Glossary of Terms

At BannerView.com, we work hard at making the process of building, maintaining and promoting our clients’ websites as easy as possible for them. Often the language thrown about concerning the Internet can seem complicated to understand for the lay business person. As part of our effort to make the life of websites easy for our clients’ to understand, we are providing the following glossary of terms:


Alphabetical Search:   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

 

A

ActiveX
A Microsoft standard for computer program building blocks known as objects.

Alias
An identifier in TCP/IP addressing that maps to a single real address. In a mail system, one or more addresses that map to a unique, individual mailbox.

Applet
A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network. The current rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent.
See Also: HTML, Java

Application Program Interface (API)
An API defines how a computer programmer to a computer’s operating system.

Authentication
The process of ensuring the identity of a user who has logged on to a system.

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B

B2B
Acronym meaning "business to business."

Back Link
Any link on another page that points to the subject page. Also called inbound links or IBLs. The number of IBLs to a page increases its popularity with the Search Engines.

Bandwidth
How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.
See Also: Bps, Bit, T-1

Bit (Binary DigIT)
A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerized data. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second.
See Also: Bandwidth, Bps, Byte, Kilobyte, Megabyte

Bps (Bits-Per-Second)
A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place to another. A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second.
See Also: Bandwidth, Bit

Browser
A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources.
See Also: Client, URL, WWW, Netscape, Mosaic, Home Page (or Homepage)

Byte
A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made. See Also: Bit

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C

C2B
Acronym meaning "consumer to business."

Catalog
In database management, a list of related database files that have been grouped together so that they are easily distinguishable from others. In e-commerce, an on-line database of products and services.

Certificate Authority
An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections.
See Also: Security Certificate, SSL

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the "CGI program") talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard. Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from a web server and does something with it, like putting the content of a form into an e-mail message, or turning the data into a database query. You can often see that seeing “cgi-bin” in a URL, but not always is using a CGI program.
See Also: cgi-bin, Web

Cgi-bin
The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored. The "bin" part of "cgi-bin" is a shorthand version of "binary", because once upon a time, most programs were referred to as "binaries". In real life, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text files -- scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on the same machine.
See Also: CGI

Client
A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a Server software program on another computer, often across a great distance. Each Client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of Server programs, and each Server requires a specific kind of Client. A Web Browser is a specific kind of Client.
See Also: Browser, Server

Client/Server
A way of distributing information on a network that involves using a small number of server programs to provide data to client programs installed on many computers throughout the network. The server program maintains a database and provides information to the client programs, through the network, when requested. The client programs provide a user-friendly and consistent interface.

Cloaking
An unethical SEO practice. It involves a different version of a web page being presented to each search engine spider. Each different version of the web page is optimized for the search engine spider it is presented to (i.e. exploiting its weaknesses). You can be penalized heavily by the search engines for doing it, so don't do it.

Cookie
The most common meaning of "Cookie" on the Internet refers to a piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the Server. Depending on the type of Cookie used, and the Browser's settings, the Browser may accept or not accept the Cookie, and may save the Cookie for either a short time or a long time. Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online "shopping cart" information, user preferences, etc. When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes a Cookie, the Server is able to use the information stored in the Cookie. For example, the Server might customize what is sent back to the user, or keep a log of particular user's requests. Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount of time and are usually saved in memory until the Browser software is closed down, at which time they may be saved to disk if their "expire time" has not been reached. Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to the CIA, but they can be used to gather more information about a user than would be possible without them.
See Also: Browser, Server

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D

Domain Name
The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names: matisse.net, mail.matisse.net and workshop.matisse.net can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine. Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same thing
as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names (matisse.net in the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name. See Also: IP Number

Doorway Page
A doorway page exists solely for the purpose of driving traffic to another page. They are usually designed and optimized to target one specific key phrase. Doorway pages rarely are written for human visitors. Using doorway pages is a violation of the Terms Of Service of most search engines and
could be grounds for banning.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
A method for moving data over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. A DSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line. A commonly discussed configuration of DSL allows downloads at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes) per second, and uploads at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. This arrangement is called ADSL: "Asymmetric" Digital Subscriber Line. Another common configuration is symmetrical: 384 Kilobits per second in both directions. In theory ADSL allows download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second. DSL is now a popular alternative to Leased Lines and ISDN, being faster than ISDN and less costly than traditional Leased Lines.
See Also: bit, bps, ISDN, Leased Line

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E

EDI Transaction
The electronic equivalent of a business document.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
The computer application-to-computer application transmission of business documents in a predetermined, standard format.

