Have you ever thought that the Internet would be a lot less confusing if there wasn’t so much confusing jargon associated with it? That would be nice, but the Internet like any other technology, needs to have its own language. In this article we’d like to try and reduce some of that confusion by defining some basic Internet jargon and concepts. The list is enormous, but let’s start with some that we have definitely all encountered.

The first two Internet terms that we will cover in this article are ISP and web hosting provider.

ISP stands for “Internet Service Provider”. An ISP is the company that provides you with Internet access … a doorway, if you will, to the Internet. Examples of an ISP would be Shaw and MTS. Once you have an ISP, you can surf the Internet to visit web sites.

A web hosting provider is a company that gets a web site online (also known as publishing a web site). The “Web Hosting Provider” stores all the pages of your web site and makes them available to computers connected to the Internet.

In addition to providing Internet access, an ISP can also be a web hosting provider, but a web hosting provider is not an ISP. For example, OfficeSmarts is a web hosting provider but not an ISP, whereas Shaw and MTS are both ISP’s and web hosting providers.

If you have a web site, thinking about getting a new web site, or are just an avid browser of the Internet, you may have come across 3 other important terms related to the Internet: URL, domain name, and web address. These are all pretty much the same thing in that they refer to an Internet address of a web site:

URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator” and is the address of a specific web site or file on the Internet. An example of a URL is http://www.officesmarts.ca/. Clicking on this will take you to the OfficeSmarts web site. There are variations on this theme of URL’s; some have different prefixes, i.e. the “http” part of the address, and some don’t use the “www” part, but you get the basic idea. We’ll talk more about prefixes in a later newsletter.

A web address is the same thing as a URL.

A domain name is the name that identifies the web site. For example, in the following URL: http://www.officesmarts.ca/, “officesmarts.ca” is the domain name of the OfficeSmarts web site. A domain name is also found in an email address. In the following email address, info@officesmarts.ca , “officesmarts.ca“ is also the domain name.

Hopefully this article has clarified some of the concepts in the rather large mud puddle of Internet terminology and concepts. Stay tuned as we intend to continue demystifying Internet, computer and email jargon in each newsletter.

Got questions? Send us an email at besmartaboutit@officesmarts.ca and we’ll be happy to help you out or visit our web site at www.officesmarts.ca.