13 Nerdy (and Totally Essential) Website Terms to Master

13 Nerdy (and Totally Essential) Website Terms to Master

We’re going to go a little nerdy and talk about website basics—and make sure you know the lingo of websites. Some definitions you’ll hear are “need-to-know,” and some are “nice-to-know,” yet all play into how Leadpages is hosting your site and making the right connections to the right domain.

If you’re in the market for a website, you have to know what you need and how to evaluate your options. And, let’s be honest, so many terms can feel overwhelming! Instead of scouring the internet to find complex, and frankly, Greek-looking web definitions, here are simplified definitions web-speak. Let us equip you with the know-how to make the best buying decision for your business.

1. What is a domain?

A domain is your home address on the web.

A domain is your address on the web, so computers and browsers know where to go to find the information you publish on your website.

2. What is a top-level domain?

Top-level domains are extensions of your domain. It’s the bolded part here:

Some common domain extensions are:

Our recommendation is to use a .com if you can get it. .Net or .co be a secondary option if you can get it. These domain extensions are the go-to for nearly every big-name brand and carry an air of professionalism.

If you are an individual, pick a top-level domain with your name or some variation of it. Or, if you have a company or brand, pick that as your domain name. Otherwise, if neither of those is appropriate for your business, think about picking customer results and how to use that in your domain name.

Nice to Know
Every country has its own two-letter domain like. .us or .ca.

3. What is a URL?

The URL is often used interchangeably with a domain, but it’s actually different. It’s short for “universal resource locator,” and it’s the address of individual web pages. It looks like this:

All URLs are presented in the following order:

  • Scheme name
  • Colon and two slashes
  • Location of the server
  • The port (optional) and the location of the resource on the server
  • Fragment identifier (optional)

4. What is a slug?

The slash and phrase after the slash is called the slug. The bolded portion below shows the slug:

Your homepage doesn’t have a slug. In the old-school internet, you’d see your homepage slug as “/index.php” or “/index.html.” This is no longer the case because the root of a folder doesn’t have a URL slug.

5. What is a registrar?

Registrar is a company that sells domains. Popular companies that sell domains are:

Need to Know
You can buy your domains from anybody. Leadpages has an integration with GoDaddy. Simply navigate to Leadpages.net/buydomain. When you go to buy the domain, it will automatically hook up with your Leadpages site.  

You can typically buy a domain for a year, two, or five years. Renewal rates are not locked in with your initial purchase. If you are committed to a domain, buy a longer term. Just make sure to check in with it after a few years. If your renewal has a problem due to credit card expirations, you could lose your domain!

You can pretty much ignore all the registrar upsells unless you want domain privacy.

6. What is domain privacy?

You can purchase domain privacy if you don’t want your name, phone number, address, and email address listed publicly.

7. What is a web host?

A web host is the company that runs the servers where your website lives. A lot of registrars are also web hosts. Some examples are:

  • GoDaddy
  • 1&1
  • BlueHost

Need to Know
Leadpages hosts your site, so you don’t have to buy extra hosting.

8. What is a DNS?

DNS means domain web system. It’s the connection between your registrar and web host. It points the computer to the web host is using.

Long story short… The DNS tells which computers are hosting the actual site.

Registrars have default name servers for your parked domain. They also can easily be switched to something else. When you’re using Leadpages, you can connect directly to your domain without changing the DNS. You change the CNAME and A Record (see below). (Our wizard helps you walk through this.)

9. What is a sub-domain?

A sub-domain is a separate installation of a website but attached to a primary domain. The bolded part is a sub-domain below:

Each sub-domain is considered a separate website, even though they live on the same servers.

Nice to Know
Technically “www” Is a subdomain of a website, yet most registrars with set up the subdomain to redirect to the root domain.

Make sure whatever domain registrar you have allows you to change the A Record so your sub-domain can point to the right spot!

10. What is an SSL?

An SSL is a security certificate that web hosts need to have so that you can have HTTPS instead of just HTTP.

Google is keen on making sure websites are secure for browsers. As such, search engines rank secure websites higher than those that aren’t. (And, in some cases, they don’t even show unsecure sites.)

Need to Know
Leadpages Sites come with an SSL certificate. If you’re hooking up your domain to Leadpages you don’t need to buy an SSL certificate even though domain registrars or hosts may upsell you.

11. What is a CNAME?

This is part of your domain name system (DNS) that tells a website system where to go to find your files.

For example, when you set up your Leadpages site, you will change the CNAME over to the Leadpages record. (Don’t worry: our wizard will walk you through this 10-second process.)

12. What is the A Record?

An A Record is where the alias where things should go. When you’re in your domain registrar, you set your root domain to point to the Leadpages server. The A Record will tell you that the www points to the root domain, so everything stays connected.

13. What is MX Record?

An MX Record tells the server to collect email and send it to the right spot. If you want to use your website domain name as your email, set up a mail exchange record. This allows an email software service to pull in the email and send on your behalf.