Key Hosting Terminology

Web Hosting/Types of Hosting

Web hosting services – a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and/or organizations to make their website(s) accessible via the World Wide Web (i.e. the Internet). Web hosting services are provided by web hosting companies, commonly referred to as web hosts, or simply hosts.

Web hosting companies, web hosts, hosts – companies that provide space on servers they own/lease/resell for use by their clients.

Shared Hosting – when a website is hosted on a shared server, it shares its resources with other server tenants. It is an ideal web hosting service for blogs or otherwise any other websites that demand few resources to run. It is common for web hosting companies to cap the features you receive so as to prevent excessive usage of server resources and maintain equity.

VPS Hosting – a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a server that is partitioned into multiple sections, each acting as its own server. In theory, there is not that much of a difference between a Virtual Private Server and a Shared Server, but, as a general rule, VPSs tend to be more resourceful in terms of features.

Dedicated Hosting – as the name suggests, a Dedicated Server is a server owned by a single tenant, and all of its resources are allocated to a single account (i.e. the unique server tenant). As expected, this type of web hosting service is the most expensive on the web hosting market.

Reseller Hosting – In layman’s terms, reseller hosting means that a hosting company sells you a reseller account, which comprises resources such as disk space and bandwidth, which you can then sell under your own brand name to your own customers for a profit. This business model has experienced a tremendous increase in popularity as of late because of its many upsides and few downsides.

Managed Hosting – as the name suggests, managed hosting is a type of hosting service in which day-to-day management and maintenance of the servers is handled by the hosting provider rather than by the clients themselves. Usually, managed hosting services ensure the following: security, monitoring, backup, server configuration, round-the-clock support.

Linux Server – a server that uses Linux, a free, open-source operating system. Reputed web hosting companies give you a choice over the operating system your VPS or Dedicated Server will run on. It is usually cheaper than a Windows Server, and it caters to advanced users only.

Windows Server – a server that uses Windows as an operating system. It is usually more expensive than a Linux server but necessary to accommodate specific applications.

Offshore Hosting – the term “offshore hosting” is a rather vague term on the Internet and can refer to a wide variety of things. Chiefly, when someone opts for offshore hosting services, it simply means that the respective individual seeks a provider outside his country of origin, mainly due to certain legal limitations that wouldn’t allow him to conduct his business legally. Interestingly enough, offshore hosting actually comprises two different aspects that constitute a whole. On the one hand, there is the white-hat offshore hosting that could be any hosting company out there, as long as it is not located in the country of origin of the customer. On the other hand, the other side to offshore hosting is represented by the companies that allow illegal or illicit content to be hosted on their servers due to permissive legislation or due to their being hidden on the “deep web”.

Plan Features/Guarantees

Bandwidth – this is the amount of data transfer provided on your account, typically on a monthly basis. If someone accesses your website and does anything that requires bandwidth consumption (e.g. clicking on a button or filling out a form), it will be deducted from the bandwidth amount that you have been allocated for that respective month. In theory, if you run out of bandwidth, nobody will be able to access your website until the next “refill”. As of late, companies have started offering “unmetered” bandwidth.

Disk Space – this is the amount of space allocated to you on the server in order to store files, pages, emails, etc. As with bandwidth, if you run out of disk space, you won’t be able to store any other files until other files are removed.

SSL Certificate – SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, and is a means of site encryption, commonly used by ecommerce sites in order to be able to accept credit card payments. However, all websites would benefit from having a SSL Certificate due to the inherent advantages it brings. You can see whether the page you are accessing is secure by checking the address bar for “https://”.

CMS – short for Content Management System. In layman’s terms, CMS is a way of organizing and managing the content of a website easier so it can be professionally designed but easy to modify. WordPress is a very popular blogging software that is often used as a CMS for its ease-of-use, versatility and reliability – it’s also free!

Control Panel – this is the central hub for a web hosting account and, implicitly, a website. This is where the user gets to modify and control all aspects of their account. For example, you may add new domains and sub domains, upload web pages and install server applications, all in one place.

Fantastico – a commercial script library available to automate web application installation. Fantastico gathers the most popular CMSs, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, phpBB, etc. These are commonly referred to as “one-click installation software” in this library.

MySQL – a database system often included in hosting packages.

