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Meaning of Common Web Acronyms and Abbreviations: CSS, SSL, HTML and More

written by: Winston Smith•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 4/5/2011

Learn about some of the most common web acronyms used in website design and development. Terms and abbreviations covered in this article include WWW, HTTP, HTTPS, CSS and SSL.

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    Introduction

    Navigating A Website (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons) Anyone who uses the Web to work, learn or simply have fun will encounter plenty of web acronyms and abbreviations. Too often, these web acronyms are not defined or explained. This introduction to some of the Web's most popular web acronyms will help you better understand the technologies, programming languages, and systems that make the World Wide Web possible. After reading this article, you will understand the difference between CSS, HTML and FTP. To understand more about how the web works, consider educational resources like a HMTL lesson plan or a book on web technology.

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    Web Technologies and Programming Languages

    When the Internet was invented, it relied on a few technologies in order to send data around the world. As programmers developed more and features such as online shopping, databases and advanced graphics, more technologies became common. Many experienced web designers and users rely on acronyms to communicate quickly. Consult this list of abbreviations and acronyms to better understand the web.

    • AJAX: Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX is used to create web applications.
    • Captcha: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. CAPTCHAs are commonly found on websites that have a user registration or commenting system since they prevent computers from automatically abusing or excessively using a web resource.
    • CGI: Common Gateway Interface (this technology is often used to produce forms)
    • CSS: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS is mainly used for website formatting).
    • FTP: File Transfer Protocol (FTP is used to transfer all kinds of files around the Internet, including HTML files)
    • HTML: HyperText Markup Language (originally developed in 1990, HTML is used to format websites, create links and perform other basic web tasks)
    • HTTP: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (this abbreviation is used to tell web browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox that the user wants to load a website)
    • HTTPS: This is a secure version of HTTP that can be used to transmit secure and sensitive information.
    • IP: Internet Protocol is a technology that transmits data in a series of packets across networks.
    • RSS: Really Simple Syndication, a type of XML that allows website content (and other files) to easily be reproduced on other websites.
    • TCP: (commonly used with IP as in "TCP/IP): Transmission Control Protocol: TCP is a basic Internet technology that makes it possible for different computers to connect to each other.
    • URL: Uniform Resource Locator. URLs can be website addresses or an address for any other file or resource on the Internet. URLs tell computers where to go to access Internet content.
    • WWW: World Wide Web, all resources and materials that depend on HTTP (and HTML) to transmit and display content. Generally, WWW is further abbreviated as "Web" or "the Web."

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    Advanced and Specialized Web Acronyms

    The more involved one becomes in the art and science of website design and use, the more web acronyms you will encounter. Refer to this advanced list of web acronyms when you get stuck on a confusing term, phrase of abbreviation on the web.

    • API: Application Programming Interface
    • ASP: Active Server Pages, a Microsoft programming language used to create complex websites.
    • DNS: Domain Name Server (DNS translates easy to remember website addresses like www.brighthub.com into numerical IP addresses that computers can process).
    • JSP: Java Server Pages. This is the Java version of PHP and ASP.
    • LAMP: LAMP refers to a set of free software tools commonly used to create a web servers and websites: the Linux operating system, the Apache HTTP server, MySQL and PHP.
    • .NET: A Microsoft standard that is used to create websites and web applications.
    • PHP: PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (also defined as "Personal Home Page"): PHP is a scripting language, often used with MySQL databases to connect websites to databases.
    • SSL: Secure Sockets Layer: A widely used technology to secure websites for financial transactions and other activities.
    • XML: eXtensible Markup Language, a highly flexible way of organizing and displaying information.

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    Resources

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Diego Grez

    The World Wide Web Consortium, http://www.w3.org/

    W3 Schools, http://www.w3schools.com/