Internet Hyper-Glossary
This piece originally appeared on
(which became which was assimilated by CNet/

To help those of you who are wondering what all those acronyms and funny-sounding words used by "computer types" really mean when they talk about the Internet, I've put together this simple glossary of common Internet terms. Some of the terms here may help you. As the Internet develops (and as more funny-sounding words are used), I'll be sure to keep this glossary up-to-date.
The glossary items are listed in alphabetical order, with hyperlinks embedded in the definitions. If there's an Internet term in a definition that you don't understand, you can probably link directly to another definition that explains it.

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
This refers to policies that restrict the way in which a network may be used. Usually, a network administrator makes and enforces decisions dealing with acceptable use.

See either IP Address or Email Address.

Address Mask
The address mask is used to identify the parts of an IP address that correspond to the different sections (separated by dots). It's also known as the "subnet mask" since the network portion of an address can be determined by the encoding inherent in an IP address.

Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET)
A pioneering long-haul network funded by what's now-called DARPA (formerly known as ARPA). It was the foundation on which the Internet was built.

The part of a system that performs information preparation and exchange on behalf of an application.

A type of nickname (usually short and easy to remember) that refers to a type of network resource. Aliases are used so you won't have to remember the long and difficult names typical of network resources.

Anonymous FTP
By using the word "anonymous" as your user ID and your email address as the password when you login to an FTP site, you can bypass local security checks and gain limited access to public files on the remote computer. This type of access is available on most FTP sites, but not all.

Sometimes known as a client or an "app" it's a program that performs a specific function. FTP, Mail, Gopher, Mosaic, and Telnet clients are the most common examples of Internet applications.

You'll usually hear this term referred to in the phrase archie search. Archie is a way of automatically gathering, indexing and sometimes even retrieving files on the Internet. Most good archie clients are able to FTP files once you've found the information you're looking for.

A collection of files stored on an Internet machine. FTP sites are known as archives.

See Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode
A transfer method that dynamically allocates bandwidth using a fixed-size packet, or cell. Also known as fast packet.

See Asynchronous Transfer Mode.

See Acceptable Use Policy.

Any process that ensures that users are who they say they are. When you type your name and password, you are authenticated and allowed access.

This refers to the difference (measured in Hz), between the highest and lowest frequencies of a transmission. Most people loosely refer to bandwidth as the amount of data that can be transferred over a network connection.

See Bulletin Board System.

Berkeley lnternet Name Domain
An early version of a DNS server developed by the University of California at Berkeley. Most Internet hosts run a version of BIND.

An computer network devoted to academic use that provides email and file transfer services using a store-and-forward protocol. It is based on the IBM Network Job Entry protocols. A more recent version of Bitnet (known as Bitnet-II) encapsulates the Bitnet protocol within IP packets.

If you send email and it fails to arrive at its intended recipient for any reason (incorrect user name, network failure, etc.), the message "bounces" and returns to you. The subject line in a bounced message usually says something like: Undeliverable Mail or Message Undeliverable.

Acronym meaning By The Way. Seen mostly in IRC sessions.

Bulletin Board System
A computer which typically provides email services, file archives, and announcements of interest to the bulletin board system's operator (known as a sysop). BBS's started out as hobbies for computer enthusiasts, and were mostly accessible by modem. Recently, however, more and more BBS's are being connected to the Internet.

See Coordinating Committee for Intercontinental Research Networks.

See Comite Consultatif International de Telegraphique et Telephonique.

See Computer Emergency Response Team.

Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP)
An authentication method that can be used when connecting to an Internet Service Provider. CHAP allows you to login to your provider automatically, without the need for a terminal screen. It is more secure than the Password Authentication Protocol (another widely used authentication method) since it does not send passwords in text format.

See Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol.

Another term for IRC . Also, an acronym meaning Conversational Hypertext Access Technology.

An acronym meaning Commercial Internet Exchange.

