Commonly Used Web Hosting Terms

Are you new to web hosting and don’t know what is a host, ftp, smtp etc? You will defiantly encounter these words on your day to day life in web hosting industry. Here is a list of the Best & Comprehensive Web Hosting Glossary which you should know of. Feel free to link to this page, share or bookmark for future reference.


An alias is a name that takes the place of another name or directs to name. When you use an alias on the internet it is because you want to make the site easier to remember or to project its identity.


The most common web server software on the Internet. Apache is an open-source application originally created from a series of changes ("patches") made to a web server written at the National Center for Super Computing Applications.

Apache is designed as a set of modules, enabling administrators to choose which features they wish to use and making it easy to add features to meet specific needs inlcuding handling protocols other than the web-standard HTTP.


How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second (bps). A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 57,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.

Blog (weB LOG)

A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated dail/weekly/monthly using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog.


Generally refers to connections to the Internet with much greater bandwidth than you can get with a modem. There is no specific definition of the speed of a "broadband" connection but in general any Internet connection using DSL or a via Cable-TV may be considered a broadband connection.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)

A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the ?CGI program?) talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the Internet. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance.

Control Panel

A control panel is a set of tools that allow users the ability to manage their web site using an easy to use fashion.  A control panel allows the user to setup ftp, email, enable/disable features, install scripts etc.  The cost common control panel that you will see installed on most web sites is cPanel.


Most often used to refer to having a server that belongs to one person or group physically located on an Internet-connected network that belongs to another person or group. Usually this is done because the server owner wants their machine to be on a high-speed Internet connection and/or they do not want the security risks of having the server on thier own network.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The Domain Name System is the system that translates Internet domain names into IP numbers. A "DNS Server" is a server that performs this kind of translation.

Domain Name

The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names:
can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine.

Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names ( in the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites.

FTP is a way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name "anonymous", thus these sites are called "anonymous ftp servers".

FTP was invented and in wide use long before the advent of the World Wide Web and originally was always used from a text-only interface.


The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example America Online has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.

Gigabyte (GB)

1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.


Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as SMTP (email) and HTTP (web).

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

The protocol for moving hypertextfiles across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program (such as Apache) on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).

IP (Internet Protocol)

Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g.
Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Many machines (especially servers) also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.

IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4)

The most widley used version of the Internet Protocol (the "IP" part of TCP/IP.)

IPv4 allows for a theoretical maximum of approximately four billion IP Numbers (technically 232), but the actual number is far less due to inefficiencies in the way blocks of numbers are handled by networks. The gradual adoption of IPv6 will solve this problem.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6)

The successor to IPv4. Already deployed in some cases and gradually spreading, IPv6 provides a huge number of available IP Numbers - over a sextillion addresses (theoretically 2128). IPv6 allows every device on the planet to have its own IP Number.

Megabyte (MB)

Technically speaking, a million bytes. In many cases the term means 1024 kilobytes, which is a more than an even million.

POP (Post Office Protocol)

Post Office Protocol refers to a way that e-mail client software such as Outlook gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain an account from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail. Another protocol called IMAP is replacing POP for email.


Refers to a number that is part of a URL, appearing after a colon (:) right after the domain name. Every service on an Internet server listens on a particular port number on that server. Most services have standard port numbers, e.g. Web servers normally listen on port 80. Services can also listen on non-standard ports, in which case the port number must be specified in a URL when accessing the server, so you might see a URL of the form:
This shows a ftp server running on a non-standard port (the standard ftp port is 21).


On the Internet "protocol" usually refers to a set of rules that define an exact format for communication between systems. For example the HTTP protocol defines the format for communication between web browsers and web servers, the IMAP protocol defines the format for communication between IMAP email servers and clients, and the SSL protocol defines a format for encrypted communications over the Internet.

Virtually all Internet protocls are defined in RFC documents.

Proxy Server

A Proxy Server sits in between a Client and the "real" Server that a Client is trying to use. Client's are sometimes configured to use a Proxy Server, usually an HTTP server. The clients makes all of it's requests from the Proxy Server, which then makes requests from the "real" server and passes the result back to the Client. Sometimes the Proxy server will store the results and give a stored result instead of making a new one (to reduce use of a Network). Proxy servers are commonly established on Local Area Networks


A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the connection between 2 or more Packet-Switched networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the source and destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on.

Security Certificate

A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)

The main protocol used to send electronic mail from server to server on the Internet. SMTP is defined in RFC 821 and modified by many later RFC's.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)

A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)

This is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now included with every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software.

TLD (Top Level Domain)

The last (right-hand) part of a complete Domain Name. For example in the domain name ".org" is the Top Level Domain. There are a large number of TLD's, for example .biz, .com, .edu, .gov, .info, .int, .mil, .net, .org, and a collection of two-letter TLD's corresponding to the standard two-letter country codes, for example, .us, .ca, .jp, etc.

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)

An address for s resource available on the Internet.

The first part of a URI is called the "scheme". the most well known scheme is http, but there are many others. Each URI scheme has its own format for how a URI should appear.
Here are examples of URIs using the http, telnet, and news schemes:

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

The term URL is basically synonymous with URI. URI has replaced URL in technical specifications.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Usually refers to a network in which some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is "virtually" private.


Short for "World Wide Web."

Web page

A document designed for viewing in a web browser. Typically written in HTML. A web site is made of one or more web pages.

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