Internet and IT Glossary

Our glossary of everyday Internet and computing terms and acronyms has been updated to offer basic explanations for many common expressions found on the Internet. You can use CTRL+F to search quickly for keywords on this page.

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address A way of denoting the location of a site or user on the Internet, e.g. or
Adsense Google's advertising system that shows adverts relevant to the page's written content.
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, broadband technology that permits high speed data to be transmitted over copper telephone wires. Asymmetric means that the download speed is higher than the upload speed.
AFAIC Shorthand for "As Far As I'm Concerned".
AFAICS Shorthand for "As Far As I Can See".
AFAIK Shorthand for "As far As I Know".
AIUI Shorthand for "As I Understand It".
analogue (analog) Of information which is of a continuously variable entity, e.g. an audio microphone signal. Often degraded by "noise" or outside interference.
Android Google's proprietary operating system based on Linux.
anonymous FTP The act of obtaining openly-available computer files from an FTP server, using the File Transfer Protocol when logged in as an "anonymous" user.
app short for application, a small programd edicated to a platform such as iPhone
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. System for denoting up to 128 alphanumeric characters and other symbols using a 7 bit number. E.g. 101 0111 is the ASCII code for "W" and 111 0000 is "p".
ASK.COM a question-and-answer based search engine, see
Any file (graphic, program etc.) which is appended to an E-mail message. Attachments may contain a virus and should be scanned before opening, even if received from a trusted source.
AUP Acceptable Use Policy, the sometimes contractual terms relating to the use of a facility, in order to prevent abuse.
avatar An iconic graphical symbol (e.g. a cartoon character) representing the persona of an actual user in, say, a chat forum.
.avi Audio/ Video Interleaved format, a multimedia Windows® movie/ sound file format.


B2B Business To Business.
B2C Business To Consumer.
backbone The major Internet communications links that span the country or world.
backscatter bounced (spam) Emails returned as undeliverable, often to an innocent address.
backslash The \ symbol, used in DOS-based computer systems and Windows® pathnames.
bandwidth General a term indicating the available capacity within a communications link.
banner An eyecatching graphic positioned prominently on a web page, in the hope that users will click on it. They have standard sizes, e.g. 468 x 60 pixels.
baud The rate per second at which, e.g. a modem, can transmit groups of binary digits. Example, a dial-up modem operating at 14,400 baud and sending 4 bits per baud transition would transmit 57,600 bits per second. Hence the baud rate determines the overall modem speed.
bcc: Blind Carbon Copy/ Blind Courtesy Copy: an E-mail sent out and bcc'd to a third user, will be received by the third user without the knowledge of the main recipient. A way of privately copying someone else in with an E-mail.
beta Prototype software or web site services, in not quite its final form, and which may therefore contain bugs.
binary A graphical image file, data file (e.g. a word-processing file) or a program - i.e. anything other than a simple ASCII text file. Or, the binary number system of zeros and ones.
binhex (Binary-to-Hexadecimal) A technique for converting binary files into plain text ASCII characters, for transmission by Internet as if an ordinary text E-mail.
bit A binary digit, i.e. zero or one.
Blackberry A brand of mobile phone optimised for Email and web browsing.
blog - short for 'web blog', an online diary or itinerary
body The main part of an E-mail message.
boot To start a computer. (Re-boot: to re-start it.)
bounce When a message, e.g. an E-mail, is returned as undeliverable.
broadband High speed, always-on Internet connection available through ADSL, cable, satellite or wireless.
brownout Term describing a power reduction (as opposed to a total failure), which causes a maloperation in computer hardware or other electronic equipment. This can damage equipment and can be prevented with a UPS.
browser Software which enables users to view pages via the World-Wide Web. Microsoft Internet Explorer is the most common, followed by Firefox or Opera.
BTW Shorthand for "By The Way".
bug Fault or other undesirable feature in computer software.
byte Usually, 8 binary digits or bits.