In Internet terms, it's an application that performs a specific function, such as Telnet or FTP. It's the front-end to an Internet process. In more general terms, a client is computer system or process that requests a service of another computer system or process. The much talked about client-server architecture refers to a workstation requesting the contents of a file from a server.

Comité Consultatif International de Telegraphique et Telephonique (CCITT)
French for International Telephone and Telegraph Advisory Council.. It's an organization that plays a major role in the United National International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The CCITT is responsible for making technical recommendations about communications systems worldwide. Every four years, CCITT updates the standards, most recently in 1996.

Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)
The CERT was formed by DARPA in November 1988 in response to the Internet worm incident. CERT exists to facilitate Internet-wide response to computer security events involving Internet hosts and to conduct research targeted at improving the security of existing systems. They maintain an archive of security-related issues on their FTP server at, their email address is, and their 24-hour telephone Hotline for reporting Internet security issues is (412) 268-7090.

Coordinating Committee for Intercontinental Research Networks (CCIRN)
A committee that provides a forum for North American and European network research organizations to cooperate and plan.

Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN)
An organization formed in October 1989, when Bitnet and CSNET were combined. CSNET is no longer around, but CREN still operates Bitnet.

Substantially different from hackers, crackers are users who try to gain illegal access to computers. They are usually malicious in their intentions.

The world of computers and the society that gathers around them, as referred to by William Gibson in his fantasy novel Neuromancer. It now loosely refers to the online world and even more loosely to the Internet.

Data Encryption Key (DEK)
Much like an actual key used for locking and re-opening doors, DEKs are used for the encryption and decoding of message text, sometimes in the form of a digital signature.

Data Encryption Standard (DES)
A standardized encryption method widely used on the Internet.

A block of data that is "smart" enough (actually, which carries enough information) to travel from one Internet site to another without having to rely on earlier exchanges between the source and destination computers (not to be confused with a Candygram).

See Defense Data Network.

The proprietary network protocol designed by Digital Equipment Corporation.

Dedicated Line
A communications line that is used solely for computer connections. If you buy an additional phone line for your modem, that's a dedicated line. There are other types of dedicated lines (such as T3s and T1s) that are used for larger network entities.

Defense Data Network (DDN)
A global communications network that serves the US Department of Defense. It is made up of a network called MILNET, other portions of the Internet, and classified networks which are not part of the Internet. The DDN is used to connect military installations and is managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency. It was originally developed by DARPA.

A widely-used method of accessing the Internet. A dialup connection uses regular phone lines to connect one computer to another via modem.

Distributed Computing Environment (DCE)
An architecture based on standard programming interfaces, conventions, and server functionalities used for distributing applications transparently across networks. The DCE is controlled and promoted by the Open Software Foundation (OSF), a consortium of vendors including DEC, IBM and Hewlett Packard.

See Domain Name Service.

A "logical" region of the Internet. People sometimes refer to them loosely as "sites." Generally, a domain corresponds to an IP address or an area on a host.

Domain Name System (DNS)
The DNS is a static, hierarchical name service used with TCP/IP hosts, and is housed on a number of servers on the Internet. Basically, it maintains a database for figuring out and finding (or resolving) host names and IP addresses on the Internet. This allows users to specify remote computers by host names rather than numerical IP addresses (if you've used UNIX, you may have heard the DNS referred to as the BSD UNIX BIND service). For example, go to a DOS prompt in Windows 95, the % prompt in UNIX, or use a ping client for Windows 3.1 or Mac, and type ping This will check the DNS server you have configured, look up the numerical IP address for, and then ping that server's IP address. The advantage of the DNS is that you don't have to remember numerical IP addresses for all the Internet sites you want to access.

Dot Address (or Dotted Decimal Notation)
The common notation for IP addresses of the form; where each number represents one byte in the four-byte IP address.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
A foundation that addresses social and legal issues arising from the impact of computers on society.

