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If you’ve ever listened to a tech buff talk about their passion, it may have sounded like they were speaking a different language. Tech jargon can be intimidating and hard to understand. But the good news is that you’re not alone. When it comes to tech lingo, many people are lost and might not know where to start. That’s why we put together this guide to tech jargon.

Couple learning tech jargon

Guide to understanding tech jargon

Tech jargon is the language that people in the tech industry (or even tech enthusiasts) use to communicate with each other more easily. If you’re breaking into the industry or just trying to understand what your kids mean by “blockchain,” this guide is for you.

Mbps

Megabits per second (Mbps) is a unit of measurement for network bandwidth. In other words, this measurement shows you how fast a network or internet connection is. Each unit represents the capacity to transfer one million bits per second. If you want to learn more about your connection and find out what speed is right for you, check out our article on understanding internet speed.

Cookies

One of the more delicious technology terms, cookies serve an important purpose. Cookies are small files sent to your browser from the sites you visit. When you visit a website, you probably click “allow cookies” without thinking. When you do this, you’re giving these files permission to monitor the sites you visit and the pages you click on. Retailers use this tool to track items you’ve looked at, added to your cart, or purchased. Some sites might even store your username and password so they will automatically fill in the corresponding fields when you return to the site. In other words, cookies improve your experience and help retailers suggest new items to you.

Man installing wifi router himself

Blockchain

Blockchains, such as the one that Bitcoin operates on, have been around for a little more than a decade. Each year, there are more types of cryptocurrency for sale and new ways to use them. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Ethereum travels on the blockchain when people buy, sell, or trade it. Blockchains are basically unalterable digital ledgers that create and track records, assets, and transactions. A blockchain database stores data by encrypting it with a hash. Every subsequent transaction records this hash, chaining every transaction together. Basically, it makes verifying transactions or records easy, but it’s very difficult to change or alter the information.

HTML

HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, refers to a common coding language that developers use to design of a webpage. HTML uses “markup’ to annotate text, images, and other content for display. If you’ve ever seen text such as <header>, <title>, <img>, or <footer>, you’ve seen HTML markup.

IP address

An Internet Protocol Address, better known as an IP address, is a unique string of numbers assigned to your internet-connected device, such as your computer. Your network uses the IP address of your device to communicate with other computers. Basically, it’s a digital address for your computer that helps internet providers deliver content directly to you (through your network devices, such as routers). To find your IP address, simply search “what is my IP address” on Google, and it should pop right up.

Woman plugging in electronics

URL

We use them all day long, but do we even know what the acronym stands for? Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs, are basically the addresses given to any resource on the web. When you’re searching for a specific website, such as the CenturyLink Discover blog, you type the URL into the search bar to automatically load helpful blog articles and videos.

Firewall

You may have heard the term “firewall” when researching internet security. But do you know what it means? A firewall is a network security device that monitors your network traffic to decide whether to allow or block certain traffic. They’re the first line of defense against cybercrime. Firewalls can be configured into your hardware or software. You can also access them on certain networks thorough public cloud or private cloud.

More help understanding technology

We know that tech jargon can be intimidating, which is why the CenturyLink Discover blog has put together resources to help you along the way. If you want to expand your knowledge of the internet and technology, check out our blogs on internet basics and email basics. There, you can brush up on your skills and refresh your memory. If you want to keep up with the latest trends, take a look at our roundup of tech trends to look out for in 2023.

Need more explanation or want to leave a suggestion? Drop us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Emily Richey is the Content Manager for the CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber blogs. A recent graduate of Pace University NYC, she's an avid reader and writer. She spends most of her free time in bookstores and cafes, seeking the perfect cup of coffee.