cable modem A high-speed modem which operates in conjunction with a cable network provider rather than via a telephone line to provide broadband Internet access
cache A fast and efficient buffer or intermediate storage stage, including temporary files retrieved from the Internet and stored in a cache on a computer hard disk.
CAPTCHA Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart - the random text input needed on some pages to help prevent automated systems filling them in with e.g. spam code. (Alan Turing was a highly advanced mathematician and cryptographer in WW2.)
caret The ^ symbol (shift 6, on UK keyboards)
cc: Carbon Copy/ Courtesy Copy: a way of copying an E-mail to another party (with the knowledge of all parties concerned).
CCITT Comité Consultatif International Télégraphique et Téléphonique.
CERN Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire [European Particle Physics Laboratory]. The Geneva-based research body where HTML - the formatting and layout language of World Wide Web pages - was devised by Englishman Tim Berners-Lee, to enable complex physics data to be shared on a computer network.
cgi-bin Common Gateway Interface Binaries, a resource installed on a web server permitting scripts (programs) to be executed. May be used for producing responses in relation to user actions, price quote requests, etc. Often seen in URLs of active web pages.
chat Internet program involving two or more users communicating in real time by typing messages on a screen or via a webcam. Has a shorthand all of its own.
CHAP Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol, a security technique used by ISPs to confirm user identities.
Chrome (1) a web browser devised by Google; (2) the decorative parts of a program or webpage.
click-thru Describes the act of clicking (with a mouse) on a banner advert, in order to go and visit the corresponding advertiser's web site.
client A computer system on the user or "receiving" end of a client/ server connection, the client providing an interface with the user, whilst the remotely-located server contains the main processing resources.
CMS Content Management System - software or services enabling web siteowners to amend their web pages or update their web site.
cookie A very small text-file which is downloaded onto a computer when the user visits certain web sites. Enables "personalisation" and identification next time they visit.
CPC Cost per click - how much an advertiser had to pay for each click-thru on his advertisement or link.
CPM Cost Per Mille, the price per thousand 'views' of an online advertisement.
CTR click thru rate - describing how often a hyperlink or graphic advert is clicked when it appears on a web page. Used in marketing and advertising.
cracker A user who breaks through the security systems of a computer system in order to access the main system or data stored on it.


DCE Data Communications Equipment, e.g. a modem.
DECT Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications -cordless phone technology for landlines. See GAP. DECT modems allow reliable wire-free data transmissions over reasonable distances.
DHCP Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, a means of allocating IP addresses to network resources
dictionary attack A technique whereby an entire computerised dictionary of words is launched at a password-protected file or site, in an attempt to "crack" it.
Denial of Service (DoS) Attack An attempt to disrupt an Internet Service by e.g. mailbombing network servers with excessive mail.
desktop - mainly meaning the screen of a PC and its collection of icons, with 'wallpaper' as a background
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack A co-ordinated attack made by multiple (hundreds/ thousands+) of computers targeting a server or e.g. web site to try and force it to crash.
dial-up/ dial-in access Internet access using a modem and telephone line to connect via an Internet Service Provider
digital certificate issued by a Certifying Authority (e.g. Verisign) to confirm the authenticity of an organisation or body. It facilitates secure on-line transactions via a Secure Server or other binding commercial trust-based communications.
DNS Domain Name System, an Internet system which cross-refers users' IP numbers with human-readable addresses. Managed by Domain Name Server computer systems.
.doc The file extension associated with Microsoft® Word document files.
domainer A speculator who buys domain names with a view to reselling them at a profit or "monetising" them through an online advertising network.
domain name
A unique Internet address owned by an organisation, corporation or individual, e.g. - the identifies that it is a "company" or corporate name with a domain name registered in the UK.
domain tasting Acquiring a domain name (.com and others, but not purely to trial its desirability during the initial 5 Day grace period
Dotted Quad IP address A resource's or user's numerical IP (Internet Protocol) address in the form of four numbers separated by full stops, e.g. Recognisable by computers, and translated from/ into human-readable addresses using the (DNS) Domain Name Service.
download To fetch computer files down from a remote server onto a local system. E.g. to download a demo file from the Internet onto a PC.
Dreamweaver Professional web design software produced by Adobe.
DUN Microsoft Dial-Up Networking, a configuration containing settings to enable a Windows® 95+ computer to make an Internet connection with an ISP.
dynamic IP address A user's IP address which is fetched from a "pool" of available IP addresses, and which is allocated for that session only.


