Web Site Terminology

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Web Site Starter's Guide

If you want to build a web site, here are a few terms you should know:


The term "computer" is typically associated with desktop PCs and notebooks. But tablets and smartphones are also computers since they work like PCs and notebooks, they just have slimed down software.


A server is just a computer running software that sends and receives data from other computers. There are web servers, e-mail servers, and so on. Different kinds of servers can run on a single machine or a machine can be dedicated to a specific kind of server.

Web Browser

A computer program used to view web pages (e.g. Chrome, Edge/Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari).

Web Hosting Provider

A company/organization that rents access to their web servers. But most web hosting providers also allow customers to run e-mail and FTP servers.

Domain Name

A domain name (or top-level domain name, TLD) is a human-readable address pointing to an IPs--much like your mailing address can be used instead of map co-ordinates.

For example, google.ca, facebook.com, and amazon.co.uk all domain names.


A sub-domain is a sub section of a top-level domain name. For example, blog.tumblr.com is a sub domain. You can refer to "blog" as the subdomain or "blog.tumblr.com".

A TLD owner can create an unlimitted number of domain names at no additional cost.

Domain Name Extension/Country Code

In the domain name "example.com", ".com" is the domain extension.

In the domain name "example.co.uk", ".co.uk" is the domain name extension.

Domain name extensions are sometimes called "country codes". For example, ".ca" is for Canada and ".us" is for the United States. But ".com" is not a country code since it stands for "commerical" (as in for-profit businesses).

Domain Name Registrar

A company that allows customers to rent/lease domain names. (You can not permanently own a domain name.)

Prices vary depending on the domain extension. A ".com" domain name is usually around $10 per year.


When you request/receive data from another computer, you are "downloading" data.


When you send data to another computer, you are "uploading" data.


Your ISP allows you to upload and download a certain amount of data for a certain amount of money. The same is true for any computer connected to the Internet, including servers.

If you have a file on your server that is 1mb and your web hosting provider says they offer 1000Mb bandwidth per month that means your 1mb file can be downloaded 1000 times before going over the bandwidth limit.


The "hypertext markup language" is used to format web pages. This is not a programming language, per se, since its only used for creating documents.


CSS (cascading stylesheets) is a formatting language for styling HTML pages.

Search Engine

A database (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) of all (most) of the pages on the web.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Structuring web pages in such a way that makes them more understandable to search engines so such pages will rank high that other pages.