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Internet jargon-buster

Internet jargon-buster

The technical nature of computing generates a huge amount of internet jargon, which quickly becomes confusing.

If you don’t know your HTML from your HTTP, our guide to internet jargon might make sense of the terms casually bandied around by ISPs and SEO experts.

(Don’t worry – all these acronyms are explained below.)

A beginner’s guide to internet jargon

  1. Cable.
  2. High-speed fibre optic cables, buried underground and delivering high-speed internet connectivity into our homes. Used by Virgin Media, CityFibre and Hyperoptic.

  3. Captcha.
  4. Annoying graphical puzzles on web forms, intended to prove you’re not an automated bot. Captchas range from typing in letter strings to selecting pictures in a grid.

  5. Cookies.
  6. Small files created when you visit a website, storing basic information for future visits. Used for marketing purposes, like saving account details and login credentials.

  7. Domain name.
  8. Website have unique domain names – ours is broadbanddeals.co.uk. The final part is a Top Level Domain, identifying a country (.uk) or chosen industry (.cafe).

  9. Exchange.
  10. You walk past these green pavement utility boxes all the time. Broadband data arrives here along superfast cables, before being sent to individual dwellings.

  11. Firewall.
  12. The term describing a buffer between a computer and the internet. Firewalls block malicious code like viruses, and some will improve your personal privacy.

  13. FTTC.
  14. An abbreviation of Fibre to the Cabinet, or local exchange. Usually betrays slow internet connections, with sluggish copper cables completing the journey to your home.

  15. FTTP.
  16. An abbreviation of Fibre to the Premises. This is superior to FTTC because the final leg of data’s journey to your broadband router is continued at the same high speed.

  17. Hosting.
  18. The process of storing information on a publicly-accessible network, so anyone can view it. Websites need to be hosted, as do online games, YouTube videos, etc.

  19. HTML.
  20. HyperText Markup Language is the internet’s core programming language. Most websites are written in the latest HTML5 format, which is simple and streamlined.

  21. HTTP.
  22. This abbreviation forms the start of any website address. The HyperText Transfer Protocol regulates how data is distributed across the internet.

  23. Hyperlink.
  24. Usually underlined or written in a different colour to other webpage text, clicking on a hyperlink transports you from one webpage to another.

  25. IP address.
  26. An Internet Protocol address is a quartet of numbers, like It identifies a specific internet-enabled hub, server or broadband router.

  27. ISP.
  28. Your Internet Service Provider will be responsible for piping data to and from your home. ISPs often bundle in services like landlines and TV services with broadband.

  29. Malware.
  30. Malicious software is any code or program intended to cause harm to its recipients. A virus is a type of malware, and people often use these terms interchangeably.

  31. Megabit (Mb).
  32. Data is transmitted in binary units of zeroes and ones, known as a bit. This is such a small unit that a million bits is generally used to record data transfer speeds.

  33. Megabyte (MB).
  34. There are eight bits in a byte, and a million bytes in a megabyte. Bytes are the preferred unit of measurement for file sizes – a typical MP3 file will be 5MB.

  35. Phishing.
  36. Any form of unsolicited digital communications intended to acquire personal information, so criminals can make financial gain. Phishing is a form of malware.

  37. Router.
  38. When broadband arrives into your home, it needs to be served to individual devices. Routers send data down hardwired Ethernet connections, or wirelessly across WiFi.

  39. SEO.
  40. Search Engine Optimisation ensures a website ranks highly in Google and Bing search results. SEO involves a constantly evolving blend of attributes and techniques.

  41. Server.
  42. Web data and online content is stored on huge disc drives known as servers. Hosted in secure warehouses, space is sold by the megabyte to anyone requiring hosting.

  43. Streaming.
  44. There are two ways to view online media. One is to download it in full, while the other involves watching it as it downloads. The latter process is called streaming.

  45. Upload speed.
  46. Video calls, sending emails and playing games all involve uploading data to the internet, rather than simply downloading it. Upload speeds tend to be fairly low.

  47. URL.
  48. A Uniform Resource Locator identifies a specific webpage on the internet. Each page needs a unique address, so web browsers like Chrome and Safari can find it.

  49. WiFi.
  50. Wireless Fidelity distributes digital data across the Radio Frequency spectrum. It’s how broadband routers communicate wirelessly with your devices.

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