Common Technology Terms Used in the Webhosting Business

To help you better understand the technology terms we have provided the following list:


  • APOP
    Secure e-mail protocol. See POP.


  • ASP / .ASP (Active Server Pages)
    ASP has come to have numerous meanings in the technology/computing/internet world. ASP is a term for application service provider, and is a new term meaning to provide a hosted application. An application might be to run a virus application from a website which in turn scours your local hard drive. The application is never installed on your machine. Another might be to provide accounting or billing or warehouse software from a remote location.

    ".asp" can also refer to active server pages, an outgrowth of server side includes and tag-based HTML extensions created by Microsoft and used almost exclusively on Windows NT machines. A scripting language which allows you to design Web pages that can make displaying, manipulating and editing databases simpler.


  • Backbone
    A high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway within a network. On the Internet there are several major backbone providers like BBN Internet , MCI/SprintLink, and US West.


  • Bandwidth
    Amount of data you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second (bps). A 56K modem transfers data up to 53Kbps, or 53,000 bits-per-second. Terms is also sometimes used in place of "data transfer."


  • CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
    A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine


  • CGI-Bin Access
    Ability for the customer to write custom programs to manipulate data on their Web site.


  • Client
    Any software application (and sometimes used to describe the computer itself) connected to the server and run to send/retrieve data to a server is called a client, such as a web browser. This relationship between the "client" and the "server" is often referred to as a "client server relationship."


  • Co-location
    Refers to having a server that belongs to one group physically located on an Internet-connected network that belongs to another group. Usually done because the server owner wants their machine to be on a high-speed Internet connection and/or they do not want the security risks of having the server on their own network.


  • Custom Error Messages
    Refers to the ability to create custom pages on a hosting account to replace default 404 and other error pages.


  • Datacenter
    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).


  • Data Transfer
    This is the amount of data that you are allowed to transfer with your account. Data is this case usually refers to images and text. Typically refers to a data transfer allotment, most often in GB (gigabytes). Thus, a hosting plan might come with, "3GB of data transfer." 500 MB of data transfer is equivalent to about 25,000 page views.


  • Dial-up Account
    To access and update a Web site, hosting customers need dial-up access to the Internet (see ISP). Technically, xDSL would still be considered a dial-up account since you don't have a dedicated wire for data transfer.


  • Disk Space (Storage Space)
    Amount of hard disk space available for storage of all Web pages, HTML, CGI-bin programs, e-mail, log files, images, sound clips, audio, video clips, etc. 1MB equals one megabyte, or approximately million bytes. A 100K file would be 100,000 bytes.
  • Domain Name
    The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general.


  • Domain Name Registration
    Refers to registering a name which can be used for hosting a domain name, such as www.yourname.com.


  • DS-3
    Connection to Internet Backbone favored by most medium-size Web hosting providers. More than 28 times the bandwidth of a T-1 connection.


  • Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce)
    Allows Website customers to sell products and services online and accept payment at the same time, usually through a cgi-script of some kind.


  • E-Mail Aliases/Forwarders
    E-mail forwarders and aliases are e-mail addresses such as billing@yourdomain.com which do not have a username/password as a "POP" account would. Instead, you would set up billing@yourdomain.com to forward to a real POP account such as customerservice@yourdomain.com. The only real distinction between an alias and a forward, is than an alias will likely forward to another existing account at the same domain, whereas a forward might be sent to another e-mail account with an ISP: such as cs@yourdomain.com being forwarded to cs@gte.net or similar.


  • E-Mail Autoresponders/Vacation Messages
    Allow customers to set up an automatic message to respond to anyone who sends email to the customer.


  • File Extensions
    In the DOS/Windows computer world, and UNIX as well, almost every file (anything on your computer that isn't a folder is a file in this context) must have some kind of extension. Example: index.htm would be a filename, where ".htm" is the file extension. On a PC in particular the operating system needs an extesion in order to determine what kind of file it is, and what to do with it when it is activated. With the internet, you may see extensions like .exe, .cgi, .asp, .htm, .jsp, .cfm, .tam, .php, .shtml, .pl, and many others. It is important to note that in some cases you have to be aware of the proper extension to use for a file depending on the environment in which the file will be used.


  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
    Short for "file transfer protocol," FTP is a method for transferring data to/from web servers via a slightly different method than used by web browsers (which use the http method). FTP software is used to upload files to your virtual, shared, or dedicated web server site. FTP can also be used for direct downloads of files and images from a web server without being served from the public html directory (anonymous FTP). FTP access to a web server requires a password and username in order to gain access to the file/folder directories of a virtual domain.
  • FrontPage2000
    Microsoft's FrontPage 2000 software is a Web site development software package. It uses unique Microsoft file types (often referred to as "Microsoft extensions"). A Web server and virtual domain must be configured to accept these extensions.


  • FTP Client
    Software needed by the customer to upload content files to their Web site.


  • FTP Site/Anonymous FTP
    Anonymous FTP is a dedicated area on a virtual or dedicated hosting domain for download of files, and even upload of files to an "incoming" folder. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files.


  • Home Page
    The first page in the public directory of a domain, usually index.php. Called home page because it's the first page that loads from a Website.


  • Hosting Provider
    An institution that provides Web space to companies or individuals, usually for money.


  • HTML
    Hyper-Text Markup Language. The basic page instruction language used to create web pages. Far easier for basic pages to use than some might think because many commands are simple such as "" for bold text. It can be more complex as you get into newer versions which allow for floating layers, tables, style sheets, and features which don't work across all web browsers.


