Glossary of Web Terms

Glossary of Website Terms

  • Bandwidth
  • Banner
  • CMS
  • Cookie
  • DNS/Domain/URL/Breadcrumbs
  • E-Commerce
  • Error 404
  • Favicon
  • Fold
  • Forms/Text-Entry/Radio
  • FTP
  • HTML
  • Hyperlink
  • ISP
  • JavaScript
  • Masthead
  • Metadata
  • Mouse over
  • Navigation
  • Open Source/Freeware
  • Opt-In
  • PDF
  • PNG
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Social Media Marketing
  • SSL
  • Subdomain
  • Upload/Download
  • Website Content
  • Widget


Bandwidth is the amount of information your connection to the Internet can carry, usually measured in bits per second.


A banner is a graphic that is placed around a website for the use of advertising.


Short for “Content Management System,” a CMS allows a number of users to create and change website content without needing specialty software or HTML knowledge.


A cookie is a message given to a web browser (the application you use to get online) by a web server. Cookies help identify website users who have visited previously, or those that are there for the first time, and can prepare customized content for them depending on those criteria.


  • “Domain Name System.” The DNS translates URL text addresses that we use (like into a numeric IP address. Many times the IP address that is actually tied to the website is blocked if you don’t go through the DNS/URL to get to the page.
  • A domain (or domain name) is a name that identifies a computer or computers on the Internet. These names appear as a part of a Website’s URL. For example, in – Howste.Ninja is the domain name.
  • “Uniform Resource Locator”. Commonly referred to as web addresses, URLs are the addresses for any and all documents on the Internet. is the URL for Howste Technical Services home page.
  • A path or Breadcrumbs represents where a page is in the website. The URL will tell you the path to the page. Anything after the / will tell you the path to page. Howste.Ninja/test/document means the path is home -> test -> document. This will tell the server how to get to a specific page without having to click through the website to get there and what file it references on the server that hosts it.


“Electronic commerce”. This is the buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds, through digital communications. Also known as shopping carts, or selling online goods.

Error 404:

A 404 error message means the page you’re trying to reach cannot be found. This can happen if you link to a page that doesn’t exist or if a page is taken down and the link remains up.


A Favicon is the little image that appears in the browser window next to your URL, or in next to the meta-title if you’re using tabs.


In web design terms, “fold” is the line past which someone has to scroll to see more content. Everything that shows up when a page first loads is “above the fold” and “below-” or “after the fold” refers to the content further down the page. The term comes originally from newspapers, as the top half of the front page was “above the fold,” and is where the major stories and images were placed for maximum effect. Most users today will not scroll past 1 page down. So content is split up amongst multiple pages to allow maximum effect.


  • Forms use tags that define and label text-entry boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, and/or drop- down menus to create simple ways for someone to collect information from users directly on the site. These can be used for simple contact, gathering special requests, or for testimonials.
  • In an online form, text-entry boxes allow a user to type in them. They can be limited to a number of lines or characters.
  • Also called an option button, radio buttons allow users to choose one of a number of predetermined options. Common radio buttons could be yes/no questions, or age ranges (18-24, 25-30, etc.) A radio button is different from a check box, which can accept multiple checked items at a time.


“File Transfer Protocol.” FTP allows you to copy or send files (HTML documents, graphic images, spreadsheets, etc.) from one computer to another via the Internet. A user ID and password are needed to use FTP, unless Anonymous FTP is allowed.


Short for “HyperText Markup Language,” HTML a cross-platform language for creating and formatting web pages. Elements and tags are used to affect copy, images, sounds, frames, animation and more. One of several languages used on the web.


A hyperlink, more commonly called a link, is an electronic connection between one web page to either other web pages on the same website (internal linking), or web pages located on another website (external linking). This can also refer to a file that you download to your own device.


“Internet Service Provider”. It’s the company that provides you with access to the Internet.


JavaScript is a scripting language developed by Netscape that interacts with HTML, allowing for interactive websites. JavaScript can make web pages more animated and dynamic in terms of graphics and navigation. Some of the most common graphic JavaScript effects are mouse overs, rotating sliders, and JavaScript navigation, commonly created using drop-down menus.


