Plain English Web Glossary

... simple explanations of web terminology

When investigating web services there is a lot of technical language. Fortunately, Church123 users do no need to know any of it. However, for those wishing to learn more, or trying to understand lists from other websites, please read on.

Technical words explained in plain English (words in italics have their own definitions):

The greater the bandwidth the more information that can be transferred at one time. It's a bit like your garden hose – the fatter the hose the more water can flow through it at any one time. The term bandwidth also broadly includes throughput, meaning the amount of information sent.

Most churches already have broadband. In a nutshell it's like getting your Internet connection through a large hose pipe (see bandwidth). It makes using the Internet much faster than with a standard dialup modem. For example, downloading a document (such as a Word file) from the Internet may take 2 minutes on a normal dialup modem but only seconds on a broadband connection. Dialup modems normally use your phone line, preventing voice calls whenever you are on the Internet, whereas broadband connections allow you to use your phone simultaneously. In some developing nations dialup is the only option.

Software for viewing web pages. Browsers (or Internet Browsers) are normally free. The most popular browser is made by Microsoft and called Internet Explorer. If you have a PC it will already be on your computer. The other main browsers are Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

A term coined by William Gibson in his novel "Neuromancer" to refer to a near-future computer network where users mentally travel through matrices of information. The term is now used to describe the Internet and other computer networks.

Dialup Modem
Historically the most widespread form of Internet connection for the home user. This is a connection from your computer using a modem over standard telephone lines. A modem is simply a device to let your computer talk over the phone line.

The process of copying a file from the Internet onto your computer. For example, you can download a Word file. Even if you disconnect from the Internet you can still access the downloaded Word file as it is now copied to your computer.

Similar to normal post there is a ‘from address’ and a ‘to address’ but rather than a postman everything is handled electronically.

Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions.

Used to stop unwanted access to either a computer or a network. Most modern computers come with a firewall. Make sure yours is correctly enabled.

Acronym for File Transfer Protocol. A method of transferring files from one computer to another. If you run your own website by buying server space you will probably need to learn about FTP. If you use Church123 then don't worry about FTP - we keep everything simple.

Acronym for Graphic Interchange Format. Images come in a variety of formats (similarly, movies can come as Blu-ray, DVDs, VHS tapes or Betamax tapes). GIF is one of the main image formats for use on the web. GIF is particularly good for logos and line drawings. Photographs are better as JPEGs.

Home Page
Home Page can either refer to the first web page you come to at a website (e.g. the WELCOME page) or the document displayed when you first open your browser.

Making something (such as a file or an entire website) available to other people on the internet. If you build a website with Church123 then we include hosting in the annual fee so that people can view your site. With some companies you might pay separately for hosting above the cost of creating the site.

Acronym for HyperText Markup Language. Most web pages are written in a language called HTML. To learn a little HTML is simple. To learn to write HTML well takes a lot of hard work. Church123 users do not need to know any HTML.

See links.

Lots of computers connected together by wires, satellites and radio links etc. Whenever you are surfing the web the computer you are using is connected to the Internet. Technically speaking you can view web pages when you are not connected to the web if your computer has already got a 'local' copy of the pages (but most people are connected to the Internet when viewing web pages).

Acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group. One of the main image formats for use on the web. Photographs are normally best stored as JPEG images for use on the web. (See GIF).

Also known as hyperlinks. Connects you from where you are on the web to somewhere else. For example, it may connect you to another website or to a person’s email address etc. When you click on a menu and it opens another page you have clicked a link.

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a type of document that can be viewed on virtually any computer platform. If you want to view a PDF file, simply download the Adobe Reader software free of charge (when you install it you very likely may be best to untick the options to install other free software and toolbars). To learn more about PDF, see Adobe's PDF page.

QuickTime is a movie format developed by Apple. You can download the free QuickTime viewer here.

Acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. Addressing system used in the World Wide Web and other Internet resources. An address such as "" is a URL. We think it is easier to say ‘web address’.

A program that copies itself across the Internet, especially via email (or by other means, e.g. floppy disk or memory stick). These programs can do annoying or nasty things to your computer. If you use the Internet you should use a virus killer program. We have been pleased with the protection received from these commercially available virus killers: McAfee VirusScan and Norton Antivirus. Microsoft also offer Security Essentials and Windows Defender which are free (and pretty good).

Also known as World Wide Web. Often used informally to mean the collection of computers connected to the Internet. If you had a large map and put a marker pin in it for every computer on the Internet then drew a line (with a very fine pencil) between every point you would soon see why it is called the web (think of a spider’s web).

Person in charge of running a website.

Web Page
A single page on the web. A collection of pages is referred to as a website.

Web Server
A computer permanently connected to the Internet which runs a website. When a visitor requests a page the web server sends it to them.

Also written ‘web site’. One or more web pages. Just like a book has pages with text and pictures, so can a site.

World Wide Web
See "web".

If there is a word you would like explained, and potentially added to our list, please complete the form below: