At times the tech world can seem daunting. There always seems to be an unending list of words and concepts that are completely foreign in everyday life but that programmers and technologists throw easily, magically expecting you to understand.
In this post, I’ll provide a tech terms list designed to help get you through those early days when you’re trying to figure out just what language everyone online is speaking.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but I hope it’s enough to get you started and hopefully get your site up and running quickly. If you’re looking for a more detailed introduction to tech and basic programming concepts, CodeSchool is a great resource.
Tech Terms List
- Domain/url – A domain is the web address for your site, which lets other computers know where to look to find your site. This domain is really a pointer for your server’s IP address, so when you type in a url, your browser can find the server (another computer) that keeps your website files on it.
- IP Address – An IP address is another type of address used by other computers to lookup your site. Every computer has an IP address, including your laptop and smart-phone, so it acts kind of like a fingerprint. When you search for a website, your computer is looking the website up by the IP address attached to the domain, though to the user only the url is displayed
- Root-domain – A root domain is the home domain of a website. For this site, the root domain is “affiliate-101.com”
- Sub-domain – A subdomain is a separate set of file/webpages hosted on the same domain as a primary site, and is seen as the prefix to the url in the browser. The best example is to think of a login site that shows “www.example.com” before you login and “members.example.com” after you login. Both ‘www’ and ‘members’ are subdomains for the root “example.com”
- Directory – A directory is a folder in which you can place files. Remember that all webpages are really just a series of files.
- Parent directory – A parent directory is the folder that contains another folder. So if there’s a “Documents” folder and inside the documents folder is a “My Webpage” folder, the documents folder is considered the parent directory of the my webpage folder.
- Root directory – A root directory is basically the parent directory for an entire project, so it’s the highest level ‘up’ you can be before exiting the project/website files entirely.
- Sub-directory – A sub-directory is a folder contained within the root directory.
- Path (or filepath) – A path (also called filepath) is the direction you have to take to get to a file or directory. For example: “root_directory/sub_directory/example_file.txt”
- Server – A server is just a name for a type of computer, usually run by big companies (like Google and Amazon) rather than individuals. When you put a website online, you’re really storing files in a server (called ‘hosting’). The server has an IP address. When you type in a url, your browser uses a server to lookup the url, gets an IP address back, then looks up that IP address, which specifies the server where the website files are located.
- Hosting – Hosting is the term used for placing files on a server. Basically, it’s like renting out a little bit of space on someone else’s computer to store your files.
- DNS – DNS stands for Domain Name Server. To get a site live, you’ll need to work with your registrar (like GoDaddy or Namecheap) to change the DNS records, which just means giving it the technical address for the hosting company you use.
I hope this list helps get you started navigating the world of tech-jargon. Please let me know if anything is unclear, or if there are any other terms you’d like me to discuss and clarify.