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GLOSSARY...All that jargon!

Want more information for Newbies to the Net?  Try This!


Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line: A high-speed connection that sends data over existing copper phone lines. ADSL provides download speeds of up to 1 million bits per second--that's 35 times faster than a standard 28.8Kbps modem connection.
A common configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber to download at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits per second, and upload at speeds of up to 128 kilobits per second.

Anonymous FTP

An FTP session that does not require a user ID and password.. . Often permitted by large host computers who are willing to openly share some of their system files to outside users who otherwise would not be able to log in.
See Also: FTP, Login, Password

Anti-Virus Software
Software written specifically to combat harmful viruses. Anti-Virus software seeks and removes viruses from your computer. Norton AntiVirus and McAfee VirusScan are two popular Anti-Virus programs.

A small Java program. that can be placed (embedded) in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.) on the local computer, and are prohibited from communicating with other computers across a network.
See Also: HTML, Java, Network

Archie: An early Internet search tool not used much since the advent of the Web Browser in 1994. It is an archive of filenames maintained at Internet FTP sites.
See Also: Browser, Veronica

ARPANet: (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) - The precursor to the Internet. It was developed in the late 60's by the US Department of Defense as an experiment in wide-area networking that would survive a nuclear war.
See Also: Internet

American Standard Code for Information Interchange: This is a global standard of code numbers, used by computers to represent all upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and punctuation. There are 128 standard ASCII codes, each of which can be represented by a 7-digit binary number, 0000000 through 1111111.
See Also: Binhex

Active Server Pages: A Microsoft-invented programming environment that allows Web developers to create server-side scripted templates that generate dynamic, interactive applications. Embedded ASP codes in standard HTML can achieve a range of possibilities, from Web content customized to a user's individual tastes or a complex database application that may access legacy data from a mainframe.

AU: A common audio file format for UNIX systems (.au).

A feature that sends an automated reply to incoming email. For example, when customers send email to your address, an autoresponder can send a standard message back to them.

AVI: (Audio/Video Interleaved) - A common video file format (.avi). Video quality can be good at smaller resolutions, but files tend to be large.

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A high-speed line (or a series of connections) that forms a major pathway within a network.

The amount of data you can send through a connection, usually measured in bits per second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A 56K modem can move about 56,000 bits (3.5 pages of text) in one second. The greater the bandwidth, the more data that can be moved at one time. Lack of bandwidth can impose severe limitations on the ability of the Internet to quickly deliver information.
See Also: Bps, Bit

A paid advertisement in the form of a graphic (usually rectangular in shape) displayed on a Web page. When viewers click on a banner, they are taken to the advertiser's Web site.  You get FREE Banner placement in our Platinum Hosting Plan!

Baud: The baud rate of a modem is how many bits it can send or receive per second.
See Also: Bit, Modem

Bulletin Board System: An online/ computerized meeting system. BBS users can have discussions, make announcements, and upload or download files. There are thousands of BBSs around the world; many of them rely on a direct modem-to-modem connection over a phone line, using a single computer.

Binhex: (BINary HEXadecimal) - A method for converting non-text files into ASCII files. This is required because Internet email can only handle ASCII files.

This is the smallest measure of computerized data, either 1(on) or 0(off). Eight bits equal one byte, or one character. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second. See Also: Bandwidth, Bps, Byte

BITNET: ('Because It's Time NETwork' or 'Because It's There NETwork') - A network of educational sites separate from the Internet. Listserv, the most popular form of email discussion groups, originated on BITNET.

Bookmark: A pointer to a Web site of interest. Within browsers, pages can be "bookmarked" for quick reference, rather than remembering and typing the complete URL in the address bar.  See Also: Internet Explorer, Mosaic, Netscape

Bits per second: A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place to another. A 28.8K modem can move 28,800 bits per second, or about 3600 characters per second. See Also: Bandwidth, Bit, Modem

A client program (software)  used to view various kinds of Internet resources. You use a browser (e.g., Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer) to view Web pages from your computer.
See Also: Internet, Internet Explorer, Mosaic, Netscape, Home Page (or Homepage), URL, WWW

BTW: (By The Way) - An email version of shorthand!
See Also: IMHO, RTFM

A byte is a set of 8 bits that represent a single character.See Also: Bit, Kilobyte, Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte

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Cache: A section of memory or the Hard Drive where data can be stored for rapid or frequent access.

