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Glossary of Web Hosting Terms           


API (Application Programming Interface)

A programming language used to communicate with operating systems for building software applications.

ASP (Active Server Pages)

A server-side programming language. Introduced by Microsoft and considered to be the standard programming system for applications hosted on Windows servers.

ASP Hosting

Any type of hosting that supports ASP scripts for server-side programming. Windows-based hosting packages support ASP scripts.



This represents the capacity of a network connection. Many web hosting providers refer to bandwidth as monthly bandwidth or data transfer, but to be specific, bandwidth is the maximum amount of data a web server is capable of transferring in a second. Bandwidth is measured in bytes per second; data transfer is measured in bytes per month.

Bit (Binary Digit)

The smallest unit of computer information storage and communication. Represented by a single binary digit, either 0 or 1.

Byte (Binary Table)

A unit measuring computer information storage, usually made up of 8 bits.


CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language)

A web scripting language using ColdFusion tags to embed commands in HTML files for dynamic web sites. CFML tags are used to add content based on user input or database requests.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)

Defines how web pages are displayed. Useful for adding advanced features for dynamic content, such as guest book, forums and counters, to a website.

cPanel (cPanel Control Panel)

A Linux-based control panel that allows you to manage your domains, e-mails, files, backups, FTP, various scripts, website statistics, install applications and software, and much more.


An application server and scripting language for creating dynamic web sites. Used to build templates for integrating databases. Originally developed by Allaire, it is now distributed by Adobe Systems Inc.

ColdFusion Hosting

Web hosting that supports ColdFusion.

Co-location Hosting

Provides customers a secure physical space for servers, electrical connections, Internet access, and other hardware and equipment. Generally the customer would make regular visits to the data center for upgrades or hardware changes. The web hosting provider may provide little to no support directly to the server.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

Describes colors, fonts and layout of a document written in a markup language such as HTML.


Data Center

A facility where a web host's servers are held. Adequate data centers are fully equipped with high-end technology systems including UPS backups, backup generators, 24/7 security and monitoring service, and fast backbone connections.

Data Transfer

The amount of information a website transmits in a month. Sometimes referred to as traffic. Also referred to erroneously as bandwidth or monthly bandwidth (see Bandwidth).

Dedicated Hosting

A complete web server is rented by a customer and in most cases gets full control, including administrative access to the server and responsibility for security and maintenance.

Dedicated Server

A web server leased by a single customer.

Dedicated IP

An IP address that never changes and is assigned to a single website or home computer.

Disk Space/Storage

The amount of space a customer rents on a web server to store website(s). Also referred to as web hosting space.

DNS (Domain Name Server)

Used to map domain names to IP addresses and the other way round. DNS maintains central lists of domain names/IP addresses, then maps, or connects, domain names in your Internet Explorer address bar requests to other servers on the Internet until the specified website is found.

Domain Name

The name that identifies a website to other computers on the Internet. Usually an easy to remember name (e.g. WebHostingSummary.com) that represents an IP address.

Domain Name Hosting

Any type of web hosting service that supports a domain name. In some cases, it has to be a country-specific web hosting provider.


The measure of time a web server is down and not running. Most web hosting providers use uptime numbers instead.

Dynamic Website

An interactive site, such as an eCommerce site with a shopping cart.


eCommerce Hosting

A type of hosting that lets customers sell products online. An eCommerce hosting package comes with everything needed to build a successful eCommerce presence: web space; an online product catalog with space for images and a shopping cart; plus a choice of payment and delivery methods.



A commercial script library that allows autoinstallation of content management systems to a website.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

Used to transfer data reliably and efficiently from one computer to another. A customer uses FTP to upload or move files from their computer to the server that hosts the website.



A network or computer that allows or controls access to another network or computer.

GB (Gigabyte)

One billion bytes, or 1,073,741,824 bytes if referring to computer memory.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

A bitmap image format for transferring graphics files. Images are limited to 256 colors. Charts and drawings or cartoons are generally GIFs, while JPEG is used for photographs.

gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domain)

A category of domains as assigned by ICANN (see below). Included in the list of generic top-level domains are the .com, .info, .net, and .org domains. Domains such as .biz, .name, and .pro are also categorized as generic, but are more specifically referred to as generic-restricted.


HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

The standard used to develop web pages. HTML tells web browsers how to format a web page. Formatting details include specifications about text alignment, colors, headings, background, tables and so on.

HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol)

The standard protocol used to transfer information on the Internet, especially HTML documents. URLs identify resources that need to be accessed by HTTP (e.g. http://www.webhostingsummary.com).


ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)

A non-profit organization that manages the assignment of domain names and IP addresses. It oversees the introduction of new generic top-level domains, and is concerned the Internet's operational stability. It does this by managing the Domain Name System, making sure every address is unique and Internet users can find all valid addresses, and by ensuring that each domain name maps to the correct IP address.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

An advanced protocol for sending and receiving e-mails. It accesses messages stored on an e-mail server.

IP Address

The unique numeric address that represents a particular resource on the Internet. Domain names are easier to remember and therefore used to represent IP addresses.



A programming language that writes commands to the web browser when an HTML page is loaded. JavaScript is embedded as a small program in a web page that is interpreted and executed by a web browser. Its functions can be called from within a web document, mouse actions, buttons, or other actions from the user. JavaScript can be used to fully control Microsoft and Netscape web browsers, including all the familiar browser attributes.


An open-source content management system, allowing users to create Web sites and online applications. Its features include page caching, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, website searching and language internalization.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

A compression technique for color images. Photographs are usually JPEG files, while GIF is used for charts and drawings.

JSP (JavaServer Page)

Java's server-side technology designed to work with HTML for building dynamic web pages. Created by Sun Microsystems as an answer to Microsoft's ASP technology.

JSP Hosting

Hosting that supports JavaServer Page technology.


KB (Kilobyte)

One thousand bytes, or 1,024 bytes if referring to computer memory.


The core of most computer operating systems, managing communication between a computer's hardware and software. When a computer crashes, it is the kernel itself that crashes.


Linux Hosting

Web hosting on a Linux-based web server. Most web servers are based on Linux operating systems because of the low cost of Unix/Linux software. Linux shared hosting is the most affordable type of web hosting.


Mbps (Megabits per second)

Also millions of bits per second. A measure of data transfer speed between communications devices.

MB (Megabyte)

One million bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes if referring to computer memory.

MSSQL (Microsoft Structured Query Language)

Microsoft's version of the SQL database language; commonly used in conjunction with ASP.NET forms.

Multiple Domain Hosting

Hosting several domains in the same account. All web hosts featured on WebHostingSummary.com offer multiple domain hosting.

MySQL (My Structured Query Language)

An open-source programming language using SQL for processing data. MySQL provides APIs for many programming languages such as C, C++, Eiffel, Java, Perl, PHP and Python. It is most commonly used for web applications and has become a popular alternative to proprietary database systems because of its reliability and speed.


.NET Hosting

Web hosting that supports applications built on the .NET framework, developed by Microsoft.


A group of interconnected computers or servers. There are different types of networks including Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Global Area Network (GAN), Intranet, Extranet and Internet.


ODBC (Open Database Connectivity)

A standard database access method developed in 1992 by SQL Access Group.



A programming language that borrows features from other commonly used programming languages.

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)

A web scripting language used to create dynamic web pages and interactive features on websites. PHP scripts can be embedded in an HTML document enclosed with the special PHP tags, or they can be executable scripts.


The current version of PHP. Changes from Version 4 include improved MySQL support and new code authoring functions.

PHP Hosting

Web hosting that supports PHP scripts. Linux-based hosting is an example.


A programming language that supports integration with other languages and tools, and comes with large standard libraries.


Query Language

Computer language used to make queries into information systems and databases.



An organization or company that registers and records domain names. Most web hosting providers are capable of registering domain names with registrars for customers.

Reseller Hosting

The hosting provider allows clients (resellers) to provide web hosting services themselves. Usually, resellers can set up their own web hosting packages and pricing models.

Ruby on Rails (RoR or Rails)

An open-source Web framework designed to make web application development fast and easy.



A computer dedicated for running server-specific applications, which are programs that accept network connections to service request by sending responses. Server applications include web servers, mail servers and file servers. The web server running Apache HTTP server software an example.

