Web Hosting Glossary
Here is the Glossary of Web Hosting Terms. Simple but easy to understand. Collected from Various Resources.
A name that points to another name. Aliases are used to make the original name easier to remember or to protect the site’s identity.
An aliased nameserver is a nameserver that has been labeled as yours (the reseller’s) despite the fact it actually belongs to your Web hosting provider. This ensures that domains located on your server are listed as “ns.yourservername.com” instead of “ns.yourprovidersname.com”. Also see NAMESERVER below.
One of the world’s most popular Web server programs, Apache was built by a group of open-source programmers and is often used because of its outstanding performance, strong security features and the fact that it is free.
Active Server Pages. ASP is Microsoft’s server-side scripting technology. An Active Server Page has an .asp extension and it mixes HTML and scripting code that can be written in VBScript or JScript. ASP is distributed with Microsoft’s IIS web server, so most host using IIS will also offer ASP for dynamic web programming. ASP.NET is the next version of ASP. Other popular server-side scripting languages are Perl, PHP, ColdFusion, TCL, Python, and JSP.
The process of providing audio content on a web site. This takes up a large amount of bandwidth, especially if you get a lot of visitors at your site. Some hosts do not allow audio or video streaming because of this.
An automated program that acknowledges receipt of an e-mail message, and then sends back a previously prepared email to the sender, letting them know it was received. Once you configure your autoresponder, it sends e-mail with no further action required on your part, making your web site interactive around the clock. Most hosting companies let you set this up through their control panel.
Refers to the amount of time within a 24 hour period a system is active or available for servicing requests. For example, if a hosting company says it is available 99.9% of the time, they are claiming that your web site will up all the time except for about 8 seconds each day. Over the course of a year, in this example, the hosting company is claiming that your site will only be unavailable (couldn’t surf to it) for 48 hours.
Main high-speed network connection composing the Internet. Backbones are operated by major telecommunications companies like Sprint, MCI, or AT&T. In general, the better the backbone of the hosting company, the better the availability of the web sites that run on their computers. Internet backbone maps are here. http://www.nthelp.com/maps.htm
Web hosts back up data on their servers. Many host packages offer backups every 24 hours. This is supposed to prevent the loss of data should something happen to the server. . If you think you may need to restore old data in case of a disaster, it may make sense to choose a hosting company that performs regular backups.
The amount of data that can be transmitted at a given moment to a server. The higher your bandwidth, the larger amount of traffic your site can handle at one time.
CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
A CGI is a program that translates data from a web server and then displays that data on a web page or in an email. CGI involves the transfer of data between a server and a CGI program (called a script). This allows HTML pages to interact with other programming applications. These scripts make web pages interactive. Page counters, forms, guest books, random text/images and other features can be driven by CGI scripts. Some servers have pre-installed/pre-defined CGI scripts, meaning that the scripts are already installed on the server for you to use on your site. Some servers permit user-defined or custom CGI scripts, which means the site owner creates his/her own CGI script and runs this custom made script on the web site. Not all servers allow user-defined (custom) scripts for security reasons. Almost all hosting companies offer CGI today. If you think you will need forms on your web site, CGI could be a key requirement.
Chat Server / Software
Some hosting companies allow you to develop a chat room or other type of chat service for your visitors. Be sure to check with the web host company about the details of the chat services offeed. Some servers permit you to configure the service, and others pre-configure everything for you while others do not allow chat rooms at all.
ColdFusion is an easy to use server-side scripting language developed by Allaire. It comes with ColdFusion Studio, a visual IDE. Other popular server-side scripting languages are ASP. Perl, PHP, TCL, Python, and JSP.
This hosting option gives webmasters complete control over their server. You are responsible for providing the physical hardware and network administration; the hosting company will provide you with the rack space and Internet connection.
An online package of tools permitting easy site management and editing. Almost all hosting companies provide this option today. It is a very important feature to have. Most control panels will let you upload files, add email accounts, change contact information, set up shopping carts or databases, view usage statistics, etc.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
A style-sheet determines how the HTML document is displayed by the browser. The current version of CSS is version 2 (CSS2).
If your web site will leverage a database to store information, database support by the hosting company will be required. After you have developed your web site, you will know which database will be required. Some commonly used database programs are SQL Server, MySQL, Access, Oracle, and FoxPro. Databases can be difficult to configure properly. Before you sign up with a web host, first inquire if the host can support your database needs.