A masthead is a graphic image placed on top of a web page helps to easily identify the current page to the user. Masthead images can contain photos, text, shapes, and/or image maps.


In basic terms, it’s behind the scenes information on your site that describes the site itself and content housed within. This information is never seen. It does help the search engines place your website when the end user is doing a search.

Mouse over:

Mouse over refers to any kind of action that occurs when a user’s places their cursor (that arrow you move around your screen) over a button, but before anything is clicked. The actions can be anything from a simple change in color to an intricate animation.


Navigation refers to the process by which end users access information on the internet. Usually when we use the term; we’re talking about the menus, links, icons and buttons on your site, along with where they are and what is their use.

Open Source/Freeware:

  • Freely distributable and modifiable software to which the source code is available to the public. Open Source Software often comes with the benefit of a widely supported network of web developers and web designers that contribute to the application, make updates, and troubleshoot application glitches that would otherwise take much longer in a proprietary situation. Mozilla Firefox and WordPress are two examples of open source software, which is why you see so many different themes and extensions for each, most created by the public.
  • Freeware is any software that is distributed for free on the web. A well-known example would be Adobe Reader (for viewing of PDFs). This software is still proprietary and is still closed source.


The new ICANN laws require that your recipients want to get your messages, or you could get marked as spam and fined for spamming the end user. Opting-in means that someone has specifically requested to receive emails about a particular topic or from a particular entity. This refers to emails, text messages, automated phone calls, and other forms of communication. It is no longer limited to just emails.


Short for “Portable Document Format,” they were first developed by Adobe. The idea behind the PDF was to create a file format that did not dependent on applications, software, hardware or software for proper viewing. Every PDF file has a complete description of a document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it. These documents can be read across platforms as well. It is compatible with all common OS’s.


Short for “Portable Network Graphics,” (but you can just say “ping”). PNG is an image format used for lossless compression and displaying images on the web. PNGs allow for millions of colors, as well as transparent backgrounds, through that can sometimes result in larger file sizes. These are currently the preferred images on the web.


“Search Engine Optimization”. This means to optimize a website for better placement on a search engine. This can be affected through multiple techniques and the method changes frequently.

Social Media:

Social media is a network of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are all common social media sites.

Social Media Marketing:

Marketing that expands your brand and web presence to be able to post articles on social media websites, as well as your blog and other platforms to reach a variety of end users. This process can be automated so eliminate extra steps in the process.


“Secure Sockets Layer”. A protocol designed by Netscape to enable encrypted communications across the Internet. It provides privacy, authentication, and message integrity. SSL is often used in communications between browsers and servers. A URL that begins with “https” is a clue that an SSL connection will be used on the website. This is used when sending sensitive information for example payment information or medical records.


A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain. Makes a lot of sense, right? Sometimes when Howste is updating an old site, we need to put the new one live on the same domain, without disturbing the old site. In those cases, we create the new site on a subdomain like The “test” in place of “www” is a different subdomain, just like could make a, or any number of other subdomains.


Uploading is the action of sending data from a local computer (yours) to a server or website. When you have an image on your computer that you want to use on your website, you upload it. When you transfer something from the web to your computer, it’s downloading.

Website Content:

Photographs, graphics and text are the main content needed to develop and design an effective website. The first page of a website is known as the home page, and is often an overview of the website content. Each new web page within a website has its own URL and after each web page is created, the content is typically linked together using a navigation menu and hyperlinks.


Widgets are various components that can be added to a site without having to write the code. Weather and stock tickers are two common examples of widgets. These are common in CMS systems like WordPress.


“What You See Is What You Get”. Pronounced “wizzy-wig”. WYSIWYG usually refers to HTML editors (like the ones in Joomla) that display text and images as they will appear on your site, with styling, colors, etc. Using WYSIWYG editors removes much of the need for knowing and coding in HTML when making simple changes to content, as they produce the code based on the visual representation you create.