Jargon buster

We've tried to make this website as easy to understand as possible, but some of the words we use may be unfamiliar to you - so we've created a jargon buster to help.


Address book

An address book is where you can store details of your friends' email addresses in your email program so you don't have to remember them. When you want to send one of your friends an email, just add their email address from your address book.

Always on

Broadband internet connections are often described as 'always on'. This means you don't have to connect to the internet every time you want to use it, and you pay a flat monthly fee for your connection.


Anti-virus software helps protect your computer from viruses, which can infect your computer and affect how it works. All BT Infinity products come with anti-virus software included.

Application (sometimes called an app)

This is another word for a computer program. Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word and others are all computer programs, or applications. An app is a program that does one particular thing (apps are often used on smartphones and tablets).


An attachment is a file that you 'attach' and sent with an email. It's an easy way to send photos and other files to your friends and family.

Back to top



This is the technical term for copying files to an online storage place, like BT Cloud, for safe keeping, so you can always get a copy. You can also backup files to a physical hard drive.


A blog (originally short for 'weblog') is an online personal diary regularly updated with new 'posts'. Posts might include general thoughts, comments on a specific topic, images or links to other websites.

Bookmark (sometimes called a favourite)

You can make any website you want to remember a 'bookmark' or a 'favourite' in your web browser. When you want to go back to that page, you can go there in one click instead of trying to remember the address of the website.

Back to top



CD-Roms are discs that look like a music CD but can hold software, data, text, pictures, sound and video files. They can be useful if you want to create a safe, permanent copy of any of your photos and files.


Online chat is a real-time conversation with another person over the internet. Most chat programs let you type in a window on a website's chat room. Some even provide video capability so you can see the other person, using a webcam. For example using the SignVideo program, BSL users can communicate in sign language with a BT advisor.


'The cloud' refers to online storage space which you get with a service like BT Cloud. If you save something (like a document or photo) to the cloud, you're saving it online rather than on your own computer. That means you can access it anywhere you can get the internet.


Cookies are small files that websites put on your computer so they can recognise you the next time you visit. For example, if you changed the way this website looked (by using the preferences bar at the top of every page), a cookie would remember which settings you chose the next time you visited.


A crash is when your computer temporarily stops working. It might pause or freeze up, or tell you to restart or quit. Don't worry - this is quite common. Just follow any instructions you're given on screen. If your computer doesn't respond at all, it's best to shut it down and restart it.


A cursor is the small flashing vertical line that appears on your computer screen when you're typing something. It shows you where you are and where the next character you type will appear.

Cut and paste

When people talk about 'cut and paste' it means selecting some text, images or files, moving them from one place and putting them in another.

Back to top



When you 'download' something, you're getting a file on to your computer from the internet. With broadband, it's quick and easy to download files, videos, pictures and lots more.

Back to top



Email is short for 'electronic mail'. Think of it as a letter that you write on the computer, which you then send over the internet to another person on another computer. You can send emails (sometimes with attachments like photos or files) to one or more email address(es) at a time. There's no extra charge for either sending or receiving emails. But if your broadband or smartphone come with a limited data package, you'll be charged if you go over your usage limit.

Back to top



Lots of websites will have a section called 'FAQs'. This stands for frequently asked questions - a list of standard answers to common questions people have about that site.


A file is a piece of information stored on your computer, like a document or a photo.


Firefox is a popular web browser, designed by Mozilla. What's a web browser?


A firewall is a program that sits between your computer and the internet to stop hacking, viruses or unauthorised access to your computer.


Fonts are the typefaces you see on-screen and in print in documents or on websites. Some of the most frequently used fonts are Times New Roman, Arial and Courier.

Back to top

G – H


Hardware is physical computer equipment like monitors, keyboards, printers, modems, scanners, and CD-Rom drives.


Every website you visit using your web browser is kept in your 'history', so you can find websites you visited several days or weeks ago. You can change the number of days that the browser will remember your history for.


A homepage is the first page you see when you go to a website, where you'll discover what's on the site, how to get around it and find things that interest you. You also have a homepage on your web browser - this is the page that loads automatically when you open the browser.


A hotspot is an area with a wi-fi internet signal that your device can connect to. There are often wi-fi hotspots in cafés and hotels. BT has over five million wi-fi hotspots across the country, which are free for BT Broadband customers to use when they're out and about. What's wi-fi?

Back to top



The inbox is the folder in your email program where you go to read emails that have been sent to you.


When you add a new program to your computer, you 'install' it. The most common ways to install programs are by downloading the program from the internet, or from a CD-Rom.

Instant messaging

Instant messaging - also known as IM - is a service that lets people send text messages to other people instantly over the internet. To chat with other people, you'll need an internet messaging program that lets you chat to people in real time. These are usually free to install and use.


