When I started my first website, I didn’t know anything about the online world. Hosting, domain, php, htaccess, dns, plugin, wordpress, and so many others were all meaningless words to me.
I didn’t know what a DNS was. I didn’t know the difference between hosting, domain, and website. I didn’t even know what WordPress is. I spent countless hours searching the internet, reading and asking questions. Most of the time, I found no one willing to simply answer my “stupid” questions. I had to research more and read more. I felt overwhelmed by the mountains of information you can find online.
I’m still learning. Many things are clearer to me now, and I want to pay it forward to people who, like me, are struggling to find a complete and easy guide for beginners to the seemingly nonsensical terminology of the online world.
Why create a Glossary?
I receive dozens of emails every week from people who are like I used to be. They ask for advice, how to solve a problem, which hosting company is best, how to move a website to another hosting company, which plugin to use for sharing content, how to monetize a website, etc. I reply to every email. ALWAYS.
This process takes a great deal of time. I noticed that most questions are the same, again and again. So from this, I got the idea to make a short and easy guide/glossary where you can find and familiarize yourself with many basic “technical” terms that sometimes sound like gibberish.
Also known as Amazon associates. Affiliate marketing program from the retail website Amazon. This program gives a reward every time someone buys an item through an affiliate link. It is an effective way to monetize a website. Each Amazon website (amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, and etc.) has its own affiliate program for which you should apply depending on your target country (eg., US = amazon.com, UK = amazon.co.uk).
Also known as Content Management System. Software that helps you build a website. WordPress is the most popular CMS. Other CMS include: Drupal, Joomla!, and ExpressionEngine. In every-day terms, a CMS is like the material used to build a house. It can be made with wood (WordPress), bricks (Drupal), or steel (Joomla!).
Small piece of data that, when visiting a website, is stored on your computer as a txt file. Information such as your username and password is stored in this file so that when you browse the same website again, you don’t have to re-enter the information.
Web-based hosting control panel. Place where you can EASILY manage your websites, email accounts, backups, and files that are on your hosting (server). Starting point for building a website. From here, you can decide which CMS to use to build a website.
Also known as Cascading Style Sheets. Language that defines how users see a website’s content. The file “style.css” in WordPress controls formatting instructions for pages generated by WordPress (that are HTML files). These instructions tell your browser how content should appear (layout, colors, fonts, position, alignment, etc.).
Organized collection of data. The telephone book is a database of names, addresses, and telephone numbers. In WordPress, a database is a file that contains all website’s data. It usually ends with .db, and it is best left undisturbed. Don’t mess with it.
Also known as dedicated hosting service, dedicated server, managed hosting service. Type of internet hosting. In dedicated hosting, a single client leases an entire server without sharing it with anyone else. It is usually more expensive than shared hosting, (fees start at $229/month), but it is also more flexible. It is like renting a villa all for yourself.
See domain name.
The nice name used to identify a website. Every website has an “internet address” called “IP address” that is a string of numbers and difficult to remember. A domain name is an easy-to-remember name for the website’s IP address. A famous domain name is www.google.com, while one of its IP addresses is 184.108.40.206.
Also known as domain registrar. Place where you can buy a domain name. Namecheap and GoDaddy are domain name registrars. SiteGround is a hosting company AND a domain name registrar that provides one free domain with its hosting packages. You can easily change your domain name registrar.
Also known as Domain Name System. System that connects the domain name with the IP address, a kind of human-to-web translator. When I type “www.google.com” in a URL bar, DNS will translate it to 220.127.116.11.
Also known as EPP key, Auth Code, Authorization Code. Code required when transferring a domain name from one domain registrar to another that helps prevent unwanted domain name transfers. It is held by the current domain name registrar and can be found on the registrar’s website or by contacting them.
Also known as File Transfer Protocol. Protocol used to transfer files from one computer to another. It could be used to transfer files from your computer (home computer) to the server (hosting). You’ll need an FTP client software to use the FTP.