E-Commerce - Electronic commerce, trading via e.g. the Internet rather than physically.
emoticon Emotion Icon, or "smiley", a way of adding nuances and expressions to text messages, so that the recipient is aware of the sender's feelings. e.g. :-)=happy/ smiling, :-(=sad, 8-)=smiling and wearing glasses, and so on.
Ethernet A communications system for operating LANs (local area networks).
E-zine Electronic magazine, a non-paper publication delivered via e.g. the Internet or a web page.
Eudora A freeware E-mail client program for Windows® and Mac, now combined with Thunderbird from the Mozilla open source foundation.


FAQ Frequently Asked Questions, used on web sites and support services. Worth checking before asking questions.
fax modem device that translates data into signals which can be transmitted over a telephone line, also capable of sending and receiving faxes for viewing/ printing by a computer. A fax modem is need to send traditional faxes down a phone line.
file extension Alphanumeric characters added to a filename to denote the filetype. Example, the .doc extension denotes a file is a Microsoft® Word file.
file name/ filename A name applied to a computer file to identify it. Example, myword.doc is a file named "myword" and a .doc extension, indicating it is a Microsoft® Word file called myword.
filter (1) A technique for sorting out, routeing or deleting incoming messages and mails, to sort them into mailboxes on a user's system. (2) An ADSL filter (or splitter) is required to split a broadband feed into data for the router and a phone line for phone or fax.
firefox a popular free alternative web browser.
Firewire a high speed protocol designed to connect some video or peripheral hardware.
firewall A protective software or hardware "screen" which prevents unauthorised access to or attacks on systems sheltered "behind" it. Used on servers as well as personal computers and routers.
False Positive In anti-spam filtering systems, a message that is wrongly flagged or deleted as spam when in fact it's a genuine message.
flame A term applied to a hostile or abusive E-mail or forum posting.
flame war An openly hostile or aggressive debate between users, using e.g. E-mail or a forum.
Flash "Future Splash Animator" — now Adobe technology for producing high-impact vector graphics and animation, for incorporation into web pages.
follow-up An article posted in a forum thread in reply to another.
font A typeface used on a computer system. What a user actually sees on a web page in terms of typefaces, depends on what fonts are already installed on the user's computer system.
forward slash The / symbol used in pathnames, on Unix-based systems, FTP sites etc.
freeware software which is totally free of charge to the user.
FTP File Transfer Protocol, a means of transferring computer files (images, text, web pages etc.) onto an FTP server (uploading) or from an FTP server (downloading) onto a local system.
FWIW Shorthand for "For What It's Worth".


  .gif/ GIF Graphics Interchange Format image, a proprietary format created by CompuServe for sending images across the Internet. Maximum of 256 colours, almost all non-JPEG images on web pages are transmitted this way.
GAP Generic Access Protocol - GAP-compatible DECT phones can work together on the same system .
Google - the world's most powerful search engine, also operating powerful advertising channels.
GPRS General Packet Radio Service - the method used by GSM mobile phones to handle Internet traffic. A monthly limit often applies, with the potential to incur extreme costs for overzealous use.
GPS Global Positioning System - satellite navigation using US Air Force satellite network. European equivalent network is Galileo, under construction.
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications
GUI "Gooey" or Graphical User Interface, an on-screen method permitting a user to operate a computer program, usually with a mouse. The best-known examples are Microsoft Windows, the Apple Mac OS and Linux.


hardware Physical equipment which is "hard" - i.e. a computer, printer or other equipment
hash The # (or Pound) or Square symbol, or proper name Octothorpe.
header The often unseen (hidden by software) part of an E-mail message containing identity, configuration and routing data related to that message. Useful for retracing its source, or fault finding.
helper A software application which "helps" other applications, e.g. a graphics viewer or audio player program to "help" a web browser.
hexadecimal A numbering system based around Base 16, counting 0 - 9 followed on by A, B, C, D, E and F - 16 "numbers" in all.
hoax virus An urgent-looking E-mail message warning against the presence of a fictitious virus, instructing the recipient to forward the same E-mail message to everyone he/ she knows. The damage is done by sending it on to many users, unnecessarily.
home page The main starting page of a web site, usually the default index.htm or index.html.
HTML Hypertext Mark-Up Language, the formatting commands applied to plain text, to convert it into material suitable for displaying in a web page.
hypertext Computer-prepared text containing links to related topics, which can be followed with e.g. a mouse-click.
hyperlink A link on a web site or Help file which, when clicked, jumps the user to another page.


