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Welcome to our web design glossary. This is a basic list of acronyms, jargon and other terms that you are likely to encounter while researching websites. There can be a lot of confusing and related aspects to a web design project so hopefully this list will help make things clearer!


The software you and your visitors use to access your website. Popular browsers on computers include Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. Browsers on mobile devices include Apple Safari for iOS devices and the Android Browser.

CMS (Content Management System)

Content Management System – A database driven control panel that is used to edit your website content. This is great news for you, as you can change your web site as much as you like, whenever you like! Popular content management systems include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.


Cascading style sheets – these files used to control the layout and appearance of your website. Rather than having to style each element of the page individually, the CSS changes the whole site at once.


A list of records held on your web server such as website content or customer details. A website can read and write to a database, as well as searching through the database if required. Content Management Systems often use a database to store your website information. MySQL is an example of a database technology.


Domain Name System – This is what helps map your domain name to the web server the files are located on. DNS can get very complicated, but all you need to know is that domain names can be redirected!


The process of offering products online linked to a system that takes payment and generates the orders for you to process. eCommerce websites usually have a customer login area where customers can manage their details and orders. Magento, WordPress/WooCommerce and OpenCart are some popular eCommerce systems.


Your web hosting is where your website actually lives. This is usually a powerful server located in somewhere like London that has a very fast internet connection. Hundreds of sites can all be located on one server.

Email is often handled by the same hosting account. We include UK based, eco powered web and email hosting with our package.


Internet Service Provider – this is the company that connect you to the internet such as Virgin Media, BT or Blueyonder.

ISPs often provide an email address but we recommend you use one related to your domain name such as info@mysite.co.uk as it looks more professional.


MySQL is an open source implementation of SQL, and is used for websites that need databases such as online shops, blogs or content managed websites.


OpenCart is a free, open source eCommerce system. With an excellent set of features as standard, OpenCart is a good choice for those wanting to sell online. Free or cheap plugins can are available to add extra features such as blogs, product import etc.


Paypal is a payment services provider, used on websites like eBay and many eCommerce sites.


PHP is a type of open source code used to create web pages that access databases. Our content managed websites are written in PHP.

Responsive Web Design

This means that the site will change format to suit different screen sizes, such as desktop monitors, tablets and mobile phones. Rather than having a separate mobile site, responsive web design uses the same back end system and content and formats it differently for various screen sizes.


A server is a fast computer that holds huge amounts of information. A web server usually has a very fast internet connection and stores all the information required by a number of websites so they can be accessed by anyone at any time.

It is possible to rent space on a shared web hosting server where there are other websites hosted, or to rent a dedicated web hosting server where you have sole use of that server. A dedicated server is recommended for sites that generate a high volume of traffic.


WordPress is a content management system for websites. You log in to the control panel of your site to post articles, which are then shown to your website visitors. WordPress is free and really easy to use. While it began as a blog system it is now capable of running your whole business website or ecommerce website.

Vector (image format)

Graphics can be in bitmap format (JPG, PNG, GIF etc) that use pixels or in vector format. Bitmap images look pixelated when enlarged and are used for photographs and web images.

Vector images do not use pixels so can be enlarged without pixelating. Adobe Illustrator or other packages can be used to create vector images and your branding will often be provided in vector format (PDF, AI, EPS, SVG) to send to your print company.

Recently, vector images can be used on websites. We try and use vectors as much as possible so your site looks as sharp as possible.