Electronic Signature
An electronic equivalent of a written signature that could be a code or a symbol.

Encryption
The process of converting a message so that it is unreadable unless "decrypted." It is a method of securing privacy on networks through the use of complex mathematical algorithms. Encrypted files are usually assigned a key that must be used in order to decrypt them.

Ethernet
A very common method of networking computers in a LAN. Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer.
See Also: Bandwidth, LAN

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F

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous ftp servers.

Firewall
A set of components, typically hardware, software, and security policy, that protect and isolate an organization's data and systems from unauthorized outsiders.

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G

Gateway
A hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols. For example, American Online has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another less formal meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system; for example, AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)

A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.
See Also: JPEG

Gigabyte
1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.
See Also: Byte, Megabyte

Google SandBox
The Google SandBox is a metaphorical term coined by SEOs and Webmasters, not associated with Google, to explain why most new Websites have very poor rankings in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). The existence of It seems of late Google has been withholding high ranking ability of newly launched websites for 2-4 months. The penalty is applicable to new sites only and doesn't affect domains that are 4 or more months old and have good backlinks. The sandbox effect also doesn't affect new pages on long standing websites. After the newly launched websites prove their worthiness by developing good back links and spend some time on the web they are given a weight and eventually the sandbox effect goes away.

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H


Hit
As used in reference to the World Wide Web, "hit" means a single request from a web browser for a single item from a web server; thus in order for a web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics, 4 "hits" would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page, and one for each of the 3 graphics. "Hits" are often used as a very rough measure of load on a server, e.g. "Our server has been getting 300,000 hits per month." Because each "hit" can represent anything from a request for a tiny document (or even a request for a missing document) all the way to a request that requires some significant extra processing (such as a complex search request), the actual load on a machine from 1 hit is almost impossible to define.

Home Page (or Homepage)
Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. "Check out so-and-so's new Home Page." Another sloppier use of the term refers to practically any web page as a "homepage," e.g. "That web site has 65 homepages and none of them are interesting."
See Also: Browser, Web

Host
Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as WWW and USENET.
See Also: Node, Network

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
The coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear, additionally; in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a World Wide Web Client Program, commonly referred to as a "Web Browser."
See Also: Client, Server, and WWW

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).
See Also: Client, Server, and WWW

Hypertext
Generally, any text that contains links to other documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.

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I

IP Number (Internet Protocol Number)
Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 165.113.245.2. Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.
See Also: Domain Name, Internet, TCP/IP

Internet Protocol (IP)
A networking protocol that allows computers on different physical media to communicate. An IP address is a unique number consisting of four parts separated by dots (ex. 115.233.254.2).

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money.
See Also: Internet

Internet
The vast collection of inter-connected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's.

Intranet
A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use. As the Internet has become more popular many of the tools used on the Internet are being used in private networks, for example, many companies have web servers that are available only to employees. Note that an Intranet may not actually be an internet -- it may simply be a network.
See Also: internet, Internet, Network

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J

Java
Java is a network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to your computer or files. Using small Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators, and other fancy tricks. We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the Web using Java, since you can write a Java program to do almost anything a regular computer program can do, and then include that Java program in a Web page.
See Also: Applet

JavaScript
JavaScript is a programming language that is mostly used in web pages, usually to add features that make the web page more interactive. When JavaScript is included in an HTML file it relies upon the browser to interpret the JavaScript. When JavaScript is combined with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and later versions of HTML (4.0 and later) the result is often called DHTML. JavaScript was invented by Netscape and was going to be called "LiveScript", but the name was changed to JavaScript to cash in on the popularity of Java. JavaScript and Java are two different programming languages.
See Also: HTML, Java

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art.
See Also: GIF

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K

Key
In encryption, a data string joined with the source data according to an algorithm such that the output is unreadable until decrypted. Also used to decrypt a data string. (See Private Key, Public Key.)

