Servers, Browsers, Hosting & More | 8 Definitions of Basic Web Terms

By Chloe Mark | September 2015

Web-saavy and techie folks often throw out lingo like "serving and hosting" or "front-end" and "back-end," but any layperson knows they're not talking about the restaurant industry or parts of the body... Do you feel like you don't quite know how to speak in computer-tech terms or like you're Googling every time you deal with the IT world? Let's go back to the basics. 

In my sales and marketing role at ArcStone, I'm confronted with confusing tech lingo and its numerous acronyms on a daily basis. I thought I'd consult with our head of IT, Alicia, to map out some of the most commonly-used terms in the web world. 

Basic Web Network Terms: 


  1. Web Server: in short, a computer program that takes in requests from its clients (other machines and software) and then responds to them. It allows clients to share data and software resources. Ex. file server (stores and serves files), print server (manages one or more printers), database server (computer that processes database queries).web-terms-chrome-browser.png
  2. Browser: a software application responsible for finding, presenting or translating information across the web. It allows the user to read encoded files (written out by web developers) in a form that is suitable for display (on a webpage). Ex. Safari, Firefox, Chrome.basic-web-term-definitions-isp.jpg
  3. ISP: “Internet service provider” - the company that provides access to the internet for individuals or companies. Ex. AT&T, Verizon
  4. Domain Name: the identification string that gives autonomy to a site. You can also think of it as the name or location where certain services and info will be found. Ex. in "," the domain name is ""
  5. Web Hosting: the service that houses and serves a website's files and databases. Web Hosting providers often bundle together other related services such as email, DNS, and domain registration. basic-web-terms-definition-front_end.jpg
  6. Front-end: the part of a program or website the user interacts with and that they see - it is the presentation part of the site.
  7. Back-end: the part of a program or website that is not accessible or visible to the user, but rather performs specific functions for the system. It supports the front-end, providing the ability for the front-end user to do what they came to do on the site - it is the way the user accesses the data part of the site.basic-web-terms-definitions-website_launch.jpg
  8. Website Launch: the act of opening a website to the public once it has been developed. The steps beforehand may be to select a domain, select your web host, backup any old files from a previous website, check navigation, validate your code, implement a site map, test the site across various browsers, ensure you have SEO-friendly code, install any analytics software, and transfer your website’s files over to the web host.

Hopefully this helps clarify some of your tech-term questions, but if you want further explanation or assistance, don't hesitate to contact ArcStone today. 

Topics: Design and Technology