IANAL Shorthand for "I am not a lawyer,but..."
Internet Control Message Protocol, a mechanism by which Internet control messages can be sent between systems.
IIRC Shorthand for "If I Recall Correctly".
IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol, an improved server-based E-mail and message handling protocol allowing better control of multiple mailboxes than POP3.
IMO/ IMHO Shorthand for "In My (Humble/ Honest) Opinion".
interface A system or mechanism for connecting two entities together, e.g. a computer-user interface.
Internet From International network of computer Networks, originally a network of differing computer networks communicating using a common language (TCP/IP).
IP (1) Internet Protocol, the part of the TCP/ IP Internet communications protocol, related to the creation and sending of packets of data using the Internet, as well as their reception and conversion back into information. (2) Intellectual Property, copyrights, patents, trademarks, design rights or other assets belonging to its owner.
IP Camera A standalone camera that relays images via the Internet without needing to be connected to a personal computer or server.
IPS tag Internet Provider Security tag, for .uk domain names, a label for the ISP that is responsible for managing the domain.
iPlate A proprietary BT module that sometimes greatly improves broadband speeds by neutralising the redundant Bell wire in a standard BT phone circuit.
IRC Internet Relay Chat, a popular application of the Internet enabling multiple users across the world to "chat" by typing messages to each other on-screen, all in real time.
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network, a digital system for transmitting data at higher rates than can be achieved over an analogue network.
ISP Internet Service Provider, an organisation providing an Internet connection for its users.
ISTR Shorthand for "I seem to remember/ recall ".
ITU International Telecommunications Union. A Standards Committee controlling transmission protocols.


Java A powerful, complete programming language created by Sun Microsystems, which amongst other uses enables dynamic web pages to be created through the use of Java "applets" or mini-programs, which are embedded in web pages and designed to be downloaded and run on virtually any type of user system, even mobile phones.
Javascript A scripting language that allows more web page functionality to be run by a Javascript-capable browser.
.jpg/ JPEG The file type (.jpg) indicating a JPEG image. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Usually compressed and "lossy" but often the best way for sending photographic images containing millions of colours by Internet or on CD ROM.


Kb/ kilobit Technically 1,024 bits (210) but sometimes assumed to be 1,000 bits.
KB/ kilobyte Technically 1,024 bytes (210) but sometimes assumed to be 1,000 bytes. A byte usually contains 8 bits (binary digits).
KB (Knowledge Base) An information resource commonly available on-line or on-disc, in practice often based on users' feedback, comments and frequently asked questions from customers. Example, the Microsoft® Knowledge Base.
kbps kilobits per seconds, data transmission speeds
kBps kilobytes per seconds, data transmission speeds
key pair In Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), a key pair consists of a secret private key (a passphrase known only to its owner) plus a corresponding public key which is freely distributed to anyone wishing to use it to send encrypted mail to the key pair owner.


LAN Local Area Network, a small network of computers or terminals connected together and often sharing common resources.
latency The time period inherent in a communications link which is the minimum amount of time needed for a signal to travel from one end of the link to the other.
Linux Pronounced "Linn-ucks". A free, open-source computer operating system. Increasingly popular as as an alternative to commercial ones but needs more technical know-how to run.
LINX The London Internet Exchange, where UK internet traffic is transferred out onto the Internet.
local loop The term applied to the copper wires, owned by BT, which connect premises to a BT telephone exchange.
local system A computer (system) operated directly by the user rather than connected at arm's length via a communications link. E.g. a personal computer as opposed to a "remote" computer.
LOL Shorthand for Laughing Out Loud, with several meanings: simply laughing in response to e.g. a joke, or otherwise somewhat of a jeering laugh, as in Ha! I doubt it! Sometimes mistakenly used to mean 'Lots of love'.


