There are a lot of words here that have a lot of potential to cause confusion because of their ambiguity. Here are a few definitions for the purposes of the protocol designs:

  • Credit Network - the abstract network of financial trust connections over which payments are routed in Ripple.
    • also Trust Network, Payment Network
  • Data Network - the network of data connections that serves to pass messages between host machines; the internet.
  • Node - an address in the credit network that can send and/or receive payment.
    • also Address
  • Server - the protocol software, an instance of that software running on a host machine, or the host itself running the software.

See also Currency Ambiguity.