Web Hosting Glossaries

The internet is the best way to connect with others and spread knowledge and information. Almost every successful business or company these days has a website to promote their products and services. If you are interested in starting a website, you'll need to use a web hosting service to keep it up and running. If you're not exactly sure, have no fear! The following is an introductory guide to the basic terms and phrases you will hear when beginning work on creating your web site.

A Record

An A Record (Address Record) of a DNS describes IP address of a domain. It is defined in a DNS Zone file.

Access Database

A light-weight database developed by Microsoft used in Windows platform. It provides GUI-based interface for creating and managing a database.


Apache is a web server software used in Windows and UNIX/Linux platforms.


Advanced Research Project Agency NETwork is the world's first operational packet switching network, and the progenitor of the Internet.


American Standard Code for Information Interchange is a character encoding based on the English alphabet. ASCII codes represent hexidecimal representation of English characters.


Active Server Pages is a server side include (SSI) and tag-based HTML extensions created by Microsoft. It is primarily used in Windows operating platform.

Auto Responder

An auto responder is an email that automatically replies with a premade message to anyone who sends mail to it.


Bandwidth is defined as amount of data transmitted over unit time. It describes how fast data flows on a given transmission path. The bandwidth of T1 media is 1.54 Mbps, and T3 is 44.736 Mbps.


Software program used to view and interact with various types of Internet resources available on the World Wide Web. Examples of Internet Browsers include Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.


ColdFusion Markup Language is a web page markup language that allows a site developer to create pages with dynamic contents. CMFL is a proprietary language developed for use with ColdFusion, a product from Allaire, which is now owned by Adobe.


Common Gateway Interface is an interface standard which provides a method of executing a server-side program (script) from a website to generate a webpage with dynamic content. Scripts conforming to this standard may be written in any programming language, but are most often written in Perl, Python, PHP, or TCL.


CGI scripts are most often stored in a cgi-bin directory.

CNAME Record

A CNAME record of DNS maps an alias or nickname to the real or Canonical name which may lie outside the current zone.


Colocation is a provision of space for a customer's telecommunications equipment on the service provider's premises. In the web hosting industry, colocation is referred to as placing web servers in a provider's premise.

Cold Fusion

ColdFusion is an application server and software development framework used for the development of dynamic web sites. In this regard, ColdFusion is a similar product to ASP.NET or Java Enterprise Edition.


A small text message given by a webserver, which is stored in a client machine that is sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.


A counter is an application that keeps track of how many times a web page has been accessed. Counter may be displayed on image, or a text embedded in your web page.


Domain Name System is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated server refers to the rental and exclusive use of a computer that includes a web server, related software, and connection to the Internet, housed in the Web hosting company's premises.

Domain Name

A domain name is the text name corresponding to the numeric IP address of a computer on the Internet. A domain name must be unique. Internet users access your website or send email using your domain name.

The domain name is used to form an URL (uniform resource locator), or the name of your website (for example, http://www.topwebhosts.org is a URL). You typically register your domain name from a domain registrar, but most web hosting companies also resell domain name registration services. Domain names usually comes with an additional fee, but some hosting services offer the name free of charge.

Domain Parking

Domain parking is also known as DNS parking, and it is a service provided by a web host to allow its clients to secure a domain name for future use. Registry requires primary and secondary name servers for every domain registered, and registrars provide this information to make it valid. For detailed description, please refer Domain Parking article.

Domain Registration

The process whereby a unique domain name is selected and registered by a user, giving the user the right to use that domain name for their Web site.

Domain Renewal

Extending domain name registration for additional years.

Domain Transfer

To renew a Domain Name with a registrar who was not the registrar who originally provided the registration service, an owner must first transfer sponsorship of the Domain Name to the new registrar.


Electric commerce is conducting of business communication and transactions over networks and through computers.


Electronic mail is a system of exchanging messages by means of computers attached to a network.


A firewall is a hardware or software solution to enforce security policies.


Flash is an animation format developed by the company Macromedia, which is now owned by Adobe.


