On this page you will find definitions of acronyms that are used on this site as well as a detailed explanation of a term I used on one of the other pages.  These definitions are in my own words to make it as simple as possible.  Many of these have a far more technical definition.  If you want to see the full technical term, go search the term in your favorite search engine. They are listed in alphabetical order from A to Z.


Brute Force Attack

A type of attack where an attacker uses a computer to attempt every possible combination of letters, numbers and other characters to guess your password.  These programs can guess thousands of passwords per hour (or more).  This is why strong passwords are so important.  The more complex and longer your password is, the longer it will take to figure out.  Good system security will stop this by locking out a user after a certain number of invalid login attempts.



Represents the user that is requesting information and files from a server.


Means a Content Management System, which is a system that uses a database to store the content of the website and deliver it to users.  This enables not programmers to enter content into a website.  The most popular CMS is WordPress.


Means Commercial Off-The-Shelf Software. This is software (and now web applications) like Microsoft Office or Dropbox. It’s features were determined by the developers, not the customer. COTS is the inverse of custom development.


Means Control Panel.  It is the graphical user interface that most hosting plans offer to the user.


Means Cascading Style Sheets.  This controls the formatting of html.



Domain Name System. The system the translates human readable domains like into IP addresses. All websites utilize the domain name system.



Is the process of turning data sent between devices into coded gibberish.  It is encrypted on your device and then decrypted for the intended recipient and vice versa.  Even if someone is able to access the data while in transfer, without the decryption it would be useless.



Mean Hyper Text Markup Language.  This is the language that is used to build websites.


Means Hypertext Transfer Protocol is and is the standard protocol that websites use to communicate on the internet.


Means Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secured is essentially the the same protocol as HTTP but with encryption of the data it transfers between the user and server.



Is a language that is runs on most websites.  It controls user interactivity such as a popup box appearing.



Means Linux, Apache MySQL and (PHP, Perl, or Python). This is a combination of web development technologies and is commonly referred to as the technology stack. Linux is the operating system, Apache is the web server, MySQL is the database and PHP, Perl or Python is the language used.


Media Queries

Is a type of CSS code that enables responsive design. It allows the developer to change the look of the website based on the width of the device so the same website can look one one a on phone, a different way on a tablet and a third way on a desktop.



Is a way that computers communicate to exchange data.



Means a website that looks good on any device and will scale to fit the screen size on which it is being viewed.  A responsive website will have a completely different look on a phone vs a large monitor.


Is a reference to the top level directory in a file structure.



Means Search Engine Optimization.  This is the process of strategically placing relevant content, keywords and other items onto your website to that it gets found in search engine results.


Is the specialized computer that holds a website’s files and databases.  Servers deliver responses to clients based upon their request.


Means Secure Socket Layers and is the standard security protocol used on websites.  A security certificate confirms that the website is running valid SSL.



Means Uniform Resource Locator and is a website’s full address, so Google’s URL is



Means Virtual Private Network.  It is essentially a technology that creates a barrier around your data so that a third party can not view it.  Its application is most used for remotely accessing your organization’s network or in using public WiFi.



Is a Content Management System.  it is very popular and comes in two version, .com and .org.  The .com version is hosted by the WordPress foundation and .org is hosted by your host of choice. For more info, read this article.


Means What You See Is What You Get.  This type of website builder shows the user what the site will look like as it is being built.  Popular example of this are Wix or Weebly.