Web Hosting Glossary - Common Web Hosting Terminology

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Access - Microsoft's application for creation and maintaining databases. It is commonly used by developers who maintain online databases running on Windows NT.

ASP (Active Server Pages) - Active Server Pages are HTML documents that are typically embedded with Microsoft's Visual Basic scripts or Jscript. These scripts are processed by the server before being served to the user.

ActiveX - ActiveX is a set of properties that specify in what way applications share information with each other. These properties are known as ActiveX Controls.

Aliased Nameserver - An aliased nameserver is one that has been labeled as your own except that it is actually owned by your web hosting provider. This allows domains hosted on your server are listed as "ns.your-domain.com" rather than "ns.your-providers-domain.com". Aliased nameservers are often offered with reseller accounts.

Apache - A web server program. Apache is one of the world's most popular web server programs, it was built and is maintained by a group of open source programmers and it is often used because of it's excellent performance, security features and that it is free.

Bandwidth - The amount of data that can be transferred at a given moment to or from a server. The larger the bandwidth value the higher amount of traffic your site can handle at one time.

CGI - Short for Common Gateway Interface, a script that processes data supplied by the user, such as in a form application.

CGI-BIN - This is the directory on a web server where CGI scripts are stored.

Co-located Hosting - This type of hosting gives complete control over their server. You are responsible for supplying the physical hardware, the software that runs on the hardware and the administration of the server, the web hosting provider wil supply you with the Internet connection and rack space to house your server.

Cookie - A cookie is a text file sent from a web server to a user's web browser. Cookies are typically sent back and forth between between the two in order to exchange data such as registration information, or to prepare custom content to the user.

Dedicated Hosting - This hosting feature allows a web site to have its own server. It is more flexible than shared hosting as webmasters have full control of the server, including choice of operating system. Server administration is still taken care of by the hosting provider.

Diesel Generator - A diesel engine powered generator used for providing a backup power supply in the event of a power outage.

Domain Names - Domain names are the words users enter into the address bar of their browser to visit a site. These domain names are attached to a DNS. The DNS (Domain Naming System) is used to translate these domain names into IP addresses. Each web site on the Internet has an IP address behind the name.

Firewall - A firewall is a software application designed to protect web servers. They are typically used to protect web servers from attacks or unauthorized access.

Flash - A popular application designed by Macromedia. Flash is widely used on the Internet as it requires little bandwidth, which makes it friendly to users with low speed connections.

Frontpage - A site design and management application created by Microsoft.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - A method to allow users and web servers to transfer files.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) - The language used by web browsers and web servers to communicate. Server side operations such as database processing, while maybe performed in a different language must all be output back to the web browser in HTML to be viewed.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) - The protocol used to tranfer HTML files across the Internet. HTTP requires a client browser and a HTTP server.

IIS (Internet Information Server) - Microsoft's server software for Windows NT/2000/2003.

Intranet - A large internal network structured in a similar way to the Internet. Intranets are typically established by large corporate organizations to help communications within the organization. The difference between the Internet and an Intranet is that the latter is restricted to authorized users only.

IP (Internet Protocol) - This designates the format of data packets that are used to transfer information over the Internet.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) - A popular text based multi-user chat network.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - A high speed solution to transferring data oover phone lines. It can tranfer data at speed up to 128,000 bits per second over a standard phone line. Commonly this type of service is being replaced with DSL due to the much higher transfer speed attainable with a DSL service.

Load Balancing - This is used to distribute data across 2 or more servers to ensure that a single web server is not overloaded with traffic thereby affecting network performance.

Managed Hosting - A dedicated server that is supplied with a full suite of technical support, setup, maintenance and monitoring services. Managed Hosting differs from Dedicated Hosting where customers are provided with their own server but still have to take care of all the administrative duties related to the server.

MIME (Multipurpose Internet eMail Extensions) - A protocol that allows users to tranfer non-text email messages containing audio, video or images.

Mirror Site - A mirror is an exact copy of an existing web site or FTP server. Mirrors are used to spread traffic load on busy web sites or FTP servers.

Name Server - A server responsible for translating domain names to IP addresses.

NOC (Network Operations Center) - A hosting company's "home base". The NOC is typically where most administrative, technical support, and physical server housing takes place.

OC (Optical Carrier) - Represents the speed of fiber optic networks. OC speeds range between 1 and 48, typically hosting companies use OC3 fiber connections which allows for the transfer of data at a rate up to 155.52 Mbps (Mega Bits Per Second).

Parking - All domain names when newly purchased need to be stored on a server. Most domain registrars will temporarily place the new domain on their servers until the new owner changes the DNS to point to a different site. While the domain is in this temporary location the domain is known to be parked.

POP (Post Office Protocol) - An email protocol that mail software such as Microsoft's Outlook Express use to communicate with email servers.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independant Disks) - A method of data protection. Data is stored over a number of disks (typically hard drives) so that the information will still be available if a disk fails.

Reseller - A reseller is an operation that on-sells another companies hosting services. Typically the hosting company will provide the infrastructure and equipment, and the reseller finds the customers to use the hosting companies service. Some resellers operate as an entire hosting business supplying the hardware, software, network and technical support of another web hosting company, while others simply work as sales agents for other web hosting companies.

Shared Hosting - This is the most basic of web hosting packages. With shared hosting numerous web sites are sharing a single server. Shared hosting is an economic solution for low traffic web sites without high storage requirements.

Shopping Cart - An application designed to take care of the e-commerce section of a web site. Shopping cart software allows users to browse for products and purchase them online.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) - A protocol to allow mail servers to exchange messages with each other.

SQL (Standard Query Language) - A protocol used to request information from databases. Servers which can handle SQL are known as SQL servers.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) - A protocol developed by Netscape to handle and protect confidential information required for E-commerce transactions such as credit card numbers and other personal details. SSL addresses typically begin with "https".

Subdomain - Generally known as a "Domain within a Domain", subdomains are web addresses built upon an existing domain name. For example, "subdomain.domain.com" is built upon "domain.com".

Telnet - A command line interface that allows remote users to communicate with web servers.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) - A very important network protocol, TCP allows two hosts to connect to each other can exchange data, TCP also has checks in place that make sure that data is received exactly as it was sent.

TLD (Top Level Domain) - "webhost-advisor.com" is this site's top level domain, with the suffix being ".com". Other suffixes include ".net", ".org" and ".info".

VPS (Virtual Private Server) - This is one step above shared server hosting, a VPS provides the services offered by a dedicated server but on a server shared with other web hosting customers.

WHOIS - A central database that tracks all domain name registrations.

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