Want to know your browser from your bandwidth, or your intranet from your ISP?

Here are some terms from the internet world that you might find useful:



Analytics software (the most popular free version is Google Analytics) allows you to track who visits your website and how they interact with it. No matter what your website is for, you should be using some form of analytics because without it you’ll be completely in the dark and won’t be able to make informed improvements to usability. If your website is for business purposes then analytics is absolutely essential. Browse our analytics articles to learn how you can use analytics to gain a greater understanding of your website visitors.

Alternative Attribute

The alternative attribute (also known as the alt attribute) is html code used to describe images. While this description isn’t usually visible to users (unless the image does not load), they are used by screen readers to help the visually impaired to understand the content of an image. They are also used by search engines, so descriptive alt attributes can help images to appear in image search results.



The amount of data you can send through a network or modem connection. It is usually measured in bits-per-second.

Black Hat SEO

SEO allows us to improve website visibility in the search engines. While there are many natural ways to optimise a website, there have always been ways to cheat the system – these techniques are known as black hat and go against Google’s guidelines, so can result in a manual or algorithmic penalty, causing the website in question to lose visibility. For example, paying for links that pass link juice can result in a link penalty from Google, which would require work to remove the links and a reconsideration request.


Short for ‘web log’, this is a user-generated website where entries are made in a journal style, and usually displayed in reverse chronological order. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Discover how blogging can help grow your website traffic by reviewing our latest blogging articles. Short on time? Read our favourite guide to learn how to start a blog.


Broadband Internet access, often shortened to “broadband Internet” or just “broadband”, is a high data-transmission rate Internet connection.


A software application that enables you to display and interact with text, images, and other information typically located on a web page on a website. Text and images on a web page can contain hyperlinks to other web pages at the same or different websites. Web browsers allow you to quickly and easily access information provided on many web pages across many websites by traversing these links. The most popular web browsers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera.



A cache is a block of memory for temporary storage of data likely to be used again. A web browser uses a cache to store the pages and URLs of websites you visit on your computer’s hard drive. When you visit a web page you have recently viewed, everything doesn’t need to be downloaded to your computer again, just from your hard disk. As accessing your hard disk is much faster than accessing the Internet this speeds up web browsing significantly.

Content management system

A content management system (CMS) is the software used to create and manage digital content. Usually when we talk of a CMS, we are referring to the software that we use to manage content on a website. Popular examples include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Magento.


This term is often used to refer to objects and identities that exist largely within the communication network itself: a website, for example, might be metaphorically said to “exist in cyberspace.”


The term cybersquatting refers to the practice of registering a third party’s intellectual property as a domain name with the sole intention of approaching them with an offer to sell it to them. The price of the domain name is often much higher than the cost of its purchase. In addition, some cybersquatters attempt to coerce the individual or company into buying the name at the asking price by posting material on the website linked to the domain name, which may either cause them embarrassment (e.g. pornographic images) or, if it is linked to a competitor’s website, financial loss. Cybersquatters sometimes register variants of popular trademarked names, a practice known as typosquatting.



A domain name that has been detagged is no longer hosted on two valid name servers. This stops any services associated with the domain name, for example email or a website from working. A registrar will detag a domain name if they no longer have a relationship with the customer to provide services for that domain name.


The domain name system (DNS) translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic they are easier to remember. The Internet is based on IP addresses and every time you use a domain name a DNS service must translate the name into a corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name might translate to The DNS system is its own network. If one DNS server does not know how to translate a particular domain name, it asks another one, and so on, until the correct IP address is returned.


DNSSEC stands for Domain Name System Security Extensions. These extensions provide DNS with authentication of responses from DNS servers and thereby aim to prevent DNS spoofing, which is a common technique used by hackers.

Domain name

All computers on the Internet have their own Internet Protocol (IP) address which consists of numbers. The domain name system connects unique domain names to the IP addresses so users do not have to remember a long string of numbers. Domain names are used in web addresses ( and in email addresses ( among other things.

Domain names consist of a varying number of segments. The part on the far right of a domain name, to the right of the dot, is known as a top-level domain (TLD). For example, in the domain name the top level domain is .uk.

The part to the left of the top level domain is known as the second-level domain (SLD). 

Looking to buy a domain? Get started by visiting our domain name search tool.



This term tends to refer to the purchase of goods and services over the Internet usually with secure connection using e-shopping carts and with electronic payment services, like credit card payment authorisations. Learn more by browsing our e-commerce articles.


