Web Development Glossary of Terms 

Web dev glossary of terms - feature image

Hey, marketers! Here’s a quick guide to the usual terms and concepts used in web development. Don’t worry, we made the definitions and explanations easy to understand. Looking for a specific term? Just press CTRL+F then type the word and press enter. 

301 Redirect 

Refers to a permanent redirect of a web page, passing the ranking power to the new, redirected web page. 


An error message for web users when a requested web page can’t be retrieved. It might show when a web page is no longer existing, or if a URL is entered incorrectly. 


The practice of designing websites with users who have disabilities in mind. 

ADA Compliance (Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance) 

It’s a United States law that helps ensure all users get treated fairly and have access to the same opportunities. ADA compliance has a big impact on website development. The ADA makes sure that websites are accessible to everybody, including users with disabilities. 


It is a popular approach to website development. Its focus is on flexibility and adaptability to help web development teams quickly respond to changes in strategy and requirements.

The agile process offers developers continuous development while reducing time spent waiting for a previous phase of development to complete before beginning a new one. 


Refers to rules or guidelines for code to adhere to. 

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) 

It is used to build web apps. Technically, it’s not considered a programming language. 

API (Application Programming Interface) 

It is used to connect an external app to a website. To illustrate: Connecting WordPress to MailChimp is possible with the use of an API. 


It is the part of a website that’s hidden from users. It’s the website’s technical site that’s made up of CMS, apps, and website structure. 


Refers to links from other websites back to your website. They can help enhance search engine rankings. 


It is the rate at data is transferred between a web server and a visitor’s computer when loading any aspect of a website. It can have a big impact on web loading speeds and web performance, which in turn affects how Google ranks a website. 


It is a widely used front-end website development framework. Its library of design templates is built via HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build responsive, mobile-first designs with interactive elements. 

Bounce Rate 

It is the percentage of users who leave your website without making any interaction such as clicking a link, submitting a form, or completing a transaction (purchase, booking, etc). 


It is the point at which your site’s content will adjust to various screen sizes for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and desktop computers (PCs and laptops). 

Browser (aka Web Browser or Internet Browser) 

Refers to any software that is used to browse the Internet. Popular examples are Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. 


It is an error that occurs in software, apps, or websites that prevents them from functioning correctly. 


It is a place where data is stored temporarily when accessing a website. It’s used to enhance website speed. Web developers request that you clear your cache when they’ve implemented changes to your website’s front-end. 

CDN (Content Delivery Network) 

Refers to a geographically distributed set of servers. It enhances the speed, reliability, and performance of a website’s pages by caching features like images, videos, and files, while also separating the distribution of data from localized servers based on the address of a website visitor. 

CMS (Content Management System) 

Refers to a program used to publish and maintain a website’s content. WordPress is considered by many as the most popular CMS. 


It is the process of writing computer code to define and instruct a website’s layout, functionality, design, behavior, and interactions. There are two distinct forms of coding: back-end and front-end. 


Depending on your goals, a conversion could be a purchase, booking, signup, or download. 


They are the data sent by a server to a web browser. They are used for tracking usage, as well as for saving login credentials like usernames and passwords.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) 

Refers to any software that’s used for collecting data about users. 

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) 

It is any code that sends instructions to web browsers for rendering a web page correctly for visitors. It formats all the visual elements like fonts, graphics, and colors. 

CTA (Call to Action) 

They are buttons or bits of text created to generate conversions. 

CTR (Click Through Rate) 

Refers to the percentage of users who click on your website after seeing it in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Custom Website Development 

It is the process of building websites that are tailored to a client’s or brand’s unique identity, audience, and products/services.  


It is a collection of structured information organized via table format. It is accessible by users or apps through queries. Typically, it is used to store user data (usernames and passwords), product info, transaction details, and stats. 


It is the process of identifying and correcting coding problems to make sure that a website continues to function as planned. 


