This is a brief list of acronyms, jargon and terms that you are likely to see and hear while researching websites. Rather than baffling you, we want you to understand exactly what is going on with your site. If you come across something you don’t understand while researching your new website, feel free to contact us!


Active server pages – Code used in webpages that access databases.


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! Examples of content management systems are Expression Engine and Textpattern.


Cascading style sheets – files used to control the layout and appearance of your website. CSS makes your pages load quicker than other types of styling and improves the search engine visibility of your website.


A list of records held on your server such as customer or product details. A website can read and write to a database, as well as searching through the database if required. MySQL is an example of a database technology.

Domain Name

This is what people type into their web browser to get to your site, such as


The process of selling products online, using a website to display your products and a system that takes payment and generates the orders for you to process.

Expression Engine

Expression Engine (also know as EE) is a content management system for blogs and websites. It is a very flexible system and can handle community websites that have lots of contributors. An Expression Engine install can also run more than website from one control panel, so it’s great if you want to have multiple sites.


Your web hosting is where your website actually lives. This is usually a powerful server located in somewhere like London Docklands that has a very fast internet connection.


Internet Service Provider – these are the guys that connect you to the internet such as Virgin Media, BT or Blueyonder.


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.


osCommerce is a free, open source eCommerce system. There are several systems developed on top of osCommerce such as Holbi Trueloaded, CRELoaded and Zen Cart.

Payment service provider (PSP)

A payment provider (such as SagePay or Worldpay) takes the customer’s credit card details, processes the order and transfers the funds into your bank account.


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


Another type of code used in webpages 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, formatting it differently for different users.


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.


“Structured Query Language” – Basically, SQL is used to connect your website to a database such as a product catalogue or blog entries. SQL can be Microsoft SQL (which can be expensive) or the open source MySQL (which is free, and used by internet giants such as YouTube, Wikipedia and Flickr).


Textpattern (also known as TxP) is a content management system for websites. It allows you to enter, edit and delete text and images to be displayed on your website. We upload Textpattern to your web hosting and then you log in to make changes to your content, which is then shown to your website visitors. We like Textpattern a lot, so much so that this website runs on it!


WordPress is a content management system for websites. Similar to Expression Engine and Textpattern, you log in to your site to post articles which are then shown to your site 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.

Zen Cart

Zen Cart is shopping cart and content management software used to run eCommerce websites. It is very similar to osCommerce, using a lot of the same code but developed to be more user friendly. Zen Cart allows you to enter all your product details, upload images, handle user accounts and process payments online. It then helps you process your orders and despatch the goods to the customer.

Need a new website? Call 01636 812 551 or contact us and we'll be glad to help!