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Website Hosting Terms and Definitions

Shared Hosting - is also known as "Virtual Hosting". In this multiple websites share the system resources of a single server. In other words, it provides a customer with a limited amount of server space to create their web site. Bandwidth and storage space is distributed among many clients, who all "share" the same physical server. Hosting companies provide this service by maintaining several large servers, and on those large servers they maintain a number of virtual web hosts.
Shared hosting is generally aimed at beginners and intermediate users .

Dedicated Hosting - Shared web hosting, no matter how well managed, cannot be 100% reliable and stable. However if you have your own dedicated server you can manage to avoid most of the variables affecting the reliability and stability of a server, commonly experienced by shared hosting accounts; variables such as: overload, bad codes and scripts from other users (especially beginners); and, too many applications and components uploaded, and so on.
Advantages- On a dedicated server you will install only software and applications you want to use, while on a shared hosting server you will find a host of other software and applications installed for other users.

With dedicated server hosting you can provide instant support to your own clients whenever required, which is not possible if you are on a shared server.

Virtual private Hosting- To overcome the bridge between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, comes the concept of virtual private hosting. It still shares a machine or disk, but the web server software and indeed the entire operating system environment is usually isolated for each site in a virtual hosting environment. So, you might have a computer or disk with 20 sites on it, 20 different web servers for those sites, and 20 isolated operating environments.
Advantages- There is a better control of resource allocation and more enforceable distribution.

Difference between shared hosting and dedicated hosting

The primary difference between dedicated and shared hosting is how the web server is used. With Shared web hosting, the web server is shared between many different websites. With dedicated web hosting, the web server is dedicated to your web site. Both services have their advantages and disadvantages.
Dedicated hosting is any day expensive than shared hosting.

What is disk space and bandwidth transfer?

Disk space is measured in Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Megabyte roughly means 1,024,000 characters and Gigabyte roughly means 1,024 Million characters. Imagine a character as one key on your key board. These amounts determine how many files, documents, or data you can have on your web site.

Network Transfer is also measured in Megabytes or gigabytes which determines how much data (how many of your files, documents or data) can be downloaded (transferred to) people accessing your web site. The more people, or the more data each person accesses on your web site the more data is transferred on the network.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address)

Often called a dotted quad, it is a a unique number consisting of 4 or 6 parts (octets) separated by periods (or dots), and which designates a hexadecimal address used to identify server locations on the world wide web.  It may appear like this: in its most common form, but could also be expressed hex decimally.   Note that IPv4 addresses have four octets, but the soon-to-be-in-use IPv6 IP addresses will have six octets, and will appear as follows:  (whew!)   Note that  In general, each domain name must resolve to an IP address registered to the web server which is hosting the domain.

More commonly explained, an IP address is a number analogous to a street address on the Web. When the internet was first created in the 1960's as part of the Department of Defense, IP addressing provided a means to identify unique locations on the internet, much as street addresses are unique and identify houses and buildings in a given city.

IP addresses may be dedicated, in which case they are hard-assigned to a given computer or internet connection, so that other computers may reach a given computer at an IP address simply by using the IP address and without a (canonical) domain name.  Each web server has a dedicated IP address or addresses, and individual domain names can have dedicated IP addresses.

IPP (Internet Presence Provider)

This is another name for a hosting provider.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

An ISP is an organization which creates connections from its customers to the internet, thus allowing the customer to access the internet.  ISP's have come a long way in the last 10 years, from a patchwork of local providers with a few dominant nationwide players (such as AOL, Earthlink, Mindspring, Juno, NetZero, MSN and Compuserve) to a consolidated few national providers and few remaining local providers, with new competition now arising around low-price point (sub $5 monthly) dial-up access, and greater competition among multiple large providers of high speed (broadband) connections based on DSL (via telephone line) and cable (via TV cable provider) service.

ISP's are sometimes also hosting providers, but have a very poor record as such.  In general, companies such as which specialize in domain name and hosting services provide far better value, price, and telephone technical support to assist customers with hosting needs.

Megabyte (MB)

Approximately a million bytes of data, or 8.3 million data bits.  1024 of these will constitute one gigabyte.  One million of these will constitute one terabyte, and one billion of these will make a petabyte.

NOC (Network Operation Center)

Sometimes called a Datacenter. This is the term for a secure, managed network environment which may house tens or thousands of Web servers with power backup and high-speed connections to the Internet Backbone. NOCs usually have a mixture of OC-3 and DS-3 connections, or higher (i.e., OC12).


