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Many folk often have questions about the technical side of Web development. I hope the list below will help decipher the meanings of the most common Web-related terms at your convenience.


A program whose primary function is to display information from Web sites. Typical browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox, display information, text and images on a computer monitor.

CMS (content management system)

Software that streamlines creating, editing and publishing Web content for viewing in a browser. Most content management systems are designed so that a person with no knowledge of Web languages can edit a Web site’s content.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

The style (design) language of Web pages. CSS allows web sites to be displayed according to a designer’s vision. For example, Web designers can customize font size and color, and insert background images into web pages using CSS.

Domain Name

A unique, human-friendly nickname for the server that hosts your Web site. When you lease a domain name, you are entitled to the right to “point” that domain name to any server that you rent or own. At that point, anyone who types your domain name into their browser will be directed to your server and see your Web site.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

A popular file format for graphics displayed on the Web.

Hosting Provider

A company that rents out server space, allowing you to place your web site on the Web, 24/7, without having to buy your own server.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

The structural language of web pages. Each part of an HTML document is marked up (titles, headers, paragraphs, images, etc.) using tags. Tags tell the browser how to display each data type so that it makes sense to the viewer.


A scripting language that enables enhanced interactivity on HTML Web pages.

JPG or JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

A popular file format for graphics displayed on the Web.


A JavaScript library to help in writing more consize JavaScript. To see an example of jQuery at work, click the "music" link on this site's top menu. You should see the music player fade into view.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

A file format for displaying graphics on the Web that is similar but superior to GIF.


A computer, much like the one you’re using right now, that is configured specifically to serve Web pages to browsers. As you might have already guessed, owning or renting a server is necessary if you want to have a Web site. This is easily, securely and affordably accomplished via a hosting provider.

Looking to sort out other terms?

If you need further clarification on any term listed on this glossary, or would like to get a quick and easy explanation to some other terms, send me a message and I'll do my best to help you sort it out.