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Access provider or ISP

  • An access provider is the company that provides you with Internet access and in some cases, hosting of a website on their server or network.


  • A Microsoft developed technology designed to help developers build multimedia and interactive applications for the World Wide Web. Applications developed with the ActiveX technology are usually called ActiveX objects, ActiveX controls, or ActiveX components. Some refer to ActiveX as a competitor of Sun's Java.


  • An acronym for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. ADSL is a method of transmitting data over traditional copper telephone lines at speeds higher than are currently available. Data can be downloaded at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits per second and uploaded at speeds of 128 kilobits per second.


  • An agent is a type of software program that is instructed to go out onto the Internet and perform a specific function on behalf of a user. The most common type of agents are programs called spiders and worms, which roam the Internet, collecting and indexing its content and creating their own searchable databases of the content found.


  • A nickname that refers to a person or group of people on a network. Similarly, the address "" usually found on WWW sites, is an alias for the person responsible for maintaining that site. All e-mail sent to this address will be routed accordingly.


  • In HTML, anchors mark the start and end of hypertext links. Example:
    <A HREF="">Link</A>
    would create the following: Link

animated GIF

  • Animated GIFs are bitmapped images compiled into a single picture animation. The GIF89a format of saving graphics allows you to save several images into one file that is displayed by the Web browser one after another, creating the animation.

anonymous FTP

  • A method of logging into an Internet FTP server with the account name "anonymous" to retrieve files that are available to the public. The server may use your e-mail address as the password.


  • This small Java program or "Application" is often embedded in HTML pages. These are usually small programs that perform things like animation, sound, etc.


  • Software that uses file names or sub-strings to search for files at anonymous FTP sites.


  • A collection of files stored on a computer network - often retrievable by FTP.


  • American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The world standard for 128 codes that computers use to display all the letters, punctuation marks, and numbers in Western languages. Each code can be represented by a seven-digit binary number.


  • A file which is attached to, and then sent along with, an e-mail message. Any kind of computer file can be attached but some attachments may not be recognized by the recipients computer.


  • An addition to an HTML tag that extends or qualifies its meaning. For example you can extend the <IMG> (image) tag by including the "ALIGN" attribute which lets you further specify how you want a block of text to line up with an image. With the ALIGN attribute you can align text to the left, right, center, top, middle or bottom of an image.


  • A security measure for checking a network user's identity.


  • An avatar is a graphic facsimile that you can use in chat rooms. It lets you role play and interact with people you meet online.



  • The Internet's high speed data highways that serve as major access points to which other networks connect.


  • The amount of data you can send through a network connection. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second (bps).


  • Modem speeds are measured by their baud rate, the rate at which they send and receive bits of information.


  • (Bulletin Board System). A dial-up computerized meeting and announcement system for carrying on discussions, uploading and downloading files, and generally obtaining online information and services.



  • A beta is test release of a software package, to a limited group of people (beta testers). While the product is "in beta," it is usually not supported by the maker.

binary file

  • A file that contains more than plain text (i.e. photos, sounds, a spreadsheet, or a formatted word-processing document). In contrast to ASCII files, which contain only characters (plain text), binary files contain additional code information. A binary file is made up of machine-readable symbols that represent 1s and 0s. Binary files include sound files, graphics files, and software, and are frequently called binaries.


  • Short for binary digit, a bit is the smallest unit of data a computer can handle. Bits are used in various combinations to represent different kinds of data. Each bit has a value of 0 or 1. See also Byte.


  • A bitmapped image is one made out of an array of dots rather than continuous lines or areas.


  • Abbreviation for Bits-Per-Second and a measurement of how fast data is transmitted. BPS is usually used to describe modem speeds or the speed of a digital connection. See ISDN; T1 Line and T3 Line.


  • Used as a noun or verb. A bookmark is an address of an Internet site saved by your Web browser so the site can be quickly loaded and displayed. Also called Favorites in Microsoft's IE.



  • Unit of data that usually represents a single character. There are generally eight bits in each byte of information.



  • Transmission medium of copper wire or optical fibre wrapped in a protective cover.


