41 Essential IT Terms & Technical Jargon Explained in Plain English

28 tech terms blog

Let’s face it: the information technology field can be confusing. The world of IT has so many sophisticated areas of knowledge and specializations to explore, from cloud computing to cybersecurity. It’s no surprise why for people of varying skill sets and backgrounds, learning and knowing technical jargon can be a challenge.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of IT jargons that you might run into, whether on the job or in random conversations as an entrepreneur. This list of tech jargon is essentially, clear and simple, to make you better informed. Not that we don’t think you couldn’t handle more! It’s just that’s what we’re here for!

Examples of Technical Jargon You Should Know


An application is usually a computer program that is designed to perform a specific function (e.g. accounting software) for an end user or another software application. Meanwhile, an application that is connected to the internet, or is run through a browser, is known as a web app.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An application programming interface (API) is a jargon closely related to applications, which refers to a set of functions that enables two apps to talk to each other. In simpler terms, an API establishes a connection between a platform and an end user. API providers such as Facebook allow companies to access their technology without having to invest or move into their ecosystem.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Simply put, BYOD is a type of workplace policy that allows an employee to use their own private technologies, such as a phone or computer, for commercial use. It is important to have regular updates applied to your company’s BYOD as virus and hacking threats evolve over time.

Business Intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence is probably a word that gets thrown around a lot in recent years. The jargon refers to the practice where companies leverage data to make informed decisions. BI also refers to the technical infrastructure and processes applied to analyze data derived from a company’s activities. The insights gleaned from this data is often used to streamline operations, reduce costs, increase productivity and develop new processes. 


The IT jargon “carrier” is short for “wireless carrier.” It refers to a company that provides telecommunication services to the public, such as a mobile operator, cellular company, and wireless provider.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

This is a jargon used in website design and development. In simpler terms, it refers to a style language that is used to format the layout of website pages. Basically, it describes the presentation of a page that was created using a markup language like HTML or XML. CSS enables site developers to create a cohesive appearance for a website.

Cloud Hosting

The ability to store data and applications on virtual servers outside the physical office locations. This is typically done through third-party companies.

Content Management System (CMS)

Cloud and web-based technologies that make it easy for users to store, share and manage digital information within an organization.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

An application that allows businesses to manage relationships and the data and information associated with them. Used to store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in one central location usually in the cloud for immediate accessibility.

Computer Network

A computer network is an IT jargon that refers to a group of interconnected devices that has the ability to communicate and share resources with each other.  It has two components: the nodes and links. Communication protocols provide the instructions on how these links carry information between nodes. The network endpoints, also known as the origin and destination devices, are called ports. 

Devices in this network can be connected over a public network or private one. Residences and office-based businesses commonly use a private network, which has an assigned private address space of IP addresses. 


A small piece of information you may be asked to accept when connecting to certain servers via a web browser. It is used throughout your session as a means of identifying you. A cookie is specific to and sent only to the server that generated it.

Data Breach

This is a security incident where a company’s private information (or their customer information) is stolen. Usually done through hacking or phishing scams. Common data breach exposures include personal information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and healthcare histories, as well as corporate information, such as customer lists, manufacturing processes and software source code.

Digital Marketing

Also known as online marketing, digital marketing is the strategic use of digital channels to promote a product or service to a predefined target audience. Content marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and social media marketing are all forms of digital marketing. The best way to reap the benefits of online marketing is to make use of a combination of digital marketing channels. 

Domain Name System (DNS)

DNS is a jargon that you’d often encounter in the field of cybersecurity. It basically means the phonebook of the internet. DNS is a decentralized system for accessing a networked computer by name rather than by numerical (IP) address.


The coding and scrambling of data to prevent it from being viewed by anyone who is not the intended recipient. Any website that has an HTTPS certificate uses encrypted data.

Front End / Back End

The two different “sides” of a website. The front-end is also known as the client-side and is usually considered the web design. The back-end of the website is also known as the server-side.


A firewall is a type of security device that prevents unauthorized access to or from a particular network. It inspects the contents of incoming and outgoing traffic for any irregularities, and blocks it accordingly, based on a predefined set of rules.

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML)

HTML is a markup language that defines the structure or skeleton of a website. It dictates how website pages should display on a browser. Other languages, such as CSS and Javascript, are used with HTML to customize a page’s appearance. A piece of HTML code is also called an element or a tag.


A host is any type of device that can enable access to a network through a software, a user interface, a protocol, a network address or any other way. Examples include a desktop personal computer (PC) or a personal electronic equipment.

IP Address

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique identifying number for a website, device or a specific user on a network. Computers use IP addresses to talk to each other over the web and on other networks.

Local Area Network (LAN)

LAN is a jargon that refers to a network that extends over a small area (usually within a square mile or less). It connects a set of devices for the purpose of sharing resources such as programs, documents, or printers. Shared files often are stored on a central file server.

Managed Services

Managed services is an IT jargon that refers to the subscription model for providing third-party business information-technology services, as well as the outsourced tasks handled by the third-party. Organizations that provide managed services typically handle technical support, infrastructure maintenance, network administration, cybersecurity, and more for their clients. Managed service companies and their clients are bound by a service level agreement (SLA).


Software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer; common examples of malware include viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware.


