Getting Online Jargon-buster

ISP - Internet Service Provider

An ISP is a telecommunications company with a connection to the main worldwide Internet infrastructure.  They offer the rental of a connection to the Internet through their own infrastructure.  Examples: BT, Eircom, Perlico.


Email is the backbone of modern business communications.  Fast, convenient and effective, community and voluntary organisations are increasingly using email for their day-to-day communications.  Email services can be provided in-house through the use of specialist mail server software, but more often email is provided by an ISP as part of the provision of an Internet access package.

Email address

Email addresses take the form

The first part refers to the owner of the email address.  The second part is known as a domain name and refers to either the providing ISP, e.g. or the company's name, e.g. 


Websites are logically connected collections of individual pages of information hosted on the Internet by an ISP and viewable through a web browser.

Web addresses

A web address takes the form:

The first part is usually www, standing for "world wide web", which refers to the graphical Internet, but can be anything, e.g.,

The second part is the "domain name". 

Domain names

A domain name is a unique identifier for a computer that can be read by people (as opposed to being only readable by computer).  Domain names are chosen by businesses/individuals and are then assigned to specific addresses by ISPs.  This is known as "hosting" the domain name.  Domain names are in the form,,, etc.

The first part is chosen by the business.  The second part is known as a "top level domain name" and denotes a broad classification of the use of the domain.  For example, .com refers to commercial organisations and .ie refers to Irish organisations.  Domain names are used in both web addresses and email addresses.


A 'host' or hosting provider is a company offering space on their servers to companies who want websites or email.  They are always connected to the Internet and are often also ISPs.