  • Temporary storage space. Web pages you access are stored in your browser's cache directory (on your hard drive). So, when you return to a Web site you've recently accessed, your browser calls it up from the cache rather than the original server.


  • Common Gateway Interface, the interface program that enables an Internet server to run external programs to perform a specific function. Also referred to as Gateway or CGI "scripts," these programs generally consist of a set of instructions written in a programming language like C or PERL that process requests from a browser, execute a program and format the results in HTML, so they can be displayed in the browser.
    CGI is a defacto-standard for interfacing external application such as a database server or an order-entry system with a Web server.


  • Often seen in the URL of a Web page generated after you hit a Submit button on a Web site form, cgi-bin refers to the most common Web server directory which stores CGI programs and scripts.


  • Term for a "real-time" keyboard conversation on the Internet. You type in your message and someone else reads it as you type. "Chatting" takes place in a "chat room," a virtual meeting place created by chat software, like IRC software.


  • A program that uses the services of another program. The client is the program used to contact and obtain data or request a service from the server.


  • A networking system in which one or more file servers (Server) provide services; such as network management, application and centralised data storage for workstations (Clients).


  • A cookie is a file sent to a web browser by a web server that is used to record one's activities on a website. The cookie is stored on your hard drive so that when the server requests additional information, the cookie information is sent back to the server. Cookies can be set up to store many kinds of information such as your password, so you don't have to re-enter it each time you visit the site. A cookie can also store your preferences, so the next time you return to a site, you can be presented with customized information.

Commerce Server

  • Sophisticated, multi-part software program that turns a high-performance work-station into a World Wide Web site capable of handling online transactions and related functions including database and inventory management, order taking, billing, security and customer service.


  • Central Processing Unit. The heart of a computer which processes instructions.


  • To post a message to several newsgroups simultaneously - an action usually frowned on in the Internet culture.


  • The process of securing private information that is passed through public networks, by mathematically scrambling (i.e. encrypting) it in a way that makes it unreadable to anyone except the person or persons holding the mathematical "key" that can unscramble (decrypt) it.


  • A term coined by author William Gibson in his novel "Neuromancer". Cyberspace is currently used to refer to the digital world constructed by computer networks, in particular the Internet.



  • A structured format for organizing and maintaining information that can be easily retrieved. A simple example of a database is a table or a spreadsheet.


  • A type of account available for connecting to the Internet. Having an account on a computer system means you have a login name and a password that lets you access some parts of that system. A dial-up account through an Internet Service Provider allows you to use your modem to make a connection to your provider's system.

digital certificate

  • A digital certificate is mechanism to identify individuals on the Internet. A digital certificate can also be used to "authenticate" each member in a digital transaction. Also know as Digital ID.

digital ID


  • A system that your computer uses to organize files. Directories can be organized hierarchically so that you may view your files in many ways. they can be organized alphabetically by name or by type, etc.

discussion group


  • When working with a computer display system that supports 8-bit color (or fewer colors), the video card can display only 256 different colors at one time. Dithering is a technique to simulate the display of colors that are not in the current color palette of a particular image. It accomplishes this by arranging adjacent pixels of different colors into a pattern which simulates colors that are not available to the computer.



  • Disk Operating System

domain name

  • The unique name that identifies an Internet site. The Internet is made up of hundreds of thousands of computers and networks, all with their own domain name or unique address. Domain names always have two or more parts separated by dots. A given server may have more than one domain name, but a given domain name points to only one server.


  • To copy a file from a remote computer to your computer. You can download a whole program which you would then install on your computer, or you may simply download a Web page which displays in your browser temporarily.



  • Electronic Data Interchange. Private, proprietary electronic networks first used in the 1960s and 1970s to connect large corporations and their primary trading partners, now moving to the Internet and corporate Intranets.

Electronic Commerce or E-Commerce Or Internet Commerce

  • Trade of goods and services through computer networks such as the Internet, as well as related pre- and post-sale activities. Includes business-to-business transactions and sales of merchandise or information products to consumers. Also called Internet commerce.


  • Short for Electronic Mail, e-mail consists of messages, often just text, sent from one user to another via a network. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a number of addresses.

e-mail address

  • A computer mailing address to which electronic mail may be sent. You can spot an email address because it has a @ sign in the center, and ends with a domain name, like E-mail addresses are different from URLs, which are web addresses and always begins with http://.


