Get to know these internet phrases

The internet uses a lot of strange language, and certain words or phrases can seem like a foreign language to people who aren’t familiar with them. To help you find your way around the ‘World Wide Web’ more easily, here are a few of the most common internet phrases and what they mean.


Despite what they’re called, they’re not as fun as they sound. Cookies are small pieces of information that are downloaded to your computer when you visit a website. For example, cookies remember your registered login passwords and other preferences and track your movements within a website.


The program you use to access the internet and view web pages on your computer is called an internet or web browser – such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Browsing is the action of looking, searching or surfing on the internet.


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the unique web address assigned for any given webpage. No two web addresses are the same, though most begin with https://www and end with .com or .org.


HyperText Markup Language, commonly referred to as HTML, is the programming language web designers use to create web pages. To the ordinary person, HTML is undecipherable but computers read the HTML code and translate it into the text, images, sound, videos and designs you see when you click onto a webpage.


Uploading is the action of transferring data from your device to another, over the internet, conversely, downloading is the action of receiving data from another device. Downloaded data is all that you view or read on the internet and uploaded data is all that you contribute to the internet.


When you click on a video or sound clip, buffering is the action taken by your computer when it preloads data into a reserved area of memory. The purpose of a buffer is to hold data right before it is used. You can begin playing the buffered part of the clip while the computer downloads the rest of the clip.


Watching videos or listening to music online in ‘real time’ is called streaming. This means you are being fed a continuous stream of data straight from the internet instead of downloading a file to your computer to watch whenever you want. Live streaming is when you watch or listen to content online that is being recorded at the same moment, such as live events.


A web or newsfeed is a list of newly published content on a website. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, allow users to see the activity other users in their newsfeed. Newsfeeds are a way for users to see new information and the topics that are trending.


An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides you with access to the internet, usually for a fee, such as Telstra or Optus. The most common ways to connect to an ISP are through a phone line (dial-up) or broadband connection (cable or DSL).


Bandwidth describes the rate at which data can be transmitted to your computer from a website or internet service within a fixed amount of time. The higher the internet bandwidth (provided by your ISP) you have, the faster your internet activity – such as opening webpages, sending emails, watching videos – will be. If your internet is loading pages slowly, it may mean you have exceeded your allocated bandwidth for that period.



Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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