Certificate Authority
An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections.

Common Gateway Interface: A protocol that allows a Web page to run a program on a Web server. Forms, counters, and guestbooks are common examples of CGI programs.  In order to use CGI scripts on your site, you must have a CGI-Bin. See Also: cgi-bin, Email, WWW

cgi-bin: The most common directory to store CGI programs on a web server. The "bin" part of "cgi-bin" is an abbreviation of "binary", dating back to when programs were referred to as "binaries".
See Also: CGI, Server, WWW

ClariNet: A commercial news service dedicated to a wide range of topics that provides tailored news reports via the Internet. You can access ClariNet news within Usenet newsgroups.
See Also: Usenet

Client / Server: Computer technology that separates computers and their users into two categories. When you want information from a computer on the Internet, you are a client. The computer that delivers the information is the server. A server both stores information and makes it available to any authorized client who requests the information.
See Also: Server

Compression: Data files available for upload and download are often compressed in order to save space and reduce transfer times. Typical file extensions for compressed files include .zip (DOS/Windows) and .tar (UNIX).
See Also: Download, PKZIP, Upload

A cookie is a piece of information sent to a browser by a Web server upon accessing a Web site. The next time the browser accesses that site, the server retrieves the information. This is how some Web pages "remember" your previous visits; for example, an E-Commerce site might use a cookie to remember which items you've placed in your online shopping cart. Cookies can also store user preference information, log-in data, etc.

CyberCash is the name of a company that developed a Web-based payment system. Their software enables online payment services for credit cards and Internet check transactions, and works with all popular browsers.

Cyberspace: This term was coined by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information available through computer networks.
See Also: Internet

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Data Transfer
In general, any outward-bound traffic from a Web site is considered to be data transfer. Each time a Web page, image, MIDI file, etc. is loaded, data transfer is generated.

A collection of data: part numbers, product codes, customer information, etc. It usually refers to data organized and stored on a computer that can be searched and retrieved by a computer program.

Dial-In: An Internet account that connects a PC directly to the Internet. These accounts use a software application to connect to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and establish a TCP/IP link to the Internet. To access a dial-in connection, a PC needs either a modem to connect via a regular phone line or a terminal adapter (TA) to connect via an ISDN phone line.
See Also: Internet, ISDN, Modem, TCP/IP

Domain Name System: A system of servers located throughout the Internet that handle Internet connections and the routing of email.

Domain Name
A unique name that identifies one or more Web sites. A domain name acts as a permanent Web address and provides a professional, prestigious Web presence. Compare these two Web addresses (URLs):


In the first URL, the domain name "" is owned by someone else. If you moved your business Web site to another Web host, you would  need a new URL--and you would have to notify your customers of your new address. The second URL contains an example of a custom domain name that you own: "" If you ever move your site, your address will stay the same.. A domain name is the Internet's way of translating a numeric IP address into an easy-to-remember combination of words and numbers. A given machine may have more than one domain name, but a given domain name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names "", "" and "" can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine. See Also: IP Number

See Also: InterNIC.

Transferring a file from a computer on the Internet to your own computer. Things you might download include software, images, email, MIDI files, etc.

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Electronic Mail: Messages sent from one person to another via computer. Email can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses via a mailing list.

A method of encoding a file for security reasons. Encryption is often used to protect credit card numbers from third parties during online purchases.

Ethernet: The common method of networking computers in a LAN, or Local Area Network. An Ethernet connection will handle about 10,000,000 bits per second.
See Also: Bandwidth, Bps, LAN

Email: (Electronic Mail) - Messages sent from one person to another via the Internet. Email can also be sent to a large number of addresses at once through a Mailing List.
See Also: Internet, List Server, Mailing List

A private network, built for specific users (e.g., business clients) who don't have access to a company's intranet.

