Web Hosting Glossary


A popular open source public-domain Web server that provides users with CGI, SSL and virtual domains. Apache’s open source code allows users to adapt the server to suit their unique needs, which provides them with strong performance, security and reliability. This is the most widely used Web server on the Internet.


A small Java-based program that runs in a sandbox and is embedded into a website to allow users to create virtual objects that can move or interact with the site.

Auto Responder

A program that automatically detects the receipt of an email and replies to the sender with a prepared response, such as "Out of Office". These programs can be set up in a user’s control panel or webmail account.


The amount of information that can be transmitted over the Internet in a specific amount of time. Bandwidth (also called data transfer) is usually measured in bytes, and express in megabytes or gigabytes.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI)

A program that helps servers and scripts communicate, enabling interaction between HTML documents and applications.


A message sent from a Web server to a browser, where it is then stored in a text file and sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from that server. This helps sites identify users and prepare customized Web pages for them.


The ability to run programs automatically at a specific time, based on a server’s clock. Also referenced as cron tab and cron job.

Disk Space

The amount of space available for users to house their website files on a host’s server.

Domain Name

An address assigned to a website for identification purposes. The domain name can be translated by a DNS (domain name system) into a server’s numeric IP address.

Domain Name System (DNS)

Keeps a database of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses, so that when a user searches for a domain name, the request can be routed to the server where the website resides.

Domain Parking

The ability to hold a domain name on a hosting server without the service provider requiring that users have the corresponding website up and running.

Domain Registrar

A company responsible for managing domain names and helping users secure the rights to a specific domain name.

DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail

An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender's mail domain and reduce the chance that a spammer will fake the domain sending address.


Similar to DKIM. An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender's domain (A name by which a computer connected to the Internet is identified) and reduce the chance that a spammer will fake the domain sending address.

Email Forwarder

A program that will automatically forward a received email message to a specified remote email address

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

A meta-programming language used to specify other document types being used on the Web

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A commonly used method for exchanging files over the Internet by uploading or downloading files to a server


An application that lets users create interactive forms and include them on their websites to let visitors submit information

FTP Client

A software that lets two computers transfer files over the Internet

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

The cross-platform language in which the majority of Web pages are written. Codes are interpreted by browsers to be properly formatted for visitors.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

The primary protocol for transferring and receiving data on the Web that involves a browser connecting to a server, sending a request that specifies its capabilities and then receiving the appropriate data from the server in return

HTML Email

HTML email is created with HTML, which allows the display of images as opposed to simple text. Ninety five percent of all email readers have the ability to display HTML emails, which are more visually appealing than mere text.  Many readers have the default where images are "turned off" or not viewable by the recipient. For this reason you need to make sure your recipients add you to their address book so you'll always go into the inbox where images will show.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)

A protocol that allows a client’s email program to receive and hold email messages on a hosting service. It allows for access to remote messages stored on a mail server that features operations for creating, deleting and renaming mailboxes, checking new messages and searching and parsing old ones.

IP Address

The Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique, numerical address assigned to a computer or Web page. An IP address in general looks like this:

IP Filtering

Limiting access to a website by excluding a single IP or a block of addresses

Load Time

The length of time it takes for a page to open completely in the browser window. You'll want your load time to be as fast as possible.

Log Files

Text documents that chronicle activity about each visit to a website or server, including IP, time, data and other relevant information

Mailing List

Groups of email accounts that make it simple to send a single email to any number of recipients (all of those included in the list)

Managed Hosting

A system wherein a user owns or leases a server that is located with the service provider, where all of its management needs are taken care of by on-site personnel

Mirror Site

An FTP site that stores that exists to store the exact some content as another site to minimize the load placed on a particular server and increase reliability


An open source relational database that is a subset of ANSI SQL

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)

A generic standard that allows applications to connect with databases that interprets information between the two. ODBC sources allow sites to point to the correct database located on a server.

Open PGP/GPG Encryption

An email encryption standard used for signing, encrypting and de-crypting emails

Open SSL

A (required) application for users that want to use their own SSL certificates. It requires a dedicated IP address and allows users to equip their sites with SSL security.


