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Port

As if computer terms weren't hard enough to understand, there are three different meanings of the word "port."

1. An Internet port. This is a number that indicates what kind of protocol a server on the Internet is using. For example, Web servers typically are listed on port 80. Web browsers use this port by default when accessing Web pages, but you can also specify what port you would like to use in the URL like this: http://www.excite.com:80. FTP uses port 21, e-mail uses port 25, and game servers, like a Quake server or Blizzard.net use various other ports. It is good to know what a port is, but you seldom have to specify it manually, so don't worry if this is new to you.

2. A hardware port. This refers to any one of the ports that are on the back of a computer where devices can be hooked up (like a keyboard, mouse, printer, digital camera, etc). Some common ports found on today's computers are USB, Firewire, and Ethernet.

3. The verb, "port." This refers to the editing of a software program's code so that it can run on another platform. For example, to get Final Fantasy VII to run on a PC, programmers needed to port it to the PC from the Playstation. Popular Windows games are often ported to the Macintosh as well.

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Category: Technical Terms