Admin Level – Google Analytics has two basic levels of access – View Reports Only and Account Administrator. Users with View Reports Only access can view their Profiles’ reports and view and edit their own language preferences. All Account Administrators have complete administrative control of the system.
Apache – Apache is a free, open-source web server software system that is pervasive on UNIX, Linux, and similar operating system types. It is also available for Windows and other operating systems. Google Analytics’ admin system is powered by a variant of Apache. For more information, see Apache.org .
Authentication – Technique by which access to Internet or intranet resources requires the user to enter a username and password.
Average Page Depth – The average number of pages on a site that visitors view during a single session.
Average Response Value – The average revenue value of each click, calculated as total revenue divided by total clicks.
Bandwidth – The amount of data that can be transmitted along a communications channel in a fixed amount of time. For digital devices, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second, where 1 byte = 8 bits.
Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.
Browsers – A browser, or more accurately, user agent, is the software used to access a website. Examples of user agents are “Explorer” (for Microsoft Internet Explorer), “Netscape” (for Netscape Navigator), and “Googlebot” (an automated robot that scours the web for website content to include in its search engine).
Bytes – A byte is a unit of information transferred over a network (or stored on a hard drive or in memory). Every web page, image, or other type of file is composed of some number of bytes. Large files, such as video clips, may be composed of millions of bytes (“megabytes”). Since website and server performance is heavily affected by the amount of bytes transferred, and web hosting providers often charge according to this measure, it is very important for site owners to be aware of and understand. One byte is equal to 8 bits where each bit is either a one or zero. Common terms incorporating the word “byte” are:
* Kilobytes – 1,024 bytes
* Megabyte – 1,048,576 bytes
* Gigabyte – 1,073,741,824 bytes
CGI Script – A CGI script is a program written in one of several popular languages such as Perl, PHP, Python, etc., that can take input from a web page, do something with the data, and produce a customized result (among many other possible uses). CGI scripts are widely used to add dynamic behavior to websites and to process forms.
Cache – A temporary storage area that a web browser or service provider uses to store common pages and graphics that have been recently opened. The cache enables the browser to quickly reload pages and images that were recently viewed.
Click – In Google Analytics, a click refers to the process of moving from one page in a site to the next via clicking the mouse button on a hyperlink (a slightly narrower definition than normally used). In the Click Through report, the term Clicks is used to describe the movement from the “previous” page to the page being analyzed, and from there to the “next” page.
Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of known impressions that result in clicks.
Code – Anything written in a language intended for computers to interpret.
Contact Name – This is the real name (generally speaking) of the user to whom you have given access to a particular Google Analytics report. The contact name can have spaces in it, and it is not case-sensitive.
Content (A/B) Testing – Testing the relative effectiveness of multiple versions of the same advertisement, or other content, in referring visitors to a site. Multiple versions of content can be uniquely identified by using a utm_content variable in the URL tag.
Content (Campaign Tracking) – Content is the label for each version of an advertisement. The UTM variable for content, utm_content, indicates which version of a link the visitor clicked on to reach a web site – for example, utm_content=graphic_version1a.
Content is one of the five dimensions of campaign tracking; the other four are source, medium, campaign, and term.
Content-targeted advertising – An advertising model in which the publisher displays related advertising and content together.
Conversion – A conversion is said to occur when a visitor completes an activity that you have identified as important. This activity could be a purchase, an email list registration, a download, or viewing an online presentation. When you sign up for Google Analytics, you have the opportunity to specify your goal pages — pages that a visitor can only reach by completing a conversion activity. If you use Urchin Software, you set your goal pages within a profile.
Cookie – A small amount of text data given to a web browser by a web server. The data is stored and returned to the specific web server each time the browser requests a page from that server. The main purpose of cookies is to pass a unique identifier to the website so that the website can keep track of the user as they step through a website. For example, a protected site may store a temporary identifier in a cookie after you successfully log in, indicating that you are an authorized user.
The name cookie derives from UNIX objects called magic cookies. These are tokens that are attached to a user or program and change depending on the areas entered by the user or program. Cookies are also sometimes called persistent cookies because they typically stay in the browser for long periods of time.
