Browsers, Cookies, Cache And More

I’ll admit that a lot of the terms used to describe the Internet and associated technologies can be confusing. It can be intimidating to ask the meaning of terms everyone else pretends to know.  The following list includes common terms with their meanings.

 

 

I spend alot of time online thinking about the Internet and identifying technology trends that will make MfgQuote.com the best experience possible for those who use the service for buying and selling manufacturing services. I would consider myself very Web savvy, but I’ll admit that a lot of the terms used to describe the Internet and associated technologies can be confusing.

It can be intimidating to ask the meaning of terms everyone else pretends to know. Often, if you are lucky to find someone who knows the answer, it’s delivered in such techno-speak that it leaves you scratching your head. The following list includes common terms with their meanings.

Server – The term “server” can be especially confusing. People often think of a server as a computer, when in fact, a server is the software that runs on the computer. The server software literally serves or pushes a Web page to a user when a Web site address (URL) is typed or when clicking on a link. So, in spite of the fact that computers are marketed as servers, it takes server software to make a computer a server.

Web Browsers – A Web browser is software that runs on a computer to communicate with the Web server. The browser on a computer is also called the client. The browser is used to request data from the server, and the server sends it to a browser for viewing. The most popular Web browsers are Internet Explorer and Firefox.

URL - URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is a standardized format for naming and locating pages, files and images on the Internet. An example of a URL is http://www.MfgQuote.com.

Cookies – Cookies are small files that are placed on a computer by Web sites that a user visits. The information stored in a cookie can be used for many purposes, such as to remember a user name, to remember that a user is logged in or to remember preferences. Each Web site operator decides which data they want to store, update and track in a cookie. It’s a good idea to clear cookies periodically. This can be done from within a browser, normally under the Tools option.

Cache – When a user first visits a Web page, the server transfers all the information and images on the page to his/her computer. When the user visits that page again or similar pages of the same site that have a common element, such as a header, navigation, and so on, the common element can be stored on a local computer, thus avoiding repeated downloads of the same element. Cache is often referred to as “Temporary Internet Files” in a browser’s settings. A browser will have a setting for how much space is allowed for the cache. It is a good idea to allocate at least 10 MB to a cache and to clear a cache about once a month.

I would highly advise everyone to have a good anti-spyware and virus protection program running at all times when surfing the Web. I’m using the free Windows AnitSpyware from Microsoft, which can be downloaded from Microsoft’s home page.

And for goodness sake, if you still use a dial-up connection, pick up the phone right now and order a broadband connection via cable, DSL or wireless in some cities. There is so much information to discover and so little time to wait for slow downloads. I wish you happy and productive surfing.

Mitch Free is president & CEO of MfgQuote.com, Atlanta, Georgia. He can be reached at (770) 444-9686, ext. 2946 or at mfree@mfgquote.com.