Uptime Guarantee – this is the amount of time that your server runs uninterrupted and your website is accessible to your visitors. It is typically provided as a percentage. You always want an uptime of 99% or above. Always look for exception clauses in the Terms of Use section of each company! Usually, scheduled maintenance, natural disasters or otherwise any other events out of their control that might unexpectedly disrupt the service. Web hosts reserve their right to determine which event is out of their control and which is not.

Money-back guarantee – companies are required by law to offer a period of time in which you can request your money back if you are not satisified with the quality of service you received. In the web hosting industry, 30 days is the norm, but other companies may offer less or even more (up to 120 days in some cases).

Common Email Terms

Auto-responder – a canned email that is transmitted automatically as the inbox takes in new email. This is typically used by people who are on holiday or who do not wish to be disturbed in a certain time frame.

Webmail – a browser-based interface that allows you to send and receive email. Similar to the Gmail dashboard, for example, only that the webmail is usually a little more complex and offers miscellaneous extra features.

SMTP – this is an email protocol for emails sending. Most web hosts do not mind your sendimg email through their servers, but there are some ISPs that insist your email be delivered through their servers, rather than those owned by your web host.

Spam – this is any email that targets internet users’ inboxes, usually used to hawk products or services. All respectable web hosts provide antispam solutions – included in the price of your plan or as a separate service, for a nominal fee.

Common Programming/Internet Terms in Web Hosting

Javascript – client-side scripting language that enables developers to add dynamic content to a website that supports it. Client-side means that this script runs in the user’s web browser, not on the web server. It is a very common script in the web hosting industry.

Domain name – human-readable label used to identify one or more IP addresses (e.g. is the human-readable label for

IP address – computer-readable label that points to a certain domain name that can be read by humans, as illustrated above.

DNS – it stands for Domain Name System. It is a standard service provided by web hosts, which translates human-readable domain names, such as, into numerical IP addresses which can be understood by computers (such as When you buy a domain name, you will be assigned a DNS record which associates the domain name with a numerical IP address.

FTP – it stands for File Transfer Protocol, and is a service used for transferring files over the Internet, from a server to a client.

HTML – it stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is the standard language used to create web pages, more precisely, the “skeleton” of all websites. A web browser receives raw HTML from a web server, parses it, and displays a human-readable web page.

HTTP – it stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is the protocol used to transfer text, images, video, etc. across the Internet.

MySQL – a very popular database system, usually used in conjunction with PHP to build web applications, such as WordPress, and not only.

PHP – this is a source scripting language that allows you to generate dynamic content by embedding code into the HTML of a web page.

Popular Types of Broadband Connections

Broadband is a term that refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and significantly faster than its dial-up counterpart.

Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies such as:

– Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
– Cable Modem
– Fiber
– Wireless
– Satellite

Digital Subscriber Line – wireline transmission technology that transmits data over copper telephone lines installed to homes and businesses. Speeds range from several hundred Kbps to a few Mbps per second, typically exceeding 20 Mbps. There are two main types of DSL technologies as follows:

1. Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – it is used by customers who receive a lot of data but do not send much. More specifically, ADSL connections have faster speed in the downstream direction than the upstream direction (More download speed, less upload speed)

2. Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) – as the name suggests, this type of connection is used by customers who need significant bandwidth both upstream and downstream, such as businesses in video conferences

Other types of DSL connections are:

– High data rate Gitial Subscriber Line (HDSL) and
– Very High data rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL)

Cable Modem – In a nutshell, cable modem enables cable operators to provide broadband Internet using the same coaxial cables that deliver media to your TV. Speeds usually exceed 1.5 Mbps. Subscribers can access their cable modem service by simply turning on their computers, without needing to dial-up an ISP.

Fiber optics – technology that uses glass and/or plastic threads (fibers) to transmit data. Advantages of this type of connection are:

– Greater bandwidth
– Less susceptible to interference
– Fiber optic cables are less susceptible to interference and are much thinner than metal wires
– Data is transmited digitally rather than analogically (very important!)

Wireless – type of broadband connection that connects a home/business to the Internet using a radio link between the customer’s location and the service provider’s facility. It can be mobile or fixed.

Satellite – as the name suggests, this type of connection is provided by satellites orbiting the Earth, which provide links for broadband. Even though this is a relatively unpopular way of accessing the Internet, on the other hand, due to its cost, and on the other hand, due to its varying reliability, it is very useful for serving remote or sparsely populated areas.