16.8 C
New York
Sunday, June 16, 2024

Web Hosting Glossary for Hosting Terms to Know


There are many technical terms you’ll encounter when shopping for a web host. If it’s your first time looking, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by all of the terminology, which is why we’ve created this web hosting glossary.

Backup

A backup is a copy of your website saved somewhere other than the main server where it is hosted. Most web hosts offer automated daily or weekly backups, either bundled into their hosting plans or as an add-on. You can also manually create backups via cPanel or a plugin/site extension and download them to your computer and/or a cloud storage tool like Google Drive.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth measures how much data your server can transfer to visitors’ browsers in a set period, typically expressed in gigabits per second or Gbps. Bandwidth determines how many visitors can visit your site simultaneously before it slows down. Many web hosts offer unlimited or unmetered bandwidth.

Unlimited bandwidth means that your bandwidth usage isn’t actively restricted. It’s impossible to have truly unlimited bandwidth because it’s a speed measurement. The server’s capabilities will inherently limit your bandwidth and there may be other limits defined in the terms of service.

Unmetered bandwidth means that data being uploaded or downloaded isn’t actively measured and doesn’t count against your bandwidth. Instead, bandwidth limitations are determined by the server’s speed. Companies always do some level of bandwidth tracking and there’s often a hidden upper limit; it’s just so high that most companies won’t exceed it.

Brute force attack protection

A brute force attack is a method of hacking that involves attempting to gain access to a computer or website by submitting numerous login attempts in quick succession. Many hackers use programs to execute brute force attacks, submitting thousands of login credential variations within minutes.

Some web hosts’ firewalls or other security protocols provide brute force attack protection by automatically rejecting users who attempt to log in several times in a row. Firewalls aren’t always capable of preventing brute force attacks, so taking other measures like using a plugin to limit login attempts is important.

Caching

Caching improves site loading times by saving static information, like a site’s overall design, in a data storage layer called a cache. These storage layers operate at the speed of the core processing unit — CPU — of either the web server or the visitor’s computer, which is usually faster than the RAM.

There are two main types of caching for websites: server caching and browser caching. Server caching creates a file on your site’s server that can be sent to browsers without needing to be compiled first, improving loading times for all visitors. Browser caching improves loading times for repeat visitors by storing data in their browsers so the browsers don’t need to pull it from the server.

Content delivery network

A CDN is a group of interconnected servers that cache website files in many different locations. When visitors access your site, the content delivery network pulls cached data from the server closest to them, thereby improving website loading times. Many web hosting plans include this service, but you can buy a separate CDN if your host doesn’t offer it.

Colocation hosting

Colocation hosting is an advanced type of web hosting that involves renting out physical space in a data center where you can build your own web server. You are typically responsible for maintaining both the hardware and the software of your server, although there are managed colocation hosting plans where the web hosting company’s technicians handle some or all of this for you.

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting places your website on several interconnected servers in different locations. If one server goes down, your site can be pulled from another server, ensuring continuous uptime. If international visitors come to your site, their browsers can pull site data from the closest server, improving load times. These benefits make cloud hosting popular among large corporations and international businesses.

Content management system

A CMS is software installed on your web server to help you create and organize website content, such as blog posts and landing pages, without needing to learn code.

cPanel

cPanel is a popular control panel software used for high-level site management. You can use cPanel to manage things like backups, disk usage, databases and security tools.

Data center

A data center is a building that houses web servers. These buildings have extensive temperature control systems, power supplies and backup generators to ensure continuous runtime for web servers.

Data transfer

A data transfer involves copying data from one location to another. For example, when a user visits your site, data is transferred or copied from your server to their browser. You’re also conducting a data transfer when you upload an image from your computer to your website.

Distributed denial of service attack

A DDoS attack uses an array of compromised computer systems to flood a website with fake traffic, intending to use all of the site’s bandwidth. This prevents regular users from reaching the site. Many web hosts provide DDoS protection to block these attacks.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting is when a web hosting company rents out an entire physical server to one customer. You get full access to the server’s bandwidth, storage and processing power, allowing you to store large amounts of data — often 1TB or more — and receive millions of monthly visitors. You’ll also get complete control of the server’s software configuration.

