Web-Hosting Glossary & Terms

Web-Hosting Terms & Phrases

Dedicated hosting – A dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) is a unique Internet address dedicated exclusively to a single hosting account.

Linux Server – A server that uses Linux, a stable, free and open-source operating system used by most shared and free web hosts.
Reseller Hosting – This is a type of hosting that’s sold to an individual or business so they can break the hosting into smaller pieces to sell individually.

Server – A computer that’s always connected to the internet that delivers information to other computers also connected to the internet. Your website will likely reside on a server that is owned by your web host.

Shared hosting – Where a website account resides on a server that is shared with other accounts. System resources are shared between all accounts. Most personal and business sites can use shared hosting without exceeding system specifications.

VPS Hosting – Virtual Private Server.  This is a server that is partitioned with each section acting as its own server. Typically this is less expensive than a dedicated server but has more flexibility and functionality than a shared plan

Windows Server – A server that uses Windows as the operating system. This type of plan is typically more expensive but necessary to accommodate specific applications.  It is an alternative to Linux hosting but less popular.

Choosing a Plan

Add on Domain – A separate web site that is included in your account sharing the resources of whatever plan you are on.  You can use your web-host to host multiple domains using an add on domain.

Bandwidth – The amount of data transfer that is used on your account. This occurs every time someone visits or uses your site, an email is sent or received or files are uploaded and downloaded from your hosting.

Dedicated IP – An IP address that is used solely by your website. This is necessary if using SSL to accept payment via your website.  Otherwise, you will share the same IP address as other clients.

Disk Space – The amount of space allocated to you on the server to store files.  This determines how many files your web-host can store.
Parked Domain – A separate domain that points to your existing account. Often people purchase the .com and .net versions of their domain. If you use either one the same information will be displayed.  In other words, parked domains are additional domains hosted on your account which display the same website as your primary domain.

SSL – Secure Socket Layer, a means of encryption commonly used for Ecommerce sites so accepting credit cards is secure. You will see “https://” in the address bar when you are using a secure page.

Uptime – The amount of time the server is uninterrupted and your website is accessible. This is typically shown as a percentage. You want a high uptime (99% and above) so as not to disrupt your website.  Outages are bad.

Setting Up Your Site

.htaccess – Allows you to set parameters on specific files. It is most often used for permissions to determine what access is allowed to a particular file

FTP – File Transfer Protocol, a means of uploading and downloading files. Most hosts allow this with some having added feature availability such as anonymous FTP and the ability to assign accounts so others can transfer files to their web-host.

SSH – Secure Shell, a means of file transfer. Many shared hosts will not allow this type of file transfer

WordPress-  WordPress is the simplest, most popular way to create your own website or blog. In fact, WordPress powers over 34% of all the websites on the Internet. Yes – more than one in four websites that you visit are likely powered by WordPress.

E-mail Terms

Auto Responder – A way to automatically send an email in response to one received. Often used for “away” messages such as when on vacation and typical response times may be delayed

Catch All – An email address that will receive any email that is sent to your account without an already assigned email address.   If you set up a catch-all e-mail, then “[random-text]@your-domain” will still forward to your e-mail.

IMAP – Internet Message Access Protocol is a way to retrieve mail. It leaves a copy on the server until deleted permanently. Convenient for people who use multiple computers and email clients such as at work and home.

Mailing List – Allows you to mail a group of people at once. Often used by businesses for news updates to clients or for non-profit organization who want to keep donors or supporters in the loop.  There are different ways to set up a mailing list, but most e-mail marketing programs will let you manage subscribers, send e-mails, and track results.

Pop 3 – This is an email protocol that allows you to retrieve emails from the server.  Using an e-mail client such as Gmail, Thunderbird, or Outlook, you can set up this e-mail client to pull the messages from your host.

SMTP – An email protocol allowing you to send emails. Most web hosts allow you to use the server to send email. However, some ISP’s require you to use their servers to send email when using their service as opposed to your web host

Spam – Unsolicited bulk mail typically used to attempt to sell services or products. Many hosts will provide a way to control spam automatically.

Webmail – A way to send and receive email via the Internet without the need for a separate email software.  This allows you to send/receive e-mail directly through your web-browser.

Web-Hosting Features

Blog – A web site or portion of a web site that has individual entries of various types. Typical blog posts include links, news about one’s site, commentary on the world, pictures, video and more. Blogs are also used as a tool to drive business to one’s site as blog posts are given greater weight by search engines.

CMS – Short for Content Management System. CMS is a way of organizing and managing the content of a website easier so it is displayed professionally but easy to modify.  If you have a CMS in place, it’ll make it easier for you to update your website.  The most popular CMS is WordPress.

Control Panel – The control panel is the central hub for a web hosting account. This is where the user modifies and controls all aspects of their web hosting such as adding new domains and sub domains, uploading web pages and installing server applications.  You can also set up e-mails, monitor traffic, and run scripts.

Error Pages – An error page may come up when a person attempts to access a web page that is either unavailable due to a server issue or attempting to access an unregistered domain.

Softaculous – A commercial script library that lets you install applications that can help you grow your business or organization.  For example, it lets you easily install blogging software, wikis, ad management tools, image galleries, blogging platforms, e-commerce, and project management applications.

Forum – A web based message board or discussion site where users can post questions or problems and receive answers from other users or the host of the board.

Language Support – The types of programming languages that will work with your hosting account. You should make sure you have (and most do) PHP and Perl at a minimum

MySQL – A database system that is often included in hosting packages. It is commonly used with a variety of applications
WordPress – The most popular blogging software available. It is free, open source software that is extremely customizable and is often used as a CMS.  This can be installed easily using Softaculous.