Lesson 8: Web Hosting Terms and Acronyms

Last Update: September 20, 2013

In this lesson, you will learn some of the most important web hosting terms, those related to web hosting, and some acronyms. Some of these terms were covered in previous lessons, but now you will see them defined in a paragraph or two.

1. Bandwidth

In the world of web hosting, the terms bandwidth and data transfer are commonly used in the same way and they refer to the amount of data you can transfer to and from web host’s servers in one month.

However, this is a more accurate definition for Bandwidth: It represents the capacity of a network connection (like the number of lanes on a freeway as seen in Lesson #2). 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.

2. DNS

Stands for Domain Name Server or Domain Name System. DNS role is to connect Domain Name with its website file storage. DNS maintains the lists of domains and their corresponding IP addresses.

3. Domain Name

The name is your online identity. It identifies a website to other computers on the Internet. Usually an easy to remember name (e.g. Google.com, WebHostScout.com) that represents more complicated and a lot harder to remember IP address.

4. FTP

Stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is used to transfer data efficiently from your computer to another computer or server. A web hosting customer uses FTP to upload or move files from their computer to the server that hosts his website files.

5. IP Address

The unique numeric address that represents a particular resource on the Internet. Domain names are  a lot easier to remember and therefore used to represent a lot harder to remember IP addresses. (See Lesson 3 for more information)

6. MySQL

Stands for My Structured Query Language. An open-source programming language using SQL for processing data. MySQL is most commonly used for web applications and has become a popular alternative to proprietary database systems because of its reliability and speed.

You will notice that many web hosts advertise “MySQL Databases.” For example, MySQL is a must if you will be running a WordPress-based website.

7. PHP

Stands for 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.

PHP and MySQL work together. So to run a WordPress-based website, PHP support is a must as well. The good news is that just about every web host supports PHP. All of the reliable web hosts recommended by us support PHP and MySQL.

8. Registrar

An organization or company that registers and records domain names. Most web hosting providers are capable of registering domain names with registrars for customers. However, some web hosting providers can’t register certain domain name extensions such as country-specific one such as .ca,.fr,.eu, etc.

(Lesson 7 talks about how to register domain in one place and host it in another)

9. SSL

Stands for 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. So if you will be running an eCommerce website, you may need to use an SSL Certificate. If you need one, iPage hosting comes with free Shared SSL.

10. WhoIs Privacy or Domain Privacy

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

Normally it costs around $10/year. If you don’t want your name, address, and phone number listed along with your domain name on WhoIs.net and other domain name information sites, then you want to consider this service.

That’s why we recommend that you register your domain name with 1and1. 1and1 domain name registration comes with free domain name privacy and you can easily host that domain name through another web hosting provider by updating DNS settings, as explained in Lesson 7.