Complete Glossary of Web Hosting Terms
Web hosting is quite simple and straightforward. You just need to contact a web hosting company and get an appropriate plan for your website depending on what you need. Even if you are not sure, someone at the hosting company will be able to suggest an appropriate plan for you.
However, if you don’t have a technical background, understanding some of the terms might be a challenge. You should know some basic terms while purchasing the hosting service as well as when the website is up and running.
.htaccess or hypertext access is a configuration file. It is used with Apache servers to carry out tasks such as creating file permissions, blocking certain websites, and improving SEO.
An addon domain is a fully functional domain that can be created from within the control panel. All functionalities of the primary domain such as creating a website or email addresses can be performed on the addon domain, too. The addon domain is an independent domain with no reference to the primary domain. Only, the files of both domains share the same control panel and server.
Apache Web Server
Apache Web Server is a free, open-source web server. The server has plenty of useful features and is popular among web hosting service providers. It is also a very stable server platform. The server delivers the content to users over their web browsers.
b2evolution is a content management platform that supports multiple users and multiple languages. It is an open-source platform created in PHP. The backend has a database in MySQL. It is an efficient platform for managing blogs.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer at any point on your account. The data transfer occurs every time an action takes place such as a website visit, sending or receiving an email, downloading or uploading a file, etc.
A Blog is a website that is regularly updated with content known as posts. Individuals or groups of people update this content. The content is usually in an informal style and is displayed in reverse chronological order.
The bounce rate determines the number of visitors who come to the website but leave it within a short time without taking any action on the website. A low bounce rate indicates that a high number of visitors leave the website quickly without taking any action. This can happen when the users don’t find what they are looking for on a website or if the browsing experience is poor.
Catch-all is an email address that will catch all emails sent to a domain. This includes emails sent to addresses on the domain that haven’t been set up. Thus, catch-all also catches emails in which the recipient’s address is misspelt.
Cloud hosting is a type of hosting where multiple servers store data in the cloud. A website hosted on cloud hosting will be able to use resources from different servers as and when needed. It is an affordable hosting type that can quickly ramp up or ramp down resources as required by the website.
A cloudlet is an extension to the cloud computing infrastructure to provide efficient computing resources to mobile applications. It is a small-scale datacentre located on the loud that provides a low response time to interactive applications.
Content Management System (CMS)
It is a backend system used to manage content on a website. The CMS provides formatting options to make the content look more presentable when it is posted on the website. You can even add themes through CMS. You can edit and update the posted content easily through CMS at any time. Examples of popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, etc.
The control panel is a central hub to manage the web hosting account. It is provided by the web hosting company to manage your hosting account and website. You can add domains, subdomains, and new web pages through the control panel. You can also add email addresses, install server applications, and manage databases.
Country Code TLD
Country Code TLD (Top Level Domain) is a two-letter code for a website specific to a country. For example, ‘.uk’ is used for the United Kingdom and ‘.nl’ is used for New Zealand.
cPanel is the control panel that is used with Linux operating system. It contains all the tools for website management including a graphical interface and automation tools.
A database is a system to store data in an organised manner. The data is stored systematically in rows and columns so that accessing the data at any point becomes easy.
A datacentre is a physical infrastructure for computer networks and servers. The datacentres for a single company can be located at different locations and house the company’s IT infrastructure.
Denial of Service Attack (DDOS) is a cyber-attack where the Trojan virus infects various systems in a network and is targeted at disabling a single system thus making the network resources unavailable for service.
When you get dedicated hosting, you get complete control of the server on which the website is hosted. You rent the server and can use all the resources that come with it.
A dedicated IP is an IP given exclusively to a hosting account and is used by the website hosted by that account. A dedicated IP is needed when you want to install an SSL certificate for added security.
The amount of storage space connected with the hosting account is known as disk space. It is used for storing images, emails, web pages, databases, etc. Thus, depending on the requirement, a hosting plan with adequate disk space needs to be chosen.
DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)
DKIM is a process that matches the email id with the mentioned sender and checks whether the email id has changed in transit. When a sender sends an email, a digital signature is associated with the email. DKIM checks the public key of the digital signature against the actual signature on the email message.
A domain alias is an alternate domain name. An alias for the main domain name can be used to direct users to the same website, thus enabling website owners to use multiple domain names for the same website.
Domain parking is primarily done to reserve a domain name that you wish to use. A website with the same domain name is not necessarily launched right away. However, business owners can ‘park’ the domain name for future use.
Domain Privacy is a service through which users can protect their private information when they register a domain. Privacy is an add-on feature that you need to buy at the time of registering the domain with the Domain Registrar.
A Domain Registrar is a company that lets you register the purchased domain names. When you register the domain name, you also get the desired domain name extensions such as .co.uk, .net, .org, etc.
DNS (Domain Name Server)
Users can identify a website using its domain name. However, the computer only understands the IP address. DNS bridges this gap by translating the domain name or hostname into the IP address. It maintains a database of domain names and hostnames with their corresponding IP address. The DNS process acts as an interface between the user and the computer.
