Online

What Does Online Mean?

Online, in a generic sense, refers to when an electronic device is on and connected to other devices, such as another computer, a network or a device such as a printer. More recently, the term online has come to mean connected to the Internet. In this case, either a person may be online when he or she is using the Internet, or the computer itself may be said to online when it has established an Internet connection.

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Techopedia Explains Online

Devices such as printers and scanners are considered to be online when they are running and connected to a computer system. In regards to connection to the Internet or other network, computers would technically be considered to be online when they are connected to a network (such an an intranet), but most people use the term to refer to Internet connection only. When a computer or device is not online, it’s said to be offline.

Online can also be used as an adjective to describe activity performed while on the Internet, such as online shopping.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.