Ultra-fast connectivity for mission-critical Internet needs, typically connecting large ISPs and Hosting Providers to internet backbones.  An OC-3 ring or OC-3 link has approximately 3 times the bandwidth capability of a T-3 connection.

POP3 / POP Email (E-Mail)

Post Office Protocol (POP) is used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server, usually from a user's individual e-mail client software such as Outlook Express or other applications, which are often referred to as an "e-mail client."   Note that some newer software uses IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) or APOP.   Post Office Protocol requires a username and password to access mail on a server.  There are three versions of POP, with the latest being POP3, which has now become virtually the only POP version in use.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol

A secure transmission protocol whereby data transmitted between server and client is encoded using an encryption key (usually 128-bit) in such a way that it virtually cannot be "cracked" and read by any party which may intercept the information in between the server and client.

SSL protocol is used on virtually all websites which feature e-commerce purchasing and transmission of payment data, as well as most websites which require the exchange of sensitive information in between the client and the server, such as medical information, personal data, even name and address data.

To use SSL, you must have a dedicated IP address for the server, and a Secure SSL Certificate such as those sold at at the lowest price on the internet for the highest level of security and the best compatibility with the widest range of browsers of any certificate on the market.

Note that a Secure Socket Layer only provides for secure transmission of data and does not perform credit card validation, verification, or merchant processing, although those tasks are all performed from clients entering information onto secure pages. 


This is a broad term which generally refers to any computer which provides data to another computer (client) or clients across a wide variety of networks.   Servers can be simple file servers located on local area networks (LAN) within an office or computing environment, or they can be vast internet servers sending out web pages to computers which query those pages for their content and data.

The term server is almost always used in conjunction with the term "client" and frequently referred to as the "client-server" relationship.  While not common in early computing for individual home users, client-server relationships now are very pervasive as nearly every computer in home use has some type of connection to the internet, and utilizes client-server relationships to handle everything from online gaming software to updates of antivirus and utility software to simple web surfing!

The server functions not only as the computer which provides data and is the central repository of information, but also as gatekeeper between multiple "client" computers.  A server can also be called a "host" because it hosts the data "served" to "clients."  This is increasingly common with regard to internet web hosting.

SSI (Server Side Includes)

Server Side Includes (SSI) is a practice whereby a set of tags are embedded in the HTML code of a web page and which are populated (replaced by something else) when the web page is actually viewed by the user.   The content which the server provides to these tags is determined by many factors, and can be programmed by the web designer to provide specific and unique information to different types of web visitors (persons viewing the web page).   This is often done in situations where the server makes a determination as to which user is logged in an provides specific information to that user relative to that user's account with with web host.   SSI is run by a Perl script on UNIX/Linux servers.

Shell Account

A UNIX or Linux server can offer varying degrees of access to use of the computer by the creation of a shell account allowing the user to log in and browse, change, modify, update, and delete files from a given set of files and folders to which the user has permissions established.  Access to shell accounts by users is typically done by Telnet (not secure) or by more secure means such as SSH, the popular software for which is called SecureCRT.

Shell accounts are considered very dangerous from a security point of view when the server is a shared web server (has multiple client users) because crackers can often use unscrupulous means to gain full (root) access to servers from within shell accounts without full access.  This allows for mischief to occur.   UNIX/Linux servers are generally viewed as far more safe .


A dedicated line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line can move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds.   Although once considered to be a very substantial bandwidth, T-1 is now eclipsed by even the download speed of many cable modems which operate at up to 3,500,000 bits-per-second.   To get an idea of what this speed can do, note that this high transmission rate is still not fast enough for full-screen, high-resolution, full-motion, uncompressed television video, for which is needed at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second.


A high bandwidth, dedicated line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second, or approximately 30 times the speed of a T-1 line.


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.  Note that Telnet is not considered secure as it is not encrypted.  For secure communications and exchange of passwords, users should always use the SSH protocol rather than Telnet.  SSH1 and SSH2 protocols provide the needed security.  The software SecureCRT is capable of all of these methods of communication and is the most popular software in use.


Approximately a trillion bytes of data, or 1000 million gigabytes or 1,000,000 MB, or 8 million data bits.  One thousand of these will constitute one gigabyte.  One million of these will constitute one terabyte.


Total amount of data which is sent from from a web site to client computers accessing the sit.  Transfer measurements include all all HTML code from all displayed web pages, as well as all images, sounds, video, and downloaded data.  See also Data Transfer for more information. 