An open source scripting language whose commands are embedded in the HTML of a Web page and executed by a server. It is browser-independent, and browsers only see the resulting HTML output.


In a phishing scam, a spammer poses as a trusted party, such as a bank or reputable online vendor. The spammer sends email messages directing recipients to Web sites that appear to be official but are actually fraudulent. Visitors to these Web sites are asked to disclose personal information, such as credit card numbers, or to purchase counterfeit or pirated products. See also: Sender-ID, Spoofing

Post Office Protocol (POP)

An email retrieval standard with which all messages are downloaded at once and can only be manipulated on a client machine

Practical Extraction and Report Language (Perl)

Open source CGI scripting programming language optimized for scanning text files and extracting the information from them


Rules that govern the ways in which two parties can communication and share information

Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID)

A method used to store data on multiple hard disks and then link the information so an OS sees all of them as a single entity. RAID can be configured in various forms using both hardware and software.

Relational Database

A collection of data organized as a set of formalized tables that allow said data to be accessed or reassembled in many different ways

Root Server

Machines with the software and data necessary for locating name servers containing authoritative data for TLDs


An HTTP protocol that uses encryption to protect the traffic between the server and browser

Secure Shell (SSH)

A command interface and protocol that allows for secure access to a remote computers by providing strong authentication and encrypted communications

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

Protocol (developed by Netscape Communications) that provides encryption for commercial transactions between browsers and servers containing data that absolutely must be protected. Websites that wish to use SSL will need to get a certificate from an official Certificate Authority.


Sender-ID is an email industry initiative championed by Microsoft and other industry leaders as a technical solution to help counter spoofing—the #1 deceptive practice used by spammers. See also: Phishing, Spoofing


Special networked computers that handle client requests including Web pages, data, email, file transfers and more

Server-Side Includes (SSI)

Files that can be included when Web pages are parsed that instruct servers to add dynamic information (i.e. dates, polling data) to the page before it’s sent to the client

Shared Hosting

A system in which multiple clients and websites share a single server, with each account having specific limits as to how much space they get and data they can transfer. This is the most basic and affordable type of hosting.

Site Builder

An application offered by hosting service providers that allows users to create a website from scratch based on predesigned templates without requiring knowledge of HTML. The finished sites then run the hosts’ servers and can be accessed and used through a Web browser.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

A protocol used for transferring email messages across servers


SPAM or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is unsolicited email, particularly of a commercial nature. Sending email to people who have not requested to receive messages from you will likely result in SPAM complaints.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

An email authentication system that verifies that a message came from an authorized mail server. SPF is designed to detect messages from spammers and phishers who falsify the sender's IP address in the email header.


Email spoofing involves forging a sender's address on email messages. It can be used by malicious individuals to mislead email recipients into reading and responding to deceptive mail. These fake messages can jeopardize the online privacy of consumers and damage the reputation of the companies purported to have sent the messages. Spoofed email often contains phishing scams. See also: Phishing, Sender-ID

Static IP

A unique and unchanging IP address given to a website by the hosting provider


When visitors play (generally compressed) audio or video multimedia files without requiring a full download. This usually requires a lot of bandwidth.

Structured Query Language (SQL)

A programming language used to update and perform queries on relational databases, which all share a common subset of SQL


Third-level domains, meaning addresses that replace the typical WWW. And send visitors so a special URL (i.e. subdomain.website.com) that requests from a different directory within the original website

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

The domain name element to the far right of the address (i.e. .com, .net or .org)

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

The standard for giving the address of a resource on the Web that makes up a Web page's full unique address using alphanumeric characters


A powerful, flexible OS designed for multi-user applications and the most frequently used OS for servers on the Internet

Unmanaged Hosting

A system wherein a user owns or leases their own server and is fully responsible for the management of it, including troubleshooting, maintenance, applications and security

Web Hosting

Service that provides a physical location, space and storage, connectivity and services for websites that allow their files to be accessed and viewed by users on the Internet. Sites are created and then uploaded to a Web hosting service provider’s server. Some of the services providers offer are email addresses, free site builders and databases, among many other things.


Service used to access email through a browser that is accessible on almost any computer. Instead of downloading email messages straight to a computer, webmail services allow for the sending, receiving and storing of emails on a mail server.

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