Glossary of Internet Terms 
by: Jeremy Trogg

A-B, C-E, F-H, I-K, L-O, P-R, S-Z

Applet- A type of computer program that allows animation and other interactive functions on a file or Web page. 

ADSL - Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line - A new technology that allows you to access the Internet over standard phone lines at very high speeds.

Bit - The smallest piece of digital information understood by computers.

Bandwidth - The rate information travels from one place to another either inside a computer or between computers. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second, kilobits (thousands of bits) per second, or megabits (millions of bits) per second. A 28.8 modem allows for a connection of 28.8 kilobits per second.

Blocking software - A computer program that allows parents, teachers, or guardians to "block" access to certain Web sites and other information available over the Internet. All blocking software has filtered the information before blocking access to it. (See also "filtering software")

Bookmark- A placeholder for interesting or frequently used Web sites, so that these sites can be revisited easily without having to remember or retype the Internet address.

Browser - A software product that lets you find, see, and hear material on the World Wide Web, including text, graphics, sound, and video. Popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Byte - Bytes are a basic measurement of computer memory. A byte is made up of eight bits.

Cache - A cache is a place on your hard drive where the Web browser stores information (text, graphics, sounds, etc.) from pages or sites that you have visited recently so that returning to those pages or sites is faster and easier.

CD-ROM- A computer disk that can store large amounts of information; generally used on computers with CD-ROM drives. "CD-ROM" stands for "Compact Disk Read Only Memory". That means it can only play back information, not record or save material.

Chat- A feature of online services or Web sites that allows participants to "talk" by typing messages that everyone can read at the same time. 

Here's how it works: The participant enters the chat room, types a message on his or her computer, and sends it; and it is instantly displayed on the screens of the other users in the chat room. 

Admission is generally not restricted. You never know who is going to be reading your messages or responding to them, so it's best to be cautious.

Chat room - A "place" or page in a Web site or online service where people can chat, or "talk," with each other by typing messages. It's "real-time" communication like talking on the phone, except the "talkers" are typing text as with e-mail. E-mail, on the other hand, is delayed communication.

Client-based filter - A software program that you install on your own computer to block access to inappropriate material, prevent kids from accessing the Internet at certain times, or to prevent kids from revealing personal information. See also "filtering software" and "blocking software."

Cookie - A piece of information unique to you that your browser saves and sends back to a Web server when you revisit a Web site (the Web server is the computer that "hosts" a Web site that your browser downloads or "sees"). 

The server "tells" your browser where to put the cookie on the server. Cookies contain information such as log-in or registration information, online "shopping cart" information (your online buying patterns in a certain retail site), user preferences, what site you came from last, etc.

Commercial service - General term for large online services. These services are like special clubs that require membership dues. Besides providing access to the Internet, commercial services have lots of content, games, and chat rooms that are available only to members.

Cyberspace - A very general term used in a number of ways. "Cyberspace" can refer to the electronic areas and communities on the Internet and other computer networks; the culture developing on (or across) the global network of phone wires that make up the Internet; a new publishing or communications medium separate from conventional media; and a "place" separate from or in addition to physical space.

Discussion group - An area online focused on a specific topic where users can read and add or "post" comments ("post" in the sense of posting something on a bulletin board). You can find discussion groups, also referred to as "discussion boards," for almost any topic. See also "Newsgroups".

Directories - Similar to search engines, directories are indexes of Web pages organised by subject.

Domain name - A Web site address, usually followed by .com, .org See also "URL".

Download - Copying data from another computer to your computer. "Download" is also used to mean viewing a Web site, or material on a Web server, with a Web browser. See also upload.

E-mail - Electronic Mail. A way of sending messages electronically from one computer to another. Users can send memos, letters, and other word-based messages, as well as multimedia documents. 

E-mailing requires having a modem, connecting a telephone line to your computer, and an e-mail address (recognisable because of the "@" symbol, such as

Ethernet- the most common technology for connecting computers together in a network.

FAQ- A list of "Frequently Asked Questions" about a specific Web site, mailing list, product, or game. Reading the FAQ first is a great idea when you are new to a site, mailing list, discussion group, or product.