An operating system developed by Bell Laboratories (Bell Labs) back in the 1960s (yes!) which is designed to be secure, simple, and powerful.   UNIX operating systems are used typically on business-class computers typically used as "servers" which provide information to client computers for databases, websites, or other corporate applications.  UNIX has numerous variants including IRIX (SGI), Solaris (Sun), and the most popular which was developed by Berkeley Systems Division and known as BSD Unix.  The version of BSD Unix which has been compiled and offered under a free GNU license is called "FreeBSD UNIX" and is available to the general public at no cost.  It can be downloaded from a number of websites.   Berkeley Systems Division BSD UNIX has spawned many derivative operating systems including including Apple's OSX, and the now extremely popular Linux operating system, an open-source operating system invented by (and named after) Finland's Linus Torvalds and developed into the world's most popular UNIX variant, with root kernels free to all users under GNU public license.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

This is the standard way to give the address of any resource on the internet whether or not is part of the World Wide Web (www), but as long as it can be accessed with an hyper-text transfer protocol or file transfer protocol address call, and is a part of a server listed on the canonical domain name registration tables to resolve to an IP address.   The term "resource" here is used to refer to any web page, graphic, sound file, or any other resource which one can call from a URL.  A URL will begin with http:// (hypertext transfer protocol) or https:// (hypertext transfer protocol secure) or ftp:// (file transfer protocol) with few or no other variants.   Note that a URL can refer directly to an Internet Protocol address (IP address) such as this:

Virtual Hosting

Virtual hosting is a type of hosting where you are given control of your own "server" with your hosting service.  However, this "virtual server" is not an entire computer server.  This server is called "virtual" because it is one of multiple "virtual" servers located on a single physical server computer.  There can be anywhere from two "virtual servers" on an actual server, up to 400 or even 500 virtual servers on an actual server.  The virtual servers are almost always UNIX or Linux, and each have assigned to them a portion of a hard drive using a UNIX "jail" partitioning software so that no virtual server can access the partitions assigned to a different virtual server.   Virtual servers have separate IP addresses assigned to each server, and each virtual server functions much like a dedicated server, able to do almost everything that a dedicated server can do in terms of serving as an internet host. 

Web Server

A computer or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can also refer to a particular piece of software, such as Apache for UNIX/Linux, which provides actual web server functionality to a server computer.  For more information, see "Server" defined above.

Web Site / Website

A web site is a collection of web pages that reside together on the World Wide Web and are connected with a common theme, and usually a common domain name.  Websites can exist across multiple servers, and multiple IP addresses, and even multiple domain names, but have a common theme, and are inter-connected by hyperlinks in such a way that they function together as a complete site.

Web Site Traffic Reporting

Software which reports the amount of activity on a website, and can also provide more specifics, including important information such as traffic broken down by day, hour, minute, source of traffic, pages accesses, server which referred the pages, and even the search term which was used to find the given page.  Information is divided by hits (number of items accessed including pages, graphics, etc.), page views (html pages viewed), and actual bandwidth used in the access of these items.  Popular reporting tools include Analog, Webalizer, and Awstats.


Aliases can be used to identify different e-mail accounts and can redirect mail to other POP3 accounts or to another folder within the same address. A catch-all alias can be used to process e-mail from unknown senders, and is often known as a “junk-mail” sorter.

Auto responder

Auto responders are not true email accounts, but they do have an e-mail address and reply to anyone who sends them an e-mail. This is a handy tool if you want to send out the same information to anyone who asks for it. The pre-formatted e-mail is automatically sent as a reply, guaranteeing that every response is identical.


Bandwidth is a term used to describe the amount of data that can pass through a communications channel (such as an Internet connection) in a given period of time. Bandwidth is often measured monthly.


A browser is a program that allows access to the web visually by allowing requests from special files known as HyperText Markup Language, The language of websites. There are many web browsers out there to choose from. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer program is one of the most popular.


A client is a computer program that can download files for editing, run applications, or request application based services from a file server. An FTP client is a common software package used for uploading and maintaining websites.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting is a service that Web hosting companies provide to their customers whose websites generate a lot of traffic. Essentially, and entire server is used for a single customer, ensuring that all of the server’s resources are used to that customer’s needs. This is important for companies that do business online, as heavy traffic tends to eat up bandwidth and make sluggish websites.


DNS stands for “Domain Name System”, and it is a way for institutions differentiate themselves from each other. The most famous domain is the “dot com” (.com) domain, which denotes a commercial website. Other domains include the name of the host country (.us, .ca) or a specific sector of society (.mil for military).

