Dummies’ Guide to Top 9 Essential Computer Network Terms

Dummies’ Guide to Top 9 Essential Computer Network Terms

Network planning

If you are not familiar with internet terms, but want to have an idea of what they mean next time you come across them, then the following guide will help you. Here are nine of the most commonly used terms:

IP address

An IP means internet protocol, an advanced way of facilitating many actions and activities on the internet. IP address also makes the ability to have two-way communications easier no matter the distance or device. It allows digital devices to connect to the internet.

There are two types of IP addresses, static and dynamic. Static IP addresses, like home addresses, do not change. Dynamic IP addresses are temporarily assigned when connecting to the internet and change each time you connect.


When connected to the internet, devices sent messages to each other. To do this they need a return address. A Domain Name System (DNS) is a process of transmitting the unknown and it replicates a large database. Systems have many DNS servers enabled, while only having a limited number of available root servers. It is more reliable and helps increase the speed of browsing the web.


A protocol is a certain group of rules related to communications. When devices attempt to communicate with each other, they follow a rule set called a protocol. There are many methods of communication, thus there are many types of protocols: FTP, HTTP, SLIP, TCP/IP, etc.

VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol

Voice over Internet Protocol is referred to as VoIP, a telephone connection that takes place via the internet using internet protocols rather than analog phone lines. To use VoIP, you need a computer with an internet connection and VoIP software. Depending on your VoIP service, an analog phone adapter or VoIP phone will be required, and possibly other things.

Network router blinking


DHCP means Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, the protocol that automatically assigns a unique IP address to a digital device when it connects to the network. It is commonly used and easy.


HTTP means Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and it is utilized for data transfers across the web. Thus, every website address is preceded by “http://”, it is sending the HTTP request to the correct web server. The web server then processes the request and directs the user to the webpage.


HTTPS means Hyper Text Transport Protocol Secure and is used in a similar way as HTTP, but it is utilizing Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certification. It is preferred when security is important, such as e-commerce or banking sites.

Data transferred using HTTP has the chance of being intercepted or risk being accessed between the user and web server. HTTPS provides data encryption using SSL to lower the risk of data interception.

Proxy server

This is a term that is very common with the online industry, and it has a very important part as it is referring to the computer that was designed to provide the computer network services to others. The proxy server is what allows users to connect to the services indirectly.

Users will connect to a proxy server and make a file, connection or another resource request to distinct servers within the network. Caching web proxy is one of the most common proxy applications as it offers webpage and file cache located on remote web servers, allowing quick and easy access to it by local network users.

Additionally, web proxies are able to filter the content of a webpage. There are some censorware applications with the purpose of blocking content found to be offensive. These preferences are executed with the web proxy.


VPN means Virtual Private Network, and it is the backbone of secure network connections while using public networks. These networks can be either private or owned/operated by a service provider. VPN is commonly utilized in educational institutions, corporations and government agencies. The VPN gives remote users a secure connection to private networks.

In order for user to access the private network, authentication is required using a password and unique ID. Private networks require authentication using a personal identification number (PIN), and it can change depending on a certain frequency preference.