  • A method of providing secure communications by scrambling the message or information file so that it cannot be read by anyone other than its intended recipient. This enables you to perform secure transactions.

End user

  • Refers to the human executing applications on the workstation.


  • A common protocol used on all kinds of computers for exchanging data across LANs (local area networks). It is the most widely used LAN access method. Ethernet speeds reach almost 10Mbps.


  • A generally large intranet used by corporations and other organizations that is open to selected individuals outside the organization, such as customers, suppliers, and partners.



  • An acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. FAQs are online documents that list and answer the most common questions on a particular subject.

file compression

  • A way of reducing the size of a file, or files, so that they don't take up a lot of space on a server or hard drive and can travel faster over a network. File compression is accomplished with software that uses mathematical equations (algorithms) to condense repeated data into smaller codes. you need software to decompress the data, and restore it to its original form.

file permissions

  • When you place files on a server you can assign the files various levels of permission, specifying who can access them, and what type of access they can have.

File Server

  • A computer connected to the network that contains primary files/applications and shares them as requested with the other computers on the network. If the file server is dedicated for that purpose only, it is connected to a client/server network. An example of a client/server network is Windows NT or Novell Netware. All the computers connected to a peer-to-peer network are capable of being the file server.



  • A combination hardware and software technology that placed between a company's internal networks and the Internet that allows only specific kinds of messages from the Internet to flow in and out of the internal network. A firewall protects the internal network from intruders.


  • An angry remark or message on a newsgroup or mailing list, often aimed at a user who has violated netiquette in some way.


  • Forms are web pages comprised "fields" for a users to enter information. Forms are usually processed into a database or e-mail message.

frame relay

  • A high-speed switching protocol for wide area networks (WANs). It is also used for remote LAN to LAN connections.


  • A set of HTML tags that allow you to construct a web page with multiple pages in a frameset. Often used as a navigational devise.


  • Free software available on the Internet that can be redistributed.

Front Page

  • Front Page is a Microsoft product, which enables end-users to construct and maintain Web Pages from the Microsoft Windows Desktop.


  • An acronym for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is a very common method of transferring one or more files from one computer to another. FTP is a specific way to connect to another Internet site to retrieve and send files.



  • A computer system for exchanging information across incompatible networks that use different protocols. For example, many commercial services have e-mail gateways for sending messages to Internet addresses.


  • Acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. This graphics file format uses a compression scheme originally developed by CompuServe. Because they are compressed, the file sizes can be quickly and easily transmitted over a network. That's why it is the most commonly used graphics format on the World Wide Web.

Gigabyte (GB)

  • One billion bytes of information. One Thousand Megabytes.


  • Gopher is an application that was developed at the University of Minnesota to help organize files on the Internet. Named after the school's football mascot, Gopher is a subject-based menu-driven guide to finding and retrieving directories of information on the Internet.


  • Graphical User Interface.



  • Slang term for a technically advanced computer user who enjoys accessing computer systems and programs without permission and sometimes against the law.

hexadecimal code

  • A six-digit code used to specify colors to be displayed in a Web browser. The code requires a "#" sign followed by a six-digit number, all within quotation marks. White, for example, is "#ffffff" and black is "#000000".


  • In the context of the WWW, it refers to the act of accessing an HTML document on a server.

home page

  • The first page on a Web site that acts as the starting point for navigation.


  • A computer that acts as a server.

host name

  • Every computer that is directly connected to the Internet has a numerical identification, called an IP address, and a name, called a host name. Most people using the internet don't need to know the host name of a computer in order to link to it because we use the URL to do this on the Internet.


  • Electronic transaction services provided by third-party service bureaus. Hosting includes everything from creating and maintaining a company’s commercial Web site to providing order tracking, fulfilment and billing.


  • HyperText Markup Language. The language used to describe WWW pages so that font size and color, nice backgrounds, graphics, and positioning can be specified and maintained (though users can change how these are actually displayed by their own browsers). Files in HTML format are viewed with a Web browser.