Drupal is a content management system. It is free for use and can be customised according to user needs. It supports media content and can be used to publish content on a website. It can be used by multiple users to upload content to a website. It is a PHP-based open-source system.
It is a hosting platform that facilitates setting up an online store. It is easy to use and includes optimised web servers so that setting up and managing an online store becomes convenient.
An email hosting service enables you to create email IDs on the domain name that you have registered.
Email Auto Responder
By using Email Auto Responder, you can send automatic email messages from a specific email ID when you receive emails. The senders can be notified if you are out of the office or on a vacation. It can also be used to send acknowledgement emails to senders to let them know that their email message has been received and will be actioned upon. You can draft the automatic response before setting up Email Auto Responder.
An error page notifies website visitors if there is an error when they try to access a web page. The error page is displayed when there is an error related to the server or when the page a visitor is trying to access is not available.
Fantastico is a script library that can be accessed from the cPanel. It can be used to instal required web applications such as WordPress or Drupal.
File Permission is a set of access levels that can be associated with a particular user account. It can be used to provide complete access to the file or read-only access.
A forum is an online community that can be accessed by multiple users. These users can read the content on the forum and can also contribute to it. You can create a forum associated with your website.
Google Analytics is a platform provided by Google that can be used to track certain metrics for a website. These metrics are related to the traffic to the website. The platform offers both free and paid services.
Google webmaster is a tool is used for increasing the visibility of your website. Another name for this tool is Google Search Console. It is a free service and can be used to check how the web pages are indexed so that actions can be taken to optimise the pages and improve rankings.
Green hosting is a web hosting service that uses eco-friendly energy resources wherever possible. For example, it could use renewable energy resources to power the servers or could carry out tree plantation drives to offset the power consumption.
A Guestbook is a web page in a website that is used to collect feedback and reviews from website visitors.
Hack Alert Monitoring
Hack Alert Monitoring is a service that monitors your website for any threat from hackers. It alerts you if the website has been hacked or if a malicious code is found.
If a system has High Availability, it indicates that the system uptime is higher than normal. It also indicates that the system can run for longer periods of time without any issues.
Horizontal scaling refers to creating a wider network to keep pace with increasing website traffic. This could involve adding more machines to the system or adding more nodes.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
HTML is a language used to create web pages. The HTML code is converted into a readable web page by the web browser.
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
HTTP is the base of the world wide web. It is used to transfer text, images, videos, etc. over the internet.
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
ICANN is an organization that tracks and manages the unique identification number associated with each computer. This number can be used to facilitate communication between two or more computers.
Internet Protocol (IP) Address is a code comprising numbers and dots that is used to identify a computer device connected to the internet.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
IMAP is a process for retrieving an email message from the copy of the original email message that is saved inside the server. Users who work with multiple computers use this process for email tracking and retrieval.
Joomla is an open-source content management tool. It can be used to manage content on websites and blogs. It also has a CRM that connects the website to a database to manage the content conveniently.
Linux server is a server that is powered by Linux, an open-source operating system.
When there are multiple servers in a system, the load balancer distributes the traffic as well as resources over different servers. This does not put the load on one particular server causing it to crash. It improves the overall reliability of the system.
When you choose Managed Hosting, the company offering the hosting manages the hosting account on your behalf. All the software upgrades, admin tasks, etc. are managed by the company. Managed Hosting is ideal for those users who do not have the technical resources to manage the hosting.
Malware is malicious software that can harm or completely disable a website, computer, or network.
Mailing lists are lists of email addresses of recipients to whom you want to send common emails. Emails can be sent to the entire mailing list in one go.
MySQL is an open-source database that can be used to store, manage, and retrieve information as and when required. MySQL is compatible with various applications including some which you can install on your website making it easy to save/retrieve data from the website as needed.
MX Record (Mail Exchange Record)
MX Record is stored within the DNS system. It directs email to a mail server and indicates how email messages should be routed.
Office 365 is a subscription-based platform from Microsoft. It provides Office apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. on devices as well as over the internet. It also provides cloud storage known as OneDrive and other productivity software. All of this can be used both on Windows and macOS operating systems.
On-Page optimisation is a set of activities that are carried out on the web pages and their HTML source code in order to help the website rank higher on the search engine results page.
osCommerce is a free, open-source platform that can be used to set up and manage e-commerce stores.
When the web hosting company attempts to sell more than what they can deliver, it is known as overselling. When the hosting company oversells, the website might not work well because it might not get the adequate resources as promised (and required). It is an unethical practice.
Perl (Practical Extraction Reporting Language)
It is a popular web development language. Perl usually refers to the language Perl 5 and Raku (previously known as Perl 6).
PHP is a scripting language that can be embedded into the HTML code. It is used in dynamic websites.
It is an open-source platform that is used to perform different tasks such as creating and modifying databases, modifying and deleting tables and fields, running SQL queries to retrieve information, and managing user access permissions for the data.
Plesk is a control panel used to manage a web hosting account and its applications. It is available for both Windows and Linux.
POP (Post Office Protocol)
POP is used to authenticate email messages. It can be used with mail client apps such as Microsoft Outlook. It works by retrieving an email from the mail server to authenticate it.
RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)
It is a technique to store the same data in different places on multiple hard disks or solid-state drives. It ensures that the data can still be retrieved even if one drive fails.
Raw Log Files
Raw log files are text files that can be accessed through the cPanel. They have complete server logs. These logs can be used for debugging if there is a server issue. They can also be used for processing any third-party services on the server.
In this type of hosting, the Reseller buys hosting from a web hosting company and resells server space to multiple clients according to their needs. Each client gets their individual cPanel access.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is a set of activities carried out to improve the ranking of the website on the search engine results page. This includes optimising the web page content and also the HTML code.
SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol)
It is a network protocol for secure file transfer. It provides file transfer, file access, and file management over a reliable data stream. It uses a secure, single connection for file transfer.
Shared hosting is an economical form of hosting where multiple users host their websites on the same server. Depending on the hosting plan purchased, each user has limited access to the server resources.
It is a website security service that monitors the websites and prevents or detects security threats. It checks for malware or hacking attacks by monitoring the web pages on a daily basis.
A sitemap is the list of all web pages that are available within a website for users as well as for search engine crawlers. When you generate a Sitemap, you essentially inform all the search engines of the website content available.
Site Access Reports
Site Access reports are generated from the raw access log files. These reports turn the information in the raw log file into graphical representations that can be easily understood by the users.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
SMTP is a set of guidelines for sending email over the internet. SMTP helps send messages from one computer to another using email addresses.
Softaculous is a commercially available script library. It allows users to automatically install web applications. It is used to instal open-source software and takes care of installation, backup, and upgrade of all software automatically. It can be easily integrated with control panels such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, etc.
Spam refers to unsolicited email messages that are sent in bulk. Spam messages are sent from unlawful or unethical sources. They might contain links to other unethical or illegal websites or may contain malware.
A spam filter identifies spam emails and labels them as spam and puts them in a separate folder. It uses various statistical and analytical tools to detect spam emails by checking the subject line, sender email id, and the body of the email.
SSH (Secure Socket Shell)
It is a secure file transfer method. It also allows remote access to a computer.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
SSL is a secure encryption service for online transactions. When a website has an SSL certificate, the website address starts with ‘https’ as opposed to ‘http’. For e-commerce websites or other websites that accept payments from customers, an SSL certificate is required.
SSI (Server Side Includes)
SSI is a server-side scripting language that allows web developers to add HTML content from different files on web pages. It is usually used to include common content such as headers and footers on multiple web pages in a website.
A subdomain is a website domain that is part of the main domain. This website can have content of its own, independent of the main website. The website associated with the subdomain can be accessed from the website on the main domain or it can be accessed individually by entering the URL in the web browser.
(TLD) Top Level Domain
The TLD is indicated by the part of the URL towards the end of the domain name, after the dot. Common TLDs include .com, .net, .org, etc. Country-specific TLDs are also available such as .co.uk for UK, .co.in for India, .jp for Japan, etc.
When a website grows, it is common to maintain more than one environment to cope with the increasing demands on resources. In such cases, a traffic distributer routes the traffic in such a way that it becomes easy to manage requests without any failures.
Unlimited Hosting is a hosting plan or package that provides unlimited hosting resources such as storage space and bandwidth. However, you should always check the terms and conditions of an unlimited hosting plan to understand exactly what is being offered.
Uptime refers to the time when the server is up and running as desired, without any interruptions. This means that the website can be accessed without any issues by the users during the uptime. A web hosting service with an uptime of at least 99.95% should be preferred.
Vertical scaling refers to increasing the capacity of an existing server by adding resources to it. For example, more processing speed can be added as part of vertical scaling to enable the server to run faster.
A Virtual Datacenter refers to a system made up of cloud infrastructure resources such as memory, network, storage, backup solutions, etc.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server and refers to a server that is partitioned virtually. Each partition has its own set of dedicated resources. For those who want the benefits of a dedicated server at an economical cost, VPS hosting is an ideal solution.
A web browser is an application to display a webpage in a readable format. It decodes HTML from the webserver for displaying the webpage. Examples of commonly used web browsers include Safari, Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
Webmail is a service for accessing emails. Webmail is available in the cPanel where you can log in to send and receive emails without having to use third-party software.
Website backup involves taking the data backup of a website. If the website is compromised at any point due to accidental deletion of files, hacking, malware attack, etc., the backed-up data can be used to restore the website.
The process via which a website is moved from one hosting service to another is known as website migration. It transfers all files from one host to another. During the time when website migration is in progress, the website is not available for users.
Web hosting is a platform where your website is hosted. Web hosting needs to be purchased from the hosting company so that the website can be made live. The appropriate hosting plan needs to be chosen according to the requirement. Along with web hosting, the hosting company also provides helpdesk services for support.
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for creating websites and blogs. It is an easy-to-use platform and has plenty of themes to choose from. It has a content management system to make it easy to upload new content.
It is a platform that enables setting up and managing an online store. It supports multiple languages and multiple currencies helping you tart a global e-commerce business.
Zimbra is an open-source email platform. It provides email services along with calendar services and business applications. It also allows users to share information and collaborate via a private cloud.