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Frequently Asked Questions: A compilation of answers to the most common questions on a particular subject.

Finger: An Internet tool for locating people on other sites. Finger can also be used to give access to non-personal information, but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a particular site. The most famous finger site was a Coke machine at Carnegie-Mellon University that students had wired to the Internet. They could then finger the machine and find out how many bottles remained and how long they had been in the machine so they wouldn't walk all the way there and find an empty machine or warm soda.

A combination of hardware and software, used to protect a network from unwelcome traffic. A firewall can be used to separate a LAN into two or more parts, or to control network traffic.

Flame: Originally, to "flame" meant to debate in a passionate manner, often involving the use of flowery language. More recently, flame has come to refer to any kind of derogatory or inflammatory comment, no matter how witless or crude.
See Also: Flame War, Netiquette

Freeware: Software that is available for download and unlimited use without charge.
See Also: Register, Shareware

FrontPage is a WYSIWYG Web page editor by Microsoft. To use FrontPage to create and maintain your Web site, your hosting service must install "extensions" (CGI programs that provide the server side implementation of FrontPage) for your account. Khimaira offers FrontPage extensions at no charge.

File Transfer Protocol: A common method of sending and receiving files on the Internet. You might use FTP to upload HTML files to your Web host from your own computer. A user ID and password are needed to use FTP, unless Anonymous FTP is allowed.

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Graphic Interchange Format: A type of image file. GIF files are graphics or pictures, often used on Web pages. Because GIF files contain a maximum of 256 colors, this file format is ideal for simple graphics with minimal shading or color variation. Other types of graphics are better suited for the JPEG file format.

Gigabyte (GB)
One billion bytes.

To be more accurate, one gigabyte actually contains 1,073,741,824 bytes. Since the prefix "giga" is associated with one billion, the term gibibyte is used to define 1,073,741,824 bytes.See Also: Bit, Byte, Kilobyte, Megabyte, Terabyte

Any picture or image file within a Web page. Graphics are usually in GIF or JPEG format.

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Helper Application: A program allowing you to view multimedia files (images, audio, video) that your web browser cannot handle internally. The file must be downloaded before it will be displayed. There are some plug-ins that allow you to view the file over the Internet without downloading it first.
See Also: Browser, Plug-in

A single request from a Web browser for a single item from a Web server. When a browser displays a Web page that contains 2 graphics, 3 hits occur at the server: 1 hit for the HTML page itself, plus a hit for each of the two graphics.

See Also: Impressions

The first page of a Web site. Some people choose to have only a homepage, with no supporting pages. Originally, a home page was the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common definition refers to the main web page for any business or personal site. See Also: Browser, WWW


  1. A computer system accessed by a user from a remote location. In the case of two computer systems connected via modem, the "host" is the system containing the data and the "remote" is the computer at which the user is working.
  2. A computer that is connected to a TCP/IP network, including the Internet. Each host has a unique IP address.
  3. As a verb, "host" means providing the infrastructure for a computer service. A company that hosts a Web server may provide the hardware and software needed to run that server, but does not supply all the content on that server. Khimaira  provides hosting services, while allowing customers to maintain their own Web site content.

HyperText Markup Language: The coding language used to create Web pages. The language used to build hypertext documents on the WWW. They are nothing more than plain ASCII-text documents interpreted (or rendered) by a web browser to display formatted text and fonts, color, graphic images, and links.
See Also: Browser, Internet Explorer, Mosaic, Netscape, WWW

HyperText Transfer Protocol: The protocol for moving hypertext files across the World Wide Web. When you enter a URL in your browser to visit a Web page, an HTTP command is sent to the Web server. This command tells the server to fetch and transmit the requested Web page.

Any text within a document that is linked to another location. The other location could be within the same document, or a different document. Clicking hypertext with your mouse will activate the link. This glossary is made up of hypertext, containing many links.