  • A hardware device that contains multiple independent but connected modules of network and internetwork equipment. Hubs can be active (where they repeat signals sent through them) or passive (where they do not repeat but merely split signals sent through them).


  • Text in a HTML document that is linked to another portion of that document or another document. Hypertext is easily identified by its color and because it is usually underlined. It also changes the shape of your mouse cursor when you move it over the hypertext or (link).


image map

  • An image map is a graphic divided into regions or links. Most image maps are JPEG or GIF format. When a particular region is clicked, it links you to another Web page.

interlaced GIF

  • A kind of GIF that gradually increases in overall resolution as it is downloaded. Non-interlaced GIFs, by contrast, load one line at a time.


  • A global collection of computer networks that exchange information by the TCP/IP suite of networking protocols.
    It allows for electronic mail and the accessing and retrieval of information from remote sources.


  • Similar to the Internet except that the servers and networks are protected and private. An Intranet that is accessible by others outside of the organization is called an extranet.

IP address

  • The Internet Protocol address, A numeric code that uniquely identifies a particular computer on the Internet.


  • Internet Relay Chat. A protocol used to enable real-time chatting on the Internet. IRC consists of "channels," which usually are devoted to specific topics. Anyone can create a "channel" and any message typed in a given channel is seen by all others in the channel.


  • Integrated Services Digital Network. A WAN-oriented data communication service provided by telephone companies. ISDN is generally available in multiples of 64kbps bandwidth (e.g. 64K, 128K, 192K, 256K, etc.) and is typically used for permanent Internet connections for commercial use.


  • Short for Internet Service Provider, also know as Access Provider. The remote computer system to which you connect your personal computer and through which you connect to the Internet.



  • Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc. to create executable content (i.e self-running applications) that can be easily distributed through networks like the Web. Developers use Java to create special programs called applets that can be incorporated in a web page to make it interactive. A Java-enabled web browser like Sun's HotJava is required to interpret and run the Java applets.


  • JavaScript was developed by Netscape and is not Java. JavaScript is a "scripting" language which, like Java, is used to create dynamic content on Web pages.


  • Acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, an industry committee that developed a compression standard for still images. JPEG refers to the graphics file format that uses this compression standard. You will find JPEG files on the Internet with the file extension .jpg.



  • A thousands bytes of data.


  • Kilobits per second. A rate of transfer of information over the Internet. An example is the fastest modems that are currently 56.6Kbps.



  • Acronym for Local Area Network, it refers to a local network of computers that are located on the same floor or in the same building or nearby buildings. See WAN.


  • The most common kind of Internet mailing list.


  • An Operating system based on a command line interface. It has extensive networking abilities and is used by a large number of ISP throughout the world.


  • The account name used to access a computer system. It is the way people identify themselves to their online service or Internet access provider. Also called User ID, User Name, or Account Name. To login is to connect or enter your password to connect to a service.




Mailing List

  • A way of having a group discussion by e-mail. Also used to distribute announcements to a large number of people. A mailing list is very much like a conference on a bulletin board system, except the conversation comes to you automatically in your e-mail box.


  • A measure of computer memory or hard disk storage; a little more than a million bytes or 1000 Kbps (actually 1,048,576 bytes).


  • Megabits per second. A rate of transfer of information over the Internet. See Kbps


  • Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A protocol used to exchange musical information between computers, synthesizers, and instruments. MIDI files are often responsible for the music that automatically loads when you come to a Web site.


  • Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension. MIME allows e-mail programs to include attachments of non-ASCII, non-text data.


  • An Internet server that provides copies of the same files as another server. Used when an Internet site is so popular that the volume of users accessing it keeps others from getting through. A mirror site provides an alternate way to access the same files.


  • Modulator/Demodulator. Devices that convert digital and analog signals. Modems allow computer data (digital) to be transmitted over voice-grade telephone lines (analog).


  • Multi-User Object-Oriented. A kind of multi-user role-playing environment.


  • Acronym for Moving Pictures Experts Group, an industry committee that is developing a set of compression standards for moving images (i.e. film, video and animation) that can be downloaded and viewed on a computer.



  • "Netiquette" is network etiquette, the do's and don'ts of online communication. Netiquette covers both common courtesy online and the informal "rules of the road" of cyberspace. See the Netiquette Home Page for more information.