Keyword
A word with particular importance to the theme of a site. For example if a web site provides information about Formula 1 racing then important keywords would be 'Ferrari', 'Monaco', Schumacher' etc... SEO is the process of optimizing web pages for keywords and key phrases so that they rank highly in the results returned for search queries.

Kilobyte
A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (2^10) bytes.
See Also: Byte, Bit

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L

LAN (Local Area Network)
A computer network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building.
See Also: Ethernet

Lease
See Website Lease

Link Building
Get inbound links from quality sites. Quality sites are those that rank high on search engines and/or have a good Google PageRank. If the sites are connected with the theme of your webpage that will help increase your rank better. Caution: link farms can get your site banned in search engines.

Link Farms
Sites that buy and sell links from other sites just for the purpose of getting better placement on the search engines. If found out by the search engines, may lead to getting your web site banned from being listed.

Login
Noun or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a computer system. Not a secret (contrast with Password). Verb: The act of entering into a computer system, e.g. Login to the WELL and then go to the GBN conference.
See Also: Password

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M


Maillist (or Mailing List)
A (usually automated) system that allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the maillist. In this way, people who have many different kinds of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.

Megabyte
A million bytes. Actually, technically, 1024 kilobytes.
See Also: Byte, Bit, and Kilobyte

Meta Tags
META tags are HTML tags that are used to include information about your web page. One big difference between other HTML tags and META tags is that META tags are always placed between the tags of the HTML page. A plethora of different META tags are available that you can use to include page-related information, but only two of them, the keyword tag and the description tag, are important from SEO perspective.

Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator)
A device that you connect to your computer and to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers through the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does for humans.

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N

Network
Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.
See Also: internet, Internet, Intranet

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O


P


Password
A code used to gain access to a locked system. Good passwords contain letters and non-letters and are not simple combinations such as virtue7. A good password might be: Hot$1-6
See Also: Login

Plug-in
A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape(r) browser and web server. Adobe Photoshop(r) also uses plug-ins. The idea behind plug-in's is that a small piece of software is loaded into memory by the larger program, adding a new feature, and that users need only install the few plug-ins that they need, out of a much larger pool of possibilities. Plug-ins is usually created by people other than the publishers of the software the plug-in works with.

POP (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol)
Two commonly used meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dial up phone lines. So if an Internet company says they will soon have a POP in Belgrade, it means that they will soon have a local phone number in Belgrade and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A second meaning, Post Office Protocol refers to the way e-mail software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or shell account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail.
See Also: SLIP , PPP

Portal
Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is or is intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a "Portal site" has a catalog of web sites, a search engine, or both. A Portal site may also offer email and other service to entice people to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence "portal") to the Web.

PPP (Point to Point Protocol)
Most well known as a protocol that allows a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections and thus be really and truly on the Internet.
See Also: IP Number, Internet, SLIP, TCP/IP

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Q

 

R

Reciprocal Links
A reciprocal link occurs when a web site links to a site and in turn the linked-to site links back to the linking site i.e. the link is reciprocated by both parties. They aid in driving traffic to a web site and in some cases also add to site's link popularity.

Responsive Web Design 
Responsive web design is a design approach focused on developing sites that provide an optimal viewing experience no matter the computing device that the viewer may be using. Important factors of concern in this approach include, but are not limited to easy reading, flexible navigation, functionality and communication. Read more

Robots.txt
A file which well behaved spiders read to determine which parts of a website they may visit. You can specify what pages to index or what search engine spiders are allowed to index the web site e.g. you can specify that Google's spider is allowed but not Yahoo's spider. Useful to stop a web site from being indexed by accident if it is still under construction of if you want certain areas of the web site to be hidden from the spider.