Dedicated hosting is offered as both managed hosting where the web host maintains server software for you, and unmanaged hosting where you’ll be responsible for maintaining the software.

Domain Name System

The DNS is a network that stores vital information about websites and distributes it to browsers and other applications as needed. Its primary function is translating human-readable domain names — like CNET.com — into computer-readable IP addresses (long strings of numbers). The DNS also contains identifying data that can assist with things like filtering spam sent via email.

Domain name

A domain name is an address people use to find a website, such as CNET.com. Domain names allow people to access websites without remembering IP addresses, which are long strings of numbers used by computers to identify websites.

Domain privacy

Domain privacy is a service that prevents your address and other contact information from being displayed in the WHOIS database, a publicly available database containing information about domains registered through ICANN. A domain privacy service may be bundled into your domain registration package or provided as an add-on.

Domain registrar

A domain registrar is a company licensed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — ICANN — to sell domains. Many domain registrars also offer web hosting services.

Drupal

Drupal is an open-source CMS that provides a modular site-building framework. Drupal is an excellent alternative to the more popular WordPress and is used by many big websites, including official sites like the Australian Government website.

Email hosting

Email hosting lets you create custom email addresses on your domain, like yourname@yourdomain.com. Inbox storage space, often 1-10GB, is provided for each email address. Email hosting is often bundled into web hosting, but it can also be purchased separately.

Firewall

A firewall is a security system that identifies potentially harmful web traffic and attempts to prevent it from accessing your website. Think of it like a water pitcher filter: everything in the water (or web traffic) flows into it, but only the good stuff gets through. Firewalls protect you — or in this case, your site — from harmful contaminants. Most web hosting packages include firewalls.

File Transfer Protocol

FTP is a protocol for transferring large files from a location on the internet to either your local computer or a remote server. For example, you’ll probably use FTP if you manually transfer a website from one host to another.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol

HTTP is a tool for connecting your browser to the website you’re visiting. This network protocol transfers the information needed to load a website from one networked device (like a web server) to another networked device (like a computer). 

Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names

ICANN is the regulatory body responsible for creating and managing domain names and extensions. All domains must be registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names, but you can’t register them with ICANN directly. You’ll need to get your domain through an ICANN-approved domain registrar instead.

Internet Message Access Protocol

IMAP is a protocol used by browsers and apps to retrieve emails from an email server. This lets you view emails from your computer, phone or any other device with a browser or email app.

IP address

An Internet Protocol address is a long string of numbers that computers use to identify and connect to web servers, other computers and other networked devices. When you buy server space from a web hosting company, your domain is connected to the IP address for your server. This allows the DNS to connect people to your site.

Joomla

Joomla is an open-source CMS with thousands of verified third-party extensions to help you create a website with the exact features you need; no code is required.

Linux

Linux is an open-source operating system known for its security and reliability. Many web servers are run on Linux to take advantage of these benefits.

Nonvolatile memory express

NvME is an advanced storage protocol for next-generation solid-state drives that optimizes speed and efficiency. Web hosts are adopting NvME storage to help users create faster, more effective websites.

Malware

Malware is any software created with the intent of causing harm to a website, web server or any other computing device.

MySQL

MySQL is a database management system. Most web hosting companies use this system, as it organizes data into numerous separate files optimized for speed, which in turn helps improve website loading speeds.

Parked domain

A parked domain is a domain that you’ve purchased but haven’t built a website for. Essentially, you’ve reserved it for future usage without connecting it to a web hosting or email hosting package. Domain parking is a good way to ensure you’ll be able to use the domain name you want when you’re ready to build a site around it.

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP is an open-source programming language used primarily to build online programs. PHP files are popular among developers because of their versatility and ability to include HTML, JavaScript and CSS as well as PHP code.

