Jargon Buster

A helpful dictionary for geeky terms I often use.

Alt Text

Alt (short for alternative) text is a hidden caption given to images for users who use screen readers.

Not having it is bad for SEO as your site should be as assessible as possible.

Cache / Caching

Caching is when your browser temporarily downloads a copy of a web page, to ensure it loads faster the next time you visit.

Caches do have an expiry time (where a fresh copy is fetched the next time you visit).

However, if a lot of changes are being made to the site, you might need to clear your browser's cache to see the latest version.


A datacentre is a building housing many servers in racks.

Usually they have redundant power, networking and cooling.


DNS stands for Domain Name System.

When you type in a domain name such as robertd.co.uk, DNS will find the IP address of the web server in which that domain name points to.

Kind of like how you store your contacts' phone numbers by their name.

Domain Name

A domain name is an address used to point to a website.

Kind of like how your postal address points to your home.


HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Secure.

It ensures that the connection between the end user's browser and your website is secure, using a certificate.

Search Engines favour HTTPS-enabled sites from an SEO standpoint more nowadays.


The Internet is a huge network of connected computers.

Global and the whole reason the WWW can exist.

IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical address assigned to all computers.

Kind of like how your postal address points to your home.

Usually when we're talking about an IP address on the Internet, we mean a public IP address (one that issued by your ISP for use on the Internet).


ISP stands for Internet Service Provider.

It is the company responsible for providing your home, business or datacentre with a connection to the Internet.

Some UK examples include BT, Virgin Media, Sky, Plusnet and TalkTalk.


Responsibe in web design terms means the layout of a web page adjusts or "responds" to the size of the screen you are viewing it on.

This means that no elements will be hidden or trailing off the page if you are viewing it on an iPhone for example.

Sometimes when web pages or websites are referred to as being "mobile friendly" or "mobile compatible", they really mean the website is responsive.

Search Engine

A search engine is an online database of known websites, web pages and other files such as text documents, images, videos and audio.

These are usually searchable through a website.

Some examples include Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo.


Servers are simply computers that are built to serve a purpose.

Usually they have more memory, storage and processing power than a typical consumer one and come in rackable form factors to save space.


URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator.

They are essentially fully-formed links or addresses on the web.

By that, I mean they contain the protocol (http://, https://, ftp://, etc...), sometimes a subdomain (www., subdomain., etc...) domain name (example.com, domain.org) and sometimes path (/path, /page, etc...).

A full example would be https://subdomain.domain.com/path.

Web Browser

A web browser is a piece of software that allows you to browse websites and web pages.

Some examples include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge.

A web browser is different from a search engine, so you can use Google (a search engine) on Firefox (a web browser) for example.

Web Hosting

Web hosting is a service offered by companies that have multiple web servers.

A web host may have one or many datacentres.

Web Page

A web page is a type of document that has been coded in a way to present information via a web browser.

These are usually coded in HTML (HyperText Markup Language).

Web Server

A web server is a server that hosts web pages.

The software on a web server allows web pages to be served over the Internet via the WWW.


A website is a collection of web pages.

Usually relating to one another and styled in the same way.

WWW / Web

WWW stands for World Wide Web.

It was invented by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN as a way of sharing information accross the Internet in the form of web pages.

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