macro A small routine that performs a preset series of commands in a program, e.g. a word-processing, image processing or spreadsheet macro.
mailbomb An attempt to disrupt or disable a user's E-mail feed, by "bombing" it with extremely large E-mail files, or a concerted attack by many users each doing the same.
mailbox A location on a mail server or a client system, in which E-mail is stored.
M-Commerce - Mobile Commerce - transacting such as paying micropayments for car parking or vending machines through a mobile phone.
Microsoft Internet Explorer The free web browser marketed by Microsoft. Often just called IE.
MIME Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, a standardisation enabling various filetypes to be sent directly over the Internet in an E-mail.
modem Modulator/ Demodulator, a device which translates computer data from (or into) signals which can be transmitted over a telephone line.
.mov The file extension associated with Apple QuickTime "movie" files.
Mozilla The name of the dinosaur mascot created by Netscape Communications Corp. during the early development of their Navigator web browser. Also, the name of the organisation co-ordinating open source Firefox browser, Thunderbird E-Mail client and more.
MP3 A highly-compressed file format enabling music tracks to be readily published and transmitted over the Internet.
.mpg/ MPEG The filetype or file extension related to MPEG audio/ video files. (Moving Pictures Experts Group.)
MSIE Microsoft Internet Explorer.
MSN The Microsoft Network, an online portal site of content and popular services
MTU Maximum Transmission Unit - the maximum packet size (in bytes) that can be transmitted in a network. This can be configured with software if needed as some Internet sessions may fail if the MTU is too high.


Nameserver Part of a domain's configuration responsible for routing traffic to the relevant host. A "signpost" for Internet traffic.
lower speed communications, e.g. dial-up Internet.
NAT Network Address Translation - a technique used in e.g. routers to enable multiple computers to "hide" behind a single IP address that reaches out onto the Internet.
Netbook a small mini-laptop with keyboard, for portable use
Netiquette Net Etiquette, a largely unwritten but widely accepted set of rules encouraging good manners on the Internet, e.g. when using E-mail or Usenet.
newbie The general term for a newcomer to the Internet.
newsgroup A topical group on Usenet, dedicated to a particular subject, controlled by the mutual co-operation of its users. Generally becoming obsolete.
news reader A software application which can accept article postings and sort them into relevant "threads" usually for off-line reading.
NNTP Network News Transfer Protocol, the system related to the distribution of Usenet messages.
NOC Network Operations Centre, where an Internet network will be managed by the ISP concerned.
node An identifiable individual location connected to a network or the Internet. E.g. an individual user with their own IP address.
Nominet The independent UK body responsible for maintaining all .uk domain name registrations.


off-hook When a modem is connected to a phone line (after traditional telephones, which connected when the handset was lifted up off the hook).
off-line When disconnected from the Internet.
on-line When available or connected to an Internet
open source Software having its source code readily available so that it can be adapted by programmers.
OP original poster, the one who originally started a thread or discussion.
Opera Web browser sold by Opera Software sold as an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer
OS Operating System, computer programs which control the operation of the entire computer system. Example, Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS
OT/ off topic When an article or thread is wandering away from the intended subject of that thread or group discussion. Often irritating or discourteous to other users.
outage A complete power or telecoms failure.
Outlook Express The free E-mail and newsreader client provided with Microsoft Windows. Note that Outlook is part of Microsoft Office.


