Glossary of Hosting Terms

A top-level domain name generally used by commercial companies

The unique name by which a website is identified. A more common term is the URL, which means Uniformed Resource Locator

Apache is a HTTP web server that is freely available on open source licensing. (Open source means the coding can be shared). It is the most popular server used on the internet, with around a 60% share. It is usually run on Unix systems such as BSD or Linux but is also used by Windows. It has many features and add-ons, with its main rival being IIS by Microsoft.

Large files where important data is stored. They are often compressed to free up disk space.

ASP stands for Active Server Pages. This is server-side script developed by Microsoft and allows users to create interactive and dynamic web pages. It is generally written in VBScript or Jscript and is distributed with the IIS server by Microsoft. Pages have the extension. .asp. ASP.NET is the newer version of ASP.

High-speed network connection that carries data. Operated by major telecommunication companies.

The amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another over the internet in a fixed period of time. Usually measured in bps (bits per second) or Mbps (millions of bits per second). 56k modems deliver around 56,000 bps with T1 lines transferring 1.5Mbps.

Automated software used to crawl the web or chat rooms.

Programming language used to develop server programs that run after compilation. Not specifically designed for web programming but useful, nonetheless. Uses a combination of both high and low level programming languages.

Cascading style sheets (CSS)
Style sheet language determining how browsers display web pages. Used for formatting web pages.

Digital Identification used in ecommerce for Secure Socket Layer or SSL transactions. Data contained within includes owners name, issuer, hostname, expiry date and owner’s public key.

Common Gateway Interface. Standard protocol for interfacing web servers with external application software. Written in programming language such as Perl, or C++ and usually stored in a special directory, such as CGI-BIN. Is often used to process data from HTML formatted forms.

The directory used to store CGI scripts.

Connecting a group of computers so they appear as one, increasing performance and reliability.

Co-location (colo)
Where a web server is stored in a special facility such as a data center that provides a high-speed internet connection, security and safety measures, backup and technical support. The client manages both hardware and software.

Cobalt RaQ
A server appliance developed by cobalt, specifically for web hosting companies. The newer versions are Linux based and have easy-to-use interfaces. They have no features but provide pre-installed programs and cobalt support.

A scripting language used on the server-side. It was developed by Allaire and comes with ColdFusion studio, which is a visual IDE.

Control Panel
Provided with web hosting applications and is an administration software application allowing users to mange their accounts and features such as web stats, shopping carts, and databases as well as editing or uploading information to the website.

The Central Processing Unit of a computer.

Data Transfer
A term used in web hosting to describe the amount of information that can be exchanged in a monthly period. Websites that contain large images, media files or high levels of traffic will require large amounts of data transfer allowances.

An application that stores information in a structured format. One of the most common is a relational database. The most frequently used language for database query retrieval is SQL. MySQL is used with Linux hosts while MS SQL or Access is used with Windows servers.

Dedicated Server
Similar to the co-location set up except that the server is rented from the web hosting provider. Advantages include a higher level of support and easier upgrades. A dedicated server is necessary for sites that use copious amounts of bandwidth and resources.

Domain Name System. A service used by the internet to map domains with the corresponding IP addresses. The database is replicated and distributed among many servers meaning any changes to a website’s IP address will take several days to come into effect.

Domain Name
The name given to a website as chosen by the owner. It is translated by DNS into a unique IP address. Domain names are given a hierarchal structure, with the suffix denoting the top level domain, such as .com, .gov, or .org.

A software application used to protect a network or system from unauthorized access or attack.

FrontPage Extensions
A server-side application developed by Microsoft for use with the FrontPage web creation tool. It allows the integration of web-bots, which perform a specific function such as adding a stat counter or full-text website searching. They are also available for Unix based operating systems.

File Transfer Protocol. An internet protocol system, determining how files should be shared between clients and servers.

Graphics Interchange Format. A file format used mainly for internet and web use. Developed by CompuServe, it uses a compression method whereby no data is lost, thus retaining image quality.

Gigabyte (GB)
Computing measurement totalling 1024 megabytes.

A term used to describe a request from a web browser. The data sent in response to the query is a file in either text or binary form, such as audio, images, video, etc.

Home Page
The main page of a website, which is the first page displayed when visiting a particular domain.

A computer in a network used to provide a specific service. The term generally refers to a machine that stores the data from individual websites and used as a web server.

Hypertext Mark-up Language. The programming language in which web pages are written. Text and images can be combined on a single page with many formatting options available. One of the main features is hypertext, which allows links between web pages. Clicking on any hypertext link will take the user to another webpage.

Image Map
An image on a website that has different areas marked as hyperlinks. Separate areas of the image will redirect the user to different web pages if clicked on.