Router
A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the connection between 2 or more networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on.
See Also: Network, Packet Switching

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S

Search Engine Submission
When you submit your site to a search engine, it reads your site, indexes it, and assigns a rank for it according to its algorithm.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
A Web-based technology that lets one computer verify another's identity to allow secure connections.

Secure Electronic Transaction Protocol (SET)
An open standard developed jointly by MasterCard, VISA, Microsoft and other technology partners. SET uses digital IDs (certificates) that are generated within a hierarchy by the card brands. These certificates authenticate all parties involved in a payment card transaction over any type of network including the Internet.

Security Certificate
A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection. Security Certificates contain information about whom it belongs to, which a unique serial number or other unique identification, valid dates, and an encrypted “fingerprint” that can be used to verify the contents of the certificate issued it. In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have a valid Security Certificate.
See Also: Certificate Authority, SSL

SEO
Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your site appear at the top of search engine results for your domain-specific keywords and phrases. The higher your website ranks in the results of Google, Yahoo, MSN etc., the greater the chance that your site will be visited by many, which in turn would skyrocket your sales.

Server
A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine, on which the software is running, e.g. our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.
See Also: Client, Network

Shopping Cart or Basket

Repository that resides on the client for storing, reviewing, and updating items purchased through the buy-side system.

Site Map
A special page on a web site that contains a tree-like representation of the link structure of the site. It allows a search engine spider to index all the most important pages of the site with ease because it can access them all from one page. A link to the site map should be clearly accessible/indexable from the home page at least.

Spam (or Spamming)
An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn't ask for it. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python skit, which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone's low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. (Spam is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat product.) E.g. Mary spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message to each.
See Also: Maillist, USENET

Spider
It refers to software programs that scan the web.It is important that your web site is indexable by a spider otherwise it may not visit some pages. A common method used to ensure that it indexes all the most important web pages is to include a site map on your site. The way a Search Engines bot looks at your webpage affects your webpages ranking.

SQL (Structured Query Language)
A specialized programming language for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application will have its own version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL- capable databases support a common subset of SQL.

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T

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
This is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software.
See Also: IP Number, Internet, UNIX

Terminal
A device that allows you to send commands to a computer somewhere else. At a minimum, this usually means a keyboard and a display screen and some simple circuitry. Usually you will use terminal software in a personal computer - the software pretends to be (emulates) a physical terminal and allows you to type commands to a computer somewhere else.

Title Tags
Title tags are the words that appear at the very top of your web browser, and they tell the search engine what the page is about.do the same thing: they look at the title of a web page and decide what it is

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U

UNIX
A computer operating system (the basic software running on a computer, underneath things like word processors and spreadsheets). UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this: http://www.matisse.net/seminars.html (or) telnet://well.sf.ca.us (or) news:new.newusers.questions etc. The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a WWW browser program, such as Netscape, or Lynx.
See Also: Browser, WWW

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V

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Usually refers to a network in which some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is "virtually" private. A typical example would be a company network where there are two offices in different cities. Using the Internet the two offices merge their networks into one network, but encrypt traffic that uses the Internet link.
See Also: Internet, Network

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W

WAN (Wide Area Network)
Any internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus.
See Also: Internet, internet, LAN, Network

Website Lease
An agreement between the user and the owner providing the privilege of using a website in exchange for regular payments with very little to no up front development costs. The premise is for a user to have a website promoting their products or services, but not have any overall ownership of the site.
See article: Website Leasing: What is it, How Does it Work and How Can I Benefit?

WWW (World Wide Web)
Frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major meanings - First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers), which are the servers, that allows text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be mixed together.
See Also: Browser, FTP, Gopher, HTTP, Internet, Telnet, URL, and WAIS

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X

XML (Extensible Markup Language)
Standard product classification tags, which allow companies to automatically parse, aggregate and normalize data into a uniform database/catalog. XML is expected to emerge as the standard interchange format. XML separates data content from business rules, therefore making it easier for independent computer systems to communicate with each other. It comprises a data file format and schema together with the ability to embed logical meaning into a file. XML uses “tags” to define context while XTML uses “tags” to define appearance.

Y

Z

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