Cost-per-click (CPC) – An advertising model in which the advertiser (sponsor) pays the publisher a certain amount each time the sponsor’s ad is clicked. Also sometimes referred to as PPC (pay-per-click).
Cron Job – A “cron job” is a scheduled task under a UNIX-type operating system. “cron” is a daemon, or program that is always running. Its function is similar to the Windows Scheduler.
DNS Lookup – (Reverse DNS Lookup) The process of converting a numeric IP address into a text name, for example, 18.104.22.168 is converted to www.googleanalytics.com.
Daemon – A daemon is any program under a UNIX-type operating system that runs at all times. Common daemons are servers (such as Apache or an FTP server) and schedulers (such as “cron”).
Date Range – Google Analytic’s Date Range feature allows you to view report data by an arbitrary time frame, from one day up to more than a year. Most reports have the Date Range feature available.
Default Page -The default page setting should be set to whatever the default (or index) page is in your site’s directories. Usually, this will be ‘index.html’, but on Windows IIS servers, it is often ‘Default.htm’ or ‘index.htm’. This information allows Google Analytics to reconcile log entries such as ‘http://www.example.com/’ and ‘http://www.example.com/index.html’, which are in fact the same page. Without the Default Page information entered correctly, these would be reported as two distinct pages. Only a single default page should be specified.
Directory – A directory is a virtual container for holding computer files. It is not merely a list of items, as the name would imply, but rather a key building block of a computer’s storage architecture that actually contains files or other directories.
Domain – A domain is a specific virtual area within the Internet, defined by the “top level” of the address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The top level is the end of the address; example: “whitehouse.gov”. In this example, the top-level part of the domain is “.gov”, indicating a US government entity. The “whitehouse” part is the second-level domain, indicating where within the “.gov” domain the information in question is to be found. Other common top-level domains include “.com”, “.net”, “.uk”, etc.
Domain Name System – (DNS) An Internet addressing system that uses a group of names that are listed with dots (.) between them, working from the most specific to the most general group. In the United States , the top (most general) domains are network categories such as edu (education), com (commercial), and gov (government). In other countries, a two-letter abbreviation for the country is used, such as ca ( Canada ) and au ( Australia ).
Download – To retrieve a file or files from a remote machine to your local machine.
E-commerce – The buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds, through digital communications. Buying and selling over the internet, etc.
Encryption – The process of encoding information so that it is secure from other Internet users.
End User – The final user of the computer software. The end user is the individual who uses the product after it has been fully developed and marketed.
Error – Errors are defined as pages that visitors attempted to view, but that returned an error message instead. Often these errors occur because of broken links (links to pages that do not exist anymore) or when an unauthorized visitor attempts to access restricted pages (for example, if the visitor does not have a password to access the page).
Error Code – Please see the definition of Status Code .
Exclude – “Exclude” is a filter type available in the Google Analytics Filters configuration. If an Exclude filter is applied to a Profile, all log file lines (hits) that match the Exclude string will be discarded prior to the creation of the corresponding Google Analytics reports.
FTP – (File Transfer Protocol) The basic method for copying a file from one computer to another through the Internet.
File Type – A File Type is a designation, usually in the form of an extension (such as .gif or .jpeg), given to a file to describe its function or the software that is required to act upon it. More generally, file types can be grouped into image file types (such as .gif, .png, .jpeg), text file types (such as .doc or .txt), and many others.
Filter Field – A filter field is the number of the field on which to apply a filter. In a log file line, or hit, there are several distinct fields, each one holding a different piece of data. To apply a filter to a log file, you must first identify which field you wish to apply the filter to. This is the filter field.
Filter Name – The Filter Name is intended to be a descriptive title for a filter. It is used only as an organizational aid, and may contain spaces.
Filter Pattern – A Filter Pattern is the actual text string against which Google Analytics will attempt to match log file lines. If a match is found, the log line (or “hit”) will be either excluded or included, depending on the Filter Type. Patterns can be specific text to match or use wildcards as part of a “regular expression”. NOTE: Filter Patterns are case-sensitive, so to filter out the Googlebot spider, for instance, use “Googlebot”, not “googlebot” (do not use quotes).
