18 Key Internet Jargon Terms Explained


It's not easy keeping up on all the terms that have come into existence, or new meanings for existing words, with the rapid development of the internet and associated technologies. Many phrases come and go but we think some will be around for more than the next week so we have listed a few for your reference!

We thought we would give you definitions of a few key words that you may or may not recognise or know already:

ADSL (Asymmetrical digital subscriber line)

A technology developed to transmit compressed digital video and audio over telephone lines with the use of modems. It has one high-speed unidirectional data channel and one low-speed bidirectional control channel.


These are mathematical rules used by search engines to rank search results once people have entered keywords. These are constantly changing, partly as a result of the search engine companies trying to ensure their search engines cannot be taken advantage of, and partly as an attempt to constantly increase their sophistication.


This is how much data that a specific line or channel can carry every second. It’s measured in bits per second.


A byte is eight contiguous ‘bits’ and is the basic data unit of all personal computers. It’s also the basic unit of measurement for computer storage.

Cyber attack

These usually take the form of an email attachment coming from an associate but which once opened installs software on the recipient’s computer which copies desired information. Usually used to refer to such attacks occurring on businesses or governments

Dynamic content

This is information on a web page that changes often and is therefore ‘dynamic’

Handheld device

This is a communications gadget or computer that can be taken with someone and does not need a direct connection to a power source to function e.g. Mobile phones, laptop computer, iPad etc

HTML (hypertext markup language)

A computer language which creates web pages with hypertext and is displayed within a web browser.

Meme (pronounced ‘Mehm’)

A meme is internet content that has gone ‘viral’ – something that has spread rapidly from person to person. We’ve all been sent links to ‘hilarious’ YouTube videos by friends; that’s usually a meme. This also refers to concepts and phrases or any other piece of information rapidly spread.

Peer to peer

This is a series of computers linked together without the use of a server.


This is online criminal activity aimed at gaining the personal passwords and details of individuals. Usually takes the form of fake websites, emails or fake instant messaging.


This is the percentage of the total audience that view an advert online.

Rich media

This refers to internet content that utilises several elements of what’s possible – usually video, text and sound.

The Cloud

This is commonly meant to refer to business and other applications online which are accessed from a web browser but for which the software and data are stored on servers.


These are those people who have the largest numbers of followers on Twitter (and within their niche subject field on Twitter)


This stands for ‘voice over internet protocol’ and is a standard way used to deliver voice calls over a converged voice and data network. Skype is your classic example

WAN (wide area network)

This is a way of linking computers which are physically at different places so they can share information stored and access remote servers.


Simply an electronic magazine. Essentially, a ‘zine’ should be pretty much any site that publishes content on it, but is usually used to refer particularly to the online equivalent of the older offline for