Electronic Mail (Email)
A method by which computer users can exchange messages with each other over a network. Email is probably the most widely-used communications tool on the Internet. There are many quirky conventions to Email, but most entail a To:, From:, and Subject: line. One of email's advantages is its ability to be forwarded and replied to easily. If an email is badly received by a group or user, the sender is likely to get flamed.

See Electronic Mail.

Email Address
Your email address is made up of several parts. By convention, addresses use lowercase letters with no spaces. The first part of the address, the username, identifies a unique user on a server. The @ (pronounced at) separates the username from the host name. The host name uniquely identifies the server computer and is the last part of the Internet email address (for example, our webmaster's email address is Large servers, such as those used at universities or large companies sometimes contain multiple parts, called subdomains. Subdomains and the host name are separated by a period (but it's pronounced dot). The three-letter suffix in the host name identifies the kind of organization operating the server (some locations use a two-letter geographical suffix). The most common suffixes are: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (government), .mil (military), .net (networking), and .org (non-commercial). More suffixes are under consideration. Addresses outside of the U.S. sometimes use a two-letter suffix that identifies the country in which the server is located. Some examples are: .jp (Japan), .nl (The Netherlands), .uk (United Kingdom), .ca (Canada), and .tw (Taiwan).

The basis of network security. Encryption encodes network packets to prevent anyone except the intended recipient from accessing the data.

A standard and probably the most popular connection type for Local Area Networks (LANs). It was first developed by Xerox, and later refined by Digital, Intel and Xerox (see also DIX). In an Ethernet configuration, computers are connected by coaxial or twisted-pair cable where they contend for network access using a Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) paradigm. Ethernet can transfer information at up to 10 Megabit-per-second (Mb/s).

Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. FAQs are widely available on the Internet and usually take the form of large, instructional text files. They are written on a wide variety of topics, and are usually the most up-to-date source for specialized information.

Federal Networking Council (FNC)
A collection of federal agencies that have heavy interests in federal networks using TCP/IP and the Internet. Representatives from DoD, DOE, DARPA, NSF, NASA and HHS are the major members of the FNC.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
The most widely-used way of downloading and uploading (getting and putting) files across an Internet connection. The File Transfer Protocol is a standardized way to connect computers so that files can be shared between them easily. There is a set of commands in FTP for making and changing directories, transferring, copying, moving, and deleting files. Formerly, all FTP connections were text based, but graphical applications are now available that make FTP commands as easy as dragging and dropping. Numerous FTP clients exist for a number of platforms.

A UNIX command that shows information about a user or group of users on the Internet. When executed, the Finger command usually returns the user's real name, whether or not they have unread mail, and the time and date of their last login. Finger also displays two files (if they exist) located in the home directory of the user you fingered. These two files (the .PLAN and the .PROJECT files.) are simply ASCII text files that can be entered by the user to display any information upon being fingered.

A negative response to an email message or newsgroup posting. If you post an article or send an email to an audience that deems your message inappropriate, expect to get flamed. The most common recipients of flames are users who post commercial messages in public forums, those who post adult material in non-adult areas of the Internet, and users who post or send make racial or gender-biased comments. The worst sort of flame is known as a mail-bomb, which occurs when the user being flamed open his or her email and receives a flood of letters with unusually long file attachments that make his or her computer crash.

A reply to an email or newsgroup posting that continues the conversation or idea, known as a thread.

A network system made up of community-based bulletin board systems with email, information services, interactive communications, and conferencing. They are usually funded and operated by individuals or organizations much like public television. Freenet providers are part of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN), a Cleveland-based organization that works to make computer networking services as freely available as public libraries.

See File Transfer Protocol.

A kind of "go-between" device or program that passes information between networks that normally couldn't communicate. What used to be called a gateway is now called a router. Not to be confused with a protocol converter.

An information search and retrieval tool used widely for research. Gopher information is stored hierarchically on computers across the Internet. It uses a simple protocol that allows a client to access information from a multitude of numerous Gopher servers at one time, creating what's known as gopher space. The most common search tools in gopher are Veronica and Jughead. Gopher clients exist for most platforms.

A computer user who works to understand the ins and outs of computers, networks, and the Internet in general. Hackers are generally benign, and are not to be confused with the more malicious crackers.

A computer that is attached to a network or the Internet. Hosts allow users on client machines to connect and share files or transfer information. Individual users communicate with hosts by using client application programs.

Host Address
The address of a host computer on the Internet.

The name given a host computer connected to the Internet.

See HyperText Markup Language.

The combination of hypertext and multimedia in an online document.

A type of text that allows embedded links to other documents. Clicking on or selecting a hypertext link displays another document or section of a document. Most World Wide Web documents contain hypertext.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
The standard way to mark text documents for publishing on the World Wide Web. HTML is marked-up using tags surrounded by brackets. To see what tagged HTML text looks like, select the View Source feature from the menus in the program you are using to view this document now, and you'll see a display of the HTML text used to create this page.

Acronym for In My Humble Opinion. Generally seen in IRC, email, or Usenet postings.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
A relatively new technology which combines voice and digital network services in a single medium. ISDN makes it possible for communications carriers to offer their customers digital data services as well as voice connections through a single line. CCITT defines the standards relating to ISDN.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
An organization of 89 member countries (founded in 1946) responsible for setting world standards in many electronics areas. Members of the ISO are the national standards organizations of the member countries.

A large, uncontrolled, unadministered, anarchic cyber-state that will soon take over the world! Basically, it's just everyone's computers hooked together. It's not a corporation, organization, or entity in itself. When you connect to the Internet, you actually become part of it. Always capitalized, the word Internet can also be referred to colloquially as the "Net."

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
The central registry for various Internet protocol parameters, such as port, protocol and enterprise numbers, and options, codes and types. The currently assigned values are listed in the Assigned Numbers document. If you'd like more information or want to request a number assignment, you can email IANA at

Internet Protocol (IP)
An industry standard, connectionless, best-effort packet switching protocol used as the network layer in the TCP/IP Protocol Suite.

Internet Protocol Address (IP Address)
The 32-bit address defined by the Internet Protocol. Every resource on the Internet has a unique numerical IP address, represented in dotted decimal notation. IP addresses are the closest thing the Internet has to phone numbers. When you "call" that number (using any number of connection methods such as FTP, HTTP, Gopher, etc.) you get connected to the computer to which that IP address is assigned.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
An ISP is a company that maintains a network that is linked to the Internet via a dedicated communication line, usually a high-speed link known as a T1. An ISP offers use of its dedicated communication lines to companies or individuals (like me) who can't afford $1,300 a month for a direct connection. Using a modem, you can dial up to a service provider whose computers will connect you to the Internet, typically for a fee.

Internet Society (ISOC)
A non-profit, professional organization that supports the technical evolution of the Internet and stimulates the interest of members of the scientific and academic communities, industry, and the public regarding technology and the applications of the Internet. The ISOC also promotes the development of new applications for the Internet by publishing a quarterly newsletter, the Internet Society News, and by and holding an annual conference, called INET.

Meaning Internet information Center, InterNIC is the combined name for the providers of registration, information, and database services to the Internet. InterNIC is who you contact if you want to register a domain name on the Internet.

See Internet Protocol.

IP Address
See Internet Protocol Address.

The world-wide party line of the '90s. IRC allows multiple users to converse in real time on different channels. Channels (which have a # sign preceding their name) vary in traffic and content. Channel operators (or Ops) moderate the conversation, and have the ability to "kick" people from channels, or even ban them if their actions warrant it. IRC clients are available for nearly all platforms.

See Integrated Services Digital Network.

See International Organization for Standardization.

See Internet Society.