Filter Type – A filter must be of one of two filter types, either an Include (filter in), or Exclude (filter out). If an inclusive filter (Include) is used, only hits containing the filter string will be represented in the Google Analytics report. If an exclusive filter (Exclude) is used, no hits containing the filter string will be represented in the Google Analytics report.
Filter to Apply – The filter to apply is the actual text string to be used to either filter in or filter out content. The Filter to Apply can be either a plain text string or a regular expression.
Firewall – A security device placed on a LAN (local area network) to protect it from Internet intruders. This can be a special kind of hardware router, a piece of software, or both.
First Time Sessions – The number of times unique visitors came to your website during a specified time period, not having visited before that period. These visitors are identified by cookies.
First Time Unique Visitor – The number of Unique Visitors to your website that had not visited prior to the time frame being analyzed.
Form – In the context of the web, a form is a data-entry mechanism generally created out of HTML in conjunction with a CGI script. A form is usually a static HTML page that presents the visitor with blanks, or fields . Upon entering data into the fields, the form is submitted and a script of some sort performs some type of action on the data, such as writing it to a file.
Frame – A rectangular region within the browser window that displays a web page alongside other pages in other frames.
GET Method – The GET method is a way of passing parameters of an HTTP request from the browser to the server. This method puts the parameters, usually separated by special characters such as ampersands (“&”), in the URL itself, which is viewable to the person using the browser. The other method is POST, which is used when the site does not want to pass the parameters in the URL. This is desirable when there is a large quantity of text to send to the server or the information is sensitive. Here is an example GET request:
GIF – A graphics file type — Graphics Interchange Format — a compressed, bitmapped format often used on the web because of its good quality/compression ratio when used on certain image types, particularly those with large flat areas of color.
Goal Conversion Rate – In the context of Campaign Tracking, the percentage of sessions on a site that result in a conversion goal being reached on that site.
Graphic User Interface – (GUI) Pronounced “gooey”. A method of controlling software using on-screen icons, menus, dialog boxes, and objects that can be moved or resized, usually with a pointing device such as a mouse.
HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language is used to write documents for the World Wide Web and to specify hypertext links between related objects and documents.
HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol is a standard method of transferring data between a web server and a web browser.
Hardware – A computer and the associated physical equipment directly involved in the performance of data-processing or communication functions.
Hit – A hit is simply any request to the web server for any type of file. This can be an HTML page, an image (jpeg, gif, png, etc.), a sound clip, a cgi script, and many other file types. An HTML page can account for several hits: the page itself, each image on the page, and any embedded sound or video clips. Therefore, the number of hits a website receives is not a valid popularity gauge, but rather is an indication of server use and loading.
IIS – Microsoft Internet Information Server, or IIS as it’s commonly called, is a popular web server software system for Windows operating systems. It is currently unavailable for other operating systems. For more information, see Microsoft.com .
IP Address – An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number ranges from 0 to 255.
ISP – Internet Service Provider. A company which provides other companies or individuals with access to, or presence on, the Internet. Most ISPs are also Internet Access Providers — extra services include help with design, creation and administration of WWW sites, etc.
Impression – A display, on a search engine or other source, of a referral link or advertisement.
Include – “Include” is a filter type available in the Google Analytics Filters configuration. If an Include filter is applied to a Profile, only those log file lines (hits) that match the Include will be used in the creation of the corresponding Google Analytics reports.
Initial Session – This is the first Session conducted by a trackable Unique Visitor during the current Date Range . This value is equal to the total number of Unique Visitors during the same Date Range (each Unique Visitor has at least one session). This value is provided in contrast to Repeat Sessions.
Java – An object-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java is designed to run on any type of computer hardware through an intermediary layer called a virtual machine, which translates Java instructions into native code for that particular computer.
Keyword – A keyword is a database index entry that identifies a specific record or document. Keyword searching is the most common form of text search on the web. Most search engines do their text query and retrieval using keywords. Unless the author of the web document specifies the keywords for her document (this is possible by using meta tags), it’s up to the search engine to determine them. Essentially, this means that search engines pull out and index words that are believed to be significant. Words that are mentioned towards the top of a document and words that are repeated several times throughout the document are more likely to be deemed important.