Refers to the process of collecting computer code, databases, assets, and other parts of a web development project and launching them to an appropriate hosting environment to be accessed by users. 

DevOps (Development Operations) 

It is a workflow that keeps several departments (like development teams, IT, QA, etc) in sync. 

Domain Name 

This is your web address. To illustrate: Digitalfeet’s domain name is digitalfeet.com. 

eCommerce Website Development 

Refers to the process of creating an online store for a brand that sells products or services through the Internet. 


It combines the terms favorite and icon. It is a tiny icon that shows up next to your website’s name on a web browser tab. 


An online form typically consists of one or more fields. A field is used to gather data from a user, like their name, email address, contact number, and more. 


Refers to a security measure that builds a “wall” or barrier between your network and incoming web traffic. 


It is the part of a website that’s visible to a visitor when they first click into it. 


It is like a web development toolbox that helps developers build websites and web apps more easily and quickly. Frameworks can be back-end (Ruby on Rails, Django), front-end (Angular, React), or full-stack (Meteor). 


A counterpart to the term back-end. It is the part of a website that is visible to users or the interface your site visitors interact with. 

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) 

Refers to a method for exchanging files between computers. Your website uses this method to upload data to the Internet. 

Full-Stack Development 

It is a combination of all things needed to create and run a website under the scope of a single project. It represents the sum of all components and tools required to build a website. 

GDD (Growth-Driven Design) 

It is a modern approach to website development. Its focus is on continuous improvement and data-driven decision-making. GDD dictates that building websites should be data-driven, iterative (an ongoing process), and goal-oriented. Learn more about GDD now. 


It is a version control system that lets website developers track their codebase, monitor changes, and collaborate on projects with other web developers. 


Refers to a cloud-based version control platform that provides website developers with a secure and collaborative environment that allows them to save their codebase, track revisions, and partner on projects with other web developers. 

GUI (Graphical User Interface) 

It comprises all interface objects like icons, cursors, and buttons. 


A web host is a server that stores and maintains your files. 

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) 

Refers to a popular coding language that is used for the foundation for many websites. 

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) 

It is the set of rules (protocols) used to transfer information like text, images, audio, and video, over the Internet. It establishes how to format and transmit messages, as well as how web browsers and servers should respond to different commands. 

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) 

It is a secure version of HTTP, the protocol that’s used to transmit data between an Internet browser and a website. 

IA (Information Architecture) 

It is the practice of organizing data to help users find content quickly and easily. IA often involves methods like navigation systems (menus) and categorization to sort web content. 

Integration (or Web Development Integration) 

Refers to the process of connecting different components, systems, and services, enabling them to work together or allow data to flow freely throughout the website. 


It is a coding language that web developers use to incorporate automation and animation into a web page. 


It is a library within JavaScript that provides ready-made features and functionalities for website developers. 

Landing Page 

Refers to the first page a user accesses on your website. It could be a homepage or a separate web page that’s built to generate a conversion. 


In web development, a library contains collections of pre-written code that can be used to build websites, web pages, or web apps. 


It is the process of continually making sure your website is running smoothly and securely by performing fixes and implementing updates. 

Meta Data 

It is any data in a website header that contains information about that particular web page. It’s visible only in the source code, which means users can’t view it. 

Meta Tag 

It is where Meta Data is stored. 


Refers to the process of limiting the size and complexity of a website’s code to enhance its performance. 

Mobile First 

Refers to a mode of web development that prioritizes design for mobile device use. 

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) 

It is a prototype for a website. Typically, it comes with enough features to satisfy early users while also leaving room for feedback and further development. 


It is a database management system used to store and maintain large amounts of data. It lets web developers create complex databases for websites easily and quickly. 


It is how your visitors browse around your website. It is made possible through menus, pagination, and related links. 

OOTB (Out of the Box) 

It means that it is ready made and ready to be used without requiring configuration or customization. 