This is the amount of data that is transferred from an account as visitors view the pages of the web site. If you have a web site with lots of video, audio, and images that gets many visitors per day, you would have to make sure that you choose a host that will allow large amounts of data to be transferred. If you choose a host that only allows 200 MB of data transfer per month, and your site transferred 500 MB per month, then the host may stop half of your visitors from viewing your site and you could lose potential customers. Your best bet is to try to find a host that offers unlimited data transfer or at least a Gig of transfer. A gig is more than enough for most web sites. As a general rule, 500 MB of data transfer is equivalent to 20,000 page views.
A type of Hosting account in which the web hosting company provides you with an entire hosting setup including your own server hardware that only you can use. This usually means a much faster loading time for your site because the entire computer is “dedicated” to running the server software. This is different from most other hosting accounts in which your web site will share space on a server with many other web sites, called a virtual server. A dedicated server makes sense for web sites that require higher availability and higher data transfer rates.
This indicates the amount of disk space that will be available to you on the hosts server to hold your web site files. Normally because HTML files are small, a web site (unless it has extensive graphics or database functionality) will be small, as low as 1 or 2 MB in most cases. When you do a search on FindMyHosting.com and select disk space as a factor in the search you are indicating a minimum level that you want a plan to offer.
Use windows explorer to check the total MB of your site while it is still on your development machine. Then perhaps double your sites current size so that you have room to grow. When you check the total MB of your site don’t forget to include the total MB of your graphics files.
A good rule of thumb is to assume approx. 50 KB per page (1 MB = 1000 KB, 1 GB = 1000 MB). 50 KB per page is on the high side so it’s a conservative estimate for the average size of a web page.
Many hosting companies give you the option to ‘park’ your domain name without actually having your web site up and running. This is a nice option if you want to acquire a domain name for your web site well ahead of having the web site itself designed and constructed.
The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general (FindMyHosting.com). Technically, the domain name is a name that identifies an IP address. To most of us, it simply means www.yourname.com. Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, web servers depend on a Domain Name System (DNS) to translate domain names into IP addresses. Simply stated, domain names allow people to find your web site by name rather than by its numerical (IP) address.
Domain Name Registration
Often a hosting company will offer to register your domain name at the time you sign up for a hosting plan. This normally incurs an additional charge but may be cheaper and more convenient than using a separate domain name registration service. We recommend that you go ahead and register your domain name as soon as possible, especially if you think it will take some time to develop the site itself. Click here for a list of domain name registration companies.
Domain Name System (DNS)
A model for tracking other machines (that contain web sites) and their numeric IP addresses. Translates domain names. When a computer is referred to by name, a domain name server puts that name into the numeric IP address assigned to that computer. So when you buy a domain, say www.yourname.com, it does not become accessible until it gets assigned an IP address from a hosting company. Once the IP address is assigned, a cross-reference record (DNS record) is created that points your domain name to the numeric IP address.
Email POP Account
POP (Post Office Protocol) is an actual e-mail account on your web host’s e-mail server. Think of each POP account as a unique email address (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.) Before you choose a specific hosting plan, you should know exactly how many email accounts are required to meet your specific needs.
Front Page is an HTML editor made by Microsoft. It is commonly used to create web sites
Frontpage extensions can be thought of as “mini programs” that allow features of a web site created with MS Front Page to operate smoothly. It is possible to use MS Front Page to create a web site and host that site on a server that doesn’t offer FP extensions, however some of the powerful features of the program cannot be used in these web sites. See Microsoft’s Front Page site for more information. After you design your web site, you will know whether Frontpage extensions will be a requirement.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
A way of transferring files (uploading and downloading) across the Internet. Most web sites are uploaded to the Internet by means of an FTP program. This is how the web site you create on your computer at home is transferred (uploaded) to the Internet. Some software, such as Microsoft Front Page, does not require use of an FTP program but the use of most any other HTML editor requites the use of and FTP Program. There is a free FTP program called WS_FTP and you can download it at download.com. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous FTP servers.
Specifies which country the hosting company resides. The internet is a very complex web of server computers connected through telecommunications devices. In general, it is best to host your web site in a location closest to the users that access it. For example, if you plan to deploy a web site that will attract mostly German visitors, it may makes sense to choose a hosting company located in Germany.
This is the platform of the hosting providers servers. Hosting companies will typically having a hosting platform based upon Windows 2000 (Win2K), Windows NT or Linux. If you have a basic web site that does not make use of server side applications such as a database then you do not need to worry which platform is used.
Microsoft Internet Information Server. Microsoft’s Web server that comes built-in with Windows NT Server 4 and Windows 2000 server.