Last Run – This is the time the task in question last ran, whether successfully or not. As soon as the same task is run again, this value will change to the new start time.
Log file – A file created by a web or proxy server which contains all of the access information regarding the activity on that server. Each line in a log file generated by web server software is a hit, or request for a file. Therefore, the number of lines in a log file will be equal to the number of hits in the file, not counting any field definitions line(s) that may be present.
Medium (Campaign Tracking) – In the context of campaign tracking, medium indicates the means by which a visitor to a site received the link to that site. Examples of mediums are “organic” and “cost-per-click” in the case of search engine links, and “email” and “print” in the case of newsletters. The UTM variable for medium is utm_medium.
Medium is one of the five dimensions of campaign tracking; the other four dimensions are source, campaign, term, and content.
Meta Tag – A special HTML tag that provides information about a web page. Unlike normal HTML tags, meta tags do not affect how the page is displayed. Instead, they provide information such as who created the page, how often it is updated, what the page is about, and which keywords represent the page’s content. Many search engines use this information when building their indices.
Multihome – A multihome, or load balanced, network means distributing processing and communications activity evenly across a computer network so that no single device is overwhelmed. Load balancing is especially important for networks where it’s difficult to predict the number of requests that will be issued to a server. Busy websites typically employ two or more web servers in a load balancing scheme. If one server starts to get swamped, requests are forwarded to another server with more capacity.
NCSA – NCSA stands for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The NCSA developed several imporant web protocols and software systems, including the standard logging type used by Apache — NCSA Extended Combined.
Navigation – Describes the movement of a user through a website or other application interface. This term also indicates the system of available links and buttons that the user can use to navigate through the website.
Network – A set of computers connected so that they can communicate and share information. Most major networks are connected to the global network-of-networks, called the Internet.
No Referral – The “(no referral)” entry appears in various Referrals reports in the cases when the visitor to the site got there by typing the URL directly into the browser window or using a bookmark/favorite. In other words, the visitor did not click on a link to get to the site, so there was no referral, technically speaking.
OS – (Operating System) Software designed to control the hardware of a specific data-processing system in order to allow users and application programs to employ it easily. (MacOS, Windows 95)
Online – A general term referring to anything connected to or conveyed through a communication network.
Organization – The classification to which a Domain Name belongs. Typical Suffixes are: .com = Commercial, .org = Organization, .edu = Educational, .int = International, .gov = Government, .mil = Military, net = Network
PDF – Portable Document Format. File format developed by Adobe Systems to allow for display and printing of formatted documents across platforms and systems. PDF files can be read on any system equipped with the Acrobat Reader software, regardless of whether or not your computer has the software that the document was created in.
Password – A password is the word or code used to authenticate a user on the Google Analytics administration or reporting system, or any other protected system. It is advisable to use passwords that are difficult to guess, such as those containing numbers or symbols.
Path – A Path is defined as a series of clicks resulting in distinct pageviews. A Path cannot contain non-pages, such as image files. Each step in a path will have a name, such as “index.html”.
Pay-per-click – An advertising model in which the sponsor (advertiser) pays a certain amount to the publisher each time the sponsor’s ad is clicked. Also referred to as cost-per-click.
Platform – A platform is a specific computer hardware and software operating system combination that represents a specific user’s configuration and method of accessing the Internet. Common platforms include Windows NT/x86 (Microsoft Windows NT on a standard Intel-type PC), Mac PPC (Macintosh with Power PC processor), Red Hat Linux 6.1 x86 (Linux on a standard Intel-type PC).
Post – There are two methods to send HTML form data to a server. GET, the default, will send the form input in an URL, whereas POST sends it in the body of the submission. The latter method means you can send larger amounts of data, and that the URL of the form results doesn’t show the encoded form.
Prior Unique Visitor – A Prior Unique Visitor is defined as a unique visitor to the website that returned during the specified Date Range after previously visiting your site, as identified by tracking devices such as cookies.