Filtered ISP - An Internet Service Provider (ISP) that automatically blocks access to content that is inappropriate for children. Each filtered ISP uses its own company criteria to decide which Web sites are inappropriate. 

When choosing a filtered ISP, parents and other caretakers should make sure the company's criteria are consistent with their own values and judgments.

Filtering software - Software that sorts information on the Internet and classifies it according to content. Some filtering software allows the user to block certain kinds of information on the Internet. See also "Blocking Software, "Client-Based Filtering Software," and " Server-based Filtering Software."

Firewall- A security device that places a protective "wall" around a computer or network of computers, keeping it from being accessible to the public.

FTP - File Transfer Protocol - a way to transfer ("download" or "upload") files from one computer to another, for example from your hard drive to a Web server in order to update a Web site.

Flaming - Sending a nasty piece of e-mail or posting a nasty comment in a newsgroup or discussion group, usually in response to a posting that offended someone.

Gateway - Generally any device that provides access to another system. For example, an ISP might be called a gateway to the Internet; also a hardwaredevice that connects a local network to the Internet.

Hardware - The nuts, bolts, and wires of a computer and computer-related equipment, also the actual computer and related machines such as scanners and printers.

Hyperlink - An image or portion of text on a Web page that is linked to another Web page (either on the same site or in another Web site). If it's a word or phrase, you can tell it's a link because it's another color, it's underlined, or both. 

If it's an image, you can tell it's a hyperlink if you see a border around it, or if the cursor changes to a little hand when you drag the cursor over the image with the mouse. You just click on the link to go to another Web page or another place on the same page. See also links.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language - The standard language used for creating documents on the World Wide Web.

HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol - The standard language that computers connected to the World Wide Web use to communicate with each other.

Home page - The first page or document Web users see when connecting to a Web server or when visiting a Web site.

ICRA - Internet Content Rating Alliance rating system - a rating system for Web content (see also RSACi).

IMor Instant Message - A chat-like technology on an online service that notifies a user when a friend is online, allowing for simultaneous communication (like talking on the phone, only with text). See also "Web-based instant messaging."

Internet- Referred to as "Net" for short, a collection of thousands of connected computers and computer networks.

Intranet - A private network that works like the Internet, except that it can only be seen by a select group of people, such as the employees of a company.

IRC - Internet Relay Chat - A part of the Internet (not on the Web) that allows participants to "chat" online in a live forum that usually centers around a common interest. IRC is the earliest form of online chat.

ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network - A technology that allows you to connect to the Internet over standard phone lines at speeds higher than a 56k modem allows. The technology is older and the connection speed lower than those of ADSL.

ISP - Internet Service Provider - A company that sells access to the Internet, most often through a local phone number. ISPs are usually distinguished from commercial services, which link to the Internet but also offer additional services, such as content and chat, only available to their subscribers.

IP - Internet Protocol - The computer language that allows computer programs to communicate over the Internet.

Java - A computer programming language that allows World Wide Web pages to have animation, calculators, and other fancy tricks. See also "applets".

Keyword - On Web search engines, these are words that you type into the search form, or search "window," to search the Web for pages or sites that contain your keyword and information related to it.

LAN- Local Area Network - A network of connected computers that are generally located near each other, such as in an office or company.

Link - Highlighted text that is designed so that clicking on it will take you to another document, Web page, or Web site. See also hypertext.

Modem - A hardware device that allows computers to communicate with each other over telephone lines. 

Modems come in different speeds: The higher the speed, the faster the data are transmitted. A modem enables what is generally referred to as "dial-up access." The fastest widely available modems are "56K" (or 56 kilobits per second).

Monitoring software - A type of software product that allows a parent or caretaker to monitor the Web sites or e-mail messages that a child visits or reads, without necessarily blocking access.

Mouse - A small device attached to your computer by a cord, which lets you give commands to the computer by clicking the device. See also hardware.

Multimedia- A combination of two or more types of information such as text, audio, video, graphics, and images.

