide for small business owners get to grips of website terminology.


Internet Use

This is the speed at which information will travel from your server to the web user. The more bandwidth a server has, the faster the information will download. Think of a pipe. The thicker the pipe, the more water can pass through at the same time. Bandwidth is usually described in kilobytes per second or KB/s. The higher the number of kilobytes per second the faster the speed.
The programmes that you use to surf the web. The main browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
A place on your hard drive that temporarily stores content from websites. Every time you return to a page you have visited before, your browser gets the files from the cache. It allows you to surf the web faster, as the resources the page needs are already available on your machine.
Domain Name
This is the unique website’s name used in URL to identify that Web page. For example in the URL is in the domain of ‘’.
‘Domain Name System’ is the way of translating a domain name to its IP address. When you type a domain name in your web browser, DNS converts it to its IP address to find and connect to the website. E.g. typing Google’s IP address: in your browser will take you to the Google website.
This is the process of getting data from the internet and storing it on your computer.
This is a collection of some of the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ about a business and its services.
IP Address
Your ‘Internet Protocol’ address is a unique number assigned to each device that uses a computer network for communication. Even your printer has an IP address. This unique number, similar to a telephone number, will tell the internet who you are and where you’re sending information to.
Servers host websites. Think of a server like a computer that stores a website. Servers are essential for a website to be hosted and live online to be seen by others.
This stands for ‘Rich Site Summary’. This is a feed that web users can subscribe to and receive live updates when the website is updated. RSS feeds include new pages, newsletters, site updates and new articles. You may also hear RSS referred to as ‘Really Simple Syndication’.
A computer that is constantly switched on, that stores one or more web pages. When a URL is searched for, its server finds that page and sends it over.
Uploading something to the internet means that you transfer a file from your computer onto a website.


Website threats and security

Cookies are small pieces of data that are downloaded to your computer when you first visit a website. Cookies record and collect data about the computer that they are downloaded onto and pass that data back to the website when the user goes there again, so that the website can tailor the website experience to that of the user. For example websites might use your location to customise the information or use cookies to store your passwords to access a site.
This is the term used to describe the process of breaking through the website security, either for the challenge, profit, or in protest. You will normally be informed by your hosting company when you’ve been hacked.
Managed support
Most hosting providers will offer managed support. This means they will look after your website and fix any security threats that could arise.
This is bad software that can harm your computer. They come in varying forms:

  • Virus – a computer programme that replicates itself to spread to other computers. They usually corrupt data.
  • Worm – these are commonly spread through computer networks, and tend to cause damage or consume bandwidth.
  • Trojan horse – trojan viruses normally get into the computer via a downloaded application (.exe file) and are designed to destroy files, data, and software.
  • Adware – software that brings up unwanted adverts, usually in the form of pop-ups.
  • Spyware – this malware registers information about your computer and send it elsewhere. They can detect keystrokes, documents, and websites you have visited.
  • Spam – e-mail that is unwanted and not asked for. It’s similar to the junk postal mail you get through your door. Most e-mail inboxes have some form of spam or junk filter.


Website Creation

Stands for Content Management System’, a system that allows you to add and edit text and images on your website. This is the simplest and most common way to modify a website’s content.
‘Cascading Style Sheet’. It can be described as the support language to HTML. Style sheet language defines how the HTML document is displayed, i.e. the design elements. It covers everything from fonts and colours to the height and width of the background images.
Also known as a URL icon, the favicon is a small image that appears next to the website address in many places on the Web. It features on the title bar, website URL and is the icon used when the website has been bookmarked.
To get animation and video onto your website, you’ll most likely need to use Flash. This can make your website more interactive. Although 99% of web users have Flash, some browsers and Apple devices are unable to support it.
‘Hyper Text Mark-up Language’. This is the language of the internet. The basics are easy to grasp, but becoming fluent can take some time. What you change in the CMS will be translated into HTML and displayed on your website.
Navigation Bar
Normally featured at the top of the website, this is a bar of links that will direct users through the website.
Social Media Buttons
When you get your Facebook and Twitter accounts set up, you will probably want buttons on your website to promote users to visit them. These are picture icons featured on a site that direct the user to your social media profile.
‘The World Wide Web’. This is where your website will be hosted. Invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, it has quickly become one of the most useful tools in developing your business.
Uniform Resource Locator. This is the address of a website that the internet uses to locate and connect to it. Your website from Small Business Websites would be in the format of ‘’.


Digital marketing common terminology

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of boosting your webpage up the Google ranks. This is the ‘natural’ route, which is unpaid for, and is done by having a well talked about website on the internet.
This is advertising run by Google. Businesses bid online for specific keywords and how much they want to pay every time their keyword leads a user to their website.
Meta Description
When you see results on a search engine, there’s always a small description of the web page underneath the link. This tells web users about the content of the page.
Google uses algorithms to determine a website’s PageRank, which is one of the factors it uses to consider which page of the search results your website will come up on. Page rank is scored out of 10, the closer to 10 you are the more Google likes you.
Site Map
Site maps are useful for informing search engines about the content on your site, so it is found in relevant searches. They are more useful for older websites that have a lot of archived content.
Search Engine
A search engine is designed to searches the World Wide Web for information matching the keyword or key phrase that you type in. The search results are generally presented in a list of results called search engine results pages (SERPs). The information listed can be made up of web pages, images, videos and other types of files.
Search Engine Results Page. This is the list of results that comes up once you make a search. The goal is to rank high in it for your preferred keyword.