Web Design Jargon - Glossary of Terms Used in Web Design and the Internet

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Glossary of Web Design Terms

There are many specialised terms in the world of web design and websites — and web jargon can be intimidating to people seeking to have a website designed for the first time. Here I feature a selection of some of those terms which I hope will be useful to those seeking a better understanding of the surreal world we web designers inhabit.


A website is a collection of related web pages located under a single domain name (e.g. www.example.co.uk). Together, these linked pages are published on the World Wide Web (www) via a web server.


A web server is a computer that stores, processes and delivers web pages to the users across the Internet.


The internet is a connected network system that transmits data via various types of media globally. The internet is used for many reasons including private, public, business, academic and government networks.


Uniform Resource Locator - the address of a specific web page.


Similar to HTTP, HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or, alternately, HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. Like HTTP, it is a set of rules for transferring hypertext requests between browsers and servers and it's done over a secure, encrypted connection.


Navigation refers to the system that allows visitors to a website to move around that site. It is frequently found across the top of a website page and consists of a series of tabs indicating the website's pages.

Domain Name

A domain name is the address of a site or document on the Internet. It is an address that people use on the internet, whether for websites or for email. It's a group of characters that usually spells out a word to identify and person, company or organisation. (www.example2.co.uk) You can pay for the right to use domain names from a domain registrar. However, you cannot "own" a domain name permanently.

Domain Registrar

A domain name registrar is an organisation that manages the reservation of Internet domain names.


A separate address under a domain name, e.g. www.test.example.com

Domain Name TLD

Stands for Top Level Domain, examples include .co.uk, uk.net, .com, .net, .org, .info.


Stands for Domain Name System, which is the internet's address book that translates numbers (IP addresses) into human-friendly addresses.

IP Address

A unique set of numbers identifying a resource on a computer network, including the internet.


The person or party with control over a domain name and is listed as such on the name's record.


The body that controls and manages top level domain (TLD).


An accredited organisation/business that provides domain registration services to the public.


A web server that acts as a directory for resources such as websites.

'A' Record

This is used to point a domain to a specific IP address (unique series of numbers).


ICANN is an acronym for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This is an international organisation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.

Website Hosting

Web hosting is the service that publishes your website (www.example3.co.uk) so that it becomes available to be viewed by others on the Internet.


File Transfer Protocol. This system is used to upload and download web pages to and from a website server and a computer.


Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of giving a website the best possible chance of being seen high in the Search Engine Results (SERPS). This is achieved by writing content on web pages that is of genuine use to viewers, by ensuring that hidden coding is correctly written and deployed — and the securing of inbound links. And there is more!

Meta Tag

A meta tag is an HTML tag used to include meta data within the head section of your web page.


Contrary to popular belief, a hit does not represent a single visitor to a website. A hit is actually a request for a single file from your web server.


Backlinks are links from other sites back to your own (inbound links) and indicate the measure of your website's authority.

Landing Page

A landing page is a web page created for a marketing or advertising campaign. It's where a visitor "lands" on a website when they have clicked on a Google AdWords ad or similar.

Below the Fold

This refers to the website content that is only seen after a visitor scrolls down the page that they land on.


Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser so that the next time any user visits the same site, the page loads from its own memory.


Stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It's the language used to write web pages.


CSS, Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web site outside the actual HTML pages of the site.


Abbreviation for Electronic Commerce which is the buying and selling of goods online, through websites.


Search Engine Results Pages are displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a term used in web site traffic analysis. It essentially represents the percentage of visitors to a site who "bounce" away to a different site or back to a search engine query results page, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.

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