29 Practical website related words with meanings [List]

Last updated: March 29, 2016
Posted by: Sally Davies
Categories: Website

29 Practical website related words with meanings [List] | Modur CreativePeople who produce websites as a profession often forget that some of the words they use every day are either new, unusual or unknown to others. I hear feedback often similar to “I didn’t really understand what they were talking about but it sounded like they knew their stuff”.

In this article I have put together a collection of words and an explanation of what they mean to help with this problem.

Domain name

Just like a business name every website requires a unique domain name. A domain name is registered at low cost on an annual basis through a domain name registrar. There are hundreds to choose from and if you are confused to which one to use your web designer may register it for you (make sure they register it in your name as it is a legal document).

Website hosting

A place to store your website files and database so that it is live to access by anyone on the internet.


The address of a web page for example: www.modurcreative.co.nz/website-design-christchurch-nz. Not that you need to know but it stands for Uniform Resource Locator.


The software used to view a web page on your computer. For example: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox.


When you browse the internet your computer stores the pages that you have looked at so that when you look at them again it can display them more quickly due to there being no need to download the information from the remote server. This is called browser cache. Sometimes your web designer may ask you to "clear your cache” because a change has been made to the website which won’t show until the cache is cleared. Each browser has a slightly different way to clear the cache so the best thing to do, if you are stuck on how to do this, is to ask your web designer.


Stands for Domain Name Server. DNS converts human friendly word based names such as the domain name into an IP address which is number based for computers to use. DNS is used for to point your domain name to the server that has your website stored on. It also is used to configure your email hosting as well as other settings.

IP address

A unique collection of numbers that computers use to identify each computer on the internet. Stands for Internet Protocol if you were interested! Example: 123.45.678.910


This word sounds a bit gardening related but often web designers use this to describe the time it takes for changes to the DNS to be fully resolved on all servers around the world. Some reasons for changing the DNS are moving a website from one host server to another, changing email providers, registering a new domain name etc. Typically the standard time range is 24 - 48 hours but sometimes it happens quicker.

Development server

When a web designer starts to create a website prototype they often use a development server. It is a place that is not generally accessible publicly and allows testing and development of the final website before it is transferred to a live server environment.


When a website is moved from one location to another, for example from the development server to the live server.


Staging is used as a safety net for when a live website requires updating in some way. A copy of the website is used to perform the update and test without effecting the live website. If all is well the update is rolled out to the live website version.


A basic website that shows the functionality of a website but not the design.


A visual representation of elements of a website and how they are connected, used for planning purposes. The word sitemap can be used to describe a document used by search engines to know what pages of your website to crawl.


Stands for Content Management System. It is a way of a non-technical person to update website content by logging into an online interface. WordPress is a CMS.


Open source software used to run a website.

Open source software

Software that is available for free and able to be modified by anyone.


Third party software created to enhance a WordPress website. For example a plugin might enable you to sell products, use a contact form, speed up your website. Plugins are either free or paid. The paid for plugins provide ongoing updates and support often a recurring license fee basis.


A collection of files used to change the design of a WordPress website.


Otherwise known as an online shop that allows purchasing of products from a website.


The way a website adapts to display on various devices from smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktop screens. Sometimes referred to as “Mobile friendly”. It is really important that your website is Responsive because Google will downgrade your website if it isn’t.


Stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is used to create the structure and layout of a web page. Web pages are not like Word documents they are constructed using HTML which outputs what you see on the “front end”.


This is the document used to define the styles used for the design of the website such as the fonts, colours, placement etc. It is also used to define how the web page performs responsively on different devices. A stylesheet is described as CSS which stands for Cascading Style Sheet.

Front end

Used to describe a website from the website visitors perspective via a browser.

Back end

The construction of the website not accessed by a website visitor. This could be the code or the control panel of the website.


A list or collection of words / phrases that have been chosen as important to focus on within the website content. Keywords are defined as the sort of words someone might use in a Google search to find you.

Search engine

Example: Google, Bing, Yahoo.


Stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Ensuring your website is set up to be indexed effectively by the search engines. It also refers to making changes to the content of a web page so that it performs well for a specific keyword.

Search Engine Ranking

Where your website is placed in the search results for example position 1, page 1 of Google.


The way that a search engine ranks your website. There are many factors to this, the algorithms are changed without notice and there is no way of knowing precisely how to achieve a good rank.

Ask for clarification

I think that a person is entitled to understand all there is to know about a website project and not be afraid to ask a question. No question is a dumb question so next time your web designer has said something and totally lost you why not stop them and ask to explain it. Trust me they won’t mind or think you are stupid.

Can you think of any more words that you have heard that you were confused by?