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Decoding coders – 27 tech terms explained

Have you ever been left scratching your head after chatting to a developer? Sometimes tech jargon can really go over a ‘regular’ person’s head to the point that you find yourself innocently smiling and nodding along, when you don’t actually understand what they’re talking about!

We’ve put together a list of 27 common technical terms that may come up when discussing the development of a software or website:

Web development technical terms


An error message that will appear when the page/link that a user is looking for cannot be found.


An “Application Program Interface” is how computers and apps communicate with each another.


Short for Application, app refers to a computer software designed to be used on mobile or tablet devices.

Back End

The ‘back end’ is what keeps a website or software running and functioning. It usually consists of a server, application and databases, and enables the use of the ‘front end’ or customer facing side of a website.


Not to be confused with a virus! A bug is an error in a website that is stopping it from performing as expected.


A cache is a temporary storage memory used by a device to remember data or behaviour performed by a website visitor. It speeds up the process of loading a site as it remembers that it has visited it before. You may have heard the phrase ‘clearing your cache’ so that new changes to a website you’ve visited can be seen.


A “Content Management System” is the program you use to manage the content on your website (e.g. WordPress). These are generally easy to use and are designed for non-developers.


Cookies refer to data or behaviour that is remembered by your internet browser. This is how it remembers your login details to certain websites or items you’ve put in a shopping cart etc.


CSS stands for “Cascading Style Sheet” which is how browsers understand how to display the look and content of your website.


A domain is the actual address of your website (e.g.


A favicon is a small image that appears on your website’s browser tab (next to your company name)  to represent your brand. For example, your brand’s logo.


A Firewall is a security system which protects your network from unauthorised access. (e.g. hackers etc)

Front End

The front end is the customer facing part of a website. It is the pages that a web user can see and interact with themselves.


Short for ‘File Transfer Protocol’, this is how files are moved from one computer to another over the internet or a network. This is also how websites are uploaded to the Internet.


“Hypertext Markup Language” is the coding language used to create the look, content and function of a website.

Meta Tag

HTML meta tags are used for SEO purposes in order to help your website appear on search engine rankings. They are usually words that you would like your website to appear for in a Google search.


A navigation is the menu of links to other pages on a website so that the user can find their way around efficiently.

Opening/Closing Tags

If ever you are writing within the HTML code of a webpage, these refer to the Angle brackets (< >) or (</>) that bookend the code, to represent the start and finish of the content.


A plug-in refers to an additional feature that can be added to an existing computer program to provide further features or functions.


Redirects automatically forward you from one URL address to another i.e. between two domains (e.g. .com to, shortened URLs, or old website to new).

Responsive Design

This is when a website is designed so that it automatically resizes and adapts in accordance with the device it is viewed on (i.e. from a desktop view to a smart phone view)

SaaS Platforms

This stands for ‘Software as a Service’ and refers to cloud based platforms which allow data or files to be accessed from any device with an Internet connection and web browser. Examples can include Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack etc.


A great analogy has been used by to explain the term server – “if your domain is your website’s mailing address and the hosting is its house, the server is the land the house is built on”.


Short for “User Interface”, UI refers to the visual elements of a website e.g. pages, icons, buttons etc that you use to interact with it.


“User Experience” refers to how a user feels when interacting with a brand’s website. Is it easy to use, what impression of the brand is the experience creating etc.


A widget is an application that performs a specific function or provides a shortcut to a larger application.


Used during the initial design process of a website, a wireframe is essentially the skeleton layout of how a website will look (without colours/content/images etc).

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