Introduction To Internet Terms

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The Internet brings with it a whole language of its own. This report explains the meaning of the terms most commonly used. Many of these definitions rely on other terms for their explanations, so terms defined elsewhere in this report are in italics.
There are a lot of terms here, and some can be a bit technical. If you don't understand them at first reading, keep this report handy as you start using the Internet. As you gain experience, the terms will begin to make sense.

Autoresponder:  An email robot that sends replies automatically, without human intervention. For example, if you had a page of marketing information, you could ask prospects to send email to "," the address of your autoresponder. The autoresponder will automatically email the person your information document. Many autoresponders will, at the same time, send an email to you, listing the requester's address and the document they requested. This is an important tool for conducting online commerce.

Backbone: The primary WAN of the Internet.

Browser:  A program that allows you to access and read hypertext documents on the World Wide Web.

CGI Scripts:  Programs that perform certain functions in connection with your HTML documents. For example, a common CGI script is a counter, which keeps track of the number of people who access your home page. Many CGI scripts are available for free use on the World Wide Web. Always check with your webmaster before using a new CGI script.

Download:  Transferring a file from another computer to your own.

Email:  Electronic mail, a message sent to another Internet user across the Internet. An email address looks like this:, whereas, "jimsmith" is your user name, your unique identifier;  "@" stands for "at"; "" is the name of your Internet Service Provider. The most common email names of Internet Service Providers are "" (America Online users), "" (Compuserve users), "" (Prodigy users), and "" (Netcom users).

FTP:  File Transfer Protocol. This is the Internet communication method that allows the transfer of a file from one computer to another.

Gateway:  See Internet Service Provider.

Gopher:  An Internet tool that searches and retrieves specific documents based on your specifications.

Helpers:  Programs that work together with your browser. For example, if you download an audio file, a separate audio player (such as the Media Player that comes with Windows) is needed in order to play the audio file.

Home Page:  Your primary HTML page, the first page anyone would see in your website.

HTML:  Hypertext Markup Language. The primary "language" that World Wide Web documents are created in. HTML documents can, with practice, be created fairly easily from scratch in a simple word processor, such as the Windows Notepad, or with the aid of specialized programs created for such a purpose. Many advanced word processors, like Microsoft Word and WordPerfect, have "add-ons" which will translate a typed document into HTML.

Hypertext:  A hypertext document has references to other documents sprinkled throughout. If you click on one of these references, you are transferred to an entirely different document. For example, if this report was a hypertext document, you could click on any italicized word, and you'd instantly be transported to the definition of that word.

Internet Service Provider (ISP):  The company you call from your computer to gain access to the Internet.

IRC:  Internet Relay Chat. A section of the Internet that lets users enter a "room" and communicate with others in the room via the keyboard.

Java:  A new programming language developed by Sun Microsystems for developing software applications that work over the Internet. Java is, at the time of this writing, only starting to gain popularity, with its greater capacity for animation and graphically interesting effects. Java requires a browser compatible with Java.

Local Area Network (LAN):  Computers linked together in a central location, such as a business or government organization.

MIME:  Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. Allows an email message to contain non-text data, such as audio and video files.


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