Much of this glossary has been taken from the BBC Webwise glossary, but it has been considerably condensed!

301 redirect

A notice which appears on your browser when you have clicked on a link to a page which has been permanently moved or deleted.


A standard for mobile phones, which means that your phone is able to access the internet via mobile broadband.

404 error

A message displayed by your internet browser which means that it is unable to find the webpage you are looking for.


A successor to 3G mobile standards, which supports very fast mobile internet and the ability to use different mobile service providers.

501 error

An error message displayed by your browser when the server the website is hosted on is unable to provide the webpage you are looking for.


‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’ – a type of broadband technology used for connecting to the internet.

ADSL filter

Plugs in to your telephone line to stop broadband and telephone signals from getting mixed up, or interfering with each other.

ADSL router

Also known as a DSL modem, this is used for connecting a computer to the internet.


Security software that helps protect your computer from viruses spread online.


A company set up by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976, which makes computers (such as Macs), MP3 players (iPods), software (such as iTunes) mobile phones (iPhones) and more.


Another word for a computer program. For example, Microsoft Word (which is used for creating text documents) is a word processing application.


Short for ‘weblog’, a blog is an online personal diary with thoughts and opinions on life as well as links to other websites the author likes.


A wireless network which can be used to transfer data (like photos and videos) between mobile phones over very short distances.


A permanent high-speed internet connection. It receives digital information about 100 times faster than an old dial up modem and is always on.How do I get broadband

Broadband provider (ISP)

A company which provides a broadband connection to the internet.


A software program that allows you to view files (including web pages, PDFs, images, video and audio) over the internet. It is likely that you are viewing this text as part of a web page file on the internet via your browser right now.

Browser window

The part of your browser which displays files. The browser window you are currently looking at starts above the BBC banner at the top of this page and ends under the black bar at the bottom of it.

Cloud computing

Where the data is stored and accessed by the internet (‘clouds’) instead of on your computer: this can include online storage and online applications.

Cloud-based storage

When data you upload online is kept not on single servers but across lots of different ones at the same time. This means if one of the servers breaks, less data is lost as a whole.


Small files automatically downloaded to your computer by websites, which can contain information about you and what you’ve done on that website for the website to view next time you go online.


The flashing vertical line on the screen that shows you where you are and where the next character you type will appear.

Domain name

Another word for a web address: for example, is a domain name.


A way of sending messages (usually in the form of text, with other files in attachments) electronically, from one person to another.


A social network originally created for college students to share information, which is now a place where people can have their own page on the internet, play games and talk to their friends.


A specific typeface which sets out how text looks on the page, for example, Arial is a popular typeface, and Arial Narrow is a specific font.


A webmail service run by Google


A company known for providing a popular search engine, as well as a free webmailservice and many other web application


A free webmail service provided by Microsoft. This is one of the first and most popular free webmail services, and was started in 1996.


An area in which you can connect to a wireless internet connection.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol: the letters at the start of a web address, which give a command to your computer to request information from the website you want to look at.


See ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’, above. The ‘S’ means that your connection to the website is secure.


Text, which when clicked, takes you to another web page. Hyperlinks (known mostly as ‘links’ will often appear underlined either all of the time or when you move the mouse over them.


Text which is arranged in a non-linear fashion and which you continue reading by clicking on links.


A small linked picture which represents an action. The icons on your desktop represent what will happen if you click on them – so a text document might be represented as a piece of paper with words on it, or an image might be represented by an icon showing a photo frame.


Internet Message Access Protocol: a method used for transferring emails from one place on the internet to another. Another way of doing this is known as POP, and also SMTP.


Millions of computers (and the data stored on them) around the world connected together by telephone lines, cables or satellites over which they can exchange information.

Internet Explorer

One of the most popular and oldest internet browsers, which is usually set as the standard browser with Microsoft computers.

IP/IP address

Internet Protocol: The numerical address that every computer on the internet has. So, for example, the IP address of one of the BBC’s computers is

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

A company which provides access to an internet connection.


A programming language widely used on the web to run small programs in yourbrowser called applets.


A file extension which denotes that the file is an image. This format is most often used for photographs.


A measure of how fast information is downloaded to your computer via a modem. kBps means a transfer rate of one kilobyte per second.

Kilobyte (KB)

A measure of computer memory: represents 1,024 bytes.


Local Area Network: a small private network of computers, for example in an office.


A social network used to help people make professional business connections.


A type of free, open-source operating system made by the people who use it. It is most frequently used on servers and as an alternative to Microsoft Windows. Popular versions include Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint. Pronounced “LIN-ucks”.

Log in/on

To sign in to a service by entering your details and password.

Log off

To ‘sign out’ from a service so that nobody else can access your data or pretend to be you.


Internet shorthand for ‘Laugh Out Loud’, meaning that something you see on the internet or on your computer made you laugh.

Mac OS X

An operating system for Apple Macintosh computers.


Malicious software specifically designed to damage your computer or corrupt your data.

Megabyte (MB)

A measure of computer memory: 1,000 kilobytes (or a million bytes).


The storage and thinking parts of your computer. More storage memory on your hard disk (ROM) means you can save more files and more thinking memory (RAM) means your computer can perform more complex tasks more quickly.


Information about a web page hidden inside it to help search engines find it. It often includes a description of the page which will be picked up by search engines.

