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geek speak

Web Nerd Terminology (Explained)

Published June 26, 2009 by Chris Coyier

As happens with any weird niche societal group, us web nerds have developed some language of our own. Some of this language is perfectly acceptable English, but still sounds weird to an outsider. I thought I’d throw together a list of these words and attempt to explain them in plain English as a reference for non-nerds.

Browser - A browser is a software application that is used to visit websites. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc. If you think this is obvious, think again.

Server - When a webpage is visited, data is sent from some computer somewhere to your computer over the internet. That other computer is a server, essentially just like the one you are looking at, only specially configured to deliver information to other computers asking for it. Even though any computer could technically be a server, far more commonly people purchase server functionality from companies that specialize in it, like Media Temple. In addition to “server” being used to describe the physical machine, it also may be used to describe the software program used on that machine which handles serving up that data, like Apache.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator - is one of those things like this: Some people also use URI - Uniform Resource Identifier - for the same purpose, although URL is far more common. I honestly read the entire Wikipedia article for both and I still don’t really understand the difference. A domain name is the first part of the example above: Anybody can purchase a domain name, from companies like Go Daddy that specialize in it.

Tag are text that go around content in HTML code to identify the type of content they surround. For example, in this code

  • Go dancing.
  • , the tags are
  • and
  • .

    Anchor - An “anchor” tag is a tag that looks like this in HTML code: link text. Most HTML tags are referred to by what they look like, for example, a