A Small Orange Educational Content

Hosting Terminology Glossary

Web hosting, like any other industry, has its own vocabulary. From keywords to key applications, these terms make it easier for web hosting professionals to communicate with each other and their customers. By brushing up on the glossary below, you'll be able to converse with technical support teams and hosting providers with ease.

Administrator: An account that is created to give a user complete control of a server.

Apache: A free, open source web hosting software that runs on the Linux operating system. See LAMP.

Application Infrastructure: A set of software platforms that allows users of a web host to install and run a broad range of popular applications, such as WordPress.

Bandwidth: The measure of how much data can be sent over a given Internet connection in a defined period of time, i.e., 10 Megabytes Per Second. Web hosting providers often cap how much bandwidth any one account can use, to prevent overloading resources.

The Cloud: A term used to describe the resources made available through cloud computing, a method of setting up servers that allows them to be used as if they were a utility, providing disk space, processing power, and memory as needed. Web hosting companies use cloud computing to offer many of their services.

CMS: An acronym for Content Management System, a database-driven application that is used to create dynamic web sites. One of the most popular CMSs is WordPress.

cPanel: A web hosting control panel that allows administrators and website owners to control web servers and websites.

Cron Job: A cron is a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like operating systems, including Linux. A cron job is a specific task, such as backing up a server, performed on a regular basis.

CSS: An acronym for Cascading Style Sheets, CSS is a style sheet language that allows users to store design and layout information, such as column width, colors, and graphics, separately from site content. Used by CMS like WordPress to deliver an attractive, easy to use web site solution.

Dedicated Server: A server is a computer that hosts web pages and other documents that can be accessed over the Internet. A dedicated server is a server that is reserved for a single user, who is responsible for all of its operations.

DDoS: An acronym for Distributed Denial of Service, a method of bringing down web servers by repeatedly requesting information from them.

Domain: A nickname for a web site that points to an IP address. Most domain names have two parts: the top-level domain and the second-level domain. A top-level domain is the part that is used by many, many websites, such as .com and .org. The second-level, or sub, domain is distinct.

Firewall: A method of protecting a server or web applications by controlling which users can access particular files and servers. Web hosting companies use firewalls to protect web applications from being infiltrated by hackers.

FTP: An acronym for File Transfer Protocol. Used to transfer files from computer to server, and from server to server.

HTML: An acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language, which is the language used to create web pages.

HTTP: An acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, which is the way web site information is delivered from servers to your browser.

Hybrid Server: Hybrid servers are cloud-based VPSs that offer much of the flexibility of a dedicated server, but without the work of installing and maintaining an operating system and applications.

IP: An acronym for Internet Protocol. An IP address is an address that points to a single computer, or server.

LAMP: an acronym used to describe a set of open source software used by many people and businesses to save money and to prevent platform lock-in. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP.

Linux: A free, open source operating system that is widely used by web servers. See LAMP.

Load Balancing: A method of distributing server workload across many servers, thus reducing the demand placed on any one computer. Load balancing methods are used to reduce the likelihood of a system crash.

Managed Server: A managed server is a server that is maintained by the web hosting company that owns or leases it. For more details on which services are provided, see the terms of service

MySQL: A free, open source relational database management system that is widely used by web sites. Content management systems, such as WordPress, rely on MySQL for their underlying structure. See LAMP.

Name Server: A name server is a server that translates domain names into IP addresses. Name servers are essential for web sites to operate.

PHP: A free scripting language that is used for web development to create dynamic pages. See LAMP.

Reseller: A reseller is a person who purchases web hosting services and then resells them to others.

Root: In UNIX-like systems, the root user is the user who has access to all account information.

Scalability: The ability to easily and flexibly increase a website's storage space, processing power, memory, and bandwidth in order to meet demand.

Service Level Agreement: An agreement between a service provider, in this case a web host, and a customer over the specific level of service provided. In many cases, SLAs will include guaranteed uptime, and customer support.

Shared Hosting: The least expensive form of hosting, where hundreds of websites share the disk space, processing power, memory, and bandwidth of a single server.

SSH: An acronym for Secure Shell, a protocol used to securely access a server over a remote connection, which is essential for server maintenance.

SSL: An acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, which is an interface between two protocols (HTTP and TCP) that allows computers to communicate more securely on the Internet via web browsers. SSL is most commonly used for the transmission of financial information.

TCP: An acronym for Transmission Control Protocol, which, along with IP, is crucial to how web browsers connect to the Internet.

Uptime: In order for a website to work, it needs to be up and running. A hosting company ensures that their servers have sufficient power, and have strong connections to the Internet. Hosting companies refer to the percentage of time their servers are running as uptime.

VPS: A Virtual Private Server uses a "virtual" operating system, similar to those programs that allow you to run Windows on a Mac, to allocate not just hard drive space and bandwidth, but also memory to an individual web user.

Web Hosting: The provision of computers, or servers, that store the files necessary for web sites to operate.

Web Site: a series of connected documents that is associated with a single IP address and domain name.

WordPress: One of the most popular CMSs currently used on the Internet. Although WordPress was initially designed for blogs, it now powers almost twenty percent of all web sites.

Next: Green Hosting