Basic Internet Glossary

Attachment: a file sent "attached" to an e-mail message. May be a picture, text file, audio, video, or executable program. Multiple files may be "stuffed" or "zipped" in order to save space and protect the data from corruption. Make sure you check each attachment for viruses with virus detection software.

Browser: software program used to view Web pages, also may include e-mail and ftp functionality.

Chat: real-time discussions held using your keyboard, either at a web site or using stand-alone software.

Directory: a searchable internet site which catagorizes web sites and lists links, often with a review. is an example of a directory. Often directories will have search engine abilities as well.

Also, a directory is part of the filing structure used by computers to organize files. Example: this file, with its web address of:

has a filename of "internetglossary.html"
and is housed on the "" server,
found inside the directory "help",
and inside the directory named "other."
Another name for a directory such as "other" and "help," which are housed inside the main directory of adultstudent, is subdirectory.

Domain: in an internet address, the part of the naming convention that consists of a sequence of characters separated by dots. The five most common types of domains are: ".com" for company or commercial entity, ".org" for non-profit organization, ".gov" for government agency, ".net" for a network, and ".edu" for educational institution. An internet site’s full domain name would be "" or "" for example. Two sites with such similar names are registered as two separate sites and may or may not be operated by the same company.

E-mail: electronic mail sent over the internet or online service through a stand alone software program or integrated browser.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol): The series of rules that govern "uploading" and "downloading" files from a server. These files can not usually be viewed by the browser software, but will be saved to your hard drive to open or translate later. Current browsers integrate FTP into their software, or you may use a stand alone program.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): the predominant programming language used to write web pages. Used as an extension, or suffix, for pages written in html.

Internet: global network of computers which allows people to share information via phone and digital data lines.

IP number: "Internet Protocol" number. This set of four digits separated by periods (such as is the base system for creating internet addresses. Most of the time web surfers will never see these numbers as they are "resolved" by online servers known as Domain Name Servers. If you get a “DNS server error” or some such and you know the IP number, you can circumvent the need for the Domain Name Server and go directly to the webstite. An IP number may or may not correlate directly to a specific computer, as some are assigned to one domain (static IP) and some are generated on the fly from a block of numbers as the need exists (dynamic IP). Large hosting companies may house hundreds of websites on one server all having the same IP number.

Link (also known as hyperlink): the text or picture you click on to jump from one page or site to another.

Newsgroups: (also previously known as USENET) the internet’s equivalent to the community bulletin board. oversees a web interface for searching, reading, and posting to newsgroups. Choose a category then select discussions. You can also use stand alone newsgroup reader software.

Page: one file as viewed through a browser window.

PDF: "portable document format" which is a file type that is readable on multiple-platforms (Windows AND Mac, Linux, Unix, etc.) with a free downloadable program called Adobe Acrobat Reader available from Adobe Systems.

Portal: a site that acts as an "entryway" to or gatherer of information on a specific subject. They generally include many links to other like sites.

Search Engine: a site on the Web which lets you search the internet using keywords or phrases.

Server: a computer with full-time access to the internet which is used to store files and web sites and "serve" them up as needed when accessed via a url. The server portion of a url is the "" The server can be either a real computer, or space rented on a hosting computer. This situation, where a domain name resides on someone else’s server is called a "virtual domain."

Subdomain: first part of the internet naming construction which often describes the function of a site, or is used for organization. Common subdomains are: "www" for World Wide Web; "ftp" for file transfer protocol, "mail" for a mail server; etc. For example, is a web site, while would be an area for housing files available for download. See domain.

Larger sites often will divide activities into subdomains, such as "" "" or ""

URL or Web Address: the uniform resource locator, or web address is the location of a specific web site. Most often beginning with "http://www."

Virtual domain: a domain name hosted by a computer already having it’s own domain name. Example: is the virtual domain for the set of files located at the direct IP number for our host company’s server. The files are the exact same ones accessed either way. Total Choice Hosting is the hosting server, is one of many virtual domains hosted by the server.

Virus: a program that can attack a personal computer in a variety of usually destructive ways. Viruses are spread by opening infected disks or files. Purchase anti-virus software and run it regularly. Also, do not open e-mail messages from someone you don’t recognize. If you aren’t sure who someone is, send a message asking the sender to identify themselves.

Web site: a collection of pages (or files) from one entity that are linked together.

World Wide Web (www, Web): multi-media interlinked function of the internet. Text, pictures, sound and video can be transmitted via the World Wide Web.