6 Confusing Yet Common Website Terms
For years, we have come across new clients that get confused by the most commonly used terms in the website design industry. In this article, we will try to clear up the confusion in some of them.
The term “cache” is also pronouced as “cash” but we are usually not talking about money. It is a collection of files stored in your computer by your browser collectively called “cached files”. The first time your browser accesses a website, it has to download all of the files and objects from the web server. It then saves these files in your hard drive (cached) so the next time the same website is visited, it no longer has to download the same files and objects, effectively resulting in a faster browsing experience. So don’t be afraid the next time we ask you to “clear your cache.”
Cookies in the web design world are not edible. Like cache, this term refers to text files that are stored in your computer. They usually contain key/value pairs used to remember your settings. Most of the time, information stored in cookies are sensitive information, like usernames and passwords. Again, there is no need to be concerned about your diet when we ask you to “clear your cookies.”
Domain Names (mycompany.com) refer to the alphanumeric equivalent of an IP address (126.96.36.199). The term “domain” is sometimes used to mean the same thing. Before there were domain names, you had to type a web server’s entire IP address. Domain names made it a whole lot easier to remember server names. Additionally, domain names played a huge role in the conservation of IP addresses as there is a finite number of usable IP addresses available. Multiple domain names can be hosted using the same IP address.
Many clients use the terms download and upload like they mean the same thing, but there is a difference. To make it easier to remember, imagine that the Internet is a mothership floating in the sky. To get a web page from it, it must send it DOWN to you. For you to send a photo to it, you must send it UP. Therefore, when you download music, you are at the receiving end. When you are uploading a picture, you are sending something.
This is one of the very first terms taught in Internet 101. An IP Address is a unique identifier of a server on an IP network. To send and receive data to and from a server, the IP Address must be known. They are numeric separated by three dots like this: 188.8.131.52. The world wide web industry has done a great job abstracting IP Addresses by using domain names that it is no longer vital to know what your server’s IP Address is.
A server also known as a web server is a term used that refers to a computer that us powered on 24 hours a day. Its job is to serve web page requests by web browsers. When you visit a web site, the web page you are seeing was given to you by a server that may be located hundreds of miles away from you. Without web servers, you cannot have web sites.