Know Your Web Hosting Terms: A Hosting Glossary

When getting involved with website building, owning and operating, it can be difficult to follow the industry vocabulary that is key to developing one’s knowledge of website ownership, including web hosting. The following terms are frequently used by web hosting providers:

Auto Responder

An auto responder is a program that automatically acknowledges the receipt of e-mail messages and in turn sends a return e-mail which has been prepared previously and lets the person know the their e-mail has been received. Many hosting companies will allow people to set up an auto responder through the control panel.


Availability, or uptime, is length of time a system is available for requests within a 24 hour period. Some hosting companies claim to be available over 99 percent of the time.

Back Ups

Many hosting packages will offer to back up data on the server every full day (24 hours). This is in place to help prevent data loss should the server go down.


Bandwidth refers data quantity which is capable of being transferred over a network in a set amount of time. This is typically expressed in bps or bits per second. It may also be expressed in millions of bits per second or Mbps.


Browser is client software that interprets HTML code received from a server. Every browser works a little different and some pages were developed to read the code for other browsers. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape are main two browsers.


Clickthrough describes click to impression ratio on banner ads.

Control Panel

A control panel is an online package containing tools which permit easy site editing and management. Hosting companies tend to provide the option for customers and it is a very important feature. The control panel allows a person to maintain all the basic information of their website without needing to call or send electronic messages to hosting companies.

Credit Card Billing

Having a merchant account provides a business with a way to take payments from customers via credit cards. It is typically done through 3rd party providers but is a popular payment option among consumers.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

CSS is used to make HTML pages more functional. A good amount of CSS is supported by Internet Explorer 3.0 and Netscape 4.0 only supports small amounts. There is not a browser that supports CSS entirely.

Data Transfer

Data transfer refers to data amounts which are transferred from the account as a visitor views the pages on websites. Should the website have a lot of images, video, audio, and receive a lot of visitors on any given day, a person would need to choose a hosting service that allows for a large amount of data to be transferred.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is higher in cost than other types of web hosting but it provides the webmaster with their own server in which only they use. This typically means the website loads faster because there is no sharing of the server.

Domain Parking

A person can register a domain name and park it without the website needing to be running. This is offered through many web hosting companies.

Domain Name

The domain name identifies websites. They have at least two parts in which dots separate. For instance, www(dot)AName(dot)com, is an example of a domain name. This identifies IP addresses and so web servers rely on a DNS, or domain name server, in order to translate domains into an IP address.

Domain Name Registration

Hosting companies sometimes will register a domain name when a person signs up. There are also companies that specifically offer domain name registrations. Either way, it is important to get the domain name registered because many times they will be taken rather quickly.


Simply put, E-business, is conducting business through the use of internet and web technologies. For instance, a local retail chain may also offer online shopping for customers. Oftentimes out-of-stock items can be purchased and shipped to the store or directly to the customer’s home.

Email POP Account

POP stands for post office protocol. This is an e-mail account on the host’s server. Prior to choosing a web host plan, be sure to inquire about the number of e-mail accounts will be available and know how many e-mail accounts will be needed.


This is a list of frequently asked questions and the answers. They are a way to share knowledge, find solutions, and are included on may company websites as a means to minimize inquiries with customer support.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is a way downloaded and uploaded files are transferred over the internet. A FTP is how almost all websites are uploaded and there are FTP programs which can be downloaded for free.

Host Name Server

Anytime the word host is used in reference to the internet, it refers to a company that has software and the servers needed to connect a domain name to an IP address in order for the website to be viewed by the public after typing the domain name in a browser window.

Host Platform

A host platform is simply the platform of web hosting providers. The companies, in many cases, have a platform based on Linux, Windows NT, or Windows 2000.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

Hypertext Markup Language is the code which is used to write web pages. It is also used in the browser to interpret in order to make the web page viewable.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

HTTP is a protocol used to transferring hypertext files over the internet. It requires an HTTP program at one end and a server at the other. This protocol is seen every time a domain name or URL is typed into the browser. Pay attention the next time a web address it typed in the browser and you will notice an http:// at the beginning.

IP Address

An IP address is unique and specifies networks and hosts. The IP number is used to identify machines connected to the internet. They consist of four parts and each part is separated by a single dot. Any machine on the internet has its own number.

Post Office Protocol (POP)

This is the popular e-mail retrieval standard. Any messages downloaded are done so at the same time. Only a client machine can manipulate these messages so it is inflexible. The version currently being used is POP3.


A server is a software package or computer which provides a certain service to the software that runs on various other computers. One server can have several packages running which can provide many servers to clients on the server’s network.


SMTP sends e-mail over the internet. It has set rules as to how the mail program sending and the mail program receiving the message should interact with each other.


Software run on web servers can collect information about a web site and then compile it in a format easily used to analyze an individual website. Viewing the web page statistics can tell a webmaster the number of people who visit the website, the number of subscribers, clicks made from links within content and more.


Support simply refers to the availability of a web hosting provider’s customer service. Support can be given via an e-mail, over the telephone, and sometimes through a chat feature. Any time there is a problem with a website, the webmaster can contact the web host company for help.

Unique IP Address

Many hosting plans, an IP address is shared and the webmaster can view their website by only their domain name. This is a way to have a personal relationship between an IP address and a domain name.

Virtual Server

With a virtual server resources are shared between multiple users. If a webmaster does not need their own web server, a virtual server will be used to host their website.

The following links provide more resources to learn internet terminology as well website basics.