  • Two or more computers connected to each other so that information can be exchanged. The Internet is a "network of networks," where anyone with a PC and access to the Internet can freely and easily exchange information.


  • Electronic discussion groups devoted to the discussion of a certain subject that are posted to a news server which then distributes them to other participating servers or individual e-mail addresses.


  • Application software for reading and posting articles to newsgroups.


  • End point of a network connection. Nodes include any device attached to a network such as file servers, printers, or workstations.

Novell Netware

  • An server operating system that is orientated towards network file and printer sharing.



  • A programming technique that speeds the development of programs and makes them easier to maintain through the re-use of "objects" that have behaviors, characteristics, and relationships associated with them.

Operating System


  • When a user is connected to a network, they are described as being online.



  • Parsing data refers to the process by which data input is broken into smaller, more distinct peaces of data that can be more easily read and processed.


  • A secret combinations of letters and other symbols needed to login to a computer system.


  • Personal Computer


  • Personal Digital Assistant. A small, hand-held, battery-operated, microprocessor-based device that is expected to do things such as
    • Store telephone numbers, addresses, and reminders
    • Send and receive email and faxes (wirelessly)
    • Receive pages (just like an alphanumeric pager)
    • Recognise handwriting


  • An acronym for Portable Document Format. A file type created by Adobe Systems Inc. that allows fully formatted, high-resolution, postscript documents to be easily transmitted across the Internet and viewed on any computer that has Adobe Acrobat Reader software, available for free at the Adobe site.


  • Practical Extraction and Reporting Language. A programming language frequently used for creating CGI programs. It can read and write binary files, and it can process large files. PERL does not need to be compiled.


  • Pretty Good Privacy. PGP actually gives you more than pretty good privacy. PGP is a high-security encryption application used to ensures the privacy and authentication of electronic communication.


  • The individual dots used to display images on computer monitors. The number of pixels per inch (ppi) determines the resolution of an image.


  • A small, add-on program used to enhance a larger software program. Most commonly encountered with Web browsers. Browser plug-ins allow the browsers to display special kinds of documents and multimedia effects.

POP (Post Office Protocol)

  • Post Office Protocol. This is the protocol used by mail clients to retrieve messages from a mail server.

POP (Point of Presence)

  • The communications equipment located in (for example) a multi-tenant building that provides an alternative communications service. Connection to this point of presence could then provide communication service using (for example) the local cable TV provider’s coaxial cable or fibre-optic cable (presumably at lower cost), rather than the local telephone company’s facilities.


  • Verb: To transfer or translate data or program files from one computer platform to another (i.e. from PC to Macintosh).
  • Noun: Connector on the computer to which peripheral devices (like a printer or modem) are attached.



  • Created by Adobe Systems Inc., PostScript is a page-description language for printing and displaying both fonts and images.


  • Point-to-Point Protocol is a communications protocol used to transmit network data over telephone lines. It allows you to connect your computer to the Internet itself, rather than logging on through an Internet Service Provider's host computer. It is part of the TCP/IP suite of programs necessary to connect to and use the Internet.


  • A protocol is the standard or set of rules that two computers use to communicate with each other. Also known as a communications protocol or network protocol, this is a set of standards that assures that different network products or programs can work together. Any product that uses a given protocol should work with any other product using the same protocol.


  • Push refers to all the technologies which "push" information (usually customized) to individuals rather than waiting for them to come to it.



  • Apple's popular multimedia extension that is used to create many of the video clips seen on the Web.


  • The process by which a web client requests specific information from a web server, based on a character string that is passed along. A query typically takes the form of a database search for a particular keyword or phrase. The keyword is entered into the search field of an Internet directory and then passed onto the web server.



  • Real Networks' popular streaming audio plug-in used to listen to sound recordings on the Web. Streaming audio plays as it downloads rather than waiting to play after it downloads.


  • Resolution is the term used for the sharpness of an image, expressed in pixels per inch for monitors, scanners, or image files.


  • A programs that are designed to automatically go out and explore the Internet for a variety of purposes. Robots that record and index all of the contents of the network to create searchable databases are sometimes called Spiders or Worms. WebCrawler and Lycos are popular examples of this.


