Web Design Glossary

Below are frequently used terms in the web design industry explained in plain English.

Web Design Glossary

Web Design Glossary

Frequently used web site terms explained in plain English.

Autoresponder An email message which is automatically sent as a response to an email enquiry by a user.

Bandwidth The amount of information that can be transferred across an internet connection.

Body The body section of a web page, in HTML terms. Unlike the Head section, everything in the body is shown on the page.

Broken Link Checker A tool that checks each link on a website to ensure its links, both internal and external are available and still current. That is, when clicked on, they do not receive error messages.

Browser The program that displays web sites on your computer. Examples are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Opera, Google Chrome, Netscape, and Mozilla’s Firefox.

CGI Common Gateway Interface. A protocol enabling web pages to transfer instructions to a server, via a script placed in an HTML page that completes a series of tasks. Used in web forms for example.

Cookies A text message sent from a web server to a browser and then returned by the browser to the server when the user re-visits that site. They are used to identify users and store information between visits, or generate statistics.

CSS Cascading Style Sheets are an extension of HTML used for editing. They provide a way to make one change on a web page that automatically changes other pages

Directory A website which acts as an index of other sites, in categories. Also refers to a website’s structure

Domain Name Web site name. The unique address belonging to your website, eg http://www.how-to-build-web-sites.com, with a file extension for each page

eBook A document, consisting of many pages which can be transferred electronically. It is an electronic book, which can also be printed as a hard copy.

FTP Is a standard program used to upload your web site from the program where it was created, to a server.

GIF Graphics Interchange Format. An image format used on the web, best for line drawings, logos, icons or banners with a small number of colours.

Head Only visible in the top section of an HTML page, is information (including metatags) about the page.

HTML Is the language that browsers use to display your site. It uses a set of tags that specify how a page will look – images, font types, instructions, colours etc

HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol A text based set of rules by which files on the web are transferred from web servers to browsers. The vast majority of web addresses (URLs) are prefixed by http://

Index When a search engine searches and catalogues a web site, for later retrieval for keyword searches. Also the name given for a home page of a website.

Java Script A scripting language that provides a simplified method of applying of applying dynamic effects to a web pages

JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group Format. An image format used on the web, best for photographs or graphics with lots of colours.

Keywords Search terms people type into a search engine to find what they are looking for. Essential for search engine optimisation

Link A piece of text, or an image, with a URL embedded in it, which takes the user to another location of the same or different web site by clicking on it.

Link Exchange A system whereby websites swap links with each other, usually displayed on a dedicated Links Page. Also known as Reciprocal Links.

Navigation Bar A set of links that display the names of different pages on a website eg Home, Contact, Products etc. It can be displayed across the top, down one side, or across the bottom of a web page

Page Rank Page Rank (PR) is the importance that Google places on each each web page, decided by its own, secret algorithm. It can be displayed on the Google tool bar, and ranks sites from 0 – 10.

Pixels Picture Element, is a single dot of light on a computer screen, and can be displayed in different colours

Resolution Of monitors, is the number of pixels across and down that will display the size of your web page on a browser’s screen. The most common resolution at present is 800 x 600.

RSS feeds Are headlines and news stories, usually from major newspapers, that can be fed onto any web site on any chosen topic

Scripts Sets of instructions to carry out actions or tasks on a web page, written in computer languages such as Perl, CGI, ASP, PHP or Java. Learn how to install scripts.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)A set of strategies used to increase a site’s positioning or ranking in a search engine

Server The computer storage provided by a web host or web hosting company

Shopping cart An order form where shoppers can fill out their details, choose their purchases, pay for them, then check out.

Site Map A set of ordered text links on a web site, that shows all of its publicly available pages, in one location.

SSL Secure Sockets Layer is an encryption technology used for privacy and security of information

Subdomain A separate website, with its own URL, that belongs to a main domain. eg www.subdomain.maindomain.com. Subdomains can have unlimited pages

Text Links A word or set of words that has a URL embedded behind it. When clicked on, it will take the user to a different part of the same page, a different page of the same web site, or a different web site

Thumbnail Is a small picture, image or photograph on a web page, used to make loading of a page faster than a large image would take. It can sometimes be linked to a larger picture on another web page for users if desired.

URL Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address of every page on the web.eg http://how-to-build-web-sites.com/website_glossary.html

Web Safe Colours Not all browsers can display all colours, but most have a selection of standardised 256 colours available. Using web safe colours ensures your site will be displayed in the colour you intend. If a browser cannot display that colour, it will display a different colour

WYSIWYG Short for ‘What You See Is What You Get’ and refers to a website building program or software where you can see results of actions and changes immediately. An HTML editor works in the background to convert the actions into HTML.


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