Internet Lingo 101

Internet Lingo 101: Cheat Sheet for Beginners

The Internet is growing and evolving so fast that even Webster, and his dictionary have trouble keeping up. Here are 12 suddenly common terms that are helpful to know.



A browser is a free piece of software that lets you view web pages, videos and other online content. It’s a core requirement of going online, as it converts the computer languages like HTML, Javascript and XML into human-readable form.
Basically, it takes all the gobbeldy-gook that makes up the webpage and translates it into something you and I can see.

The most popular browsers in 2017 are Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Microsoft Edge*. (*Internet Explorer has been superseded and is no longer recommended due to security concerns)


Before important data is sent over the internet, it’s scrambled to turn it into gibberish that means nothing to anybody who might intercept it. Unless there’s been a massive security breach, only the sender and intended recipient will have the decryption key to turn it back into readable data. Think of it like the “Enigma Machine” the Germans used during WWII to sc

You don’t have to encrypt your own data as it happens automatically. Your email provider and important places like banks and online stores have digital security systems that take care of the encryption/decryption for you.


These are acronyms for the rules of how data is transmitted to your computer screen. The actual mechanics behind the magic is incredibly complicated, but the terms have one very important distinction:

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) means the images, text and links should appear in your browser.

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secured (HTTPS)  goes hand in hand with encryption and means the page has an added layer of security to hide your personal information from hackers. Data sent through pages with this prefix is securely encrypted before transmission.


A firewall is a security measure designed to act like airport security for your network.  When an unauthorized user attempts to gain entry, the firewall blocks their path until it’s checked them out thoroughly. If there’s anything suspicious, the firewall refuses to let them in.


IP Address

Every device that accesses the Internet is assigned a unique IP address to identify itself.Just like your house has a unique mailing address. Your IP Address is used to make sure when you request a webpage or document, it’s sent to you – and not someone in Alaska. Your IP will look something like ‘’ and may be referred to as fixed or dynamic.


Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the company that allows you to connect to the Internet. Typically the phone company or cable company. These guys are the ones you pay each month for internet access. ISP is to internet as the water company is to water. They’ll also offer extra services like email or web hosting. It’s impossible to bypass the ISP level and connect directly to the Internet.


An acronym for (Mal)icious Soft(ware). A very loose and broad term to describe viruses and other malicious things that can infect your computer. Malware can manipulate you into paying money, take control of your computer, steal your private details or break your computer in some way. Instead of listing each specific threat, you’ll commonly see them lumped together under ‘malware’. 


The traffic system for your network, connecting computers and devices within the home and acting as a defensive gateway to the Internet. These hardware devices can be wired or wireless, and allow you to share one Internet connection amongst all the computers/devices in your home.

Social Media

A broad term to describe all the websites and applications that let you share and interact with others online. To fit this umbrella, the site needs to allow user profiles, live updates and the ability to add friends/followers.

The most common social media applications are Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram.

Spam and Filtering

Any unsolicited messages sent over the Internet, usually in bulk, are called spam. Basically, it’s the electronic form of junk mail that the postman delivers, but it’s also a technique hackers use to trick people into clicking links to their malware.

E-mail applications are reasonably good at identifying spam and should shift it automatically to a spam folder before you see it. Occasionally, the filters get it wrong and you may find a relevant email needs to be dragged back to your inbox.


Each website has a unique address on the web known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). URLs are the addresses to a website, most commonly ending in .COM or .NET but can also end in a country specific extension like or .fr, or more recently, in new and exciting extensions such as .xyz or .me
Examples of URLs include:

Hope this helps!! Until next time…Thank you for being a customer of Springfield PC PROS. As a small business owner, I truly appreciate your patronage.

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