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Image Map
A graphic used for multiple navigation on a Web page. Image maps contain HTML code that turn specific areas of graphics into links.

The actual number of people who've seen a specific Web page. Impressions are much more accurate than hits when discerning how much traffic your Web page actually receives. Impressions are sometimes called "page views."

Internet: The vast collection of inter-connected networks that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's.
See also: ARPANET, i Network

A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but only for internal use.

IP Number (IP Address)
The unique 4-part number assigned to each and every computer linked to the Internet (e.g., When you connect to the Internet, your ISP assigns you an IP number for the duration of your connection. DNS converts domain names into IP addresses.

 (Internet Relay Chat) - A large multi-user live chat facility. There are a number of major IRC servers around the world that are linked to each other. Anyone connected to IRC can create a channel or chat room, and all others in the channel see everything that everyone types.
See Also: Mailing List

Integrated Services Digital Network: A high-speed connection that sends data over phone lines at speeds of up to 64,000 BPS per channel. An ISDN connection can use one or two channels; at two channels, it provides download speeds of up to 128,000 BPS.

Internet Service Provider: A company that provides access to the Internet. For example, Prodigy Internet is an ISP.

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Java is a programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java programs (or "applets") can be downloaded from the Internet to your computer. They are often used to enhance Web pages. Common Java applets used on Web pages include animation, calculators, and counters.

A scripting language that interacts with HTML source code, allowing for interactive Web sites. JavaScript is used for things such as "rollover buttons" (graphics that change color when you run your mouse over them), rotating banners, MIDI jukeboxes, pop-up windows, etc.

 (Joint Photographic Experts Group) - The name of the committee that designed the photographic image-compression standard. The format (.jpg) is optimized for compressing full-color or grayscale photographic images, and does not work well for line drawings or black-and-white images. JPG images are 24-bit (16.7 million color) graphics.
See Also: GIF, TIFF
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Kilobyte (KB)
A thousand bytes.

To be more accurate, one kilobyte actually contains 1024 bytes. Since the prefix "kilo" is associated with 1000, the term kibibyte is used to define 1024 bytes.

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Local Area Network: A computer network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building.

List server: The most common kind of mailing list. List servers originated on BITNET, but are now common on the Internet.
See Also: BITNET, Email, Mailing List

Login: The user- or account-name used to gain access to a computer system. Also, the act of entering or "signing on" to a computer system.
See Also: Password

Lurking: To read through mailing lists or newsgroups and get a feel of the topic before posting your own messages. It is considered good netiquette to "lurk" a while before joining an online discussion.
See Also: Netiquette, Netizen, Spam, Trolling

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Mail Forwarding
An email feature that forwards email from one address to another. When you sign up for an Ameritech hosting plan, you'll receive a domain email account ( You might also have an email address provided by your local ISP. With mail forwarding, all email addressed to will be sent to your "real" email address.

Additional mail forwarding options include the ability to forward different email to specific addresses on the Internet. For example, email addressed to could forward to your "real" email address (provided by your ISP), while could forward to a different email address.   Khimaira allows you unlimited email forwarding!

Mailing List
A group discussion conducted through email messages, specific to a topic or common interest. When a message is sent to a mailing list, each list subscriber receives a copy.

Megabyte (MB)
A million bytes; a thousand kilobytes.

To be more accurate, one megabyte actually contains 1,048,576 bytes. Since the prefix "mega" is associated with one million, the term mebibyte is used to define 1,048,576 bytes.

META tag
Hidden HTML code that contains information about a Web page, such as who created the page, what the page is about, and which keywords best describe the page's content. Some search engines use this information to list and categorize Web pages by topic.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface: A digital sound file, often used to play music on Web pages.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions: The standard for attaching non-text files (such as graphics, spreadsheets, word processor documents, sound files, etc.) to email messages.

A device that connects your computer to a phone line. It transforms digital computer data into analog data; the analog data is then sent through a telephone line to a second computer. A modem on the receiving end transforms the analog data back into the digital format, so that the receiving computer can read it.

