Welcome to the webRulon Hosting Glossary. Below are a number of terms that we feel is beneficial to know and understand.
.COM: The top-level domain originally intended for “commercial” entities, but anyone can register a .com domain. This is the most recognized top-level domain worldwide. Domains that are purchased that end in .com are generally worth more in value that .net or .org.
.NET: The top-level domain originally intended for internet or computer related domains, but any person can register a domain with a .net extension.
.ORG: The top-level domain originally intended for non-profit organizations, but anyone may now register a domain ending in .org.
.EDU: The top-level domain created for four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities. Only colleges and universities can register .edu domains.
.GOV: The top-level domain created for agencies and branches of the United States Federal Government. The General Services Administration (GSA) handles the registration of .gov domain names.
.MIL: The top-level domain created for United States military entities.
Administrative Contact: The administrative contact is an individual authorized to interact with the domain registrar on behalf of the domain name registrant. The administrative contact should be able to answer questions about the domain name’s registration and the domain name registrant.
Alias: Alternate name.
Applet: An applet is an embedded program on a web site. Applets are usually written in the coding language called Java. They are mainly used for creating a virtual or 3-dimensional object that may move or interact with the web site. It is a small executable module, that normally doesn’t have the complete features and user interface of a normal application. Java is the language most commonly associated with applets. An applet is like a small piece of executable code that needs a full application to contain it. The applet runs inside of the application in a “sand box” or “virtual machine,” which is a set of computer resources and instructions that make up an environment for the applet’s execution.
ASP (Active Server Pages): Active Server Pages enable web developers to make their sites dynamic with database driven content. The code is mainly written in VB Script, and it is produced on the server of the web site instead of the browser of your web site visitors. The server reads the ASP code and then translates it to raw HTML. This means that the web site owner doesn’t have to worry about the visitor having the right tools to view the web site’s dynamic content. The only downfall to ASP is that since it is run from the server, it takes longer for the pages to load because there are more steps involved in translating the code.
Audio Streaming: The process of providing audio content on a web site. This takes up a nice amount of bandwidth, especially if you get a lot of visitors at your site. Some hosts do not allow audio or video streaming because of this. If you are going to want audio on your site, you should make sure that your host supports audio streaming first. This is usually stated in their plans.
Auto Responder: An automated program that acknowledges receipt of an e-mail message, and then sends back a previously prepared email to the sender, letting them know it was received or that certain actions are being taken. Most of you probably already have a basic idea of what this is when you go on vacation and you create an auto response at your work to let everyone that emails you know that you will be away for the next week. Autoresponders are frequently used to handle requests for additional information or to confirm sales or other online transactions. Once you configure your autoresponder, it sends e-mail with no further action required on your part, making your web site interactive around the clock.
Backbone: In the general sense, this means the main network connections that comprise the Internet.
Backups: Web hosts back up data on their servers. Many host packages offer backups every 24 hours. This is supposed to prevent the loss of data should something happen to the server.
Bandwidth: This is the amount of data that is sent through a connection during a set period of time. It is usually measured in bits per second. If you have a large web site, with many visitors, you will need a lot more bandwidth than someone with a one page web site that gets 2 visitors a month. Some hosting plans offer unlimited bandwidth, but most have limits or will just make you pay for extra bandwidth because if a site is clogging their servers with visitors, they want to get compensated for that.
Billing Contact: The billing contact is the person designated to receive the invoice for domain name registration and re-registration fees. The billing contact must be a reliable, trustworthy source that will pay the re-registration dues on time. If you decide to register your domain through a host where THEY fill out the information, please make sure that they specify YOU as administrative and billing contacts and not THEM.
Browser (Web Browser): It is software used to locate web pages on the WWW and then display them on your computer monitor. Once connected to the Internet, your browser fetches documents from various web servers, translates the HTML, and displays the results for you.
Catch-all Email Account: A lot of hosts offer a Catch-all Email account. This means that firstname.lastname@example.org will go to you. This way, you can have Sales@abc.com, Support@abc.com, WebMaster@abc.com, and so on – with all of it going to the root email account. This also helps when a user makes a typo in the email address, as long as they get the domain correct.