Profile – A Profile is a set of rules governing the production of a set of Google Analytics reports from log file data. Generally, there will be one Profile per domain/URL (e.g., www.googleanalytics.com). However, there can be any number of Profiles for any one source, as each may have different rules for exclusion or inclusion of certain log data elements.
Protocol – An established method of exchanging data over the Internet.
Query Token – A query token is a special character in URL that differentiates the main URL from the specific query. For example, in this URL:
the query token is the question mark.
ROI (Return on Investment) – (Revenue – Cost)/ Cost, expressed as a percentage.
Referral Errors – A referral error occurs whenever someone clicks on a link that points to your site but that contains a reference to a non-existent page or file. This action usually results in a “404 Not Found”-type error.
Referrals – A referral occurs when any hyperlink is clicked on that takes a web surfer to any page or file in another website; it could be text, an image, or any other type of link. When a web surfer arrives at your site from another site, the server records the referral information in the hit log for every file requested by that surfer. If a search engine was used to obtain the link, the search engine name and any keywords used are recorded as well.
Referrer – The URL of an HTML page that refers visitors to a site.
Regular Expressions – Regular Expressions are tools defined by the POSIX specification used to match text strings based on rules invoked by special characters, such as asterisks (“*”). Regular Expressions are powerful tools and should be fully understood before use. For more information, please see the IEEE site .
Repeat Session – This is a session for which the visitor could be tracked as unique and as having been to the site before this session during the current Date Range .
Report – A report set is a distinct Google Analytics report about one particular web site, part of a web site, or content group. A report set will have all of Google Analytics’ reporting features dedicated to the analysis of itself only. Generally, one report set is defined for each web site, though more than one can be configured.
Returning Sessions – Returning Sessions represents the number of times unique visitors returned to your website during a specified time period.
Revenue – In versions of Google Analytics that support e-commerce reporting, the term Revenue is used in place of whichever local currency is being used, since Google Analytics supports currencies other than the US dollar. Revenue tabs appear on several reports as a data display option when appropriate.
Reverse DNS – Name resolution software that looks up an IP address to obtain a domain name. It performs the opposite function of the DNS server, which turns names into IP addresses.
Scalable – Quality of an implementation that allows it to grow as the usage of the service increases.
Search Engine – A Search Engine is a program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found, ranked according to relevance (or at least that’s the intent). Although a search engine is really a general class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google and AltaVista that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web.
Session – A Session is a defined quantity of visitor interaction with a website.
By default in Analytics, a session is defined as the period of time during which visitors are interacting with your site and there has been inactivity for less than 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of inactivity, any further page views will be treated as a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes will be counted as part of the original session.
The 30 minute default timeout can be changed with an addition to the tracking code.
Shell Archive – A shell archive is a collection of files that can be unpacked by using the Unix Bourne shell command interpreter /bin/sh.
Site Domains – Site Domains are all the valid domains (URLs) that point to a given websites. For example, the Site Domains for google.com are: www.google.com, and google.com.
Software – The programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of the hardware and direct its operation. Written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory.
Source – Also know as source code. The actual text and commands stored in an HTML file (including tags, comments, and scripts) that may not be visible when the page is viewed with a web browser.
Source (Campaign Tracking) – In the context of campaign tracking, a source is the origin of a referral. Examples of sources are the Google search engine, the AOL search engine, the name of a newsletter, or the name of a referring web site. The UTM variable for source is utm_source.
Source is one of the five dimensions of campaign tracking; the other four dimensions are campaign, medium, term, and content.
Status Code – A status code, also known as an error code, is a 3-digit code number assigned to every request (hit) received by the server. Most valid hits will have a status code of 200 (“ok”). “Page not found” errors will generate a 404 error. Some commonly seen codes are in shown below in bold .