Short for Electronic mail, this is a method of composing, sending, storing and receiving messages over electronic communication systems. An email system requires a messaging system that provides the store and forward capability and a mail program that gives you send and receive functions. Sent messages are stored in electronic mailboxes until the recipient fetches them. Interested in learning how you can harness email to grow your business? Browse our email articles to discover how.


Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD)

A Generic Top Level Domain (or gTLD) is a top level domain that is open to customers worldwide. In some cases country code top level domains are often restricted to people located in a particular country or region. Some of the more popular gTLDs include .com, .org and .net.


Header Tags

Header tags are used to define HTML headings. There are 6 header tags available – < h1 > to < h6 >, used to structure headings, with the < h1 > tag being the main title of the page (usually only one per page) and < h2 > to < h6 > tags used for subheadings in order of hierarchy. Search engines also use header tags to understand the topics and structure of the content on a page.


HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the programming language of the World Wide Web (WWW). HTML software turns a document into a hyperlinked web page. It provides a means to describe the structure of text-based information in a document – by denoting certain text as headings, paragraphs, lists, and so on – and to supplement that text with interactive forms, embedded images, and other objects.



Although many people think that the Internet and the World Wide Web are the same thing, they are actually different. The Internet is a collection of interconnected computer networks, linked by wires, fibre-optic cables and wireless connections. The Web is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. The World Wide Web is accessible via the Internet, as are many other services including email, web pages and file sharing. So they work together to provide our online experience.

Internet Service Provider

An ISP (Internet Service Provider) is a company that provides individuals and other companies with access to the Internet and may also provide other related services such as website building website hosting and sometimes domain name registration.


A private network inside a company or organisation that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but is only for internal use.

IP address

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique numeric identifier used to specify hosts and networks. IP numbers are part of a global, standardised scheme for identifying machines that are connected to the Internet.


Link Juice

Links play a very important role in SEO, helping search engines to gauge the authority of websites. Link juice (also known as link equity or PageRank) refers to the value that can be passed between web pages through hyperlinks. The amount of link juice passed through each link is determined by the number of links on the page, as the total value is shared between each link.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a term used to describe a set of practices that allow websites to optimise pages to target local users by improving their visibility in the local search results. Local SEO works best for businesses with a physical location who service a specific area.


Meta Description

This is the short page description used within search engine result snippets. Search engines typically show the first 150-160 characters of meta descriptions.


Name server

A network server that provides a naming or directory service. For example, a Domain Name System (DNS) server might translate the domain name to the IP address DNS is the protocol used by Internet name servers.

Naming Committee

Before Nominet was formed in 1996, a voluntary Naming Committee was established in the mid-1980s to manage the registration of UK domain names. By the early 1990s commercial Internet suppliers became involved in the Naming Committee and started to register domain names for their customers. It then became clear that the voluntary Naming Committee could no longer cope with the growth in demand for registrations. After a series of meetings about establishing a separate organisation to manage the .uk Top Level Domain, the working model for Nominet was agreed.


Any time you connect two or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect two or more networks together and you have an Internet.


Nofollow (also known as the nofollow tag or rel=nofollow) is a link element that can be assigned to the rel attribute of any link in order to prevent value (or link juice) from being passed to the linked page. The nofollow attribute is commonly applied to links in blog comments, which was a common black hat link building technique.


We are the Internet registry for .uk domain names. We manage over ten million domain names making us one of the world’s largest Internet registries. We run the technology which locates a computer on the Internet hosting the website or email system you’re looking for when you type in a web address or send an email to an address that ends in .uk.



Portable Document Format – a file format developed by Adobe Systems for capturing formatted page layouts for distribution. It requires the proprietary software Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free. Many of the documents on our website are available to download as PDF files.



URL Redirects are used to redirect users and search engines from one URL to another. A common reason for implementing redirects is when a page moves to a new location. Adding a redirect will prevent users from landing on an error page, as well as passing value across from the old page, helping to prevent a drop in traffic. The most common redirect types are the 301 (permanent) redirect, and the 302 (temporary) redirect. As the names suggest, one should be used when the change in new location is permanent, and the other for a more temporary solution.


A registrar is the retailer, company or organisation that people register their domain name through. This may be an ISP or a domain name reseller or just a company that specialises in registering domain names. We used to refer to registrars as ‘Registration Agents’ or ‘Tag Holders’.. The registrar may be a member of Nominet, but they act on their customer’s behalf rather than our behalf.