The internet is a network of millions of computers (and the data stored on them) around the world connected by telephone lines, cables or satellites.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer - or IE - is a popular web browser, designed by Microsoft.


An ISP is an 'internet service provider' - a company that provides access to the internet to individuals or companies. ISPs provide access from your personal computer to their computer network and their network connects you to the internet.

Back to top


Junk mail

Junk mail refers to unwanted emails. They are usually adverts for a product or service or may be from people trying to scam you. Your email program will probably have a 'junk mail' or 'spam' folder. It will detect what it thinks is junk mail and place it in there so you don't have to read it.

Back to top

K – L


A laptop is a small, portable computer which can run on its battery as well as run from the mains electricity.


A link is a word or a picture on a website that you can click on. When you click on a link, you'll be taken to another place on the internet. It could be a page on the same site or a different site. If you want to return to the page where you clicked the link, just click the 'back' button on your web browser.

Links in text on a website are usually in bold text, a different colour or underlined. You can check if something is a link by moving the mouse arrow over what you think is a link. If the arrow turns into a picture of a hand, then it's a link, and you can click on it.

Logging in

Some websites will ask you to log in - this means they want you to enter a username and password so they can recognise you. If you haven't visited the website before, they may ask you to register, which means you fill in a short form giving some of your details.

Back to top



Mbp/s stands for 'megabits per second'. This is the measurement of how fast data can be sent - for example, BT offers broadband speeds up to 40Mb/s, or 40 megabits per second.


The monitor is the screen for your computer where everything is displayed. If you're using a laptop, the monitor is the inside of the lid where everything is displayed.

Back to top



A notebook is another name for a laptop. It's a small, portable computer that can be battery operated as well as run from the mains.

Back to top



When you're not connected to the internet, you're offline.


When you're connected to the internet, you're online.

Back to top



A password is a series of characters you enter to log in to your computer, emails or websites that you're registered with. It's sometimes useful to make a note of your passwords in case you forget them - but keep them safe.


PC is short for personal computer.


A PDF is a type of file you can download from the internet. It's an easy way of reading a brochure, or other type of information. For example, you can get your BT bill as a PDF, so you download it to your computer and choose whether you want to print it or not. PDF files will print exactly as they appear on your computer screen. You need the free Acrobat Reader program to open a PDF file. Download Acrobat Reader.

Back to top

Q – R


Some websites ask you to give your name, email address and other personal information in order to view internet pages. This is called registering.


A router is a small piece of equipment that connects you to the internet. The BT Home Hub (which comes with BT Broadband) is a router.

Back to top


Search engine

A search engine is a website that lets you search the internet for information. The most common search engines are Google, Bing and Yahoo. When you visit a search engine, just enter what you're looking for - for example 'vegetarian recipes'. The search engine will then return a set of results about vegetarian recipes.

Social media

Social media refers to online networks where people can share information like typed messages, photos or links. You'll see different information depending on who you choose to 'follow' or be 'friends' with. To join one of these 'social networks' you usually need to sign up and create an account. Facebook and Twitter are examples of popular social networks.


Streaming is when you watch or listen to something online without downloading it. For example, you can stream a film or a music track.


Software refers to any program on your computer, like word processors, email programs or web browsers.


Spam is another word for junk emails that are sent to lots of people at once, usually involving advertising or offering services.

Back to top



A tablet is a portable computer with a touchscreen. It's great for things like emailing, browsing the web or even playing games and watching films.


The toolbar is the row of buttons shown at the top or along the side of the screen when you're running a computer program, letting you print, save, copy or do other things. The buttons on a toolbar usually have symbols on them to let you know what they are. For example, the symbol for 'open' shows a folder opening; the symbol for 'cut' shows a pair of scissors.

Back to top



A username is a series of characters you type in to log in to your computer or a website to tell it who you are. Usually you'll need to put in a username and a password.

Back to top



Viruses are pieces of code that are designed to damage your computer or the data on it. If you're going to be using the internet, it's important you have anti-virus protection. All BT Infinity products come with anti-virus software to keep you protected online.

Back to top

W – Z


Web is a shorthand name for the internet. The terms 'internet' and 'web' are usually interchangeable.


A webcam is a simple video camera that can sit on top of, or near, your computer monitor and can send live video over the internet to one or more people. Sometimes a webcam can be built in to the computer.



Wi-fi is wireless internet. Instead of connecting your computer to the internet using a cable, a router (like the BT Home Hub) sends out a wireless signal which your computer or other device can detect and connect to.

Back to top

We're here to help

Go to our Help and support section for tips and advice on making this site easier to use, using our services, understanding impairments, and contacting us. To get in touch right now, use the Email, Chat or BSL links.