10 Basic Web Search Terms You Should Know

A number of search engine browsers open for users to enter search terms.

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In order to get the most of your time on the Web, there are a few basic Web search terms you should know. Once you understand these definitions, you'll feel more comfortable online, and your Web searches will become more successful. 

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What is a Bookmark?

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When you decide to keep a Web page to look at later, you're doing something called "bookmarking". Bookmarks are simply links to sites that you visit frequently or want to keep handy for reference. There are a couple ​of ways you can save Web pages for later:

  • In your browser: All major Web browsers provide you with the ability to make and store your favorite links within the browser. These links are accessible several different ways, depending on what browser you might be using: a sidebar, a toolbar, or a drop-down menu.
  • In a social bookmarking site: If you want to access your collection from anywhere and share them with others, then a social marking site - a site that lets you store your favorite links - might be for you.

Also Known As:

  • Favorites
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What Does it Mean to Launch Something?

Missile launched into the morning sky
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In the context of the Web, the term launch usually means two different things.

Permission to Launch: Website

First, some Web sites use the word "launch" as a substitute for the more commonly known "enter" command. For example, a Web site with Flash-based programming might ask the user's permission to "launch" the streaming content in the user's browser.

This Website is Launching: Grand Opening

Second, the term "launch" also can refer to the grand opening of a Web site or Web-based tool; i.e., the site or tool is launched and ready for the public.


  • Click here to launch the video.
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What Does 'Surf the Web' Mean?

Senior Hispanic man sitting on surfboard using laptop and talking on cell phone
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The term surf, used in the context of "surf the Web", refers to the practice of browsing through Web sites: jumping from one link to the other, following items of interest, watching videos, and consuming all sorts of content; all on a variety of different sites. Since the Web is essentially a series of links, surfing the Web has become a very popular activity with millions of people across the world.

Also Known As:

  • Browse
  • Surfing


  • I found tons of great stuff last night when I was surfing the Web.
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What Does 'Browse the Web' Mean?

Man with laptop and credit card shopping online, partial view
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The term browse, in the context of the Web, refers to viewing Web pages within a Web browser. When you "browse the Web," you're simply viewing Web sites within your browser of choice.

Also Known As:

  • Surf
  • View


  • Browsing the Web is one of my favorite pastimes.
  • I was browsing the Web to find a job.
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What is a Web Address?

Web address
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Web address is simply the location of a Web page, file, document, video, etc. on the Web. A Web address shows you where that item or Web page is located on the Internet, much like your street address shows you where your house is on a map. 

Each Web Address is Different

Every computer system that is connected to the internet has a distinctive web address, without which it cannot be reached by other computers.

Also Known As

Examples of Web Addresses

  • The Web address for that site is http://websearch.lifewire.com. 
  • My web address is www.lifewire.com. 
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What is a Domain Name?

Domain name
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domain name is the unique, alphabetically-based part of a URL.   A domain name consists of two parts:

  1. The actual alphabetical word or phrase; for example, "widget"
  2. The top-level domain name that designates what kind of site it is; for example, .com (for commercial domains), .org (organizations), .edu (for educational institutions).

Put these two parts together and you have a domain name: "widget.com."

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How Do Search Engines Know What I Want?

Búsquedas en Internet
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In the context of Web search, the term autofill refers to forms (such as a browser address bar, or a search engine query field) that are programmed to complete common entries once typing commences.

For example, you might be filling out a job application form at a job search engine. As you start to type in the name of the state you live in, the site "autofills" the form once it senses you have finished typing. You might also see this when you're using your favorite search engine, typing in a search query, and the search engine attempts to "guess" what you might be searching for (sometimes resulting in some interesting combinations you might not have otherwise come up with!).

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What is a Hyperlink?

Hyperlink reading click here
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hyperlink, known as the most basic building block of the World Wide Web, is a link from one document, image, word, or Web page that links to another on the Web. Hyperlinks are how we are able to "surf", or browse, pages and information on the Web quickly and easily. Hyperlinks are the structure on which the Web is built. 

Also Known As:

  • Links, link


  • Click on the hyperlink to get to the next page.
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What is a Home Page?

Making WWW
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The homepage is considered the "anchor" page of a website, but it can also be thought of as the Web searcher's home base. 

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How to Create Secure Passwords

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In the context of the Web, a password is a set of letters, numbers, and/or special characters combined into one word or phrase, intended to authenticate one user's entry, registration, or membership on a Web site. The most useful passwords are ones that are not easily guessed, kept secret, and intentionally unique.