What's up with all these acronyms?

The Internet uses a variety of acronyms. Sometimes it can get to be quite an alphabet soup. In most cases, you don't need to know what something stands for in order to use it, but for the curious;

DNS: Domain-Name Service. This system converts the name for a site (like www.guam.net) into the network number the computer uses (like

FTP: File Transfer Protocol. A method of transmitting a file from one computer to another and reproducing it accurately.

HTML: Hyper-Text Markup Language. Embedding "Tags" in an ordinary text document. When a browser sees a "Tag", it treats it differently than ordinary text. Some tags can make the text between them bold or italicized. Others can state where to load pictures. There are hundreds of tags. Furthermore, individual browsers often recognize their own special tags that haven't been adopted by the rest of the Internet as a standard yet. That's why some pages look different when you use Internet Explorer instead of Netscape.

HTTP: Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol. A method used to pass hyper-text ("web pages") or HTML between computers. It also allows for the transmission of files (like pictures) on request. Most of the file-requesting is handled automatically by Netscape or Internet Explorer, so you see a page load with pictures even though the pictures are separate files.

IRC: Internet Relay Chat. The Internet version of CB or ham radio. You tune into a particular "channel". Anything you say, or said by anyone else on the channel, is "echoed" for everyone else on the channel to hear.

PPP: Point-to-Point Protocol. A way of setting up a TCP/IP connection between your home computer and your provider over the phone line. It can be used without a phone line, but usually isn't - there are other protocols for that.

SLIP: Serial-Line Interface Protocol. An aging standard. Replaced by PPP (which is more reliable and faster). It too is a method of setting up a TCP/IP connection over the phone line.

TCP/IP: Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol. This agreed-upon method of passing information back and forth between computers is the main reason the Internet exists.

URL: Universal Resource Locator. A method of specifying (1) The protocol to be used, (2) The site you want to go to, and (3) the specific file on that site you want to see. This is in two or more parts on one line, with no spaces. Here is a sample URL:


The protocol you want to use to transfer the file is HTTP (the first part of the line), the site you want to get the file from is saintly.home.ml.org (the second part, between the // and the first single /), and the file you want to get from there is "index.html". The file could be in a folder, in which case it would be "/folder/file.html".

There are plenty more acronyms. If you see one you don't know about, eMail me and I'll put it up here.