  • Hardware (or software) that can connect a local network to the Internet. Routers spend all their time looking at the destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on.



  • A small program that has a set of instructions for another application or utility to use.

search engine

  • A program that searches for information and Web sites on the Internet. Example: AltaVista

secure browser

  • A Web browser that uses a secure protocol, like SSL, to access a secure Web server. A secure browser allows users to conduct secure transactions on a secure server.


  • A computer connected to the Internet which stores and provides information. The Web pages you are now viewing are on a server. A server is also called a host.


  • Software you can download and try out without paying first. See also freeware.


  • A plug-in developed by Macromedia that is used to view interactive animation on Web pages.


  • Information attached to the bottom of an e-mail message or newsgroup posting that gives contact information about the sender.


  • Serial Line Internet Protocol. Similar to PPP. Used to make Internet connections over phone lines.

Smart Card

  • Plastic card similar to a credit card with embedded electronics that “store” cash in encrypted form to be used with PCs, telephones, ATMs, and other devices with built-in card readers.


  • An acronym for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, SMTP is the protocol used for routing e-mail across the Internet.

snail mail

  • A derogatory term for postal mail. Used to emphasize the time it takes for conventional mail to reach its destination compared to e-mail.


  • This term is used to describe the practice of blindly posting commercial messages or advertisements to a large number of unrelated or uninterested newsgroups or individual e-mail addresses. The Internet's version of junk mail.





  • A high-speed digital connection capable of transmitting data at a rate of approximately 1.544Mbps per second. A T1 line is typically used by small and medium-sized companies with heavy network traffic.


  • A high-speed connection capable of transmitting data at a rate of 44.736Mbps. This represents a bandwidth equal to about 672 regular voice-grade telephone lines, which is wide enough to transmit full-motion real-time video, and very large databases over a busy network.


  • A tag is the code used to format HTML documents for the WWW. There are both single and compound tags. For example, the single code for a line break is <br>, whereas for bold text, the compound tag that wraps around the text you want to be bold is:
    <b> </b>

Tape back-up

  • Copying all the data and programs of a computer system on magnetic tape. On tape, data is stored sequentially. When retrieving data, the tape is searched from the beginning of tape until the data is found.


  • Transmission Control Protocol – A component of the communications protocol of the Internet. TCP is the Internet’s connection-oriented layer 4 (also called transport) protocol, which provides an error-free connection between two cooperating programs, which are typically on different computers.


  • The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol(IP) are protocols that let different types of computers communicate with each other. The Internet is based on this suite of protocols.


  • A command and program used to access information and resources on a remote computer.


  • A series of related newsgroups, BBS, or e-mail messages on a given subject, including the original message and the subsequent replies.



  • An acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. URL is the address for a resource or site (usually a directory or file) on the World Wide Web and what web browsers use for locating files and other remote services.



  • Often confused with download, uploading a file means loading it from your computer onto a remote one.


  • Usenet refers to the collection of newsgroups and a set of agreed-upon rules for distributing and maintaining them.

User Name

  • Same as your login. This is the name by which you and your electronic mailbox are identified online. Also called User ID and Account Name.



  • An acronym for Very Easy Rodent Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives. Veronica is a network utility that lets you search all of the world's gopher servers by key key words.


  • Viruses are small programs designed to copy themselves and play havick on your computer deleting file or other bad things.


  • Virtual Reality Modeling Language. The language used to create 3-D graphics for the Web.



  • WAIS is an acronym for Wide Area Information Servers. It is a network information retrieval service that you can use to search for key words or phrases in specially indexed files.


  • A kind of sound file. Wav files are end with .wav.


  • An acronym for Wide Area Network. A network that connects computers over long distances via telephone lines or satellite links. In a wide area network, the computers are physically and sometimes geographically far apart. See LAN.


  • The person responsible for administering a Web site.


  • The standard programs used to connect to the Internet and other networks by Windows PCs.

Windows 95/98

Windows NT


  • The World Wide Web is the most popular portion of the Internet. It allows you to navigate through all kinds of graphical information.









  • A popular standard for file compression on the PC. You can recognize it by the .zip file extension.