Mirror: To "mirror" something is to maintain an exact copy of it. The most common use of the term on the Internet refers to "mirror sites" which are FTP or web sites that maintain exact copies of material originally stored at another location. Another term is "pointing", where one domain points to another.  This is often used if you have multiple domain names that you want to have refer to only one.  Another common use of the term "mirror" refers to writing information to more than one hard disk simultaneously to prevent its loss or destruction.
See Also: FTP, WWW

Mini SQL: A lightweight database engine designed to provide fast access to stored data.

See Also: SQL

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The informal rules of Internet etiquette.

Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet. The term implies civic responsibility and participation.

Two or more computers connected together for the purpose of sharing resources.

Someone who is new to the Internet.

An Internet forum at which people meet to discuss a variety of topics. Newsgroups are typically accessed through a news reader, a program on your computer that connects you to a news server on the Internet.

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Online: When someone is connected to the Internet, they are considered "online".
See Also: Internet

Operating System (OS)
This is the software that manages a computer system. Windows 95 is an OS.

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Page Views
See impressions.

Password: A code used to gain access to a locked system. Effective passwords should contain both letters and non-letters and not be common or easily guessed words.
See Also: Login

Ping: A program for determining if another computer is presently connected to the Internet.

A unit of measurement for graphics or monitor resolution. A pixel is one dot on a computer screen. Most computer monitors are set to a resolution of 800 x 600, meaning 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels high.

PKZIP: A widely available shareware utility that allows users to compress and decompress data files.
See Also: Compression

Software programs that enhance other programs or applications on your computer. There are plug-ins for Internet browsers, graphics programs, and other applications.


  • Post Office Protocol: a method of retrieving email from a server.
  • Point Of Presence: a telephone number that provides dial-up Internet access. ISPs usually provide several POPs so users can gain Internet access with local phone calls.

Posting: A single message entered into a newsgroup, mailing list, or other communications system.
See Also: Newsgroup, Mailing List, Thread, USENET

Protocol: Computer rules that provide uniform specifications so that all computer hardware and operating systems can communicate with each other.

Point to Point Protocol: The protocol that allows a computer to use a telephone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections, connecting users to the Internet.

A standard for the exchange of information. There are several different types of protocols (e.g., FTP, TCP/IP) used by various computers and software programs.

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Random Access Memory: This is reusable computer memory, available to all programs on a computer. A computer with 32M of RAM has about 32 million bytes of memory that programs can use. RAM is read/write memory, as opposed to ROM which is read-only memory.

Client software that plays audio and video media. Providers of news, entertainment, sports, and business content can create audio and video multimedia content, and deliver it online to audiences worldwide. To create your own RealPlayer files and offer them on your Web site, your hosting service must install special "extensions" for your account.

RFC: (Request For Comments) - The process for creating a standard on the Internet and the name of the result. New standards are proposed and published online, as a Request For Comments. Any new standards that are established retain the acronym RFC. For example, the official standard for email is RFC 822.
See Also: Email, Internet

Resolution (Screen or Monitor)

The way things appear on your computer monitor. Resolution is measured in pixels. The lower the resolution, the larger things appear on your screen. Most computer monitors are set at 800 x 600 resolution, meaning 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. Some people's monitors are set at 1024 x 768 or higher. Others are set at 640 x 480. When designing a Web site, keep in mind that your Web pages will look different to viewers depending on their monitor resolutions.

Robot: A program that automatically searches the WWW for files and catalogues the results.
See Also: WWW

Read-Only Memory: This is a computer's unchangeable memory. It's used to store programs that start the computer and run diagnostic functions.

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Search Engine
A directory of Internet content. Search engines use spiders to search for Web pages, and then list those pages according to the content they contain. When you use a search engine to find specific information, the search engine provides a detailed list of Web pages that best match your inquiry. Popular search engines include Excite, Snap, Yahoo, Google and Infoseek.

Security Certificate
Information used to establish a secure connection by SSL protocol. In order for an SSL connection to be created, both sides must have a valid Security Certificate, issued by the Certificate Authority.