101 Switching Protocols
203 Non-Authoritative Information
204 No Content
205 Reset Content
206 Partial Content
300 Multiple Choices
301 Moved Permanently
302 Moved Temporarily
303 See Other
304 Not Modified
305 Use Proxy
400 Bad Request
401 Authorization Required
402 Payment Required
404 Not Found
405 Method Not Allowed
406 Not Acceptable
407 Proxy Authentication Required
408 Request Time-Out
411 Length Required
412 Precondition Failed
413 Request Entity Too Large
414 Request-URL Too Large
415 Unsupported Media Type
500 Server Error
501 Not Implemented
502 Bad Gateway
503 Out of Resources
504 Gateway Time-Out
505 HTTP Version not supported
Task – A Task is a log-processing event of any type programmed into the Scheduler. Tasks can be set to execute at virtually any frequency desired, but are generally set to run at a daily interval.
Term (Campaign Tracking) – In the context of campaign tracking, term refers to the keyword(s) that a visitor types into a search engine. The UTM variable for term is utm_term. Term is one of the five campaign dimensions; the other four are source, medium, content, and campaign.
Top-Level Domain – A Top-Level Domain (TLD) is the last part of a URL or domain name. For instance, the TLD of google.com is “.com”, and the TLD of google.co.uk is “.uk”.
Total Unique Visitor Sessions – The total number of Sessions from identified Unique Visitors during the time period ( Date Range ) being analyzed.
URL – Uniform Resource Locator is a means of identifying an exact location on the Internet. For example, http://www.googleanalytics.com/support/platforms.html is the URL that defines the use of HTTP to access the web page platforms.html in the /support/ directory on the Google Analytics website. URLs typically have four parts: protocol type (HTTP), host domain name (www.googleanalytics.com), directory path (/support/), and file name (platforms.html).
Unique Visitor Session – A Unique Visitor Session is a quantity of visitor interaction with a website for which the visitor can be tracked and declared with a high degree of confidence as being unique for the time period being analyzed.
Unique Visitors – Unique Visitors represents the number of unduplicated (counted only once) visitors to your website over the course of a specified time period. A Unique Visitor is determined using cookies.
Untrackable Session – A period of visitor interaction with a website for which the visitor cannot necessarily be distinguished as unique or not.
User – As it pertains to Google Analytics, a user is defined as a person who has specific report set access, a username and password. To set up a user in Google Analytics’ administrative system, click on the Access Manager tab at the top of the screen. Then click “Add” in the Existing Access table on the right.
User Agent – A user agent is a generic term for any program used for accessing a website. This includes browsers (such as Internet Explorer or Netscape), robots and spiders, and any other software program that acts as an “agent” for a someone or something seeking information from a website.
Username – A Username is name used to gain access to a computer system. Usernames, and usually passwords, are required in multi-user systems. In most such systems, users can choose their own usernames and passwords.
View Total – The View Total is the tally of items currently shown in the report. This total does not include items that are not shown. For example, if the report in question is showing 10 items out of 45, the View Total number represents the total for only the 10 items shown. Below the View Total listing is the Total, which represents the tally of all items in this report for this Date Range .
Visit – See Session .
Visitor – A Visitor is a construct designed to come as close as possible to defining the number of actual, distinct people who visited a website. There is of course no way to know if two people are sharing a computer from the website’s perspective, but a good visitor-tracking system can come close to the actual number. The most accurate visitor-tracking systems generally employ cookies to maintain tallies of distinct visitors.
Visitor Session – A Visitor Session is a defined period of interaction between a Visitor (both unique and untrackable visitor types) and a website. The definition of a Session varies depending on the type of visitor tracking employed.
Visitor Sessions – Visitor Sessions represents the number of times individual users visited your website over the course of a specified time period. This is a sum of First-time, Returning, and Unknown Sessions.
Visitors Total – Visitors is the number of Total Unique Visitors plus the number of Untrackable IP-based Visitors, which represents all individual visitors to your website over the course of a specified time period.
W3C – The W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium, is a standards body dedicated to ensuring interoperability between all the varied system and network types that comprise the World Wide Web part of the Internet. The W3C log format is commonly used by several web server software systems, such as Microsoft IIS. For more information, see the W3C website .
Web Server – This is a vague term whose meaning must be determined by the context in which it’s used. It will mean one of two things: The physical computer that acts as a server. This is a computer just like any other. It is called a server because its main function is to deliver web pages. Often there is nothing particularly special about a server’s hardware, it’s only a server because of the software.