Acronym for Local Area Network. LANs are now commonplace in most businesses, allowing users to send email and share resources such as files, printers, modems, etc. Currently, most larger companies are connection their LANs to the Internet, allowing users to connect to resources within or outside the LAN.

Leased Line
A dedicated, full-time connection used to link a user or network to an Internet Service Provider or another network.

An automated mailing list distribution system. Listservs exist for a multitude of professional, educational, and special interest groups. Usually, you have to send an email to a Listserver with the subject SUBSCRIBE listname or something to that effect. You are then subscribed to that mailing list and (depending on the service) will receive regular mail from a single source or from all members who send email to the Listserver. Listserv was originally designed for the Bitnet/EARN network.

Non-active participation on the part of a subscriber to an mailing list, a Usenet newsgroup, and IRC channel, a video connection, or any other Internet communication device. If you're "lurking," you're generally just listening to the discussion. It's usually best to lurk if you're a beginner or if you are new to a communication group. This allows you to get up to speed on the history or acceptable behavior of the group.

Mail Reflector
A program that distributes files or information in response to requests sent via email. Many Listservs have mail reflectors. You can request documents of a reflector by sending message with the subject SEND document name or a similar command. Mail reflectors are also being used to provide FTP-like services for users with limited Internet access.

Mailing List
A list of email addresses used to forward messages to groups of people. When you subscribe to a mailing list, you receive all mail sent to that list (see also Listserv).

MIME Encoding
See Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions Encoding.

Mirror Site
Due to the popularity of some FTP and Web sites, mirror sites came into existence. They are areas on a computer that "mirror" or contain an exact replica of the directory structure of another computer. If you have trouble getting connected to an FTP site, for example, because of the high amount of traffic, you can usually connect to a mirror site that contains the same information on a different computer. Mirror sites are usually updated once a day.

The person who manages moderated mailing lists, newsgroups, or online discussion forums for services such as AOL, CompuServe, or the Microsoft Network.

A graphical browser for the World Wide Web that supports hypermedia. The NCSA (National SuperComputer Association) invented the Mosaic browser, which quickly became the industry standard. Netscape Communications Corporation later invented the Netscape Navigator, which has redefined the content on the Web. Other major companies entered the browser market with little success, until Microsoft launched their Internet Explorer which now contends with Navigator as the browser of choice. The term Mosaic is sometimes used incorrectly as a synonym for the World Wide Web.

Acronym for Multi-User Dungeon or Domain. MUDs are role-playing games that take place on a computer. Users can Telnet to a MUD host, and create a character. MUDs can be action, adventure, or fantasy games, and allow you to save your character for future play. Some MUDs have thousands of registered characters, and most foster a community or culture of their own. These are highly-addictive areas of the Internet, and users can spend many hours enthralled in this type of activity.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions Encoding (MIME Encoding)
MIME is a standardized method for organizing divergent file formats. The method organizes file formats according to the file's MIME type. When Internet (usually email) software retrieves a file from a server, the server provides the MIME type of the file, and the file is decoded correctly when transferred to your machine.

The combination of the words Net and etiquette, this refers to the proper behavior on a network, and more generally the Internet. The key element in Netiquette is remembering that actual people are on the other end of a computer connection, and offensive comments or actions are just as offensive even if you can't see your recipient.

Network File System (NFS)
A protocol developed by Sun Microsystems. NFS allows a computer to access and use files over a network as if they were local. This protocol has been incorporated into the products of more two-hundred companies, and is now a de facto Internet standard.

Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)
An industry standard protocol for the distribution, inquiry, retrieval, and posting of news articles.

See Network File System.

See Network News Transfer Protocol.

Open Systems Interconnection (OSI)
A suite of protocols, designed by ISO committees to be the international standard computer network architecture.

See Open System Interconnection.

The common term for the standard unit of data sent across a network.