A computer or program that manages network resources. The term can refer to a program, or to the machine on which the program is running. A single server machine could be running several programs, thus providing different services to users on the network.

Shopping Cart
Software used to create an online "storefront," or E-Commerce Web site. It acts as a virtual shopping cart, keeping track of the items visitors have ordered and allowing them to add or remove items. When a visitor decides to "check out" (purchase the items online) the software sends all order information to the merchant.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol: A protocol used to send email from one server to another.

Spam (or Spamming): To send a message or advertisement to a large number of people who did not request the information, or to repeatedly send the same message to a single person. "Spamming" is considered very poor Netiquette. CAUCE (The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) is an organization dedicated to removing spam from the Internet.
See Also: Netiquette, Netizen, Trolling

An Internet program (used by a search engine) that explores the Web at large. Spiders collect and index Web page addresses based on content found at those pages.

Structured Query Language: A specialized programming language used to send queries to databases. Many Web-based programs use SQL to store and retrieve information about users and products from databases.

Secure Sockets Layer: A protocol designed by Netscape to enable encrypted communications across the Internet. It provides privacy, authentication, and message integrity. SSL is often used in communications between browsers and servers. A URL that begins with "https" indicates that an SSL connection will be used on the Web page.

During an SSL connection, each side sends a Security Certificate to the other. Both sides then encrypt what they send, ensuring that only the intended recipient can decode it.

Subscribe: To become a member of a mailing list, newsgroup, or other online service.
See Also: Mailing List, Newsgroup

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TAR: (Tape ARchive) - A compression format commonly used in the transfer and storage of files on UNIX computers (.tar).
See Also: Compression, PKZIP, ZIP
A connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits per second. T-1 is most commonly used to connect LANs to the Internet.

A connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits per second.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol: This is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major computer operating system. Your computer must have TCP/IP software to be connected to the Internet.

Terabyte: A thousand (technically 2^10 or 1024) Gigabytes.
See Also: Bit, Byte, Kilobyte, Megabyte, Gigabyte

Thread: An ongoing message-based conversation on a single subject.
See Also: Mailing List, Newsgroup, Posting

Trolling: The act of deliberately posting false or inflammatory information in order to start a flame war or cause aggravation to others.
See Also: FlameNetiquette, Spam

Software that compresses speech down to as little as 1/40th its original size. Regular speech files are normally large, causing Web pages to load slowly; TrueSpeech compression allows faster, easier transfer.

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A computer operating system. UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

Upload: The process of transferring data from a local computer to a remote computer. When you copy a file from your computer to a computer on the Internet, you are "uploading" that file.
See Also: Download

Uniform Resource Locator: The standard way to display an address on the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL is accessed through a Web browser and looks like this:

UNIX to UNIX Encoding: A method for converting files from Binary to ASCII so that they can be sent across the Internet via email.

See Also: MIME

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A virus is a malicious program whose sole intent is to cause problems on a computer. There are Anti-Virus programs, such as McAfee and Norton Utilities, created to combat viruses.

Virus Hoax
Occasionally, rumors are started about viruses that do not exist. These are merely hoaxes.

Volano Chat
A real-time, live chat interface you can add--quickly and easily--to your Web site. Written in Java, it is compatible with the vast majority of Web browsers and requires no plug-ins.

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Web or WWW
World Wide Web: This commonly refers to the massive, global collection of hypertext (HTTP) servers that allow concurrent viewing of Internet data. The term "dub,dub,dub" is a shortened, spoken version of "WWW."

What You See Is What You Get (pronounced "wizzy-wig"): A program that displays a document on your screen exactly as it would appear when printed or published online. The term usually applies to HTML editors, such as Microsoft FrontPage. These WYSIWYG editors can show you how your Web page will appear online, as you're editing the document.

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Zone Information Protocol: This is a method of compressing computer data or files into a small size, so they can be transferred quickly over the Internet. There are programs built specifically to zip files, such as WinZip.

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