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An open source web server. Apache is the most commonly used web server on the internet with approximately 80 percent of market share. The Apache Web Server is generally run on a UNIX operating system but it can also be run under Microsoft Windows.


Active Server Pages. A server side technology developed by Microsoft for generating dynamic web pages. ASP's are most suited for running on an IIS web server.


A low level language that can be used for programming on virtually any Operating System.


Common Gateway Interface. The first server side technology to be used for generating dynamic web pages. Although there are still many CGI scripts in use on the web, most new sites tend to use a server side technology such as ASP or PHP, as these allow more control and flexibility and have less security weaknesses.

Client Side

A process that takes place on a web browser after a web page is returned from the web server.

Colour Depth

These days virtually all computer monitors can display colours. All new PC's tend to be supplied with screens that can display at least 65,000 colours and most can display many more. However for some older computers can still only display 256 colours. When photographs or complicated graphics are displayed on these older monitors the colours of the original image have to be approximated to the nearest available colour. This results in a speckled image called dithering.


Cookies are small files that can be downloaded and read by a web application. Cookies are commonly used to hold information about a user's activities at a web site, such as what they have looked at since accessing a site, what they did on any previous visits and what their preferences are. Although cookies are frequently used by web applications, a small number of internet users configure their web browser software to stop cookies from being saved to their computer.


A piece of software designed to store data in an easily accessible way. Databases have advantages over traditional text files in that they are both quicker to retrieve their data and, by correctly structuring the data, allow it to be updated in a simple manner. Common databases used on the internet include MySQL, Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server.

Domain Name

Before a web site can be accessed it needs to have a unique name. This name is known as the sites domain name or URL. Our domain name is and it is this name that uniquely identifies our web site from the millions of others on the web.

Dynamic Web Pages

Dynamic web pages those where the contents of the page can vary depending on when they are requested and who has requested them. Dynamic pages are used for functions such as online sales and order processing or for any application that requires data to be displayed from a database.


A term usually used to describe selling a product or service over the internet. It can however also be used as a general term for doing any sort of business online.


Frames are a way of dividing a web browser window into two or more smaller windows, each displaying different HTML content. Frames have the advantage of allowing some parts of a web page to remain stationary while other parts can be scrolled. They do however have several disadvantages, as they are not supported by all web browser software, they can be confusing for search engines and they can be too complicated for some users (especially those using text only browsers such as the many users with disabilities).


File Transfer Protocol. The most commonly used method of transferring files between computers.


Hypertext Markup Language. This is in effect the computer language of the internet. Any web page written in HTML can be displayed by any web browser. Even when dynamic web pages are produced using a Server Side language like ASP or PHP, the final web page passed to the browser is still written in HTML.


Also called a link or anchor, a hyperlink is just a connection from one web resource to another (you will have clicked on a hyperlink to get to this Glossary). Although commonly used to link different HTML pages together, hyperlinks can also be used to link to an email address, FTP service or other web resource.


Internet Information Server. A web server developed by Microsoft. IIS is the second most commonly used web server on the internet with approximately 20 percent of market share. The IIS Web Server is always run on one of the more advanced Microsoft Windows operating systems, such as Windows 2000 or Windows XP.


A technical term for, well, technical terms!


Javascript is a client side technology, used for adding dynamic effects to a web page without the need to re-access a web server. JavaScript can be used for creating sophisticated effects such as menus and buttons that change colour when a mouse is moved over them. It is also frequently used to validate form data before sending the results of a form back to the web server. A small number of internet users either configure their browser to disable JavaScript from running or have web browser software that does not support JavaScript.


MacOS is the operating system specific to the Apple Macintosh Computer.

Microsoft Access

A relatively simple relational database for running under Microsoft Windows. Microsoft also offer the Microsoft SQL Server database when a more sophisticated and powerful product is required.

Microsoft SQL Server

A powerful relational database for running under Microsoft Windows. Microsoft also offer the Microsoft Access database when a less sophisticated and powerful product is required.

Microsoft Windows

A generic name form the range of operating systems developed by Microsoft. This range includes Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The Microsoft Windows range of operating systems dominates the personal computer market with over 97 percent of market share


An open source relational database. MySQL is closely integrated with the PHP language making it a powerful database for use in web site development.

Open Source

Open Source software refers to any software that is freely distributed along with its source code, allowing anybody to change and improve the software.

Operating System

An operating system is the software that controls the running of any computer and allows all other software to be run. The most common operating system used for computers running web browser software is Microsoft Windows. The most common operating system used for computers running web server software is UNIX. Users of the Apple Macintosh use the MacOS operating system.


Portable Document Format. A technology developed by Adobe to allow documents to be displayed and printed on a variety of different operating systems.


Hypertext Preprocessor. An open source server side technology for generating dynamic web pages. PHP is most suited for running on an Apache web server.

Relational Database

Software designed for storing data in a structured way and for allowing easy retrieval and maintenance of that data. Examples of commonly used Relational Databases include Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL.

Search Engine

An internet site designed to allow a user to find other internet sites based on a list of key words or phrases. Common Search Engines include MSN, Yahoo! and Google, but there are many hundreds of others that are also used.

Screen Resolution

The display on all computer screens is made up of a series of tiny dots called pixels. Screen resolution refers to the number of pixels that be displayed by a monitor. The higher the screen resolution the more data a monitor can display at any one time. The most commonly used screen resolutions for the internet are 800 pixels wide by 600 high and 1024x768.

Server Side

A process that takes place on a web server before a web pages is returned to the web browser.

Static Web Pages

Static web pages are those where the contents of the page is always the same. The page is written in a language called HTML. Static web pages are most suitable for information that does not change very frequently.


UNIX was developed as a multi-user operating system, allowing multiple activities to take place on a computer at the same time. There are many different versions of UNIX available supplied by a number of different software companies.


Universal Resource Locator: Another term for a site's domain name.

Visual Basic

Sometimes shortened to VB, Visual Basic is a high level language developed by Microsoft. Visual Basic is designed for the easy and quick creation of programs to run under Microsoft Windows.

Web Browser

The software used by an internet user to view web pages. The most common web browser is Microsoft Internet Explorer, followed by Mozilla based browsers such as FireFox.

Web Host

Web Hosts are companies who specialise in selling space on their shared web servers for the use of smaller web sites. For most sites this is the usual and most cost effective way of getting a site hosted on the internet.

Web Server

The software used to pass requested web pages back to a web browser. The most commonly used web servers are Apache and IIS.

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