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Website Terminology

The web is synonymous with Acronyms, IT speak and technical mumbo jumbo (that in itself is a technical term).  Here is a brief run down of some of the terms you're mostly likely to run into.

FTP:  File Transfer Protocol.  Mostly used by web developers to launch websites (or changes to websites).  You can "FTP" a file to a web server using a program such as CuteFTP.

FTP Details:  This usually consists of a username and password that allow your web developer to gain access to your web server to make changes.

SSL:  Secure Sockets Layer.  Some websites use SSL to secure your data.  Common uses of SSL include internet banking and purchasing online.  You can tell when a site is collecting information securely by looking at the address.  If the address starts with "https//:" the site is using SSL.  For internet explorer users - you will also see a little padlock at the top or bottom of your browser window.

AJAX:  Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.  Traditional web applications have to reload the entire page to retrieve information from the server.   AJAX is a technique that allows a certain part of a page to send a request to the server, and retrieve data back without having to reload the entire page.  This speeds up the users browsing experience.

XML:  Extensible Markup Language.  XML is commonly used to share data between two applications using a defined format, e.g. you may have a payment page on your website that you wish to hook-up to a payment gateway.  Your payment page may send the users credit card details in an XML format so your payment gateway can understand the data you are sending.

WEB 2.0: Refers to a perceived second generation of websites.  Sites such as Facebook and Wikipedia are said to be Web 2.0 and are more focused on collaboration rather than the one way presentation of information by website owners to website visitors.  Web 2.0 also refers to technology such as AJAX that speed up and add value to the online user experience.

REGISTRY KEY:  The registry key is a term used mostly by domain registrar Melbourne IT.  This key allows a user to change where a domain name points to, e.g. if you are moving your domain name ( to another ISP, your new ISP may ask for your registry key.  A domain username and password may be used by your domain registrar instead of a registry key.

API:  Application programming interface.  An API allows your web developer to hook an external application into your website.  A common API is Google Maps which allows website owners to display a map on their website.

ISP:  Internet Service Provider.  Your ISP is the company that provides your internet access (i.e. dialup or broadband).  An ISP can also provide services such as website hosting and email hosting.

SMTP:  Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.  SMTP is the de facto method of sending email across the internet.  Most email programs such as Outlook will need to have an SMTP server.  This is the server that your email program connects to in order to send email.  Your ISP usually will provide you with a SMTP mail server address.

POP3:  Post Office Protocol (version 3) is a common method of retrieving mail from a mail server.  Most email programs such as Outlook will ask for a POP3 mail server.  This is the server that your email program connects to in order to retrieve email.  Your ISP usually will provide you with a POP3 mail server address.