Beginner's Net Dictionary

If you need any additional information concerning any of the definitions in this dictionary, you should reference: How To Use A Search Engine. This will give you information on how to conduct a search of the Internet for the desired item.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A Return to top

Anonymous FTP
A way of logging into an FTP site to get files. Typically you log in as user `anonymous' and use your e-mail address as a password.
See Also: FTP
A computer program that provides a service or useful function, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, etc.
See Also: Client
American Standard Code For Information Interchange. ASCII is the international code used to represent text in a way that all computers can understand.
A file or document included in an e-mail message.
See Also: e-mail

B Return to top

The amount of data that can be passed through a network connection, usually expressed as the number of bytes or bits that can be transferred in one second.
See Also: Bytes, Bits, Baud
This is often confused with bits per second. The baud rate is the number of times per second a modem changes the signal it sends over the phone lines. A 2400-baud modem, for example, changes the signal it sends 2400 times each second.
Bulletin Board System. A BBS is an online entity that allows people to exchange public and private messages, and to exchange files. There are millions of bulletin board systems around the world, and while many of them are connected to the Internet, many are not.
Binary File
Binary files cannot be read on a computer's monitor. Data in a binary file is stored as a series of 0's and 1's. Most programs and images are stored as binary files.
BINary HEXadecimal. BinHex is a software application that converts a binary file into an ASCII file so it can be transmitted over e-mail. This is a common format on the Macintosh platform.
A bit is a binary digit. A bit can have the value of 1 or 0. Data, such as words you type onto the screen, is represented as a series of ones and zeros. Bits are the building blocks of bytes. Eight bits make a byte.
Bits Per Second (bps)
The number of bits that can be transmitted in a second. A 2400-baud modem sends 2400 bits over the phone lines each second.
A client program used to view documents on the World Wide Web. Netscape Navigator is a browser.
See Also: URL
A common abbreviation that means By The Way.
A byte consists of eight bits. You can think of a byte as the amount of space required to store one character of text. Therefore, if a file has 150,000 bytes, it contains the equivalent of 150,000 letters.

C Return to top

A client is a software application that requests information from a server. A computer can also be thought of as a client. Your computer requests services from a server when you connect to the Internet.
See Also: Browser
Characters Per Second. CPS is the number of bytes transferable in a second.

D Return to top

Dedicated Line
See Leased Line.
To dial-up means to connect your computer or system to another computer or system using a telephone line. Also, dial-up is the name for a type of service offered by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) . With dial-up service, people can dial-up the ISP's server and use it whenever they want.
Domain Name System. DNS refers to the software and computers responsible for translating a hostname into an IP Address. In other words, the DNS allows you to remember a name such as rather than a long series of numbers that constitute the IP address.
Domain Name
The logical name of a computer network. For example, is a domain that belongs to Microsoft, and computers in the Microsoft network take hostnames off the domain. The registration of domains is handled by a central body, the InterNIC.
To transfer a file from a remote computer to your computer.
See Also: Upload

E Return to top

E-mail is short for electronic mail. Just as we send paper letters with the assistance of the Postal Service, we send electronic letters with the assistance of computers. E-mail can also be used as a verb, to e-mail.
Term used to describe the physical connections and internal protocol of one form of local area network (LAN).

F Return to top

FAQ is short for frequently asked question. You will find collections of FAQs in many locations. When available, you should always read the FAQs before you submit a question of your own to a newsgroup or company.
A rude response to a newsgroup posting or e-mail message.
File Transfer Protocol is a method of transferring files from one computer to another like yours.
See Also: Anonymous FTP
A UseNet posting that is in response to a previous posting.

G Return to top

A computer that provides a connection between two networks.
A system for exploring Internet resources. Gopher provides menu items from which you can make your selections.
See Also: Veronica

H Return to top

Generally, any computer that is connected to the Internet, and in some fashion serves users, can be considered a host. If the server is a computer that can be logged into, or provides a service such as a World Wide Web server, it can be considered a host.
The name of a host computer on the Internet or some other network.
See Also: IP Address
Hyper Text Markup Language. HTML is the language of the World Wide Web. HTML is used to create hypertext documents that can contain such things as pictures, sound and formatting. What you are now reading is an example of a document created using HTML.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the protocol used to transmit documents on the World Wide Web. HTTP can be thought of as the lowest level of the WWW, it works behind the scenes and works to transmit documents to your browser.
A hypertext document is one that displays `links' somewhere in the text, such as this document. By clicking on highlighted words or phrases, you are transported elsewhere in the document, or perhaps to another document on a different computer located thousands of miles away. The World Wide Web and gopher are examples of hypertext document networks.
See Also: HTML

I Return to top

IP Address
Internet Protocol Address. An IP address is a series of numbers separated by periods, in the format This is a unique address that identifies the computer associated with it. When you point your browser to a name such as, that name is translated into a number, and then transmitted onto the Internet where the computer with that number responds.
IRC is short for Internet Relay Chat. IRC is a protocol that allows people to connect special IRC clients to IRC servers. When you connect your IRC client to a server, you can chat, in real time, with people all over the Internet.
Integrated Services Digital Network is a digital telephone service. Because an ISDN line uses digital, rather than analog signals, transmission speeds are relatively fast.
An Internet Service Provider is a company that offers connections to the Internet.