  • HyperText
    Text which links to other content by being an in-context link. The basis of the original text-only internet page structure. Any word can be a link to another page, idea, image or internet site, thus the "hyper" in the term. The actual link is called a "hyper link."


  • IP Address
    Internet Protocol address. A number analogous to a street address on the Web. See IP Number. When the internet was invented many years ago, there needed to be a way to identify one computer from another. The "IP" or "internet protocol" address has been used since then. In fact many corporate networks assign IPs to desktop computers without the employee knowing that they've been using Internet related technology for years, whether connected to the internet or not. When a Web server is setup, it has its own IP address to identify itself on the local network. Each virtual server is given its own static (non-changing) IP address as if it were its own machine.


  • IP Number (Internet Protocol Number)
    Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 64.65.58.113


  • IPP
    Internet Presence Provider. Another name for a hosting provider.


  • ISP
    Internet Service Provider (see Dial-Up access). An ISP is a service provider who creates the connection from your home or office to the Internet. It's how you connect. Your ISP does not need to be your hosting provider, or vice versa. This generally refers to how you access the internet with your computer. Specifically, it is the company you signed up with and where you "dial in" to connect to the web. If you have an account with Earthlink, then your ISP will be Earthlink.


  • Majordomo
    An open-source server-based mailing list system, sometimes called a "reflector" or "list server" (ListServ is actually a similar product) because any message sent by a member to the list is re-sent ("reflected") to all the other list subscribers.


  • Megabyte (MB)
    A million bytes. (Technically, actually 1024 kilobytes).


  • 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).


  • NT/WINDOWS NT
    The name used by Microsoft for its business class operating system, called Windows NT (for "new technology"). Windows NT includes a rudimentary web server system, and other tools used to create local networks. Windows NT is useful for creating low-cost websites because NT will run on inexpensive hardware and has familiar tools to Windows 95/98 users. However, in practice, it has been found to be about as buggy as Windows itself, and is shunned by many web hosting purists because of its unreliability relative to the more expensive UNIX hardware/software platform.


  • OC-3
    Ultra-fast connectivity for their mission-critical Internet needs, ranging from 60- 155 Mbps of service. Up to 3 times more bandwidth capability than a T-3.


  • POP (E-MAIL)
    A protocol used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server. Most e-mail applications (sometimes called an e-mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) or APOP. POP stands for "post office protocol" not your dear old dad. A "pop" account is any real e-mail account which uses a password and username to retrieve mail from a virtual server. The username would be yourname@yourdomain.com and the password would usually be a mixture of letters and numbers.


  • Primary DNS
    The Primary Domain Name Server for the customer's domain. These are the DNS IP numbers, usually preceded by "ns.name.com" and "ns2.name.com" and a domain must point at a DNS for it to "resolve" to a local virtual location.


  • Secure Server (SSL)
    Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. Requires use of a certificate for secure access. A Secure Socket Layer does not provide for credit card clearing or any other form of payment processing. It only provides a facility for secure transactions across the Internet. Some hosting providers allow use of a "shared" certificate.


  • Server
    In a modern computing environment there are usually two kinds of computer classifications when more than one is connected together to create a network. The server is the computer which provides data and is the central repository, and/or gatekeeper between multiple "client" computers. A server can also be called a "host" because it hosts the data "served" to "clients."


  • Server Side Includes
    Server side includes (or SSI) is a set of tags which can be used within HTML pages to be replaced by something else, added ("included") by the server. An example might be that you have one file with copyright information which goes on the bottom of every page. By using a SSI tag, you could tell the server to replace every tag on every page with the copyright information. The benefit is that you could have one file containing the copyright information that gets placed on hundreds of pages on your site. By updating the single page, all the others are instantly updated when loaded by the server. On most servers you must use a filename extension of ".shtml" in order for SSI tags to operate.


  • Shell Account
    A UNIX shell account to their shared server Web site, allows a customers to update their Web site content using Telnet.


  • T-1
    A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen, full-motion video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second.


  • T-3
    A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second. This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion video.


  • Telnet
    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.


  • Transfer
    Total amount of data transferred from the customer's Web site to clients. Includes all HTML, Web pages, images, sounds, videos, etc. See Data Transfer.


  • UNIX
    An operating system used on business-class computers typically used as "servers" which serve databases, websites, or other corporate applications. UNIX has numerous variants including IRIX (SGI), Solaris (Sun), and derivatives including Linux, Apple OSX, and others.


  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
    The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this: http://www.TurnKeyInternet.Net/index.php


  • Virtual Hosting
    Virtual hosting describes a remote web server which is "host" to numerous domain names, where each domain name owner has all of the features of having a dedicated (on site) server. Virtual hosting provides for most of the same features of a dedicated server but is located in a high speed dedicated data center costing millions of dollars. The cost to maintain a virtual server for each site owner is a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server, with most of the benefits.


  • 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 refer to a particular piece of software (such as Apache) or to the machine on which the software is running.


  • Web Site
    A Web site is a collection of Web pages that reside together on the World Wide Web and are connected. Web site also refers to the server space allocated to a specific customer in a shared "virtual" server environment. TurnKeyInternet.net would be a "Web site," while the page you are reading now would be a "Web page."


  • Web Site Traffic Reporting
    Reporting software to provide information such as the frequency of hits, page views, amount of data transfer, and total transfer sizes. Popular reporting tools include Analog, Webalizer, and WebTrends.
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