If you are thinking to get a web host to kick start your online business, you better be conversant in the various web hosting terms.
Granted, this being a technology driven industry, sometimes you will just have to swallow certain highly technical terms.
In the mean time, I have compiled the following web hosting glossary.
Keep this handy and it will make you look smart and keep the web hosts honest:
Types of Hosting
As you may already know, there are different types of web hosting (links to the the bigger list of every type of web hosting) with the most common one (used by average webmasters like you and I) being shared hosting.
Here are some of the main ones:
- Dedicated hosting
This is a hosting account whereby just a single webmaster would take charge of the entire server, and assume full control of all resources allocated to that particular account.
- Linux Server
A server powered by Linux (a free open source OS popular with majority of shared and free web hosting companies)
- Reseller Hosting
Describes a hosting arrangement when an individual / party acquires a block of server resources from an original web host only to repackage the resources and resell these as its own hosting services, under its own name
A computer that manages information delivery to other computers. These are the hosts of your website and they are very likely owned by the web hosting companies
- Shared hosting
Where website accounts are pulled together and consolidated inside a centralized a server. All concerned accounts share whatever system resources available within that server. Since computers are powerful nowadays, most personal and business sites can be housed together without breaching the system capabilities.
- VPS Hosting
Virtual Private Server refers to a partitioned server so that each partitioned will function as if it is a full fledge server on its right. It is not as expensive as a dedicated server but offers a lot more in term of flexibility and functionality when compared to a shared plan
- Windows Server
In contrast to Linux server, this is a server powered by Windows OS. Such plan costs a bit more but it is necessary if your websites makes use of certain windows features.
Choosing a Hosting Plan
Choosing the right provider for your website is a crucial part of your website’s over all success. After all, if you site can’t be accessed by potential visitors, you are toast!
Here are some the terms you should know and pay attention to when choosing a web hosting company:
- Add on Domain
Any additional website that can be incorporated into your account, thus sharing whatever resources allocated to your plan.
This describes how much data is transferred within your account. Data transfer takes place whenever visitors come to your site or some interactions are involved (e.g. email correspondence, files upload / download, etc…).
- Dedicated IP
This refers to an IP address that is permanently assigned to your website. In fact, this is the pre-requisite to obtain SSL so that you can accept payment via the website
- Disk Space
This represents the storage space; the more it is, the more files, pages, emails, etc you can put on your server.
- Parked Domain
Additional domains that will lead traffic back to your existing account. It is customary for webmasters to acquire the .com and .net versions of their domain. If users type in any of these variations into the browser address bar, your website will get displayed
Secure Socket Layer refers to a specific encryption technique that governs the secured transactions over the web. This applies to all Ecommerce sites so that they can accept credit card payment securely. The address bar will show off “https://” when a secure page starts to pop up inside your browser
The total time on record when there is no interruption on the server (or the whole time range when your website allows unfettered access). It is measured as a percentage number. A greater reading is more favorable (99% and above uptime) as that ensures minimum disruption to your site.
Setting up Your Site
The most scariest part op building a site for beginners is the actual set up part. Knowing the definition of following terms will help ease the pain!
This allows for parameters setting on certain files. Mostly these have to do with permissions setting, deciding on whom to access what file. By the way, if you are up to it, Perishable Press has some fantastic .htaccess tricks to help you do lots of cool things for your site from security to functionality and more.
File Transfer Protocol refer to some prescribed standards of uploading and downloading files. There have been some improvisations in this area and additional features are anonymous FTP and the ability to assign accounts so others can transfer files
Secure Shell, yet another method to transfer file. This is not the most approved way among many shared hosts (some ban it outright)
Here are some of the most important terms related to email that you may come across when it comes to choosing and using a web host:
- Auto Responder
A pre-scripted email that is transmitted automatically as the inbox takes in new email. This is commonly used as an “away” messages when one goes on holidays with the auto responder says that response would not be immediate
- Catch All
A destined email address that captures all emails (those without an already assigned email address) sent to your account
Internet Message Access Protocol describes an email retrieval method. A copy of the original email is left permanently inside the server until it is deleted at the server. This arrangement is preferred for people who are on multiple computers and email clients as they can always track back to any email wherever they are
- Mailing List
You can group contacts into a mailing list so that you can send email to all of them at once. This is especially useful for businesses as they can now send mass mails to huge ground of customers on marketing message or product updates
- Pop 3
This is a description of the standard employed to retrieve emails from the server
An email protocol for emails sending. Generally web hosts have no issue for you to send email through their server. However, there are some ISP that insist your email to be out through their servers, rather those owned by your web host
Bulk mails program that target internet users’ inbox, usually used to hawk products or services. Most hosts have facilities that let you regulate the spam effectively and automatically
A browser based interface that allows you to send and receive email, obligating the need for the installation of any email software
Every company offers different things for different needs. But there are some features that are pretty much the standard and come with almost any hosting plan whether you buy it from HostMonster, iPage, BlueHost (read my BlueHost Review first) or any other. Here are the big ones you must know:
A blog is a web site (in whole and in part) which provides authors to make entries of various types. A blog posting can include links, news, commentaries, pictures, video and more. The goal of blogs is to drive traffic to one’s site as blog traditionally are viewed more favorably as a trusted source by search engines.
Short for Content Management System, CMS provides easy organization and management of the website content. It makes creation of a professional looking website easy and modification on web page designs efficient
- Control Panel
The control panel is the central hub for a web hosting account. Here, users can have full control of every elements of their web hosting. They can add new domains and sub domains, upload new pages and install various server side applications
- Error Pages
This is a form of warning whenever somebody tries to get to a page that is either unavailable or down due to a server problem. This same page is served when attempting to access an unregistered domain.
A set of scripts used to facilitate automated installation of web applications
This is an online message board that encourages users’ discussion where questions and solutions are posted by the user community, or sometimes with the involvement of the host of the forum
A web page that allows users to leave contact information and any comment about the site or request more information. The objective of a guestbook is to actively solicit users’ inputs on a wide variety of issues
- Language Support
This refers to programming languages that are compatible with your hosting account. PHP and Perl are kind of industry standards in this respect and make sure you have them
An open source RDBMS system. Typical hosting package would usually include such database as it is likely to be an integral part of the various applications you are going to develop
A software started out for blogging purpose (and it was the most popular blogging software) that transcended into a CMS tool. This open source software is free and it is great for customization work. It is very likely to be provided by web hosts as a one click installation.
This Glossary is by no means complete and it wasn’t intended to be either (here is a better and bigger web hosting glossary). After all, there are hundreds of different terms and keywords when it comes to web hosting, but I just wanted to add some of the most important and common ones that you might come across when trying to choose a web host for your blog or website.
I do hope you find this mini dictionary useful.
And please, if there is any term or phrase about web hosting that you do not understand and want me to add to this list, drop me a note on my contact page or on Twitter and I will add it here as soon as I can.