P2P Peer To Peer, direct file sharing between users (Peers) rather than via a central server.
PAP Password Authentication Protocol, a system for verifying the username and password of a user, when dialling up an Internet service.
passphrase A password usually containing a mixture of upper and lower case characters, words and numbers, and is considered far stronger than a simple password that could be guessed or broken by a dictionary attack. Example, mYpa$$phra5e.
pathname Method of describing the location of a file in a computer file directory. Example, the file readme.txt may have a pathname of C:\ My Documents\ My letters\ readme.txt.
PCI DSS Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard - an industry standard for enhancing protection of creditcard details. See
PDF Portable Document Format - an Adobe technology for publishing documents in a standardised format for print or Internet use. Requires Adobe Reader to view.
PGP Pretty Good Privacy. A very strong encryption program to protect Email and files.
phishing Fraudulent attempts usually made by Email to trick users into revealing personal information such as bank logins, PIN numbers etc.
ping Packet Internet Groper, a means of checking the quality and speed of connectivity by timing how long it takes in milliseconds for a test "ping" to be returned by a remote service.
pixel Short for picture element, the smallest "dot" of data which can be rendered in a computerised image.
podcast publishing a sound recording or interview on the Internet usually as an MP3, that could be downloaded into an iPod for offline listening.
POP3 Post Office Protocol 3, an E-mail delivery protocol allowing users to fetch and control E-mail waiting on their POP3 mail server. Associated with incoming mail.
port A channel in a communications network dedicated to or available for a particular service, e.g. a web server.
POTS Plain Old Telephone System/ Service. Basic phone line connection.
PPP Point to Point Protocol, a data transmission technique required for dial-in Internet users to establish a link to the Internet via their ISP.
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) A strong encryption technique used to prevent unwanted interception and reading of E-mail and files. Used mostly for personal one-to-one communications, requires a key pair.
private key In Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption, a private key is associated with a secret passphrase known only to its user which enables data, encrypted by another party using the user's corresponding public key, to be decrypted again.
proxy server An intermediate buffer / server for caching e.g. web files downloaded from the Internet. In theory it should be quicker to fetch a file if it already exists on a proxy server, rather than having to reach out across the Internet to fetch it from the original source.
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network - the phone system accessible by ordinary public users.
public key In Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption, a party's public key is utilised by any user with PGP to encrypt messages, files etc. to be transmitted over the Internet to that party. The party then uses his corresponding private key to "unlock" or decrypt it again using PGP.
public keyring In Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), a folder containing the public keys of one's correspondents.


.rar file extension of a compressed file, needing e.g. Winzip to uncompress it.
readme Common name for a text file containing important last-minute instructions for the user to read first, before e.g. installing software. (Readme.txt or Readme.1st.)
remote A computer connected via e.g. the Internet to a local system operated by the user.
Reply-To: The address where the reply made by the recipient of an E-mail will be sent to.
RFC Request For Comments, the means by which the evolution of the Internet was documented by its developers and techniques and protocols agreed. Now an RFC represents a finalised and agreed standard.
ROFL/ ROTFL Shorthand for Rolls On (The) Floor Laughing! A way of saying that you found e.g. a joke hilarious.
root The basic "tree trunk" or starting place of a file directory, from which many folders or sub-directories can "branch out".
router Technically, hardware that connects one type of network to another. Now often means modem-like hardware connecting a single computer or more via broadband to the Internet.
Royalty Free images or audio etc. that can be used virtually unrestricted subject to paying a one-off royalty: implying that no further royalties need to be paid for subsequent use. Many online libraries sell fixed rate Royalty-free artwork or audio.
RTFM Shorthand expletive for "Read The ****** Manual", telling users to read the instructions before asking (silly or time consuming) questions.


search engine An Internet resource providing lists of suitable web pages in response to a user's search query. Examples include Google, ASK and Yahoo.
Secure Server Usually a web-based server operating under a digital certificate, which enables secure communications and E-commerce to take place. Recognised by the https:// protocol at the start of a URL, and a padlock or key symbol being visible in a browser toolbar.
SEP Search Engine Positioning, endeavouring to achieve higher rankings in search engines.
SEO Search Engine Optimisation, techniques to help improve a web site's rankings in search engines.
server In a client-server model, the system which performs the processing and computational aspects on behalf of the client. Also the name applied to a computer containing files (e.g. web pages) or E-mail for accessing by its users.
shareware - software that can be downloaded for a free trials, and if acceptable licensed by paying a royalty.
.sig (signature) Brief descriptive text at the end of an E-mail message with the sender's details, address, phone etc. as desired.
SLD Second-level domain used in certain domain name structures, e.g. the 'co' in ''. See TLD.
S/MIME Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, a secure Internet communication technique based on the provision and use of digital certificates and S/MIME keys.
Smartphone a mobile phone with operating system capable of running programs (apps) or connecting to a network.
SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a system used for the despatch of E-mail over the Internet. Relates to outgoing mail. The SMTP server usually belongs to the ISP you use to connct to the Internet.
snail mail Traditional letter post.
Social engineering Generally, techniques used by fraudsters to trick users into thinking that an attempted fraud has a genuine basis. Designed to make people let their guard down.
spam Unsolicited and unwanted E-mail (e.g. an advert) broadcast to multiple users, often hundreds of thousands at a time.
spider A searching and indexing program sent out by a search engine which "crawls" over the Internet, searching for web page links and indexing them as it goes along
SSL Secure Sockets Layer, using e.g. digital certificates to provide a secure (encrypted) channel for electronic commerce and on-line trading.
static IP address An IP address which is permanently assigned to a user. Highly desirable for some Internet applications, as opposed to dynamic IP address.
static web page A web site which uses plain HTML, which does not offer any dynamic features (e.g. buttons which change when a mouse passes over them, etc.).


