Technical Glossary

Puzzled by all the technical terms us web developers use?  Here some internet terminology is explained.

API

Stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a set of code and standards that define how separate pieces of software can interact with each other. Many companies provide access to their services through an API. For example, the Twitter API allows third party software to handle Twitter interactions. Services that offer an API are easier to integrate into your business.

Blog

A website, or a section of a website that contains ‘blog posts’. These are articles that are written to give information. Blog posts are time stamped and are typically shown in reverse chronological order. The word blog or blogging is often used as a verb, meaning to write posts on a blog. WordPress is a popular blogging platform.

Content Management System

Software that allows a website to be edited without needing to access or understand the underlying code. A content management system allows non-technical people to manage website content.

Domain Name

The address of your website on the internet. These have to be purchased from a registrar and usually cost less than £10 a year. Choose a reliable registrar; if your domain disappears then so does your website.

E-Commerce

The E is for Electronic. E-commerce is business that is done over the internet. It usually refers to websites where you can buy things through their online shopping cart and payment system. Not every website will offer e-commerce, since not everything can be sold on the internet.

FTP

Stands for File Transfer Protocol. It’s often used by web developers to upload files to a web server to allow changes to be made to a website. Developers who care about security do not use FTP, but use a secure alternative such as SFTP or FTP-S.

Hosting

This is a service you can buy if you do not have a dedicated web server. A hosting company will lease you some space on a computer where your website can be stored. Very basic hosting is available for free, good quality hosting costs money. Good quality hosting can make the difference between a fast website and a poorly performing one.

Plugin

This is a bit of software that adds some extra functionality to some existing software. In WordPress, you can install plugins to allow extra features to be added to basic websites. For example, contact forms, social media buttons, SEO enhancements and many more. Choose plugins wisely; if it isn’t compatible with your website, it will break it.

Search Engine Optimisation

Often shortened to SEO, this is the process of making changes to a website to increase its visibility in search engine result pages. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of visitors to the website.

SSL

Secure Sockets Layer provide communication security over the internet. When you visit a website that uses SSL, security certificates are used to ensure that any data sent over the internet can only be read by you and server with which you are communicating.

Template/Theme

This is what determines the look and feel of your website. There are a vast number of themes available for WordPress, some of which are free. When choosing a theme, be sure to check that it is compatible with all the plugins that you want to use.

URL

Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the address of where to find a particular page on a particular website. A well designed website will have meaningful URLs for each page, which make it easier for people and search engines to understand your website.

Web Browser

Sometimes just called a “browser”. This is the software on your computer that allows you to view websites. The most popular web browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. Websites need to be tested to ensure they work well in any web browser.

Web Server

A computer that is on the internet all the time and makes your website available for anyone who wants to visit it. When you pay a hosting company, you are leasing space on a web server. A more complicated or busier website needs a more powerful and more expensive web server.