Internet Message Access Protocol. A method that permits an email program on the client-side to access messages remotely, which are stored on a mail server. The protocol allows creation, deletion, searching and parsing of emails as well as renaming mailboxes, checking for messages, and clearing or setting flags.

An organization handling the registration of domain names.

A private network used in companies or organizations. Access is limited to only those given authorization to view the content. Similar to the internet but much smaller and usually only containing information relating to that particular company’s business.

Internet Protocol.The etiquette and code of behavior used on the internet.

IP Address
Internet Protocol Address. A unique set of numbers that identify devices connected to the internet.

A programming language created by Sun. An object-oriented language, which is used to write browser applets, servlets, or independent programs. Learn more here.

A client-side programming language, which was developed by Netscape and Sun. It can be embedded within HTML web pages to make them interactive. Not to be confused with Java, which is an entirely different programming language.

Joint Photographic Experts Group. A format used in image compression used on the internet. Uses a technique called lossy compression, meaning the image quality can be lowered.

Java Server Pages. An extension of java servlet, used for combining HTML with Java programs. Pages created in this language have the extension .jsp.

Kilobits per second. 1Kbps = 1024bps

1024 bytes

Local Area Network
A fast network of devices such as PCs and printers. Usually contained within a small area such as an office.

An Open Source operating system similar to UNIX.

MegaBytes per second. 1MB = 1,048,576 bytes

Megabits (Mb) per second 1Mb = 1,048,576 bits

1MB = 1024 KB = 1,048,576 bytes

MegaHertz = 1.000.000 hertz

Miva Merchant
A browser based storefront management system used in ecommerce.

Motion Picture Experts Group. A video compression format used for video files.

An Open Source relational database.

OC-1, OC-3, OC-12, OC-24, OC-48
Optical carrier transmission speeds, matching SONET standards. Utilised in networks containg fiber-optic cables. OC-1 is equivalent to 51.85 Mbps. Increases in multiples.

Operating System
The software program used to run programs, provide user interfaces, and manage hardware and resources on a computer. Popular operating systems include Windows, MacOS and UNIX based systems such as Linux.

An Open Source programming language.

An Open Source scripting language used in server-side applications. Can be embedded into HTML coding. File extensions end in .php or .php3

Post Office Protocol. A standard used for email retrieval. Downloads all messages simultaneously. The current version is called POP3.

A socket located on a computer or network device, which connects it to the network.

Redundant Array of Independent (or inexpensive) Disks. A type of disk, frequently used on servers and involves several disks combined to form an array, giving higher speeds and improved fault tolerance.

Raw Logs
Raw access data, which can be updated in real-time and downloaded to be used by various statistics applications.

A computer, connected to a network that stores websites and deals with client requests for web pages.

Setup Fee
The initial cost of setting up a web hosting account, charged by the provider.

Shopping cart
Ecommerce software that allows users to select items from an online store. Items are held in the cart until the customer is ready to go through checkout.

Structured Query Language. A programming language used with relational databases.

Secure Shell. Industry standard used to encrypt terminal internet connections. Developed by SSH Communications Security and is extremely secure.

Server-side includes. Gives instruction to the server to include dynamic data within a web page before being transmitted to a client. The data can include information such as the date or an opinion poll, etc. Some web hosts require pages to have a .shtml extension.

Secure Sockets Layer. Internet standard created by Netscape, which provides encryption for ecommerce transactions to enable security while being transmitted.

Static or Dedicated IP
A static IP address means your unique set of numbers will remain unchanged.

A dedicated telecoms line providing 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth. It contains 24 individual channels, each of which is 64 Kbps. Can be configured for data or voice transmission. Businesses that need a dedicated internet connection can lease T1 lines from telecommunication providers. More reliable than DSL and faster than ISDN, however, they are quite expensive.

A dedicated telecommunications line similar to T1 but providing just 44 Mbps of bandwidth. This type of line is commonly used by ISPs to connect with the internet backbone.

Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. The defacto standard for the Internet.

A character-based protocol used to connect with remote systems. It is still frequently used by web hosts but is in the process of being replaced by the much securer SSH access.

Terabyte (TB)
1024 Gigabytes

Family of multi-user Operating Systems. It was created by AT&T Bell in the 70s before being licensed to universities. A basis for Linux, one of the most popular operating systems today.

Uninterruptible Power Supply. UPS will keep equipment running on a battery if there is a power outage. This allows time for proper shutdown without any data being lost. It also protects from voltage spikes or drops.

Uniform Resource Locator. The addressing system used on the web. It contains the type of service, or protocol, followed by the host name, followed by the file extension.

A format used for audio files. Does not allow for compression techniques, therefore files can be extremely large.

A compression tool used for files and folders.