Netiquette - The rules of cyberspace civility. Usually applied to the Internet, where manners are enforced exclusively by fellow users.

Newsgroups or USENET- Discussion groups on the Internet(not on the Web, which is only one area of the Internet) that are broken down andcategorised by subjects. 

These discussion groups consist of messages sent by other Internet users and displayed publicly for everyone in the group (or under the topic area) to read. The word "news" in "newsgroups" does not mean they are run by news services or journalists.

PICS - Platform for Internet Content Selection - PICS is a technology that allows Web browsers to read content ratings of Web sites, but it is not a rating system itself.

Plug-in - A program that works with browsers to play audio and video.

Port Scanning- Port Scanning is an activity, which by using a particular type of software gives the user the ability to scan the computer system of another Internet user. 

The purpose of which can be (but is not limited to), obtaining passwords and usernames, remotely controlling that computer or destroying data on that computer.

Posting - Like posting a message on a bulletin board, the sending of a message to a discussion group or other public message area on the Internet. The message itself is called a "post."

PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Network. A circuit-switched analogue network which makes connections for the duration of telephone call. These connections are usually used for voice but can also carry data between facsimile machines and computers (via a modem).

RSACi - Recreation Software Advisory Council's Internet rating system - a rating system for Web content that uses PICS technology. RSACi was recently renamed the Internet Content Rating Alliance (ICRA.

Search engine - A tool to help people locate information available on the World Wide Web. By typing in keywords, users can find numerous Web sites that contain the information sought. 

Server - A host computer that stores information and/or software programs and makes them available (or "serves" them) to users of other computers. You download the information on a Web server with a Web browser.

Server-based filter - Unlike client-based software, which is installed on your own computer, server-based filters work on a host server (for example, a Web server) generally located at an Internet Service Provider or a LAN at a company. Your computer is connected to this server so that you receive only the Web pages that are not filtered on the server.

Software- A computer program. Loosely defined, it's made up of a set of instructions, also called "computer code," to be used on your hardware. 

There is "system software" that operates the machine itself (such as the Windows and MacOS operating systems), and there is "application software" for specific uses, or applications, such as word processing, playing games, or managing your money.

Spider - A software program that "crawls" the Web, searching through Web pages and sites and indexing those pages in a database of Web pages that can then be searched using a search engine.

Spam - Unsolicited "junk" e-mail containing advertising or promotional messages sent to large numbers of people. Sometimes people or companies send sexually explicit unsolicited e-mail, known as "porn spam."

TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol - A computer "language" that allows for transmission, or "publishing," of information across the Internet.

Time limiting software - Software that allows time limits to be set for access to the Internet or software programs such as games. 

Trojan (Horse) - A Trojan (horse) is an "apparently useful program containing hidden functions that can exploit the privileges of the user [running the program], with a resulting security threat. 

A Trojan horse does things that the program user did not intend" Trojan horses rely on users to install them, or they can be installed by intruders who have gained unauthorized access by other means. 

Then, an intruder attempting to subvert a system using a Trojan horse relies on other users running the Trojan horse to be successful.

Upload - Copying or sending data or documents from your computer to another computer, such as the server that hosts your home page. See also download.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator - The World Wide Web address of a site on the Internet. For example, the URL for this website is See also Domain Name.

Web - The World Wide Web - What most people think of when they think of the Internet. The Web is actually just one service on the Internet. 

It is a collection of graphical hyperlinked documents made publicly available on computers (or Web servers) around the world. 

The information on these servers can be viewed or accessed with a browser. Other services on the Internet include Internet Relay Chat and Newsgroups.

Web-based chat - As opposed to chat IRC found on subscriber-only online services, Web-based chat allows people to chat with each other using a browser. Web-based chat rooms are found in Web sites.

Web-based e-mail - A technology that allows you to send and receive e-mail using only a browser (as opposed to an e-mail software program like Eudora).

Web-based Instant-Messaging - Instant-Messaging technology that works in Web sites (as opposed to a commercial online services). See also "Instant Messaging".

Webmaster - The administrator responsible for the management and often design of a Web site.

WWW - The World Wide Web. See "Web".




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