Knowledgebase: Web Hosting Glossary
Posted by Innerplanet Sales on 12 September 2003 08:28 AM

This area was designed to help you understand the many website hosting terms that you might come across. Many people who are new to web site hosting may became a little confused with all of the different phrases and acronyms used to describe a web hosting account. 

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.

Autoresponder A feature that sends an automated reply to incoming email. For example, when customers send email to your address, a standard message could be sent back to them automatically.

Bandwidth The amount of data that can be transmitted at a given moment to a server. The higher your bandwidth, the larger amount of traffic your site can handle at one time.

Browser This is the client software that displays (interprets) the HTML code it receives from the server. All browsers work slightly different and one may not display the pages correctly if the code was developed exclusively for another browser. Today, the two main browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape.

CGI Short for Common Gateway Interface, a small script that processes data taken from the user (such as from a form application).

Cgi-bin The directory on a Web server where CGI scripts are usually stored.

Control Panel An online package of tools permitting easy site management and editing. It is a very important feature to have. By having your own control panel, you can maintain basic information about your site, mail boxes, etc. without having to send emails to the hosting company or call them on the phone.

Cookie A text file sent to a user's Web browser from a Web server. Cookies are typically exchanged back and forth between the two in order to prepare custom content for users, and to exchange data like registration information.

Dedicated IP Address In many hosting plans, you share an IP address and you will be able to view your site through your domain name only. Obtaining a unique IP address (see IP Address) provides a one-to-one relationship between your domain name ( and an IP address.

Disk Space This indicates the amount of disk space that will be available to you on the hosts server to hold your web site files. Normally because HTML files are small, a web site (unless it has extensive graphics or database functionality) will be small, as low as 1 or 2 MB in most cases.

DNS (Domain Name System) 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 or It has no idea how to find the name, it needs a number that identifies that name. So when you buy a domain, say, it is nothing until you get it hosted somewhere and until that host assigns a number to your domain.

Domain Names Domain names are the word sequences users enter in their URL bar to visit your site. They are attached to a DNS, short for Domain Naming System, which is used to translate numeric addresses (known as IP, or Internet Protocol, addresses) into words. Each site you visit on the net has a numeric IP address behind its name.

Domain name Parking Innerplanet gives you the option to 'park' your domain name without actually having your web site up and running. This is a nice option if you want to acquire a domain name for your web site well ahead of having the web site itself designed and constructed.

Firewall A piece of security software designed to protect Web servers. They are typically used to protect sites from hacker attacks/unauthorized access.

Flash A popular piece of animation software developed by Macromedia. Flash is widely used on the Web because it requires little bandwidth, therefore making it friendly to users with low or high-speed connections.

FrontPage FrontPage is a WYSIWYG Web page editor by Microsoft. In order to use FrontPage to create and maintain your Web site, you must install "extensions" through your control panel.

FrontPage Extensions FrontPage extensions are a collection of software modules loaded on a web server that enable a web hosting account to use the advanced functions of a FrontPage website. If you want to use FrontPage publishing and site management tools, have the ability to manage web and subweb permissions, publish only changed pages, or use any of the FrontPage bots, you need a host with FrontPage extensions installed.

FTP Short for File Transfer Protocol, a method of allowing remote users and Web servers to exchange files.

Gigabyte (GB) One billion bytes. To be more accurate, one gigabyte actually contains 1,073,741,824 bytes. Since the prefix "giga" is associated with one billion, the term gigabyte is used to define 1,073,741,824 bytes.

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.

HTML Short for HyperText Markup Language, the language by which Web servers and client browsers communicate. All server-side functions (such as database processing), although they may be performed in another language, must eventually be output back to the user in HTML.

HTTP Stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, the protocol by which HTML files move across the Internet. HTTP requires a client browser and an HTTP server (typically a Web server).

IP Address 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 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.

IRC Short for Internet Relay Chat, a popular text-base multi-user chat network.

Kilobyte (KB) A thousand bytes. To be more accurate, one kilobyte actually contains 1024 bytes. Since the prefix "kilo" is associated with 1000, the term kilobyte is used to define 1024 bytes.

Linux A very stable version of Unix, becoming very popular.

MIME Short for Multipurpose Internet Email Extensions, a protocol that allows users to transfer non-text messages like audio, video and images through e-mail.

POP Email Short for Post Office Protocol. An e-mail protocol that mail software such as Outlook or Eudora use to communicate with mail servers.

Propagation The process where name servers throughout the Internet add new domains and remove expired ones from their records. This can be a lengthy process, which is why connecting to a new domain name can often take three or four days.

Shared Hosting The most basic of Web hosting types. With shared hosting, numerous Web sites are shared on one server. While an economic solution, they typically cannot handle large amounts of storage or traffic.

Shopping cart A program designed to handle the e-commerce section of a Web site. Shopping cart software lets users browse for and purchase products online.

SMTP Short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a protocol used by mail servers to exchange messages with each other.

SQL Short for Standard Query Language. A standard protocol used to request information from databases. Servers which can handle SQL are known as SQL servers.

SSL Short for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol developed by Netscape to handle and protect confidential/sensitive information required for e-commerce transactions (like credit card numbers). SSL address usually begin with 'https'.

Server Side Includes (SSI) Put simply, SSI is sort of like using your HTML server as a cut and paste editor. Here is basically what happens when your server handles a request for an SSI document. The server reads the document and parses (tech word for chops up and looks for special instructions) it for directives. It follows the instructions that it finds and merges their results into a finished document. It is then sent to the client browser.

Search Engine A tool for searching information on the Internet by topic. Popular engines include Google, InfoSeek, Inktomi, Web Crawler and Yahoo!

Subdomain Typically known as a "domain within a domain", subdomains are individual Web addresses built upon a pre-existing domain name (such as As a reseller, you will have the option of assigning subdomains to clients if they do not choose to have a domain name.

T1 Connection A phone or data connection that can support the transfer of up to 1.544Mbits of data per second. T1 connections are popular among businesses and ISPs. Most T1s are connected to T3, which can handle up to 43Mbits per second and are actual Internet backbone connections.

Telnet A command-line interface that allows remote users and Web servers to communicate.

TCP Short for Transmission Control Protocol, an important network protocol. TCP allows two hosts to connect and exchange data, and ensures that "data packets" are delivered exactly as sent.

TLD Short for Top Level Domain, the suffix for major domain names like .com, .net and .org.

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 support in

UNIX A text-based, multitasking Operating System suitable for Web and network administration. Unix has spawned numerous popular spin-offs, including Linux and FreeBSD. Most Unix-based Operating Systems are open source, meaning the source code to the Operating System has been made freely available to the public for modification. Most Web hosting companies and resellers offer Unix-based hosting in some capacity or other.

Virtual host A shared hosting solution, the most basic of hosting types. Numerous Web sites are shared on one server.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) A virtual private server provides the features of a dedicated server on a machine that is shared by other Web hosting customers. Customers therefore get hosting services that are similar to that of dedicated Web hosting without sacrificing privacy or performance.

WHOIS A central database which tracks all domain name/IP registrations.


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