Microsoft Frontpage is a software application designed to develop web pages. Frontpage allows a user to create a web document without the HTML knowledge.

Frontpage Server Extensions

A set of programs and scripts that support FrontPage and extend the functionality of the Web server.


File Transport Protocol is a method for transferring data from one machine to another. FTP is used to upload web documents to a server, and is used to download files. It is a clear-text protocol that does not encrypt data.



1024 Megabytes, commonly known as billion bytes.


A web page that allows visitors to leave greeting messages on your website, and also allow other visitors to see them.


A computer.


Hyper-Text Markup Language is a language used to create and disply web pages.


Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, the actual communications protocol that enables Web browsing.


HTTP Over SSL. Protocol enabling the secured transmission of Web pages.


Textual data which is "linked" across mutliple documents or locations.


Microsoft's Web server that runs on Windows platforms.


An electronic network of computers that includes nearly every university, government, and research facility in the world.


Internet Network Information Center is a repository of information about the Internet.


Inter-connected network within one organization that uses Web technologies for the sharing of information internally, not world wide.

IP Address

Internet Protocol address is an address assigned to a computer to allow other computers to access it. It is four 8-bit numbers separated by a dot representing a 32-bit number (IPv4). It is analagous to a street address of a web.


An Internet Service Provider is a provider who provides Internet connection to your home or office.


Java is an object-oriented programming language developed initially by James Gosling and colleagues at Sun Microsystems.


A client-side scripting language produced by Netscape for use within HTML Web pages.


1024 Bytes, commonly referred to as one thousand bytes.


Local Area Network is a computer network covering a local area, like a home, office or small group of buildings such as a college.


Linux is a free open-source operating system based on Unix. Linux was originally created by Linus Torvalds with the assistance of developers from around the globe.


1024 Kilobytes, commonly referred to as one million bytes.


Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions is the standard for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, and sound files. The MIME standard specifies the type of file being sent, and the method that should be used to turn it back into its original form.


Microsoft's relational database used on windows servers.

MX Record

Mail eXchange Record is an entry in a domain name database that specifies a mail server to handle a domain name's email.

MySQL Database

MySQL (pronounced "my ess cue el") is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL), the most popular language for adding, accessing, and processing data in a database.

Name Server

A host that provides name resolution for a network. Name servers translate symbolic names assigned to networks and hosts into the efficient Internet addresses used by machines.


An Optical Carrier 3 is a fiber optic connectivity to a network delivering 155 Mbps bandwidth. It contains three OC-1s each having bandwidth of 51.84 Mbps. A bandwidth of OC-12 is 622 Mbps, and OC-48 is 2.488 Gbps.


Practical Extraction and Reporting Language, is a programming language often used for creating CGI programs.


PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is a server-side programming language that allows web developers to create dynamic content that interacts with databases.


A Post Office Protocol used to retrieve emails from a mail server. Outlook and Netscape mail clients use POP to retrieve email.


PostgreSQL (pronounced post-gress-cue-el) is an open-source relational database. It has several features not available on other free databases including triggers and sub-selects. PostgreSQL is available on Linux platform.


Some registries don't provide the ability for end users to register domains with them directly. They might require end users to purchase the domain names through an internet provider that is acting as the registrar.


An organization responsible for assigning domain names for the TLD that they manage. It is their responsibility to update the global DNS tables that all name servers use to resolve domain names. For example, InterNIC is the registry for .COM, .NET and .ORG domain names.


SSL, Secure Socket Layer Protocol, is used to secure information being transmitted between server and client machines. It is generally used to encrypt (in 128-bit) personal and credit card information before they are transmitted over Internet. To implement SSL, a certificate must be purchased from a root Certificate Authority and installed in a server. Each certificate is installed on a separate IP address.


A server is a computer system that provides services to clients over the network. The types of server are Web Server, Database Server, File Server, Application Server, and etc.

Shared Hosting

See virtual hosting.

Shell Account

A hosting account that provides UNIX shell (ksh/csh/bash) access. A telnet or SSH may be used to connect to the server.