CGI: (Common Gateway Interface): A CGI is a program that tanslates data from a web server and then displays that data on a web page or in an email. CGI involves the transfer of data between a server and a CGI program (called a script). This allows HTML pages to interact with other programming applications. These scripts make web pages interactive. Page counters, forms, guest books, random text/images and other features can be driven by CGI scripts. Some servers have pre-installed/pre-defined CGI scripts, meaning that the scripts are already installed on the server for you to use on your site. Some servers permit user-defined or custom CGI scripts, which means the site owner creates his/her own CGI script and runs this custom made script on the web site. Not all servers allow user-defined (custom) scripts for security reasons..
Chat Server: The web host will allow you to develop a chat room or other type of chat service for your visitors. Be sure to check with the web host company about the details of the chat services offered. Some servers permit you to configure the service, and others pre-configure everything for you while others do not allow chat rooms at all.
Click Through: This term is used to describe the ratio of clicks to impressions on an advertisement, usually a banner ad. If a banner has been shown 100 times and 3 people click on it, it will have a 3% click through ratio.
Cold Fusion: An application which simplifies database queries by allowing for a simpler programming language to handle functions between the user’s browser, the server, and the database.
Co-location: Basically this is just owning a server but having it at another location for the use of their internet connection. This is great for people who want to own their own server, but do not want the hassle or security risk of maintaining that server in their environment.
Control Panel: An online package of tools permitting easy site management and editing.
Cookie: A message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file called cookie.txt. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages for them. When you enter a Web site using cookies, you may be asked to fill out a form providing such information as your name and interests. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your Web browser which stores it for later use. The next time you go to the same Web site, your browser will send the cookie to the Web server. The server can use this information to present you with custom Web pages. So, for example, instead of seeing just a generic welcome page you might see a welcome page with your name on it.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): Used to add more functionality to simple HTML pages. Internet Explorer 3.0 and up support a good portion of CSS, while Netscape 4.0 and up supports a small amount of CSS – a fully compliant browser does not exist yet.
Database Support: General way of saying the server supports various database functions. Some commonly used database programs are MySQL, Access, Oracle, and FoxPro. Databases can be very difficult to configure properly. Before you sign up with a web host, first inquire if the host can support your database needs.
Data Transfer: This is the amount of data that is transferred from an account as visitors view the pages of the web site. If you have a web site with lots of video, audio, and images that gets many visitors per day, you would have to make sure that you choose a host that will allow large amounts of data to be transferred. If you choose a host that only allows 200 MB of data transfer per month, and your site transferred 500 MB per month, then the host may stop half of your visitors from viewing your site and you could lose potential customers. Your best bet is to try to find a host that offers unlimited data transfer or at least a Gig of transfer. A gig is more than enough for most web sites. As a general rule, 500 MB of data transfer is equivalent to 20,00o page views.
Dedicated Servers: A more expensive type of account in which the web hosting company provides you with an ENTIRE set-up of server hardware for your use. This usually means a much faster loading time for your site because the entire computer is “dedicated” to running the server software. This is different from most other hosting accounts in which your web site will share space on a server with many other web sites, called a virtual server.
DNS Parking: DNS service for a domain is provided without there being a web site for that domain.
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.
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. Also, just to note, the .com extensions are worth more in value because they are the most widely used and the most well known. It is also a smart marketing decision. If your ebusiness should ever move up to television and/or radio advertising, and even Internet advertising, most of the general Internet public remembers .com extensions. And if they don’t remember the extension at all but they do remember the domain name, they will more than likely type the .com in their browser. Technically, the domain name is a name that identifies an IP address. To most of us, it simply means www.yourname.com. Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, web servers depend on a Domain Name System (DNS) to translate domain names into IP addresses. Simply stated, domain names allow people to find your web site by name rather than by numerical address.
Domain Name System (DNS): A distributed database of information that is used to translate domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) numbers (usually looks something like 123.456.789.101). In other words, computers need numbers in order to function. The computer itself does not care whether you are ebay.com or yahoo.com. It has no idea how to find the name, it needs a number that identifies that name. So when you buy a domain, say www.yourname.com, it is nothing until you get it hosted somewhere and until that host assigns a number to your domain
E-Commerce: Seems to be an overused term. It usually refers to doing business on the WWW. E-commerce packages offered by web host companies often include a shopping cart (lets shoppers select purchases), secure server for credit card transactions, etc. Other options are often included, such as software to develop an online product catalog and marketing services.
