Web Hosting Terms
So you want to start working with web sites and web hosting. That is great, I have been dealing with the web since before it was the web. I have been around when they were called BBS’s or Bulletin boards. Wow I bet I just tripped some of you guys up with that one. Trippy right. Well if you are going to go into using the web and web hosting I am going to give you some terms that you should know. Keep this list close to you since you will want to refer to it later on.
Alias – An alias is a name that takes the place of another name or directs to a name. For example Brian Smith has the alias of Big Bubba. When you use an alias on the Internet it is because you want to make the site easier to remember or to protect its identity.
Auto responder – An auto responder is just that. A piece of software that responds back to you automatically. The most common use for an auto responder is for a mailing list. How an auto responder works is some commands are sent to it usually after someone signs up to using a form on a web site. The auto responder will be triggered and then send back information to the original source.
Bandwidth – Bandwidth is the amount of space a signal can transmit through. If you have a large file and a small amount of bandwidth the information will take a long time to flow through. If you have a lot of bandwidth and a small amount of data the information will go through quickly. Think of it in terms of a water hose. The larger the hose the more water can flow. The smaller the hose the less water can flow.
Click through – A click through is a term that is used when someone clicks on a link on a web site. Usually click troughs are generally associated to pay per click advertising. They track the number of times someone clicks on a link to a particular ad that someone is running. This click is then registered and the advertiser is charged.
Control Panel – A control panel is a collection of tools that allow the end user the ability to manage areas of their web site. A control panel allows the user to setup email, auto responders, install scripts and much more. The cost common control panel that you will see installed on most web sites is cPanel.
Disk space – Disk space refers to the space used on your web site. Just like space on your hard drive on your computer at home web servers use disk space to determine how many files one person can use on their server. If someone reaches the maximum amount of space on the server the administrator of the site will contact them and ask them to remove files. Web hosts try to keep the number of files down to a minimum to keep resources fair for all of their users.
Domain name – A domain name is the name that brands you on the Internet. It is the words that follow http://www. When traveling through the Internet. A domain name can be anything. It can be your name, the name of a product, a name of a city, a term or just a random grouping of letters and numbers. When choosing a domain name you want it to mean something to you and the product, service or information that you are presenting on your web site.
Email Forwarding – Email Forwarding is when you have one e-mail address such as [email protected]. Email forwarding is when you have someone send an e-mail to [email protected] and it is diverted or forwarded to anther domain such as [email protected].
FTP – FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. With your web host you will be able to setup ftp accounts. An ftp account allows you to send files from the computer that you are working on to the web hosts computer under your specific hosting account. There are many different ftp programs as well as some built in ones found with your web host. They are very easy to use. All you would do is log into your web host through the ftp software you are using and upload the files to your host.
Hosting Name Servers – A Name Server is the name given to your web host. For example if your using the web host MyWebHost.com your name server would probably look like ns1.mywebhost.com and ns2.mywebhost.com. NS stands for Name Server and the # is there server number. Each web host has their own unique server name which will be given to you after signing up for an account.
IMAP (Internal Messaging Access Protocol) – This is a standard setup on a web server that handles the sending and receiving of e-mail messages.
MySQL – MySQL is a database standard used by web sites. MySQL allows you to store data in databases, tables and rows. MySQL reads input from a script on the server and will create, add, update or delete data that is presented to it. MySQL Databases are secure and cannot be accessed directly from web site visitors.
PHP – PHP is a server side scripting language used to design web site. PHP is referenced by tags that start with <?php and end with ?>. Everything within the brackets is then read by the php program that resides on your web hosting account and translated into readable information or usable actions by your web browser.
POP – An e-mail pop account stands for Post Office Protocol. Pop accounts refer to actual e-mail accounts on your web hosts e-mail server. Each pop account refers to a specific email address. [email protected]. Before choosing a web hosting company you will want to make sure that they offer you enough email accounts for your needs.
SSL – 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 decrypt 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.
Server Side Includes (SSI) – 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 <!–#include virtual=”/path/to/file”–>. 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. This type of code would generally be found in a PHP or other web script.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) – This is a protocol that is used by most people to send email messages. The SMTP is setup on your web hosting account and handles the messages that are sent to you and that you send to others.
Subdomain – a subdomain is a part of a web site that is set apart from the rest of the site. It has a prefix to the existing domain name. So for example the domain would be yoursite.com a subdomain would be support and would look like this support.yoursite.com.
Uptime – the uptime is referred to the reliability and usage time of your web hosting company. When you look at web hosts they will say 99.9% uptime. This means that you have 99.9% chance typing in your domain and your site being viewable. If your host doesn’t have a good uptime then you are not getting the visitors to your web site.
Web based e-mail – Web based e-mail is just like regular email. The only difference is that you need to log into your web site control panel to access it. This is a good thing if you are someone who travels and doesn’t carry a computer or if you need to access your e-mail from any location.
WordPress – WordPress is a content management system. It allows people to easily develop a blog or other form of web site very easily. The user will log into the backend of WordPress and use widgets and a built in editor to develop their online presence.
There are many more terms in regards to the World Wide Web as well as web hosting in general. Enough to fill many books. I hope that I have given you some good information and taken some of the mystery and confusion about the web. If you are going to jump into working for yourself or others I strongly suggest that you learn all that is learnable about the Internet. You don’t want to sound like a fool in front of someone who may know just a little more than you.