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Website Terminology

There are lots of different names and terms associated with the online world that you may not be familiar with, this article provides with a short overview of some of the most important terms.

CMS

A CMS or Content Management System, is an online sytem for managing an online shop, blog or website, you can read more about CMS in this What is a CMS? article.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets are a type of coding that controls the appearance of a website. Whilst the appearance can be controlled by HTML alone you can achieve much better results and faster web loading times by using CSS. It plays an important part in Responsive Design.

Domain or Domain Name

This is the address that you type in to go to your website, for example www.nolesserpanda.com. Domain names are registered with a governing body who maintain a database of who currently holds which domain name and when it expires. Your domain name is held separately from and should not be confused with hosting. You can hold a domain without having hosting, in which case somebody who visits that address will not see a web site.

Hosting

Hosting is a service, often paid for, that keeps all of the files that make up your website on the internet and allow them to be accessed by visitors, the files that make up your website are kept on a server. There are many different companies who provide hosting and there are even more options for the type of hosting you will have. Hosting is often paid for on a monthly basis,. While some companies include a domain name as part of the hosting cost the two things are separate and should not be confused. You can have hosting but no domain name, however there will be no way for visitors to access the files.

HTML

Hyper Text Mark-up Language is the code that is used to build websites, the vast majority of websites rely on this method of coding. The most recent version is HTML5 although older versions are still commonly used.

Javascript

A coding language that allows for interactive webpages, it also plays a part in Responsive Design.

Joomla

A brand of CMS.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is a technique which aims to make a website accessible across all types of devices such as a phone, tablet or desktop computer. You can read more about it in this Responsive Design article.

Server

A server is the place where the files that make up your website is kept, imagine it as a giant public library. People can request to visit your files by entering the web address to where your files are stored, the server will retrieve the files and then send them to the visitor. When you purchase a hosting plan you pay a company for space on their server to keep the files for your website.

Shopify

A brand of CMS specifically for online shops.

SSL Certificate

This is a security certificate which allows you transfer encrypted data between the server were your site is located and the device the visitor is using. If files are not encrypted other people can see the information passing between the two, in a manner similar to wire tapping a phone. Websites that have an SSL use the https:// prefix, rather than http://. If you are using your website to operate a shop then you should have a SSL certificate. If you are using a CMS on your website you should also have an SSL to protect your site from hacking.

Web Browser

The software that you use on your device to access the internet. There are several brands of Web Browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Some browsers will display websites differently from others.

WordPress

A brand of CMS.

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