20+ Internet Terms

Internet terms can be confusing. There are acronyms, abbreviations, and slang that all mean something different depending on who you ask. In this post, I’ll break down some of the most common internet terms to help you understand what they really mean. 

26 Common Internet Terms

The following are some of the most popular internet terms you might see on your screen:

  • URL: A Uniform Resource Locator or URL is an address that points to a file, document, web page, etc., usually beginning with “http://” or “https://”.
  • URL Shortener: A URL shortening service is a website that offers to shorten the length of an Internet Protocol address by creating a redirect page using a unique URL.
  • IP Address: An Internet Protocol Address is like your home address – it’s a unique identifier for every computer connected to the internet.
  • HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol (or HTTP) is the protocol used by browsers and servers to exchange data across networks in order to display web pages.
  • HTTPs: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or “HTTPS” is the secure version of this protocol that’s used to encrypt data.
  • e-mail (email) Address: An e-mail address is composed of one part which identifies the internet service provider (usually “@”) followed by another part which specifies the e-mail domain name.
  • Browser: The browser is the software used to view web pages. The most popular browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari
  • Web Page: A website that has been put together with a HTML (or HyperText Markup Language) code editor
  • XML: Extensible Markup Language or XML is language for storing data in plain text form so it can be easily transferred
  • ISP: Internet Service Provider or ISP is the company that provides you with your internet connection
  • Router: A router is a software gateway for computers to access and share an internet connection. This means it can be shared between family members, close friends, etc., but not outsiders who want to steal from your bandwidth. Routers are also responsible for directing traffic on networks.
  • Email Spam Filtering: Email spam filtering prevents e-mail messages identified as junk email (or SPAM) from being delivered to users’ inboxes by categorizing them into separate folders or deleting them altogether in some cases
  • Social Media: Social media refers to websites like Facebook and LinkedIn which allow people to interact online through sharing content such as text, images and videos.
  • E-Commerce: E-commerce is the buying or selling of goods over computer networks such as the internet.
  • Encryption: Encryption is a process that converts plain text into unreadable gibberish by use of an encryption key so it cannot be read without authorization. It’s used to keep information private from people who should not have access to it (e.g., hackers)
  • Authentication: Authentication allows you to prove your identity online safely – often with passwords and secret phrases known only to you which are sent for verification when logging in somewhere new after registering (or “signing up”) first, like on websites where credit card details need keeping secure because they’re personal data connected with someone’s identity.
  • Downloading: Downloading is the process of copying a file from one computer to another over a network, such as the internet – often used when downloading music or videos online and saving them onto your device for offline use.
  • Cloud Computing: Cloud computing refers to storing data remotely on servers connected by computer networks rather than locally (on your own devices). It’s beneficial in that it means you can access any files anywhere with an internet connection but also has its disadvantages if people are worried about security issues related to cloud computing.
  • Firewall: A firewall protects computers from being accessed without permission by outsiders – usually hackers trying to steal personal information like bank details through accessing unprotected systems which aren’t password protected properly (which again goes back to the importance of having a strong password for authentication).
  • Malware: Malware is an acronym that stands for “malicious software” and refers to any type of computer virus, worm or Trojan horse. It can be used as a generic term which includes all three together although each one performs different functions in attacking computers to extract data from them (e.g., worms are self-replicating programs – also known as viruses), while Trojans pretend to have some utility function but really act against your device secretly
  • Trojan Horse: A trojan horse is malicious code disguised as something else in order to trick you into installing it on your system by mistake. They’re often associated with email attachments or links so if you see anything suspicious, just don’t open it!
  • Phishing: Phishing is a type of scam where you are led to believe that someone else (i.e., your bank) has sent an email asking for personal details or passwords – such as credit card numbers, banking login information and the like. As so many people have been victims of phishing scams over recent years, never give out any sensitive data when contacted by anyone who appears to be from your bank in this way because they could be fake accounts set up with malicious intent which then steal important financial information.
  • Blogs: Blogs refer to their own kind of website that publishes news on its homepage in chronological order (rather than presenting all stories at once), usually under headings like ‘news’, ‘life’ or ‘travel’. The name “blog” is a shortened version of the word web log.
  • Wikipedia: Wikipedia is an online, open-source encyclopedia that’s written collaboratively by different people around the world – usually with no single author taking responsibility for what someone else has contributed and so it’s always up to date with current events, which are recorded as they happen.
  • Reddit: Reddit was launched in 2005 as an information sharing website where communities can vote on posts (which also act like links) to determine their position on the homepage feed out of curiosity about its content, a form of entertainment value or because it provides additional background knowledge related to any given topic one might find interesting. Essentially a social bookmarking site, it also includes other types of content like videos and photos.

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