Glossary of Internet Terms

When it comes to the web, words and phrases used can take some getting used to. Even web veterans need to google what “WYSIWYG” stands for every now and again. We’re sharing all the internet terms and phrases we use to help demystify the tech talk.


URL – The URL is simply the address of a page online. For example, our home page URL is http://www.getonlinenola.com/ and our blog posts can be found at http://getonlinenola.com/gon-blog/ each page has a unique URL.

Domain – Think of the website domain as the name in which all the URLs are organized. Our domain is “getonlinenola.com”. Every domain ends in a suffix (like .com) that tells you what top level domain it belongs to. Other examples include .gov, .edu, .org, .net, .co.uk, and so on.

Domain registrar – A domain registrar is an organization that manages ownership of domain names. The domain registrar must follow the guidelines for designated domain name registries. Google has their own domain registrar (Google Domains) and other examples you may recognize are GoDaddy, and GreenGeeks.

Domain Records:
DNS (Domain Name System) – These records control your domains website and email settings. All the following records fall under the umbrella of DNS. When a user visits your domain name, your DNS records control which servers the users reach.

NS (Name Servers) – Every website has at least 2 NS records associated with it. These records determine which company controls your DNS settings. So if your domain name is purchased through DirectNic and your hosting is with Get Online NOLA, you would point your NS records to Get Online NOLA’s servers. From that point, you could control all your other DNS records directly from GON’s hosting management system or CPanel.

MX, (Mail Exchanger Record) – This is a record in the domain name system that specifies where the email associated with your domain will be received and sent. For example, if your domain is hosted with DirectNic, but you want to run your email through G Suite, you would add Google’s MX records to your records within DirectNic.

A Records –  A Records are the most basic type of DNS record. They are used to point your domain name to a specific IP address

C-Name (Canonical Name) – CNAME records can be used to alias one name to another. For example, if you have a blog hosted at blog.getonlinenola.com, but you wanted users to access the same information at news.getonlinenola.com, you could add a CNAME record that points blog.getonlinenola.com to news.getonlinenola.com

TXT (Text Record) – A type of resource record in the DNS that provides the ability to associate arbitrary text with a host or other name. Common uses include verification of domain ownership and records for verifying the sender of email messages.

Hosting – In the world of digital, ‘hosting’ could refer to a number of things, but when it comes to your website, hosting is synonymous with web hosting. This refers to the physical server that your website’s files are written on. Web hosting providers such as Hostgator, Bluehost and GoDaddy have huge climate-controlled warehouses filled with servers (whose space is rented out). When somebody visits your website, the files are accessed directly through your web hosting provider’s servers.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – SEO is a practice of making sure your website (or web page) is attractive and useful as possible for search engines. SEO practices can change where Google, for instance, ranks you on a page when users are searching for information.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – SEO and SEM are two sides of the same coin. Where SEO can be used to increase your search engine ranking organically, SEM can be paid advertisements. SEM helps you entice targeted users using tools like Google AdWords.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – The page returned when a searcher queries a search engine.

Responsive – A responsive website means that the website was built with the intention to adapt depending on what device is used to access the site. The layout of a responsive site changes to fit whatever screen is used to view the content. This makes the website extra user-friendly.

Mobile-friendly – Having a website that is mobile-friendly means that your website works just as well on a computer as it does on a smartphone. This means that the format of the website changes for mobile devices to make it easier to read. All of the websites Get Online NOLA creates are mobile-friendly.

WordPress – The words most popular tool for creating and managing websites. Up to 30% of the world’s websites use WordPress! WordPress is a Content Management Service (CMS) with endless flexibility and applications. Essentially it is a two-sided coin: For developers, it offers an organized and well-documented platform of files to be used in website development – imagine beginning construction on a house to find that the material has already been bought and the foundation already laid. For site managers, WordPress offers an intuitive interface for content editing (writing blogs, building web pages, uploading images).

Open-source – If a software is open-source, the source-code is freely available to be used, modified and distributed by its users. This is in contrast with free software, which can be downloaded, but the source files are protected, so it cannot be legally altered and re-distributed. Open-source software, such as WordPress, proliferates the culture of idea sharing and collaboration on the internet and allows individuals to harness the power of free information.