Open Source 

Refers to a type of software that is distributed with the source code readily available. Anybody can change the code according to their needs and preferences. WordPress is a popular CMS that is open source. 

OS (Operating System) 

It is a software program that enables communication between hardware and apps. It is responsible for running user programs while making sure they don’t interfere with each other or cause system crashes. 

Page Template 

It is a unique page layout that is designed for the web pages of a website. 


It is a coding language. Processed on a server, it is a server-side language. 


Refers to a third party app that provides additional functionality for your WordPress site. 

Programming Language 

It is a set of instructions used to write computer code for web development. It consists of syntax, data structures, and control flow that enable website developers to build complex user interfaces, databases, and features. 

QA (Quality Assurance) 

It is the process of performing pre-launch checks on a website, usually involving testing, debugging, and verifying a website’s code to ensure it is reliable, secure, and scalable. 

Redesign (or Website Redesign) 

Refers to the process of recreating a website from scratch or using templates to improve its overall look, performance, and user experience. The goal of a redesign is to enhance user engagement, update content, improve navigation, and refresh the look of the website. Learn more about web redesign now. 


It occurs when a visitor is forwarded from one URL to another. An old version of a website typically uses redirects to guide visitors to the newer version of the website. 

Responsive Design 

It is an approach in design that caters to the type of screen users are viewing the website on. 


Refers to the number of pixels, horizontally and vertically. 

RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) 

It is a method for syndicating website content. 

SAAS (Software as a Service) 

It is a method for software delivery and licensing. The SaaS is typically accessible online through a paid subscription, as opposed to being purchased and locally installed on a user’s computer or mobile device. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 

Refers to the process of optimizing website content for search engines. It may involve keyword research, SEO cleanup, SEO maintenance, and other techniques. Learn more about this field by reading our SEO glossary of terms: https://digitalfeet.com/blog/seo-glossary-of-terms/ 

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) 

It is a web page listing results after you enter a search keyword (or keywords) into Google or any search engine. 


It stores and manages a website’s files, applications, and databases. It interacts with web browsers to allow visibility on the Internet, making the website accessible to users. 


Pertains to scripts that run on a web server, as opposed to scripts that run on a visitor’s web browser. 


It is a banner that shows images. 


It is a blueprint that shows the hierarchical structure of your website’s pages and content. 

SQL (Structured Query Language) 

Refers to a programming language that interacts specifically with databases. It lets website developers edit data quickly and effectively within the database. 

SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer Certificate) 

Refers to a security protocol that’s needed to encrypt communication. 

Staging Environment 

It is an environment that simulates a live website. It lets developers test changes without affecting the actual website or pushing the website live before it’s ready. 

Text Editor 

It is a type of software used to build and edit HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web-based coding languages. 

UI (User Interface) 

Pertains to a website’s or app’s visual elements. It’s what users interact with when browsing a website or using an app. 

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) 

It is the full address of a website or web page. 


Refers to the ease with which visitors use your website. A website with great usability typically delivers content, images, and navigation that seamlessly work together, plus, its interactive elements are easy to use. 

UX (User Experience) 

It is directly related to usability, but used as a broader term to represent the experience users have while browsing a specific web page. 

Version Control 

It is a tool used to help manage changes in source code over time. It lets website developers monitor, review, and even revert to past versions of the code if needed. 


It is a traditional web development methodology. It is the process of following a pre-defined sequence within the development, from design to coding, testing, and lastly, deployment. 

Web App Development 

Refers to the process of planning, developing, testing, and launching a web app. 


It is an application that allows for extra functionalities and features on a website. 


Refers to a skeletal representation of a website’s structure. It’s typically one of the first steps in the website development process. It’s then built upon as the project progresses. 

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) 

It’s the name for CMS tools that let you apply text styles and graphics automatically. 

XML (Extensible Markup Language) 

It’s a set of rules for encoding documents that can be read by both human users and machines (computers). 

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