Web Developer Lingo You Must Know

Posted on August 3, 2017 | Updated on January 25, 2023

Every day, around the globe, designers and developers create approximately 140,000 new websites. When it comes to creating a new website or revamping an old one, there are some web developer lingo and phrases that will allow you to converse with everyone from the web hosting company, to software writers, to your design team.

Your team needs to communicate on the fly as you work on various projects. Strong communication can help. If you want everyone on the same page, then there is some lingo your team needs to familiarize themselves with.

Above the Fold

This is content that appears in the top half of your page. The term comes from old newspaper jargon. When the paper was folded in half, this was the content the reader could see when first grabbing it out of the box. However, the term today applies to content the reader can see without having to scroll down the page.


This means your site is accessible even to those with disabilities. This can include hearing impairments if you have any videos or elements that play sound. You should also consider those who are visually impaired or blind. This can include color blindness as well as vision impairment.


The way the elements on the page work together to become visually pleasing to the site visitor’s eye is known as aesthetics. This might include color, layout or which font is used.

Back End

What the site visitor sees when visiting your dot com is the front end of your website. However, there is an awful lot that goes on in the back end of your website, including any software running on your site, the bones of your site and your control panel.


This is the amount of usage from your site. So, when a visitor lands on your page, bandwidth is used to deliver the text, the images and the overall design of the site. The more visitors and images, the higher your bandwidth usage will be. Even though some web hosting companies claim to offer unlimited bandwidth, this is rarely the case, and you will be limited in how much you can deliver particularly on a shared hosting platform.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate indicates how long people stay on your site before bouncing away to another site. If your bounce rate is high, then your design needs tweaking to keep visitors on your site longer.


When elements on a website are cached in the user’s browser, the content can be delivered much faster the next time the person visits your site.


CMS stands for Content Management System. As a developer, your clients will likely ask you to create a CMS for a blog. You might use WordPress, Joomla, or any number of other software solutions to create a CMS.


The term CSS stands for cascading style sheet. This allows designers to create an overall look and theme for a site. CSS defines fonts, color, text size, spacing, borders, and even images on a website. By creating one file with basic design principles, all the pages on the site can pull from that style sheet so they have the same general look.

Dedicated Server

Once your website grows fairly large, or you need to ensure it delivers quickly and dependably, you’ll want to look into getting your own dedicated server. This will move your website files to a separate system only your site is on.


The definition of this term is exactly what you think it is — electronic commerce. This is lingo for when you are working with a business that wants an online store of some sort. In addition to knowing what the term stands for, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the more popular cart software.

HEX Code

HEX code helps designate specific colors. This allows designers to get the exact hue they need for a web design and stay within a set color palette.


This is a configuration file found on Apache servers. It holds the permissions for authentication, cache control, and several other things that impact the overall way your website works.


This is a coding language for websites. This is a hypertext markup language.


Kerning is the space between two letters within a word or sentences. So, you can move these letters closer together to give you the tiniest nudge of extra space or to create a specific type of look for the website.

Negative Space

Sometimes called white space, this is the area around text or images. For a visually pleasing site, you need a balance of both positive and negative space

Shared Hosting

This is typically the least expensive web hosting option. You get a portion of the server, and other people share a portion of the server. This type of hosting is good for a starter package but can be slow and cumbersome for larger, more established sites.


VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. This is one step up from shared hosting. While not as efficient as a dedicated server, it will allow you to deliver content faster and more reliably without the worry of another website on the same IP sucking up all the bandwidth and memory on that server.


A visual layout that allows you to see how things will look on a page. This is a good tool to show a client how their finished site is likely to look for example. It is a sort of template that allows you to spot problem areas at a glance and adjust your design accordingly.

These are just a small example of some of the jargon used to describe creating websites. As you work on the development end of design work, you’ll learn more and more terms. Just remember when you are speaking to a client he or she might not know these particular terms. Take the time to explain any terms you use that are technical in nature and encourage clients to ask questions.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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