One of the most important tasks in my job is to speak to clients in a language that they can understand. We techie nerds need to understand the lingo of how a website runs, we don’t need to overload our clients with too much unnecessary jargon. I thought I’d write a blog to explain some of the buzz words you may hear from web designers.
For a website to be visible on the internet, it must be hosted on a web server. Think of hosting as the process of housing your website on the internet. We have accounts with some of the top hosting companies in Ireland and will look after the hosting for you.
A server can mean 2 things in relation to the web
- A server is the computer on the internet that hosts your website (Windows, Linux etc.)
- A server is the software that runs on a computer that processes requests and responses to your website. Think of it as a container for your website.
So now that we’ve established that your website is hosted on a server on the internet, how can people access it? They could type in the server IP address and path to the directory of your website (e.g. http://18.104.22.168/wwwroot/your-website/index.html) but that’s not very easy to enter or search for. So instead we make use of domain names which are easy to remember and better reflect your business e.g. clearsoft.ie. We can register your chosen domain name and can cover .ie, .com, .net, .org, .eu and all other top level domains.
Domain Name System – is like a phonebook of internet where the user friendly name of the website (e.g. clearsoft.ie) is mapped to the long winded version (e.g. http://22.214.171.124/wwwroot/your-website/index.html) so that when somebody types in the short version, your website is found and displayed in the browser.
A browser is a piece of software used to fetch and display web pages. Examples of browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari etc.)
Secure Sockets Layer is a security mechanism that encrypts data from your browser to the web server. It prevents the bad guys from viewing and manipulating sensitive data as it travels from the internet to your computer or phone. The SSL certificate is installed on your website and appears as a padlock symbol in the address bar which gives your visitors confidence that the site has a secure connection to the internet.
HTTP / HTTPS
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol and is the communication protocol for the internet. It’s essentially the rules of the road for how data is sent from computers on the internet. HTTPS is a secure version where a valid SSL cert has been installed on the website. You’ll notice http & https at the start of web addresses (e.g. https://clearsoft.ie).
Universal Resource Indicator is simply the full address of resources (pages and files) on the internet – e.g. https://clearsoft.ie/directory/subdirectory/index.html.
HyperText Markup Language is a basic coding language that is understood by the browser. It’s a front end language that controls what elements are present on the page (buttons, images, text etc.). A good web designer / developer will be able to manipulate this code to change the look and feel of a web page.
Cascading Style Sheets is a mechanism for managing the style of your site. By integrating CSS with HTML you can make beautiful designs that are easily managed. CSS allows you control HTML elements (e.g. size and colour of fonts, buttons, paragraphs etc.)
Server Side Programming
A database is an organised collection of data in a file or files on a server. It can be accessed by web applications using server side programming technologies to display and manipulate data contained within e.g. customer data, orders data, profile data etc. Data is typically stored in individual tables that can hold relationships and can be queried through SQL (Structured Query Language).
Content Management System (CMS)
A Content Management System is a software application that caters for the creation and maintenance of content on a website. It allows you to create pages and populate those pages with text, images and other content. Examples of a CMS would be WordPress, Joomla & Drupal.
A search engine is a piece of software that indexes files and pages on the internet so that users can find their desired content by typing in search terms and submitting their query to the internet. Google is the biggest search engine in the world but BING and Yahoo amongst others also play in this market.
It’s desirable to have your website at the top of search results for a search engine so Search Engine Optimisation is the process of optimising your website and pages within to appear favourably within search engine results.
So hopefully we’ve busted some of the web jargon in this article so the next time your web developer asks you which CMS you want to choose to maximise your SEO gains, bearing in mind that your website needs to cross browser compatible and hosted on a server with sufficient performance and security capability … you’ll understand exactly what they’re saying 🙂