No matter how you feel about Buffybot, we can agree that that line is confusing. (And yet I remember it years later… anyway…)
I mean, she may as well have said “edit your A record to point to the new IP address, bingo!”
You may think you know what a website is. Or an A record. Or DKIM settings. Or when and why to use a PNG. But you could be wrong. I know I am, sometimes. But here are my definitions, covering terminology that often comes up when we’re talking about building and launching a website.
Website: a collection of web pages all living under one domain name.
Web page: a single location existing as part of a larger website often containing information related to a single topic, or providing a directory or links to other pages.
Link: specifically coded words, images, or buttons that when clicked take you elsewhere when clicked or tapped – either a new URL, a larger image, a popup of a video, etc.
Forms: I often find myself asking new clients where their forms come from. Forms are areas on a web page where customers (or bots) can enter information and have it sent to you. Forms can be created with old-school code, a plugin like Gravity Forms, or a marketing tool like HubSpot or Marketo, and added to your pages.
Browser: a web browser is the piece of software you use to access websites. Common browsers include Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. There are many available, and they all work a little differently. But they all let you see and interact with websites.
Cache: Cache – pronounced like ‘cash’ – is a term for files stored locally on your computer that get used by any given website. Since they are stored locally, they do not need to download every time you visit the site, which in theory can make pages load faster. Cache can also be a problem when you are making many edits, as the local files will not always update so you won’t see the edits. Therefore – it is worth learning how to clear your cache in your chosen browser if you’re doing a lot of edits.
URL: URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator but in the real world it just means ‘the address of the web page’ – something like https://www.google.com, or, https://buffy.fandom.com/wiki/Buffybot would be considered a URL.
CMS: A content management system (CMS) is a software application that enables users to create, edit, collaborate on, publish and store digital content in an online database.
WordPress: WordPress is an open-source (free) content management system (CMS). WordPress uses a combination of information and content stored in a database combined with template files, images and code to display a website in a browser.
Hosting: Web Hosting is an online service that makes your website’s content accessible on the internet. When you purchase a hosting plan, you are renting space on a physical server to store all the website’s files and data and make it available online.
Database: A Database is an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system. Small databases (SMB or corporate website) can be stored on a shared file system, while larger databases are typically hosted on computer clusters or cloud storage (sites like Google, Amazon, etc.)
DNS: The Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names into IP addresses, which browsers use to load internet pages.
Domain name: A domain name is a string of text that maps to an IP address, used to access a website from your browser. In plain English, a domain name is the text that a user types into a browser window to reach a particular website. For instance, the domain name for Google is ‘google.com’.
IP address: IP address stands for internet protocol address; it is an identifying number that is associated with a specific computer to computer network. When online, the IP address allows the two devices to send and receive information, such as to your computer from a website.
A record: An A record maps a physical IP address of a computer hosting that domain. Internet traffic uses the A record to find the computer hosting your domain’s DNS settings.
CNAME: A Canonical Name or CNAME record is a type of DNS record that maps an alias name to a true canonical domain name. CNAME records are typically used to map a subdomain such as www or mail to the domain hosting that subdomain’s content.
DKIM: DKIM, or DomainKeys Identified Mail, is an email authentication method that uses a digital signature to let the receiver of an email know that the message was sent and authorized by the owner of the domain. This helps prevent your sent email from ending up in spam filters.
SSL: An SSL (secure socket layer) certificate is a bit of code on your web server that provides security for online communications. When a web browser contacts your secured website, the SSL certificate enables an encrypted connection.
FTP: FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. FTP works by opening two connections that link the computers trying to communicate with each other.
SFTP: SFTP, or Secure File Transfer Protocol, is a secure file transfer protocol that uses secure encryption to provide a high level of security for sending and receiving files to and from your site.
Web languages: A web development language, or a ‘programming language’, is a vocabulary and set of grammatical rules used in instructing a computing device to perform certain tasks. It is commonly referred to as ‘coding language’. There are many out there but most common sites use the obes below, one way or another.
HTML: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a text-based approach to describing how content contained within an HTML file is structured. This markup tells a web browser how to display text, images and other forms of multimedia on a webpage.
CSS: CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is the language for describing the presentation of web pages, including colors, layout, and fonts. It allows one to adapt the presentation to different types of devices, such as large screens, small screens, or printers.
PHP: PHP (Hypertext PreProcessor) is a general purpose scripting language and interpreter that is freely available and widely used for web development. WordPress (among others) uses PHP.
Graphic and image formats:
JPG: A JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a type of image format that is saved using a method of lossy compression. Lossy means that some pixels are lost, and are instead estimated based on surrounding pixels. The output image, as a result of compression, is a trade-off between storage size and image quality. Users can adjust the compression level to achieve the desired quality level while at the same time reduce the file size.
PNG: A PNG (Portable Network Graphic) file is a type of raster image file that is commonly used on the internet. PNG files are “lossless”. This means they have a fixed number of pixels, and do not lose any quality when they are compressed. This makes them ideal for storing images that need to be high quality, such as logos and illustrations. PNG images can also support transparency, which can be useful for creating web graphics with transparent backgrounds.
GIF: A GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) is a type of often low resolution color bitmap image that is saved using a method of lossless compression. In the early days of the web they were used for small images and logos. Later, GIF animation became popular, and is still popular today.
EPS: EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) is a file format created by Adobe in the late 1980s to serve the needs of designers and printers. Originally it was only compatible with Adobe Illustrator, but now there is a lot of free software to open documents with an EPS file extension, as well as to convert an EPS file into a different file type, or to view EPS files without Illustrator. EPS can be as small as a dot or as large as a billboard and not lose resolution. Very often logos exist in EPS format.
Webp: WebP is a modern image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, webmasters and web developers can create smaller, richer images that may make your site load faster. Personally I have seen better results and compatibility from properly sizing and compressing JPG and PNG images, but your mileage may vary.
Buffybot: The Buffybot was a robotic replica of Buffy Summers (The Slayer) created by Warren Mears at the request of Spike for – well – Spike was evil. It was eventually reprogrammed by Willow and used as a Slayer decoy in battles, until its final destruction.