Packet Internet Gopher (PING)
The simplest way to test or time the response of an Internet connection. A PING sends a request to an Internet host and waits for a reply called (yep, you guessed it), a PONG. When you PING an address, you get a response telling you the number of seconds it took to make the connection. PING clients exist for a number of platforms, or you can use a UNIX or Windows 95 prompt to issue a PING command directly.

See Password Authentication Protocol.

Password Authentication Protocol (PAP)
One of the many authentication methods that can be used when connecting to an ISP. PAP allows you to login automatically, without having to use a terminal window to type in your username and password. One warning about PAP: passwords are sent over the connection in text format, which means there is no protection if someone is "listening-in" on your connection.

Point Of Presence (POP)
An installation of telecommunications equipment, usually digital leased lines and multi-protocol routers.

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)
A protocol that provides a method for transmitting packets over serial point-to-point links. PPP is one of the most popular methods for dialup connections to the Internet, since it allows you to use other standard protocols (such as IPX, TCP/IP, and Netbeui) over a standard telephone connection, but it can also be used for LAN connections.

See either Point Of Presence or Post Office Protocol.

Post Office Protocol (POP)
A protocol designed to allow single users to read mail from a server. There are three versions: POP, POP2, and POP3. When email is sent to you, it is stored on the server until accessed by you. Once you are authenticated, the POP is used to transmit the stored mail from the server to your local mailbox on your client machine.

The sending of an article to a Usenet newsgroup or the placing of a message on a BBS.

See Point-to-Point Protocol.

Simply, the "language" spoken between computers to help them exchange information. More technically, it's a formal description of message formats and the rules that two computers must follow to exchange those messages. Protocols can describe low-level details of machine-to-machine interfaces (like the order in which bits and bytes are sent across a wire) or high-level exchanges between allocation programs (the way in which two programs transfer a file across the Internet).

Read the Flippin' Manual (RTFM)
An acronym used to respond to a simple or commonly asked question.

Request For Comments (RFC)
A document series, begun in 1969, which describes the Internet suite of protocols and related experiments. Not all (actually, very few) RFCs describe Internet standards, but all Internet standards are written up as RFCs.

See Request for Comments.

A device that forwards traffic between networks. Forwarding decisions are made based on network layer information and routing tables, often constructed by routing protocols.

Serial Line lnternet Protocol (SLIP)
Similar to PPP, SLIP is another standard protocol used to run TCP/IP over serial lines, such as telephone circuits or RS-232 cables. Unlike PPP, however, SLIP does not work on a LAN connections. SLIP used to be the most popular way for dialup users to access the Internet, but PPP quickly overcame SLIP because of its ease of use and integration into many client operating systems.

Simply, a computer that provides resources, such as files or other information. Common Internet servers include file servers and name servers Domain Name Service.

Service Provider
See Internet Service Provider.

Acronym for Special Interest Group. SIGs sponsor a variety of Listservs, IRC channels, and Internet sites. Also a nickname for a Signature.

An ASCII text file that can be automatically attached to the bottom of a piece of email or newsgroup posting that identifies the sender. Many signatures (or sigs) use symbols and characters to create images or words to make the sig more interesting.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
A protocol used to transfer email. SMTP transfers mail from server to server, and the end user must use POP (see also Post Office Protocol) to transfer the messages to their machine.

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
Developed to manage nodes on an IP network, SNMP is an Internet standard protocol. It can be used to manage wiring hubs, video toasters, CD ROM jukeboxes, and many other devices.

See Serial Line Internet Protocol.

The use of punctuation marks and other symbols or characters to portray moods when typing, especially in email messages and IRC. Here's an example of a simple smiley: :) . If you don't see it, tilt your head to the left and look at it. The colon makes the eyes and the parenthesis makes the smiley mouth. The smile means happiness (like if someone says something funny) or it often denotes sarcasm. Other combinations of characters can express many other emotions. You may also hear them referred to as emoticons.

A research institute based in California that runs the Network Information Center (NISC).

Subnet Mask
See Address Mask.