An Internet domain name registry receives domain name service (DNS) information into a centralised database and transmits the information in Internet zone files on the Internet so that domain names can be found by users around the world via the world wide web and email. Nominet is the registry for the .uk country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).


All domain name registrations made through Nominet a need to be renewed ideally before they expire on the anniversary of the registration date. UK domain names can be registered from between 1 and 10 years. If a domain name is not renewed after a period of time these domain names then become available to be registered by others. For more information on renewals please go to Renewing your domain.


This is the term used to describe the process for matching domain names with corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. ‘Resolution’ is accomplished by name servers that use the data in the Domain Name System to determine which IP numbers correspond to a particular domain name.


The robots.txt file is used to provide instructions to robots when crawling your website. The text file is placed at the root of a domain ( and include details of which pages should be accessed, and which ones should be excluded from the crawl. While robots can ignore the robots.txt file, most search engines respect it, so it’s useful to ensure a website is crawled efficiently. It is also common practice to include the location of the XML sitemap using the ‘Sitemap:’ command.


The root is the top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. Often referred to as the ‘dot’.


Second Level Domain (SLD)

In the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy, a second-level domain (SLD) is a domain that is directly below a top-level domain (TLD). SLDs commonly indicate the type of organisations that would register domains within them. For example, in the UK Domain Family, the .co SLD is generally for business, .org is for not-for-profit ventures and .me is for individuals.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is a term used to describe an online marketing discipline covering a wide range of practices that can be followed to help websites gain organic (non-paid) visibility in the search engines. The higher a website is ranked in the search results, the more likely it is to gain clicks, so a well optimised website is more likely to rank better and therefore gain more traffic. Learn to boost your website traffic by browsing our SEO articles or read our beginners guide on SEO tips for new websites to dive right in.


This is a computer on a network that holds the information or provides the service that the user requires. As the name implies, a server serves information to computers that connect to it. When users connect to the server, they can access programs, files and other information from the server.

Site search

Site search refers to a search functionality within a website, used to search for content. This may include products for an ecommerce site, or content/topics on a blog. Information about the users’ search queries can be taken from Google Analytics by updating the view setting in the Admin section.


Spam is junk email. Some email clients or servers have spam filters, which try to delete or move the spam messages.



This is the identifying codename that Nominet assigns to a registrar.

For example a registrar Made 2Be An Example Ltd might have the tag MADE2BE.

list of these tags is available from Nominet. Each Tag is unique so that our computers can recognise the different registrars.

Tag change

This is the process that is now known as ‘registrar change’.

Tag holder

This is the term previously used for ‘registrar’.

Title Tag

This is the page title used as the link within search engine result snippets, as well as in browser tabs and bookmarks. Search engines typically show the first 50-60 characters of title tags.


Top Level Domain (TLD) is the last part of a domain name, which follows the final dot. For example, in the domain name, the top-level domain is .uk. Nominet is the organisation responsible for managing the .uk top-level domain.



Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. In short, it’s a web address, like If you type it into a web browser, you will reach the website hosted at that address.

User Experience (UX)

User Experience is a term used to describe the overall experience users have on a website. UX can help us to gather data about users to understand how they interact with a website, allowing us to identify distractions and unnecessary steps to improve the user journey.

User Sitemap

Not to be confused with the XML sitemap, the user sitemap is a web page containing a list of links to pages on a website, often structured to reflect the hierarchical structure. While the user sitemap is designed to aid users when navigating a website, they have become less commonly used, instead being replaced by site search functionality.



WHOIS is a look-up service that is used to find information about domain names and whether they are available for registration. Nominet’s WHOIS service is located on the website and displays the information we hold about UK domain names that are currently registered.


The WHOIS2 service enables registrars to provide a WHOIS gateway service on their own websites for their customers to query the WHOIS database without being blocked for excessive use.


A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who can access it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites. Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopaedia is one of the best-known wikis.


XML Sitemap

Not to be confused with a user sitemap, the XML sitemap is a file containing a list of all the page URLs available for web crawlers to discover. Other optional information can also be added, such as ‘changefreq’ and ‘lastmod’ (how often a page is updated), and ‘priority’ (how important a page is), which allows crawlers to understand how often content changes and the hierarchy of web pages.