Internet Message Access Protocol. A method allowing a client email program to access remote messages stored on a mail server. The protocol includes operations for creating, deleting, and renaming mailboxes, checking for new messages, message parsing, searching, and setting and clearing flags.
A scripting language which enables web designers to add dynamic, interactive elements to a web site.
A servlet is an application or a script that is written in Java and executed on a server, as opposed to on a client. It is analogous to CGI, although servlets are more than simply CGI scripts written in Java.
Mailing List Software
A mailing list is a discussion group based on the e-mail system. You may want to set one up – they’re very useful promotional tools. Even if you don’t want to host a discussion group, you can use a mailing-list program to distribute a newsletter. Many companies have mailing-list software available for their clients to use — if so, ask whether there’s an additional cost, how many mailing lists you are allowed to have, and how many members per list.
A dedicated server that is accompanied by a full suite of technical support, maintenance and monitoring services. This differs from dedicated Web hosting, where customers are provided with their own servers but are still responsible for virtually all administrative and maintenance duties.
A server responsible for translating domain names and IP addresses.
Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language)
Perl is an interpreted language optimized for scanning arbitrary text files, extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based on that information. It’s also a good language for many system management tasks.
PHP is another scripting language. Like ASP, it’s commands are embedded within the HTML of a web page. The commands are executed on the web server, making it browser independent. The web browser only sees the resulting HTML output of the PHP code.
Post Office Protocol (POP)
This is a method of retrieving e-mail from an e-mail server. Most e-mail applications (sometimes called an e-mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). There are two versions of POP. The first, called POP2, became a standard in the mid-80’s and requires SMTP to send messages. The newer version, POP3, can be used with or without SMTP. The newest and most widely used version of POP email is POP3 email. You will see the term POP3 in most of the web hosting plans available today.
Many hosting providers allow you to be a reseller of hosting space earning a commission off of each sale. If you intend to be a provider of hosting services, you should investigate this option as you decide where to host your web site. Many hosting companies offer discounts (in addition to revenue opportunities) to companies that wish to remarket their web hosting services.
Some hosting companies charge a one time setup fee to set up your hosting account. It is worth to also take this into account when looking at the monthly fee. If you select the ‘No Setup Fee’ checkbox in the search then any plans that involve a setup fee will not be found.
A computer, or software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW or HTTP server, or to the machine on which the software is running. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. More specifically, a server is a computer that manages and shares network resources.
The most basic of Web hosting types. With shared hosting, numerous Web sites are shared on one server. While an economic solution, they typically cannot handle large amounts of storage or traffic.
Something experienced computer users often request. Permits you to edit your files online in real-time, rather than making changes to your site offline and then uploading the changes. Unless you intend to manage the web server your site runs on, a shell account should not be needed.
A program designed to handle the e-commerce section of a Web site. Shopping cart software lets users browse for and purchase products online.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet. Most Internet email is sent and received using SMTP. SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact.
Server Side Includes (SSI)
Commands that can be included in web pages that are processed by the web server when a user requests a file. The command takes the form . A common use for SSI commands is to insert a universal menu into all of the pages of the web site so that the menu only has to be changed once and inserted with SSI instead of changing the menu on every page.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. It is used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers and web servers. URL’s that begin with “https” indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity. In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate, which each side’s software sends to the other. Each side then encrypts what it sends using information from both its own and the other side’s Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can decrypt it, and that the other side can be sure the data came from the place it claims to have come from, and that the message has not been tampered with.
Many hosting companies run software on their web servers that collect usage information about your web site and compile it in a user-friendly, easy-to-read format for you to analyze trends about your web site. Having access to statistics is critical if you need to know how many visitors are coming to your site, which web pages receive the most attention, and how much time people actually spend browsing your site.
Typically known as a “domain within a domain”, subdomains are individual Web addresses built upon a pre-existing domain name (such as clientname.yourhostingcompany.com). As a reseller, you will have the option of assigning subdomains to clients if they do not choose to have a domain name.
A popular and inexpensive way to back up Web sites. Contents of a site are periodically stored that looks similar to a cassette. Some cassettes can store several gigabytes.
A computer operating system designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.
Unique IP Address
In many hosting plans, you share an IP address and you will be able to view your site through your domain name only. Obtaining a unique IP address (see IP Address) provides a one-to-one relationship between your domain name (www.yourname.com) and an IP address.
The process of providing video data or content via a web page.
A web server which shares its resources with multiple users. It’s another way of saying that multiple web sites share the resources of one server. If you do not need your own web server (i.e. your own server class computer), you will use a virtual server to host your web site.