One of AT&T's terms used to denote the type of connection of a host to the Internet. A T1 transmits a DS-1 formatted digital signal at 1.544 megabits per second.

One of AT&T's terms used to denote the type of connection of a host to the Internet. A T3 transmits a DS-3 formatted digital signal at 44.746 megabits per second - about 40 times the speed of a T1.

See Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.

TCP/IP Stack
To properly use the TCP/IP protocol, PCs require a TCP/IP stack. This consists of TCP/IP software, sockets software (such as WINSOCK.DLL for Windows machines), and hardware driver software (known as packet drivers). Windows 95 comes with Microsoft's own built-in TCP/IP stack, including version 1.1 of Microsoft's WINSOCK.DLL and packet drivers.

The Internet standard protocol to connect to remote terminals. Telnet clients are available for most platforms. When you Telnet to a UNIX site, for example, you can issue commands at the prompt as if the machine were local.

A slight variation of Telnet used to connect the user to an IBM mainframe. TN3270 clients exist for most platforms.

Token Ring
A type of LAN in which networked computers are wired into a ring. Each computer (or node) is in constant contact with the next node in the ring. A control message, called a token, is passed from one node to another, allowing the node with the token to send a message out to the network. If the ring is "broken" by one computer losing contact, the network can no longer communicate. The IEEE 802.5 token ring standard is the most common.

The layout of all the computers on a network and the links that join them.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
TCP/IP is the standard communications protocol required for Internet computers. To communicate using TCP/IP, PCs need a set of software components called a TCP/IP stack. Macintoshes typically use a proprietary software package called MacTCP. Most UNIX systems are built with TCP/IP capabilities.

Originally, UUCP was a program that allowed UNIX systems to transfer files over phone lines. Currently, the term is used to describe the protocol that passes news and email across the Internet.

Usenet groups are more commonly known as newsgroups. There are thousands of groups hosted on hundreds of servers around the world, dealing with various topics. Newsreader software is required to properly download and view articles in the groups, but you can usually post an article to a group simply by emailing to it.

See UNIX-to-UNIX Copy.

A search engine (not unlike Archie) that is built into Gopher. It allows searches of all gopher sites for files, directories and other resources.

Universal Resource Locator (URL)
More commonly referred to as the URL, the Universal Resource Locator refers to the entire address that is recognized "universally" as the address for an Internet resource. Each resource on the Internet has a unique URL. URLs begin with letters that identify the resource type, such as http, ftp, gopher, etc. These types are followed by a colon and two slashes. Next, the computer's name is listed, followed by the directory and filename of the remote resource. For example, the URL for this glossary is

See World Wide Web.

See Wide Area Information Service.

White Pages
Databases containing email addresses, telephone numbers, and postal addresses of Internet users. You can search the Internet White Pages to find information about particular users.

An Internet program (related to Finger and the White Pages) that lets you enter an Internet entity (such as domains, networks, and hosts) and display information such as a person's company name, address, phone number and email address.

Wide Area Information Service (WAIS)
A distributed information service and search engine that allows natural language input and indexed searching. Many Web search utilities use a WAIS engine.

Stands for Windows Sockets. Winsocks is a set of specifications or standards for programmers creating TCP/IP applications for use with Windows.

World Wide Web (WWW or W3)
The Web is a collection of online documents housed on Internet servers around the world. The concept of the Web was created by researchers at CERN in Switzerland. Web documents are written or coded in HTML. To access these documents, you have to use a Web browser. When these browsers access (or hit) a page, the server uses the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to send the document to your computer.

A computer program that replicates itself and is self-propagating. While viruses are designed to cause problems on a local system and are passed through boot sectors of disks and through files, worms are designed to thrive in network environments. Network worms were first defined by Shoch & Hupp of Xerox in ACM Communications (March 1982). The most famous (or infamous) worm was the Internet Worm of November 1988. It successfully propagated itself on over 6,000 systems across the Internet.

See World Wide Web.