Internet 101 – Answers to Ten FAQs


Have you ever wondered what some Internet term/acronym actually meant, but were afraid to ask?

No need to fear. Here’s our list of 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that might provide answers…

1) What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a series of alphanumeric strings separated by periods, such as, serving as an address for a computer or network of computers.

  • Domain Name System (DNS) is the most recognized system for assigning addresses to Internet web servers (aka “Internet hosts”)
  • Similar to international phone numbers, a domain name provides an easy-to-spell address like and avoids the need to use really technical IP addresses such as
  • Domain name extensions include .COM, .CA and .ORG
  • Can usually be purchased for around $10 – $15 for single or multiple year registrations

2) What is Hosting?

Hosting is the act of storing (a Web site or other electronic data) on a computer connected to the Internet.

  • Costs range from around $5/month to thousands/month depending on usage
  • Basic web and email hosting packages provide most small business owners with everything they need to host a website and have their own email addresses

3) What is a Firewall?

A firewall is software or hardware that is intended to thwart the spread of a destructive agent.

  • A firewall checks information coming from the Internet or a network, and then either blocks it or allows it to pass through to your computer, depending on your firewall settings
  • A firewall can help prevent hackers or malicious software (such as worms) from gaining access to your computer through a network or the Internt
  • A firewall can also help stop your computer from sending malicious software to other computers
  • A firewall isn’t the same thing as an antivirus program. To help protect your computer, you need both a firewall and an antivirus and anti-malware program

4) What is DSL?

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a technology for bringing high-bandwidth information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines.

  • Cable service uses digital or analog signals transmitted through the same coaxial cable that usual cable television services use
  • DSL technology uses normal phone line technology to send digital signals to the DSL modem
  • Cable Internet has higher bandwidth, however the connection is shared among several customers, whereas DSL is a dedicated line and not shared

5) What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) provides security for data sent to and from a web site.

  • An encrypted SSL connection requires that all data passed between the browser and the web site server be encrypted by the sender and decrypted by the receiver
  • SSL can prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to payment information other sensitive, confidential, or personal information
  • Most websites use 128-bit encryption, but 256-bit or higher encryption is available

6) What is Social Media?

Social media refers to people interacting online in virtual communities and networks to create, share, and exchange information and ideas.

  • Geocities was created in 1994 and was one of the first social media sites
  • Social Media Formats: Magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, social networks, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking
  • Social media is more participatory versus traditional media which is usually more of a one way conversation between a publisher and a content consumer
  • Popular Social Media platforms include Twitter, Instragram, Vine, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn

7) What is Responsive Design?

Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach that aims to create sites that provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

  • Responsive sites resize and reformat to best fit and function based on the visitors optimal viewing size, but generally share the same overall content
  • Responsive design is not the same as created a mobile version of a websites with its own unique content and structure

8) What is HTML5?

HTML5 is currently under development as the next major revision of the HTML standard.

  • The 5th edition of Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) adds many features to make adding multimedia such as video or audio to websites easier (without having to use a Flash player)
  • HTML5 is already supported to a large extent by all the newest versions of popular web browsers

9) What is a SEM/SEO?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a broader term used to describe efforts to market using the Internet that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization and advertising. SEM may:

  • optimize website content to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages
  • use pay per click listings
  • promote a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.

  • The earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
  • SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
  • SEO considers how search engines work, what people are searching for and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.
  • Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.

10) What is a CMS?

A Content Management System (CMS) is an administrative application that allows non-technical people to make changes to a website without having to understand web programming.

  • Popular CMS platforms include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and SharePoint
  • Range from simple systems geared towards use by a single person to complex enterprise workflows that handle content management for sites with thousands of pages and multiple languages

BONUS) How do I get an awesome website?

Simple. Contact Ellsworth Media and we’ll be happy to discuss your project.