Updated: 05/02/2021 by Computer Hope

A connection is a term that describes the link between a plug or connector into a port or jack. For example, your monitor, mouse, and keyboard all must connect to the computer before they work.

Different forms of the word connect

There are different ways the word "connect" can be used when describing a connector and how it connects. Below is a list of all forms of the word with further information about each.

Connect and connected, and connection - The description of two or more devices successfully sending and receiving information. For example, if you are reading a web page, your computer connects to the Internet and has a good connection.

If the connection was interrupted at your home or office, nothing on the Internet would work. If the connection could not be established with the server hosting the web page, you would be unable to view the web page, but everything else on the Internet would still work.

Connecting - Describes connecting a plug, wire, or another device to the computer. For example, I'm connecting my monitor to my computer to get a picture and see what's happening.

Connecting also describes two or more devices establishing a connection. For example, when a Dial-up Modem connects to an ISP, you'll first hear the phone dialing the number and then handshaking.

The handshake (heard by playing the above audio file) is the two computers communicating and establishing a connection. Once the connection is established, the noise is no longer heard.

Connections - An overall description of all available expansion slots, ports, and jacks (more than one) on a computer or another device. For example, my USB hub has three available USB connections.

Connector - The description of the end of the cable that joins a cable to a port. Centronics, DB, DIN, mini-plug, and USB are all examples of types of connectors.

Examples of computer connections

Below is a picture of the back of a desktop computer and each of the connections and ports. Although your desktop computer's layout may be different, this diagram gives you a better understanding of where everything connects.

Back of computer case and each connection

Below are related pages for each of the connections shown above and some related terms. Clicking each link gives you more information about each connection and related information.

Connections on the back of the computer

Why are the colors on connections different?

Connections on the back of a computer may be color-coded to help locate the appropriate port for a peripheral device. The list below includes many ports and their associated colors.

  • Keyboard (PS/2) - Purple
  • Mouse (PS/2) - Green
  • Serial - Cyan
  • Printer - Violet
  • Monitor (VGA) - Blue
  • Monitor (DVI) - White
  • Line out (headphones) - Lime Green
  • Line in (microphone) - Pink
  • Audio in - Grey
  • Joystick - Yellow

Many of the modern connector ports (HDMI, USB, FireWire, Ethernet, etc.) are black and need to be identified by their shape rather than their color.

Internal connections

How do I check connections?

Computer Hope or another technician may tell you to "check your connections" when troubleshooting a problem. This suggestion refers to verifying a cable is connected correctly on both ends of the cable. For example, with monitor troubleshooting, verify the cables on the back of the monitor, back of the computer, and the power cable is connected correctly. If all cables are firmly connected, it's also a good idea to disconnect a cable, verify nothing looks wrong with the cable or port, and reconnect the cable.

What connection connects computers?

Today, the most common method of connecting computers to each other is over a network. To connect to a network, a computer uses a network interface card to either connect using a cable like a Cat 5 cable or wirelessly using Wi-Fi.

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