Working alongside a web developer or hired a third party to help you create a new website? Then you’ll know that there are a lot of abbreviations and terms that will immediately sound completely foreign to you when it comes to website development. However you need to get up to speed so you can better understand exactly what’s going on, and that’s where we come in. Here’s a helpful guide to translate those terms you often hear but aren’t sure what they mean. If nothing else, it will at least help you the next time University Challenge is on.
Now we know how the DNS works, what about Domain Registrar? This is a company, like GoDaddy, who will register your website giving it the .com or .co.uk ending that you have requested. However the Domain Registrar might be different from the company that hosts your server so understanding exactly who is in charge of each aspect of your website is crucial.
The term you’re most likely to hear around your office is CMS. A Content Management System, like WordPress, gives users a visual tool in which to edit and update their website without needing in-depth knowledge of coding. No need to wait for your web developer to make changes to your website, the CMS allows anyone in your team to make changes.
You keep hearing the terms Back-End and Front-End being thrown around the office. Are they being rude? Hopefully not. Hopefully they are referring to the back-end of the website, this the complex running of the website through the server. It requires knowledge of coding and server architecture to keep it running smoothly. With the back-end sorted, you can then focus on the front-end, the part that your users can see and interact with. Some elements of the front-end you can also edit through the CMS too.
Or Uniform Resource Locator if you want to confuse someone instead. Where a domain name is just part of the URL, for instance with the following link http://www.acunningplan.co.uk/blog/six-top-tips-to-get-followers. The part in red is the domain name, the whole thing together however is the URL. In order for servers to communicate to each other and understand where a user wants to be directed, they use an IP address. A language made up of numbers and letters. However no one wants to navigate the web using an IP address, so the web address, or URL we type in is translated by a server into an IP address before guiding you to the right place. The URL is the specific address you type in, such as the one used above.
Been asked to clear your Cache yet? This is another key element of a website that helps it run at a fast pace rather than struggling with long loading times. A cache is a device’s temporary storage space, it will remember web pages you have visited before storing the files from the page. This means on your next visit, it will load quicker since the files are already stored. You may need to clear your cache however when applying an update to a website, so you can load the new design.
You may have recently come across the term Cookies. This has become more prevalent recently as website had to declare if it was ok to track a user’s cookies, due to privacy concerns. This is because a cookie is essentially a small file that contains simple information about a user so it can remember preferences or viewed
items and remember it for the next time the user browses.
Every website needs to be stored somewhere and this is where a web host comes in. This is a company, like tsohost, who will store your website, it’s data and content on one of it’s servers so that the website can work. The web host not only maintains the server where your website is housed, but also manages the technical aspects that allows your website to connect to the internet.
Similar to web hosting, this is a bespoke server host for your emails. For both sending and receiving, this server handles all of your data. It is not like a freemail service like Google or Yahoo because with an email host you’ll get a dedicated server just for your business rather than for multiple people. This allows the server to operate just for you and your colleagues.
Domain Name Server, sounds more complicated than it really is. The internet is a series of long-winded numbers called IP addresses, these numbers are associated with each website you visit. However, so users don’t need to remember long numbers, a DNS translates it into alphabetical form which becomes the web address that you type in. Each web address is translated by the DNS into an IP address so it can guide you to the right website.
From domains to cookies, hopefully we’ve given you a basic outline of how a website works and the terminologies associated with them. The next time you think the web designer is speaking another language, you should now have the tools to translate it and keep a closer eye on your website. Don’t forget, if this all still sounds very foreign to you, give us a call. We can build a website and maintain it so you don’t have to!