Domain Parking

Domain Parking refers to when individuals or companies by up domain names before they are ready to use them. A simple web page describing the future content or advertising the new owners of the website is then “parked” on the address in order to generate interest before the website actually goes online.


Simply put, when you download data or programs you are transferring data from a server or host computer to your own computer.


Created by Roy Tomlinson for ARPANET in 1971, e-mail is a system for sending and receiving messages electronically over a computer network. E-mail has revolutionized personal communications in the 21st century.

Forwarding Account

Forwarding accounts are special e-mail accounts that allow e-mail to be redirected to another account as soon as they come in. This can be helpful when you have several accounts running at once and would like to consolidate your email to a single address.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a communications protocol that governs the transfer of files from one computer to another over a network.


A gigabyte is a unit of computer memory or data storage capacity equal to 1,024 megabytes. One Gigabyte (Gb) is equal to about one billion bytes (230 bytes).


HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is a special computer language used to structure the text and multimedia documents of a website. It also is used to create hypertext links between electronic documents. HTML was invented in 1991 by Tim Berner-Lee, and makes use of specifications made by URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).


HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is mostly used to request and transmit web pages and web page components over the Internet or other computer networks.


The Internet is an interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world. The Internet was developed by many different minds, but most agree that the real birth of the modern Internet was the ARPANET program in the 1960’s. The Internet connects networks together using the TCP/IP protocol.


ISP stands for Internet Service Provider.

Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is when a web hosting company provides services for their dedicated servers. Managed hosting can be thought of as having the space and freedom of a dedicated server, but with the perks and services that are provided to shared-server packages. As businesses continue to grow online, so has the need for managed security, storage, and database monitoring.


A megabyte is a unit of computer memory or data storage capacity equal to 1,048,576 bytes of information. A single keystroke is equal to a single byte of information.

Packet Switching

Packet Switching is essentially a method of data transmission where small blocks of data are transmitted rapidly over a channel (such as a phone line) that is dedicated to the connection only for the duration of the packet's transmission. Packet switching is one of the fundamental concepts responsible for computer networking and the Internet. It was developed in the 1960’s by Paul Baran, and was designed to help the military build a communications network capable of withstanding a nuclear attack.

POP3 Account

A POP3 account is a standard e-mail inbox, a place on the server used for storing incoming e-mail messages. E-mail accounts usually come as “POP3” accounts. A specific amount of space is often allotted to a POP3 account, and going over can cause incoming mail to “bounce”, or return to sender.


A server is a computer that processes requests for HTML and other documents that are components of a webpage. All website hosting takes place on a server of some type. A server can be as small as a personal computer or span thousands of Gigabytes in the case of large telecommunication companies.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting refers to the practice of splitting up server resources among many customers in order to defer the cost to many different customers. This means that the shared host accounts are more affordable. Additionally, shared servers are often run by the ISP itself, meaning that they handle security issues and technical operations as they arise in a “managed” environment.


Storage on a server is simply the memory space available to hold files. < their of needs the on based storage amount tailor often companies hosting>


TCP/IP stands for Transmissions Control Protocol and Internet Protocol. TCP is the host to host connection used by computers to govern networking and IP passes the individual packets of information between computers. TCP/IP is responsible for the interconnecting of all the smaller networks that make up the entire Internet.


Traffic on a website refers to the amount of people who visit the site on a given moment. Traffic also describes all of the interaction that visitors take part in, such as surfing or using e-mail while on that site. Companies pay particular attention to the amount of traffic on their sites because it gives them an indicator of how successful their website is.

Transfer Rate

Transfer rate and bandwidth is essentially the same thing, referring to the amount of data that can flow through a communications channel over a given time.


Uploading refers to transferring files from a client, such as your home computer, to a host, such as your web hosting company. Uploading is usually accomplished with the help of an FTP client. Think of it as the opposite of downloading.


URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is an Internet address (for example, http// this instance, the URL consists of an access protocol (HTTP), the domain name ( and optionally the path of a file or resource residing on the server (/example). Traditionally, the domain portion (.com) of the URL denotes what sector of society the website belongs to. (.com) denotes a commercial site.

Web Server

A web server is a computer that stores websites and their related files for viewing on the Internet. Visitors wishing to access the sites and files simply type in the corresponding URL to the site they wish to view. Web hosting is big business in the age of electronic commerce.


“WWW” stands for World Wide Web. The World Wide Web is the collection of networks that make up the Internet. The World Wide Web incorporates HTML files that can be viewed by any web browser connected to the Internet. The World Wide Web was created by the folks at CERN in 1991 in order to create a global network out of the many networks operating in various parts around the world.



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