E-Mail: Electronic mail permits the sending of primarily text-based information and html across the Internet.
E-Mail Alias: Also called a forwarding account (see below). Allows you to appear to have an e-mail address on a certain domain, yet in reality the e-mail is forwarded to your real e-mail account. It allows you to have your e-mail automatically forwarded to any e-mail address you specify. This is a great way to get your mail when you’re out of town, etc.
E-Mail POP Account: An actual e-mail account on your web host’s e-mail server. POP stands for Post Office Protocol.
Encrypted Password: A password that has been scrambled to protect it from being discovered and used by someone other than the person to whom it belongs.
Exposure: Term used to describe when a banner advertisement is loaded on a web page and displayed to a user. Also refered to as Impression.
Finger: An Internet software tool for locating people on other Internet sites. Finger is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal information, but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a particular Internet site. Many sites do not allow incoming Finger requests, but many do.
FP (Frontpage) Extensions: This simply refers to Microsoft Front Page server extensions. The FP2K indicates that the server supports the latest version of the program, MS Front Page 2000. These extensions can be thought of as “mini programs” that allow features of a web site created with MS Front Page to operate smoothly. It is possible to use MS Front Page to create a web site and host that site on a server that doesn’t offer FP extensions, however some of the powerful features of the program cannot be used in these web sites. See Microsoft’s Front Page site for more information.
Front Page: Front Page is an HTML editor made by Microsoft. It is commonly used to create web pages.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): It is a way of uploading and downloading files across the Internet. Most web sites are uploaded to the Internet by means of an FTP program. This is how the web site you create on your computer at home is transferred (uploaded) to the Internet. Some software, such as Microsoft Front Page, does not require use of an FTP program but the use of most any other HTML editor requites the use of and FTP Program. There is a free FTP program called WS_FTP and you can download it at download.com. 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.
Gigabyte (Gig): Equivalent to approximately 1000 megabytes.
Host (Name Server): When you hear the term “host” in the Internet world, it is referring to an Internet company that has the required servers and software to connect domain names to (IP) Internet Protocol numbers so that your site can be viewed by the public when they type your domain in their browser window. Basically this is where you house your site, and you usually have to pay a monthly or annual fee for this service. There are free hosts, but in most cases, in order to use their services you must put one of their advertisement banners on your site, and most of them limit what you can do with your site. Sometimes it is better to pay $8/month for a host because it gives you more freedom and is ad free with the exception of the ads you post yourself.
HTML: Stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the code that web pages are written in. The next time you visit a web site, go to View > Source on your browser to take a look at what the coding of a web site looks like.
HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol): The protocol for transfering hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW). You see it everytime you type a web site in your browser http://…
Hypertext Link: A way to embed a URL into an object (such as text or an image) so that when the object is clicked, the browser retrieves the file specified. When you click them, you are taken to other files or another portion of a same file or to another website.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): A protocol for retrieving e-mail messages from an e-mail server. Some versions allow you to search your e-mail messages for keywords while those messages are still on your server. Then you can decide which messages you choose to download to your computer.
Impression: Term used to describe when a banner advertisement is loaded on a web page and displayed to a user. Also refered to as Exposure.
Internet: A global network of millions of connected computers.
Internet Protocol (IP) Numbers (IP addresses): A unique number used to specify hosts and networks. Internet Protocol (IP) numbers are used for identifying machines that are connected to the Internet. They are sometimes called a dotted quad and are unique numbers consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, They would look something like this 123.456.789.101. 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. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.
ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company or institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money. They will usually allow users to dial up through a modem, DSL, or cable connection to view the information on the internet. Access is via SLIP, PPP, or TCP/IP.
InterNIC: InterNIC was the name given to a project that provided domain name registration services in com, net, org, and edu. Now that the project has ended, other companies can now offer domain registration. Companies such as Network Solutions and Register.com now do what InterNic used to do.
IRC (Internet Relay Channel): A massive network of text-based chat channels (chat rooms) across the world.
Java (Java Script): A programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Originally was named OAK. Small Java applications are called applets. It is a scripting language which enables web designers to add dynamic, interactive elements to a web site.