J Return to top

Java is a programming language used to create applications for use over the World Wide Web. These applications can be anything from a simple animation, to a full- fledged client for some other service. Using small Java applications, called applets, programmers can spruce up a page to be interactive, and provide more visual feedback to the user. For instance, an icon might change in some way to indicate your cursor is positioned over it.
See Also: HTML

K Return to top

One thousand twenty four (round off to one thousand). Uses include kilobyte, which represents one thousand twenty four bytes.

L Return to top

Local Area Network. A LAN is a computer network that is usually limited to one room or building. A network larger than one building is a wide area network, WAN. The Internet is an example of a WAN.
Leased Line
A telephone line that is permanently connected between two locations. Leased lines are typically used to connect a local area network (LAN) to an Internet service provider (ISP).
Log In
The process of connecting to a network or computer, entering your username and password, and beginning a session.
A username associated with a computer account. When you sign-on with an Internet service provider (ISP), you are given an account and a username.

M Return to top

MOdulator DEModulator. A modem is a device used to connect two computers over a telephone line. The device converts digital computer signals into analog signals that can be sent over the phone line.
See Also: Bits Per Second (bps), Baud
Multi-User Dungeon (Domain, Dimension). A MUD is an environment on the Internet that allows people to interactively participate in role-playing games. MUDs can also be used in business for conferencing, and as educational tools.

N Return to top

A group of computers and/or other devices connected by a communications channel. Networks enable users to share resources such as files and printers.
See UseNet.

O Return to top

A computer if offline when it is not currently connected to a network. This occurs when a computer is turned off, or is physically disconnected. Offline is the opposite of online.
A computer is online when it is currently connected to a network, and it is turned on. Online is the opposite of offline.

P Return to top

A packet is a chunk of computer data transferred over a computer network, such as the Internet. Packets travel over the network independently, sometimes by different routes. They are reassembled when they reach their destination. Most packets are small, usually less then 1,500 bytes long.
See Also: log in, login
A message sent to a mailing list or a newsgroup .

Q Return to top

A request submitted to a database to search for a particular word, phrase or category.
A list of items, such as print jobs, waiting to be sent from one device to another. A queue is like a line at the theater--the first person in the line is the first person to go into the theater. In a printer queue, items in the list are printed in the order they were submitted, i.e., first in, first out.

R Return to top

A router is a computer that connects two or more LANs to form a WAN. Without routers, the Internet would just be a collection of isolated LANs without any way to talk to each other.

S Return to top

A server is a computer that performs a service for other computers on the network. This might be any number of things, but an example would be a host running WWW software. Server can also refer to the software performing the service, i.e., the software that transfers WWW data is called a WWW server.
On UNIX computers, accounts can be given that allow the user to connect to the computer and perform commands, such as creating directories and files, much like a DOS session. The software is called a Shell, and the accounts are commonly referred to as shell accounts.
A file, normally a couple of lines, containing information such as an e-mail address and a name. The signature is appended to e-mail messages, and UseNet postings. Another kind of a signature is a digital signature that assures that the document was, in fact, written by the person who claims to have written it, and that it has not been tampered with during transport. This is important for sensitive messages.

T Return to top

Transmission Control Protocol. The low-level protocol that allows network packets to be transferred from one computer to another. The Internet is partly based on this protocol.
A network client that allows the user to connect to a remote computer, and log in to use a shell account, or use some service such as a MUD.

U Return to top

To transfer a file from the user's computer to a remote computer.
See Also: Download
Uniform Resource Locator. A type of address that can be used to locate computer resources on the World Wide Web. It consists of a protocol, a hostname, a port (optional), a directory (optional) and a file name (optional). Examples of protocols are: http, ftp, gopher and telnet. A URL looks like this: The protocol is 'http', the hostname is '' and the directory is 'Help'.
The official name for the network of machines and resources that provide newsgroups to Internet users. A newsgroup is like a public bulletin board. People can look at the groups that interest them, and post information, questions, etc. Other people reading the same newsgroup can read their original post and, if desired, post a followup. UseNet is like e-mail in that it is not real-time, like IRC.
The name a person uses to log in to a computer. It is also the first part of an e-mail address.

V Return to top

Veronica is a tool used to search titles in Gopher menus for keywords specified by the user. Veronica searches menu titles, not the data inside files.

W Return to top

Wide Area Network. A WAN is the result of connecting two or more LANs. The Internet is an example of a very large WAN.
The World Wide Web. The web is a name for the collection of documents and resources located on the Internet, written in HTML and using http. The WWW uses a hypertext infrastructure to provide quick access to information and resources all over the globe. The web is normally accessed with a browser.
See Also: Java

X Return to top

A file-transfer protocol used to upload and download data from one computer to another.

Y Return to top

A file-transfer protocol used to upload and download data from one computer to another.

Z Return to top

A file-transfer protocol used to upload qand download data from one computer to another.