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Web Hosting Glossary

Common Terminology

Web Hosting could be considered by some to be it's own, outright language. Web hosting contains a vast wealth of acronyms, proprietary names, and commonly used terms that have alternate meanings. For a newcomer, it is like learning a new language, while for others the information may be quite familiar. The FreeHostingBug glossary of web hosting terminlology has been created to assist in "translating" common hosting terms into plain english language.


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Definitions of Commonly Used Web Hosting Terms
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Active Server Pages (ASP) Definition
Active Server Pages (ASP)

Active Server Pages (ASP) allow allow for the development of dynamic web sites through the use of database driven content. ASP is primarily written in a language known as VB Script, and it is executed on the server hosting the web site. The output generated by the ASP software is then sent to the visitors browser.

Ads Definition
Ads

Many free hosts force place advertisements on your web site in exchange for free hosting, while others give you advertising code and ask that you place it somewhere on your site.

Ads Allowed Definition
Ads Allowed

Free web hosting providers normally do not allow web sites they host to place their own ads, while some do.  If this is important to you, be sure to ask your provider in advance.

Adult Web Hosting Definition
Adult Web Hosting

Adult hosting is a category of hosting which normally includes pornography.  Due to complicated laws on adult material, many hosting companies will not host web sites that contain such adult content. If you plan to operate a web site that contains adult content, be sure to check with your provider in advance.

Advanced DNS Definition
Advanced DNS

The ability to directly modify your DNS zones, in order to use externally hosted email or subdomains.

Alias Definition
Alias

A name that refers to another name. Aliases are used to make the original name easier to remember or to protect the site\'s identity.  i.e. the www directory within a CPanel account is an alias of the public_html directory.

Applet Definition
Applet

An applet is an embedded program on a web page commonly written in the computer languages known as Flash or Java. TheyThe purpose of applets is to create objects that can interact with the visitor. Applets are similar to applications, but are much simpler and smaller in size.

Application Definition
Application

A piece of software intended to perform a specific task.

Audio Streaming Definition
Audio Streaming

This is the method by which audio content on a web site is delivered to the visitor. Audio streaming can take up a large amount of bandwidth, especially on web sites with many visitors.  Some hosts, including most free providers do not allow any audio or video streaming as a result.

Auto Installer Definition
Auto Installer

A control panel module that provides easy installation of web scripts such as WordPress or Joomla.

Auto Responder Definition
Auto Responder

An automated system which acknowledges receipt of an e-mail message by sending back a previously prepared email to the sender confirming it was received. Once configured, they run automatically without any further intervention by the web site owner.  Most web hosts provide Auto Responders with their standard hosting packages.

Backups Definition
Backups

A backup is a common practice for web hosts make a copy of all data on their servers in case of a failure. Many hosting providers create backups every day.  Some hosting providers make their backups available to the client (you), while others only use them in the event of a total server failure.

Bandwidth Definition
Bandwidth

The amount of data you are allowed to transfer from your web site.

Browser Definition
Browser

A browser is a piece of software running on a visitors computer which displays (interprets) the HTML code it receives from a web server.  No two browers are created alike, and therefore common to have slight differences in how each display the web pages presented to them.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) Definition
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)

CSS is a mechanism for describing to the browser what a web site is supposed to look like.  CSS doesn\'t include the code used to create objects, only what their appearance should look like.  CSS may be embedded within an HTML web page, or stored in a seperate file.

Chat Software (Server) Definition
Chat Software (Server)

Chat software (servers) allow you to develop a chat room or other type of chat service for your visitors which can be used on a web site.

Coldfusion Definition
Coldfusion

An older language in which applications could be developed to handle interactive and communication functions between the user\'s browser, the server, and a database.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI) Definition
Common Gateway Interface (CGI)

A Common Gateway Interface or CGI is a program that executes on the web server returning any data to a web browser or e-mail client. CGI is an older method used to make web pages interactive. Examples include page counters, forms, guest books, and search engines. Almost all hosting companies offer CGI today, although some are starting to disallow them due to security concerns.

Community Support Definition
Community Support

This is a method of technical support in which much of the assistance is provided by other users.

Control Panel Definition
Control Panel

The web based interface you use to manage your web site.

Cookie Definition
Cookie

A piece of data delivered to the web browser by a web server. The browser stores the data in a local database, which is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The primary use of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare personalized web pages for them, as such, they are commonly used to store session details.

Cron Definition
Cron

A scheduling utility that allows you to run tasks automatically at specific times.

Data Transfer Definition
Data Transfer

This is the amount of material that is sent from a web server to a browser as visitors view the pages of the web site. Busy web sites containing a large amount audio and/or video which have many visitors per day will require a larger amount of data transfer. As a rule, 1 GB of data transfer is equivalent to the delivery of 25,000 web pages.

Databases Definition
Databases

Databases are used for effecient storage and rapid retrieval of various types of data.  A database is an important part of a web hosting package.  Hosts typically provide at least one of three common database engines, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or MSSQL.

Dedicated Server Definition
Dedicated Server

A more expensive hosting option in which the web hosting provider reserves an entire physical server for use for the client.  This is the most expensive hosting option and is used for large and/or frequently visited web sites.