An assembly of interconnected computers capable of exchanging information. A network can consist of as few as several personal computers on a LAN, or as large as the internet, a worldwide network of devices.

Network Monitoring

A network monitoring tool is what administrators use to ensure that critical network elements and systems are working in a correct manner. Network monitoring tools look into the availability, performance and configuration of services, and send out alerts to administrators whenever there are detected issues or anomalies. They allow analysts to identify the underlying causes of issues and resolve them promptly. 

Operating System (OS)

An operating system is a tech term that refers to an interface or piece of software where a user interacts or controls a hardware, usually a computer. Several programs that perform a specific function or task, and are written in different programmable languages, run on it.


A unit of transmission in data communications. The TCP/IP protocol breaks large data files into smaller chunks for sending over a network so that less data will have to be re-transmitted if errors occur.


A con that scammers use to electronically collect personal information from unsuspecting users. Phishers send emails that appear to come from legitimate websites such as eBay, PayPal, or other banking institutions asking you to click on a link included in the email and then update or validate your information by entering your username and password and often even more information, such as your full name, address, phone number, social security number, and credit card number.

Remote Backup

Data loss can result from accidental deletion or corruption, network slowdown, hacking incidents and viruses, and natural disasters like floods or fires. This is why it’s important to have a robust backup strategy in place to ensure business continuity and keep data safe. 

One of the most popular solutions to prevent data loss is a remote backup service. What this means is that, instead of storing data on-site or on a local storage device, data is stored on off-site or cloud servers which can be accessed through the internet.

With remote backup, data is stored and replicated in multiple servers in different locations. Encryption is often employed in remote backups to protect data from risks while in transit or at rest. 

SaaS (Software As A Service)

Software as a Service is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via web browsers.


A computer that is responsible for responding to requests made by a client program (e.g., a web browser or an e-mail program) or device. Also referred to as a “file server.”

Service Provider

This jargon refers to entities that offer their expertise to another party. In the context of information technology, examples of these organizations include internet service providers (ISPs), web development services, cloud hosting services and managed service providers (MSPs).  

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is an IT jargon that refers to the practice of improving a website’s visibility in the search engines’ results pages so that customers who are searching for a company’s products and service can easily find it. To accomplish this, a website should have the recommended structure and should be optimized for search terms that match audience intent. There are around 40 or so search engines, but Google is the most significant one that sites need to optimize for.

Social Network

A social network is a site or online platform where users who have similar interests can communicate and connect with each other. The platform could come in the form of an application that users can download to their mobile devices. As you may already know, Facebook is a leading example of a social networking site, with over 2.9 billion monthly users. Because of their reach, social networks are a free and effective tool in marketing to an audience. 

Software Development

Software development denotes the process of creating and deploying software using a technical language to address a specific need. For the uninformed, the jargon software refers to applications or a set of instructions or commands that allow hardware to perform certain tasks. A related terminology in software development is build, which refers to a pre-release version of a software. 

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

TCP/IP is a protocol that permits applications and computing devices to communicate to each other over a network. It relates to an agreed upon set of rules that tells devices how to exchange information online.

TCP/IP is one of the most routinely used protocols to send data packets across the net and ensure their successful delivery. Other similar protocols like FTP, Gopher, and HTTP sit on top of TCP/IP.

User Interface (UI)

User interface is a technical term that refers to the point where human and machine interactions take place. It is a piece of software designed to enable a user to operate and control a device, website or application. There are different types of user interfaces, such as a form-based UI (such as a settings menu on a mobile device), a graphical UI (e.g., keyboard and monitor) and menu-driven UI (e.g., ATM machines). 

Virtual Private Networking (VPN)

Using a VPN is a means of securely accessing resources on a network by connecting to a remote access server through the Internet or other network.

Web Browsers

Web browsers are a type of application that enables users to access the World Wide Web. The most popular browser is Google Chrome at 66% penetration rate, followed by Microsoft Internet Explorer at 11% and Mozilla Firefox at 10%.

Web Servers

A web server is a piece of software that runs on a computer and serves users raw elements comprising a website page when they make a query. Basically, when a browser sends a request out across the net to another machine, that particular machine has a piece of software called a server. It then renders the website page in the users’ browser. 

Web Page

A web page is an electronic document that is composed of images, text, files and other database content. A cluster of pages make up a website and are delivered by a server to website visitors through a browser. Web pages are identified by a unique uniform resource locator (URL) or domain name.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

WAN is a term that refers to a group of networked endpoints covering a large geographical area. WANs enable information sharing and communication between computing devices worldwide through a WAN provider. Because they are not linked with a specific location, WANs enable distant localized networks to connect with each other.

Did We Miss Any Technology Jargon?

That’s quite a long list of IT terms, but hopefully some of these technical jargons make a bit more sense and will help you to run your infrastructure or business better. If we missed anything or if you would like us to create a more comprehensive glossary of information technology terms, please let us know in the comment section. And if you like us to create more of this type of content and you found this helpful, consider subscribing to our company blog. 

If you have something on your mind, or would want to learn more about managing your IT needs for your business, contact Affant today.

We are an IT Managed Services Company based in Orange County and when it comes to us knowing all things IT, you can guarantee that we have you covered.

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