Mailing lists: Many web host providers offer software to assist you in operating a mailing list. This software usually includes automated subscription requests and subscriber database management.
Megabyte: Approximately a million bytes or 1024 kilobytes.
MS-SQL: This means that the server offers the components you need to use Microsoft SQL database in your web site. Other databases of importance are MySQL, ODBC and Oracle.
MySQL: MySQL is a database server. It is commonly coupled with PHP to provide a way for users to access data stored in the database from the web. It is commonly found on Unix servers.
Name Server: Also called a host or a name server. A computer that has both the software and the data needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. Most name servers have names like NS1.whatever.com.
NIC Handle: A unique identifier, which can be up to 10 alpha-numeric characters, assigned to each domain name record, contact record, and network record in Network Solutions’ domain name database. Note that NIC Handles are specific to Network Solutions and is not a term used for Registrars in general.
NT servers Servers: Computers that run Microsoft NT server software as their Operating System.
Operating System: A program on your computer which runs your other programs and your hardware. It’s what makes everything work from the data you enter on your keyboard to the output you see on your monitor. It organizes your programs and data files, and manages your disk drives and peripheral devices. Windows, DOS and UNIX are examples of operating systems.
PERL (Practical Extraction and Report Language): A popular programming language which has strong text processing capabilities.
PHP: PHP is another scripting language. Like ASP, it’s commands are embeded within the HTML of a web page. The commands are executed on the web server, making it browser independant. The web browser only sees the resulting HTML output of the PHP code.
POP (Post Office Protocol): It’s a method of retrieving e-mail from an e-mail server. Most e-mail applications (sometimes called an e-mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). There are two versions of POP. The first, called POP2, became a standard in the mid-80’s and requires SMTP to send messages. The newer version, POP3, can be used with or without SMTP. The newest and most widely used version of POP email is POP3 email. You will see the term POP3 in most of the web hosting plans available today.
PPP (Point to Point Protocol): A method of connecting a computer to the Internet.
Primary Server: The designation of “primary” means that this name server will be used first and will be relied upon before any of the other name servers.
Protocol: The format by which data is transferred between two computers.
Real Audio/Video: A RealServer stream, which allows a web site owner to broadcast audio and video. Site visitors can experience this audio and/or video by installing a simple plug-in into their browser. To find out more, please visit Real.com.
Redundant Internet Connection: The web host company has more than one main connection to the Internet, ensuring that if one becomes non-functional, Internet connectivity remains intact via the other main connections.
Registrant: The individual or organization that registers a specific domain name. This individual or organization holds the right to use that specific domain name for a specified period of time, provided certain conditions are met and the registration fees are paid. This person or organization is the “legal entity” of that web site.
Registration: The process through which individuals and organizations obtain a domain name. Registration of a domain name enables the individual or organization to use that particular domain name for a specified period of time, or as long as the required fees are paid.
Registration Fee: The charge for registering a Web Address or domain name.
Registration Forms: Forms that are used to submit and process registration requests. These forms, which include the Domain Name Registration Agreement, Contact Form, and Host Form, are used to register new domain names, new contacts for domain names, and new hosts (name servers) as well as to update domain name, contact, and host records. There are both Web versions and plain text (ASCII) versions of the forms.
Re-registration: The process of renewing a domain name’s registration for a specified period of time. This is accomplished by paying the re-registration fee which covers the amount of years you are renewing the domain for.
Resellable Space: Your web host provider will allow you to sell all or portions of of the web space (which you are paying for) to others who want web space. Many web hosting companies have reseller programs.
Resolve: The term used to describe the process by which domain names are matched with corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. “Resolution” is accomplished by a combination of computers and software, which use the data in the Domain Name System to determine which IP numbers correspond to a particular domain name. Basically, it is translating a number to the name you see in your browser for the web site you are visiting.
Root server: A machine that has the software and data needed to locate name servers that contain authoritative data for the top-level domains.
Script: List of commands that can be executed without user interaction. Sometimes used as another term for macro or batch file.
Second Level Domain: In the Domain Name System (DNS), the next lower level of the hierarchy underneath the top level domains. In a domain name, that portion of the domain name that appears immediately to the left of the .com, .net, .org, etc…) For example, the webhostsonline.com would be the second level domain for this web site. The top-level domain is .com.