WYSIWYG – An acronym (usually pronounced wiz-ee-wig) stands for what you see is what you get. WYSIWYG is a screen display that shows exactly how the text will appear in its output. This means it will show the fonts used, italics, bold, underline, paragraph structure and so on.

Server – The server is the computer that delivers your website for viewing. If you’ve ever heard someone complain that “their servers are down” that means that the computer that serves the website is down and therefore you can not access the website.

Site Files – Site files are a directory file structure that organizes the different coded elements of your website. These folders can include your CMS (we use WordPress), your website’s theme, the style sheet that contains rules for how your website looks, and a folder for your database. Your database folder contains all of the text and picture files that we commonly refer to as your website’s content. These files are accessible through FTP, or file transfer protocol, on your website’s hosting server.

SSL Certificate – The SSL Certificate for a website is a file that is used to ensure a secure connection between a web server and browser. This means that you (the user) have a secure website to access. This is critically important for e-commerce websites but is also regularly used in other sites to add security.

Payment Gateway – A payment gateway allows for a payment transaction to occur by transferring information between a website and a processor or bank. The payment gateway allows credit card payments to be processed for digital e-commerce websites.

Browser – The Browser is the tool you use to access the internet. Browsers include Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and more.

Cache – Your browser cache (pronounced cash) stores recently used the information to help you use the web more quickly. This is usually helpful but if you haven’t recently cleared your cache, your browser can pull up an older version of a web page.

Bounce / Bounce Rate – A bounce happens when a user views a page on your website and clicks off before viewing any other pages. The time spent on the page before leaving may impact what this means from a marketing perspective. For instance, if someone comes to your sales page, reads it for two full minutes, and then leaves isn’t a bad interaction. The time spent on page (to count or not count as a bounce) can vary depending on what analytics tracker you are using. The bounce rate simply looks at how many people bounce, versus users who click on multiple pages.

UX (User Experience) – UX refers to how users feel or react regarding the website design or content they are consuming. Ideally, you want as many people as possible to have a positive user experience.

UI (User Interface) – The User interface is what the user sees or uses when accessing the website. When a website (or other digital product) is designed, the designer must keep the UI in mind to make sure it’s functional for the user as well as the computer.

Homepage – The homepage is the first page of a website. When you type in the homepage URL (for example www.getonlinenola.com with nothing following) you will be directed to the homepage. This page can be a landing page and can be styled in almost any way.

Landing Page – Typically the landing page of a website is the home page. It’s the page you land on when typing in a URL. But, you can opt to create multiple landing pages for your website to use for marketing/sales purposes.

Navigation – The navigation of a website is an organized display used to direct people to other areas of your website. You can have the main navigation at the top of the page in a header, for instance. It contains links to other pages of your website so that users can more easily find your content.

Header – The header is the topmost section of a web page. The header is usually used to aid navigation for users but isn’t, as a rule, a menu bar. A header can be designed in many ways and can include links, social links, search bar, navigation and more.

Footer – The footer end caps a web page. When scrolling down, when you can’t scroll further the page likely ends with a footer. The footer of a website has a lot of room for changing design. It can include links for navigation, copyright information, social links and more.

Sidebar – The sidebar on a website is just that, a bar on the side. A sidebar is a design feature that can add additional navigation and information for users. There can be a sidebar on the left or right (or both!) side of the page and can include information like links, search bar, etc.

Widget – A widget is a stand-alone set of code or application. Widgets can be embedded into a website to add further content. If you’ve seen a running stream of a brand’s Instagram feed on their website that function is likely a widget.

Shortcode – Shortcode is used for WordPress websites to make adding code to individual pages quicker and easier. Think of it as an abbreviation of code. For instance, you could have a video you use on several pages of a website. To avoid typing a long code for the same video several times, a developer can create a shortcode (let’s say [ VIDEO ] is the code) to use instead. This shortcode must be linked in the longer, full code in order to work correctly.

Wireframe – The wireframe of a website is more or less the website blueprint. It is a visual guide that shows the bare bones website, which content goes where. Creating a wireframe allows us to design what the web page does before adding in the aesthetic design.


At Get Online Nola we pride ourselves on talking to our clients without “techsplaining”. We build robust WordPress websites that will level up your digital presence.

Want to learn more? Let’s start with a free strategy session.


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