tablet (1) a flat panel touch sensitive device capable of running apps. or conencting to a network (2) a graphics tablet is a pad input device that uses a pen-style 'mouse' - used in graphics.
TCP Transmission Control Protocol, the part of the TCP/IP Internet communications protocol related to the reliable transmission of data packets over the Internet.
TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol, a technique by which individual computer systems or networks can all manage to communicate with each other on common terms.
TelNet (telnet) A basic terminal-type application where a user logs in to a remote system, as if the user were directly connected to it.
terminal adaptor A form of digital modem (a TA) used to connect a computer to an ISDN line.
thread A progression of articles on an individual topic, contained in a forum or newsgroup.
tilde The ~ symbol seen in some addresses.
time server A server computer which can accurately correct the time/ day settings on a connecting computer, to synchronise it.
Trojan (Horse) An innocent-looking computer program or application which looks inviting (e.g. a game) but may actually cause hidden damage in the background when opened.
troll A posting into e.g. a forum which is designed to "wind up" its members in the hope of enraging them.
.txt The file extension relating to plain text files (ASCII files).
TLD Top Level Domain, denoting those parts of a domain name which cannot be resolved any further, e.g. .net, .org, .uk. A country-code TLD or ccTLD denotes the country of origin of the domain's registration. E.g. .fr is France. See IANA for more.
Traceroute A utility for investigating the path between Internet addresses, e.g. for checking the routing, troubleshooting etc.


upload To transfer files from a local system out onto a remote system.
UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply, which power computers, servers, networks etc. should the main power fails.
URL Uniform Resource Locator, denoting the address of a server and the type of protocol associated with it. Examples, or
USB Universal Serial Bus, the popular serial protocol conencting a wide range of computer peripherals to a PC.
username  The log-on identity of a network user, e.g. to be entered when connecting to their ISP.
uudecode The technique for converting uuencoded files back from ASCII characters into the original binary file format.
uuencode A technique for converting binary files (images, graphics, word processing documents etc.) into simple ASCII characters, which can then be sent as an E-mail, then uudecoded back again by the recipient. A file can convert into many thousands of lines of ASCII and the process may be hidden from the user by software.


virus A computer file which infects a host system, which may cause damage perhaps being triggered on a particular date. Can also infect other systems by being transmitted over a network, or on a disk, etc. A virus cannot be contained in an ordinary E-mail text, but can be "attached" to one, hidden in a computer file attachment.
VNC Virtual Network Computer - a system allowing remote operation of computers from another desktop. We use this to log into customers' PCs for troubleshooting etc., without needing to visit.
VPN Virtual Personal Network - a method of interconnecting parts of a network (nodes) together using encrypted data to prevent outside interception, in effect as if the nodes were physically connected with a wire.


webcam a small camera connected to a personal computer that enables video to be displayed via the Internet e.g. in a web page.
webmail An E-mail service (usually free) hosted by a provider that can be accessed by users in a web browser anywhere in the world, e.g. an airport.
WHOIS a search (WHOIS lookup) made on a domain name to identify its registrant. The details may be falsified.
wifi wireless internet.
wiki An information resource that is maintained by its users for the benefit of the whole community base. A 'wiki war' breaks out when operators keep reverting to and overriding any wiki content with their own preferred version.
worm A virus-like software that duplicates itself endlessly, reaching out across networks until affected systems grind to a halt. "Disinfected" systems can be re-infected by other machines on the same network that still have the worm resident.


Yahoo The second most popular search engine and portal web site.
YMMV Shorthand for "Your Mileage May Vary" - meaning, you might get different results in practice.


zip file A popular method for compressing a file or multiple files into a smaller,"zip" file. Denoted by the .zip filetype, e.g. A program such as WinZip is useful.

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