Shared Hosting

Web hosting accounts using the same web server as many other websites, ranging from a few to hundreds or even thousands. Each account sits on its own partition of the server to keep it separate from other accounts. This is the most affordable option for web hosting, since many customers share the overall cost for server maintenance.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

A database computer language designed for the management and retrieval of data in Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS), database object access management, and database schema creation and modifications.

SSH (Secure Shell)

A program used to execute commands on a remote machine, move files from one machine to another, and log into another system over a network. It provides strong and secure communication services over unsecured channels.

SSI (Server Side Includes)

A type of HTML comment that directs the web server to dynamically generate data for a webpage whenever requested.

SSL (Secured Sockets Layer)

The first line of defence against online intruders by transmitting communications over the Internet in an encrypted form. An SSL certificate ensures that the information sent over the Internet is unchanged and sent only to the intended server. Mainly, eCommerce websites use SSL technology to protect credit card information.


Created under a primary domain by using a prefix and working as a fully functional website. Subdomains are mainly used to separate different parts of a website (e.g. shoes.CheapDealFinder.com).



The amount of data transmitted to and from a website in a month. Sometimes referred to as data transfer. Also referred to erroneously as bandwidth or monthly bandwidth (see Bandwidth).



Unix is an open-source operating system developed in 1969. Unix has gained popularity because of its stability and versatility, playing an essential role in the development of the Internet. Today, Unix-like operating systems such as Linux and BSD are widely used, as are certified Unix operating systems.

Unix Hosting

Web hosting on a Unix-based web server. Most web servers are based on on Unix-based or Unix-like operating systems, because of the low cost. It is the most affordable type of web hosting.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

Used to locate a resource on the Internet. It consists of two parts: a protocol identifier; and a resource name. Two parts are separated by a colon and two forward slashes. For example, http://www.webhostingsummary.com is a URL where HTTP is the protocol being used and www.webhostingsummary.com is the resource name.

Unlimited Bandwidth

Monthly data transfer is supposedly without limit, though there is no such thing as truly`"unlimited bandwidth". Web hosting companies offer this feature while banking on the fact that many customers won't use much bandwidth.

Unlimited Domain Hosting

Allows hosting of unlimited domains in the same hosting account. Most web hosts found on www.webhostingsummary.com provide unlimited domain hosting packages.

Uptime Guarantee

The measure of time a web server is up and running. WebHostingSummary.com strives to include only summaries and links to web hosting providers that offer at least a 99.9-per-cent uptime guarantee.


VPS (Virtual Private Server)

A physical server partitioned into multiple servers, giving each partitioned server the appearance and capabilities of a dedicated server. Each virtual server can run its own operating system and can be independently rebooted. Also called VDS or Virtual Dedicated Server.

VPS Hosting

The bridge between shared and dedicated hosting. VPS is one of multiple virtual servers residing on the partitioned dedicated server. Based on the capabilities and appearance of the VPS, customers feel they have a dedicated server. Each VPS can run its own operating system, and each server can be independently rebooted.


Web Host

A company that provides space for websites on its web server.

Web Hosting

A service that allows customers to have websites live and accessible via the Internet.


An individual responsible for building, publishing, maintaining and updating a website.

Web Server

A computer that runs software for accepting HTTP requests from web browsers, then providing HTTP responses and optional data.


A collection of web pages hosted on a web server and accessible via the Internet.

Whois Privacy

Protects a domain holder's personal information, such as address and telephone number.

Windows Hosting

Hosting based on a web server running a Windows operating system. Many people have the misconception that if they use a Windows operating system on their PCs, they must use a Windows hosting service for their websites. Windows hosting is required if a website needs to support MS SQL database; if .NET script is used to compose a website; if Active Server Pages (ASP) scripts for server-side programming are being used; or if Windows Streaming Media is required on a website. Windows hosting is very useful when support for other Microsoft products is required.


A publishing platform for self-hosted blogging, featuring a templating system, which includes widgets that can be rearranged without editing PHP or HTML code. Available at wordpress.com, or open source at wordpress.org


XML (Extensible Markup Language)

Used for designing web documents. Similar in structure to HTML, but allows users to define markup elements by creating customized tags.



Zip File

A file that is compressed to save space or take less time to send. The recipient of a .zip file needs to extract and decompress the file with the same tool used to compress it.