Web design 101 – Web Design Jargon Busting

Whilst we try to leave the technical jargon at the door, sometimes there’s no other way. So with that in mind, and on the back of our website security blog, we’ve put together a helpful list of web design jargon busting terms we may use so that you know what we mean!

If we say something you don’t understand, though, please do ask us. There’s only one type of dumb question, and that’s the one that’s never asked.

Server

Everyone’s seen a computer and most people have at least one, from a mobile phone to a laptop and everything in between. Servers are just computers, provisioned to do specific things; for example, they may store data that you use for work in a database.

From the web point of view, a server is where a website and its content is stored. Every website is stored somewhere on a server, usually in big warehouses called data centres.

Our servers are located in a secure data centre within the UK.

Internet Protocol (IP) address

Every computer that’s connected to another device such as your home router has an IP address. An IP address is just like your postal address, but instead of it reading like 1 High Street it’s numerical sequence such as 42.185.12.

IP addresses allow your computer to send and receive information, for example, when you visit a website, you are visiting the IP address of the server where the website is stored (or hosted).

IP addresses are great for computers to understand but not so great for us, can you imagine typing in 216.58.210.206 to your browser bar? (Why don’t you copy and paste this one into your browser and see where it takes you). It’s so much easier remembering google.com instead of a sequence of numbers. That’s why we have Domains.

Domains

A domain is like a PO Box address; it’s used to mask the IP address of the server with something a bit easier to remember for us humans. Every domain has to be unique and can be petty much whatever you want. It’s what your customers type in their address bar to get to your website.

Domains can come in two forms, when you put in a web address of a website you go to the primary domain. Depending on your host you might also be allowed a subdomain. A subdomain is like breaking down the address of a building into apartments, for example, you might have a domain of greatburgers.com, and the subdomain would be testing.greatburgers.com.

We use subdomains (sometimes called staging sites) to create exact copies of your live website. Staging sites give us the ability to test any plugins or make changes to your website without the risk of breaking your live website.

Domain Name System (DNS)

The DNS is the phonebook (and translator) of the internet. As we’ve discussed above, the domain names we use in everyday life mask actual addresses of a server on the internet.

The DNS translates the domain you type in your browser into the IP address. This allows your device to find where the data(you’re website in this case) is and retrieve it. Your browser will then render the information and display it accordingly.

There are eight steps in the process before your browser retrieves the information, but it all happens at the speed of light!

If you purchase a domain elsewhere, you’ll need to change your DNS settings so that browsers know where to go to find your website.

We can also help you change the settings if you’re struggling to do this. Alternatively, we can sort all this out as part of your initial set up. Ensuring you don’t have to worry.

Unique Resource Locator (URL)

A URL works in combination with your domain. It tells your browser where to look for a specific asset (like another page). When you’re navigating around a website, you might have noticed the extra bit at the end of the domain name, for example, greatburger.com/cheeseburger.

Anything after the domain ending (.com or .co.uk) is the specific asset that your browser has retrieved from the server.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

These two protocols are used for your email. If we start with SMTP, as it suggests in the name this protocol physically moves email. It doesn’t do it on its own. It also works with the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) on your computer. The SMTP acts as the middle man making sure that your email is delivered to the email address you specified.

The best example I can think off is posting a real-life letter. When you post a letter you pop it in a post box (the MTA). The Postie then comes to collect the letter (SMTP) and takes it to the Royal Mail Depot (MTA). It’s then sorted and sent on to its destination (SMTP) and delivered to the recipient.

IMAP is used for incoming email; it’s used to connect your device to a remote server so you can see your emails.

Unlike other mail protocols, IMAP does not limit the number of applications accessing emails as they’re all stored on the server. Using IMAP means that you can have multiple devices access your mail account such as a tablet, phone and laptop keeping everything in sync across all devices.

Phew!

That about it, hopefully busts some of the web design jargon that we may use. One thing to remember not all host will take care of everything were as we do on all of our packages. We are really are a one stop shop. If you ever need anything all you need to do is shout.