Secondary Server: The name server will be used as a backup for the primary name server in the event that the primary server becomes unavailable.
Server: A computer, or software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW or HTTP server, or to the machine on which the software is running. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. More specifically, a server is a computer that manages network resources. For example, a network server would manage network traffic. A file server would store and serve files.
Server Logs (Traffic Logs): This is raw statistical data stored on the server. It contains information such as how many visitors accessed certain pages of your site, what web sites referred those visitors to your site, and the domain name of the visitor. This information is very useful in determining which sections of your web site are more heavily traveled and what sites are referring traffic to yours.
Shell Account: Something experienced computer users often request. Permits you to edit your files online in real-time, rather than making changes to your site offline and then uploading the changes.
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol): A way of connecting a computer to the Internet.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol): The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet. Most Internet email is sent and received using SMTP. SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact.
SPAM (Electronic Junk Mail a.k.a. UCE (Unsolicted Commercial Email)): Often used to refer to the practice of sending out massive amounts of e-mail promotions or ads which the recipient has not asked to receive. It is a waste of people’s time and network bandwidth and is simply illegal in some part of the world.
SSI (Server Side Includes): Commands that can be included in web pages that are processed by the web server when a user requests a file. The command takes the form . A common use for SSI commands is to insert a universal menu into all of the pages of the web site so that the menu only has to be changed once and inserted with SSI instead of changing the menu on every page.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer): A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. It is used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers and web servers. URL’s that begin with “https” indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity. In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate, which each side’s software sends to the other. Each side then encrypts what it sends using information from both its own and the other side’s Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can de-crypt it, and that the other side can be sure the data came from the place it claims to have come from, and that the message has not been tampered with.
Statistics: Many servers take the information from your server/traffic log and compile it in a user-friendly, easy-to-read format for you to analyze trends about your web site.
Support: Telephone or e-mail technical support provided to a web hosting company’s customers. When there’s a problem with your site or your e-mail, you want to be able to get an answer promptly by e-mail or on the phone.
T-1: A connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen, full-motion video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second. T-1 is the fastest speed commonly used to connect networks to the Internet.
T-3: A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second. This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion video.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): This is a set of communications protocols to connect hosts on the Internet.
Telnet: The command and program used to login from one Internet site to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the login: prompt of another host.
Technical Contact/Agent: The technical contact is the person or organization who maintains the primary domain name server. The technical contact should be able to answer technical questions about the domain name’s primary domain name server.
Third Level Domain: The next highest level of the hierarchy underneath the second level domains. In a domain name, that portion of the domain name that appears two segments to the left of the top-level domain. For example, the your in your.domain.com.
TLD (Top Level Domain): This is the suffix on a domain name, such as .com or .org or .edu. It is the highest level of the hierarchy after the root. That portion of the domain name that appears to the far right such as the com in webhostsonline.com.
UNIX: A computer operating system designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.
Unlimited Hits: This indicates whether or not you will incur additional charges from your web hosting company for high levels of traffic at your site. Make sure you understand clearly how much traffic you are allowed to receive monthly before additional charges are assessed against your account.
URL(Uniform Resource Locator): The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). Think of it as a unique address for each of your files in your web site. A URL looks like this:
The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a WWW browser program, such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Lynx.
Video Streaming: The process of providing video data or content via a web page.
Virtual Server: A web server which shares its resources with multiple users. It’s another way of saying that multiple web sites share the resources of one server.
Web Design: Some servers offer to create your web site in addition to hosting it on their server. Be sure to check about the extent of their expertise, and ask to see sites they’ve created.
Web Page: A document on the World Wide Web, identified by an unique URL.
Web Server: A computer that serves up (delivers to your computer) web pages. Web hosting companies offer virtual servers and dedicated servers.
Whois: A searchable database maintained by Registrars which contain information about networks, networking organizations, domain names, and the contacts associated with them for the com, org, net, edu, and ISO 3166 country code top-level domains. Also, the protocol, or set of rules, that describes the application used to access the database.
WWW (World Wide Web): A portion of the Internet designated to support documents in HTML format.