Mozilla Firefox

A popular type of internet browser.


A file extension which denotes an audio track: usually one which is relatively small in terms of file size.


A file extension which denotes a video file.

Navigation bar

A set of links to the main sections of a website which appears on each web page within that website. The ‘nav bar’ often appears at the top or left of a web page: WebWise’s navigation bar is underneath its banner and above this text, and contains links to all the different sections of WebWise.


A form of etiquette for the internet which is understood by the majority of internet users. For example, typing everything in CAPITAL LETTERS is considered to be akin to shouting, and is not good netiquette.


A group of computers communicating together via a server along cables or wirelessly.


The Office of Communications: the official regulating body for TV, radio and other ‘communication industries’ in the UK.

Operating system

The basic software on your computer which instructs all the different parts to work together. All computers need an operating system (OS) to work. Popular operating systems include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.


A file extension by Adobe. PDFs are formatted documents that have been fixed in place, and are difficult to edit. This format is commonly used for brochures and formal documents, so that they can be viewed and printed the way the creator intended.


Attempting to get someone to give you their private data over the internet/email by posing as a reputable company, commonly a bank or financial institution. Also known as spoofing.


Each tiny unit of a digital image. When you look at a picture on a computer you are looking at a collection of hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of tiny coloured dots.


Post Office Protocol: a method used for transferring emails from one place on the internet to another. Another way of doing this is known as IMAP, and also SMTP.

Profile page

A page on a social networking website which lists information about someone – like their name, interests and location.


A software program is technology which allows you and your computer to perform certain actions – like creating a text document, viewing and editing an image, or watching a video. Sometimes called an App.

QWERTY (keyboard)

A standard keyboard, so named because the main letters across the top happen to spell out ‘QWERTY’. This doesn’t mean anything, but serves as a handy nickname.


Random Access Memory: temporary space on your computer used for programs which are currently running.


The amount of detail being displayed: the higher the resolution, the more detailed an image appears.


A piece of hardware which decides the next network point to which a packet of data on the internet should be sent on its journey towards its final destination.


Hardware which allows you to transfer paper documents (like traditional photos) into your computer as digital files. Many modern home printers come with attached scanners.

Search engine

A very large searchable database of links to different websites, created by robotswhich trawl the internet looking for information.


Ways of getting to a program or a folder on your computer without having to search through different files, directories or options.


Text which is automatically added to the bottom of emails or posts you make to message boards. You can set this up so that you don’t have to keep typing out things like your name and personal details.

SIM card

A small flat rectangular memory card which fits inside your mobile phone and which tells it basic information such as your phone number, and helps it connect to mobile phone networks. It can also include telephone numbers you have stored to your mobile phone’s address book.


Short Messaging Service (also known as text messaging) – a way of sending short text messages from one mobile phone to another through a traditional mobile phone network.


Simple Mail Transfer Protocol: a method used for transferring emails from one place on the internet to another. Another way of doing this is known as IMAP, and also POP.


Separate windows within your browser which mean you can look at different pages on the internet without opening up whole new versions of your browser. Try holding down the ‘Ctrl’ and ‘T’ buttons on your keyboard at the same time, and see if a new tab opens up at the top of the browser window.


The combination of protocols that make the internet. TCP deals with the process of dividing data into packets of information. IP deals with the process of passing these packets from one computer to the next until they reach their final destination.


A group of messages, often e-mail messages or message board posts, linked by a common subject. A thread is the online equivalent of a conversation. Many message boards present messages on the same subject together – as a thread.


A program which appears harmless but is carrying inside viruses, worms or even another program that will damage your computer. A trojan is usually an attachment and is often carrying a program which allows someone to hack into your computer.


A term widely used on the internet to describe someone who deliberately posts contentious and inflammatory remarks online in order to provoke others. These remarks can be on internet forums, chat rooms or in comment fields of blog articles.


A social networking website where people can only post short messages of 140 characters or less. You can ‘follow’ other people, and their messages will appear on your screen in a time line. A lot of people use Twitter on their mobile phones, especially smartphones.


To uncompress a file which has previously been ‘zipped up’ or compressed in order to make it smaller.


Uniform Resource Locator: a web address, eg


Universal Serial Bus: a standard type of physical connection used for connectinghardware to your computer via a cable.


A computer program which can copy itself and spread from one computer to another, adversely affecting the way that computer operates.


An email service which you can log in to through your internet browser so that you can send and receive emails online, instead of having to install software on your computer.


A trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance which is used as branding for devices which can access wireless networks (such as wireless internet).

Wireless router

A piece of hardware which takes wired internet access and makes it wireless. When you sign up to a broadband internet service your internet service provider (ISP) will often provide a wireless router so that you can connect to the internet with a laptop or smartphone.


A blog/blogging website, which also makes an open-source program that you can upload to your own server to make a website for free.

WYSIWYG editor

Stands for ‘What You See Is What You Get’: a text editor which allows you to view and edit text as it will eventually appear. This usually applies to blogging – you can either edit the HTML code, or use an editor which looks a bit like a software program like Microsoft Word.


Extensible Markup Language: a type of code used to create websites.


To compress a file to make it smaller and easier to transfer: also the file type (ZIP) that the file will end up becoming. You can open a ZIP package with programs such as Winzip.