Software for using the FTP. With this software, you can connect to an FTP server and navigate to the server’s folder (similar to how you navigate on your computer). Filezilla is an example of an FTP client.
Advertising program with Google. Allows publishers to display ads on your website’s pages. You can earn money by displaying these ads on either a per-click or per-impression basis. More info here.
Also known as web hosting. Virtual space provided by the hosting company (such as Bluehost or SiteGround) where a website’s files and database are located. Hosting can be shared or dedicated. Shared hosting is cheaper than dedicated hosting. Hosting is like a virtual house where your website lives.
Also known as .htaccess, hypertext access. Configuration file placed on the server or in the root directory (main directory) of your WordPress site. To see and modify this file, you’ll need to use an FTP client. It is best to not mess with this file if you don’t know exactly what to do.
Also known as HTTP over TLS, HTTP over SSL, and HTTP Secure (https://). More secure version of HTTP. All data exchanged are encrypted. In your browser, you can see a green lock in the URL bar to the left of the website’s name when the website supports encrypted communications. This adds a layer of protection to the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data.
Or keywords (similar to long-tail keywords). Specific word or group of words used to attract users to a website. A keyword or keywords or long-tail keywords must be placed in specific areas of the web page to be effective for SEO.
Group of keywords usually used to target a more specific audience. “Quickstart Glossary For WordPress Beginners” could be a long-tail keyword, more specific than the keyword “Quickstart Glossary”.
(As website migration) Also known as website transfer, move a website. The act of transferring a website from one hosting company to another. Here’s an article about migration to a new hosting company. SiteGround offers this service for free for one website and charges $30.00 for each additional website, Bluehost charges $149.99 for up to 5 websites.
Online money transfer and payment service, one of the most reliable it offers free bank accounts for the three main currencies: USD, EUR, and GBP. With Payoneer, you can accept payments from more than 200 countries and pay or withdraw in your local currency using its free MasterCard. It is ideal if you’re doing Amazon affiliate, Google AdSense, or any business where you have to deal with different countries/currencies. More info here.
Piece of software that adds specific features or functionalities to another software. Plugins are popular and often necessary in WordPress. Plugins allow you to build a professional website without the need to learn coding. Many plugins are free.
Also known as Search Engine Optimization. Practice or method used to optimize a website or website page to rank higher in search results. The higher your site ranks on a search results page, the more visitors it will receive.
Also known as shared hosting service. Type of internet hosting. In shared hosting, a single client shares a server with other clients. It is usually the most affordable type of hosting with rates between $3.95 to $14.95 per month (SiteGround prices). Shared hosting is the most common choice for bloggers, small businesses, landing pages, and portfolio websites. Some hosting companies offer high-quality shared hosting. In everyday words, it is like renting a room in a house with other roommates.
Web hosting company and domain name registrar, provides high-quality shared hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated hosting and domain names. Its 24/7 support is insanely fast. Letskillthenoise.com is proudly hosted on SiteGround.
Also known as Secure Sockets Layer (see also TLS). Cryptographic protocol that secures information exchanged between a browser and a website. It also provides certification, identification, and other information about a website. Letskillthenoise.com is using the free Let’s Encrypt SSL. You can click on the green lock beside the URL bar to see details. An SSL positively affects your website’s ranking in search results.
Also known as Top-Level Domain. Last segment of the domain name (eg., .com, .net, .org, .info, .xyz).
Also known as Uniform Resource Locator, web address, website address, is composed by protocol (eg., https://), domain name (eg., www.letskillthenoise.com/), file name/page name (eg., quickstart-glossary). Combined result: https://www.letskillthenoise.com/quickstart-glossary
Also known as web site, site. Collection of web pages accessible via the Internet.
Also known as URL. (see URL)
Sometimes abbreviated as WP. Free and open source CMS. It is the most popular website platform and the easiest to use.
This glossary is continually updated. Come back often to see what’s new!
If you would like to know about something not listed here, please leave a comment or contact me.