Software developed by Macromedia (now owned by Adobe) to create and distribute multimedia animations on the Web. To support Shockwave files, a browser needs the appropriate plug-in (available free of cost). Flash is its successor.

Shopping Cart

A shopping cart is a web application that is used by build an ecommerce website. A shopping cart allows visitors to place products (or services) in a cart for online purchase, and provides shipping and credit card transaction among other features.


Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is a core Internet protocol used to transfer e-mail messages between servers.


Spam refers to electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. Spamming is widely known as indiscriminately send unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or inappropriate messages, especially commercial advertising in mass quantities.


SSI, Server Side Includes, is a set of tags used within a HTML page to include another HTML page. SSI is useful in creating web pages with same contents, for example the header and footer of web pages may be included in the every page of a website. The SSI files have standard filename extension of ".shtml", but webserver may be configured to use ".html" extension as well.

Storage Space

Storage space is the amount of space on a server your website can store. Depending on the web hosting service you have chosen, your web host may advertise to offer an unlimited storage space but there will be a limit as there is no such thing as unlimited storage.


Structured Query Language, pronounced "sequel", is a language that provides an interface to relational database systems.


A leased-line connection with a bandwidth of 1.544 Mbps.


A leased-line connection with a bandwidth of 44.736 Mbps. 28 T1's make up a T3.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is a protocol for communication between computers, used as a standard for transmitting data over networks and as the basis for standard Internet protocols.


A software and protocol used to access one computer from another. Telnet uses TCP port 23, and is used to access a remote computer via a command line. Telnet is a clear-text protocol which transmits packets without encryption causing security concerns. It is slowly replaced by a secure shell (SSH).


1024 Gigabytes.


Top Level Domain name. Examples of TLD include .COM, .NET, and .ORG.


UNIX is an operating system developed in AT&T Bell Laboratories in the early 1970's. It is mostly used in corporate environment on the server hardware, which serve databases, world wide web, and other corporate applications. UNIX has numerous variants including Solaris, Ultrix, Tru64, IRIX and derivitives including Linux, Apple OSX and others. is


Uptime is a term used to refer the time during which a computer is operational.


URL, known as Uniform Resource Locator, is the standard address of an Internet resource that is a part of the world-wide-web. An example of URL may be http://www.topwebhosts.org/glossaries.php.

VB Script

A subset of Visual Basic, which is used to create scripting within HTML documents.

Virtual Hosting

Virtual hosting refers to a singer server hosting multiple websites owned my different customers. Virtual hosting works much like the dedicated hosting except that a server is shared among many customers, and hence offered at a much lower cost.

Web Hosting

A web hosting service is a company that allows you to create your web site and place it on the internet. Web hosting services own several servers, and offer you space on their servers for your web site to occupy and begin to attract internet views and hits, in exchange for a (usually monthly) fee. It's essentially paying a rental fee for the right to keep your website active.

Web Server

A computer hardware and software system working together to provide a web contents to client computers. The client computers, such as Windows PCs, MacOS PCs, and Linux machines request web pages to a web server, and the server responds to the clients by sending them response pages. The web server software includes Apache, IIS, JBoss, WebLogic, Websphere, and more.

The more traffic and hits your website gets, the larger the server space is required to keep the website from crashing. There are various tiers of server space and available plans for use. Basic web hosting plans offer limited storage space and have a less advanced interface and tools available for web site construction. Larger servers that have little or no chance of being shut down from overuse are called dedicated servers. Dedicated servers are primarily used by computer companies, or some other high-profile, widely-known companies.

WWW (Web)

World Wide Web is a very popular Internet service that organizes information using a hypertext and hypermedia system of linking documents, FTP sites, gopher sites, WAIS, and telnet.


A DNS Zone is a portion of the global DNS namespace. The namespace is defined by the DNS protocol and is laid out in a tree structure from right to left from TLD, SLD to 3rd/4th/... level domains. A DNS Zone file is created to describe IP address to domain name mapping as well as describing SOA (Start Of Address) and Mail Exchange information.