Random access memory

RAM is a type of storage that applications can use to temporarily store data for easy access. Information via RAM can be loaded faster than information written onto a hard drive.

Reseller hosting

Reseller hosting involves buying the rights to resell some of a web hosting company’s resources under a different company name. This is useful if you want to build a web hosting company without investing in your own internet infrastructure.

Solid state drive

An SSD is a type of hard drive optimized for speed and efficiency. Most web hosts use SSD storage.

Shared hosting

Shared hosting places numerous websites — often hundreds or even thousands — onto one server, where they share resources like bandwidth and processing power. This results in a limited capacity for storing data and handling incoming traffic, but it also allows web hosts to offer this type of hosting for a few dollars each month.

Secure socket layer

SSL is a safety protocol that encrypts data sent to or from your site. This protects any data your customers send you, including sensitive data like contact information and credit card details. It is essential for all sites, especially e-commerce sites and is actively used as a ranking factor by Google.

Subdomain

A subdomain is a prefix that goes before a domain name. Subdomains create a partition between your main website and a specific area of your site, allowing you to use a different design. For example, you can use the subdomain “store” to create an e-commerce area with a different layout from your main site.

Free web hosting services also use subdomains to indicate that a site is hosted on their servers. In these cases, your site name will be placed before the host’s domain, like this:

Top-level domain

A top-level domain is the technical term for a domain extension, the series of letters at the end of a domain. As an example, in CNET.com, the top-level domain is .com.

Uptime

Uptime is the amount of time your site spends online and is accessible to the public. Most web hosts offer a 99.99% uptime guarantee, meaning your site won’t go offline for more than 1-2 minutes per week due to server issues.

Virtual private server hosting

Virtual private server hosting involves splitting one physical server into several virtual servers. Each virtual server exists in an isolated environment with its own operating system and dedicated resources, such as bandwidth and processing power. VPS hosting is a mid-range option between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. VPS hosting comes in both unmanaged and managed options.

Web hosting

Web hosting stores a website on a specialized computer called a web server. These computers can be difficult to maintain, so web hosting companies build servers and rent their server space to people and companies looking to create their own websites. There are many types of web hosting for users with various needs and budgets, including managed and unmanaged options.

Managed hosting

Managed hosting is any hosting where the web hosting company maintains key software, CMS and automatic website backups. Most web hosting types have managed or unmanaged options available.

Unmanaged hosting

Unmanaged hosting is any type of hosting where you’re expected to handle the digital configuration of your website — like installing a CMS and running site backups — rather than letting your web host do it. You may be able to call the host’s tech support for guidance on some topics, but you’ll be expected to complete CMS installation, maintenance and updates yourself.

Web server

A web server is a specialized computer with software designed to make its files available online. These computers are built to run 24/7 and require significant continuous power, temperature control and software configuration and maintenance. Most web servers are stored in data centers because of these complex needs, although you can technically build one anywhere.

Website builder

A website builder is a tool for creating a website without using code. Most website builders use front-end editing, allowing you to see what your edits will look like in real-time. Many also use drag-and-drop technology so you can easily move elements around the page.

Website builders are typically created by web hosting companies. If you intend to use one of these website builders, you often must buy a hosting plan from the company that created it.

WHOIS database

The WHOIS database is a publicly accessible database that stores information registered with ICANN when a domain is purchased. Information in the WHOIS database includes the name and contact information of the person, company or nonprofit that registered it. You must purchase domain privacy if you don’t want your contact information stored in this database.

WordPress

WordPress is an open-source CMS originally created for blogs and now used by 43.3% of all websites. This CMS has a thriving contributor community that has created thousands of themes and plugins to help you make a site that fits your exact needs.

WordPress hosting

WordPress hosting is a type of web hosting that features pre-installed WordPress and access to customer support from WordPress experts. Many WordPress hosting plans come with additional WordPress-specific features, such as automated updates to the CMS and pre-installed plugins. Most companies offer this type of hosting as shared hosting, but some companies offer it as VPS, dedicated, or even cloud hosting.



Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles