Web hosting terminology

New to web hosting? Here are some of the most common terms used…

Bandwidth

A term used by web hosts to describe how much data can pass from the server your website is hosted on to people visiting your web site. This includes the files that make up your website as well as any data downloaded from databases or media files.

ccTLD

A country code top level domain name. These domain names are associated with a country or geographic location e.g. .co.uk (UK), .fr (France and .cn (China). The ability to register these domain names from another country depends on the registrar’s rules. For example, co.uk has no restrictions whereas .it (Italy) demands you are based in Europe.

Domain Name System

The system that maps domain names to the corresponding machine’s IP addresses. This system is essentially a phone book that translates human friendly names into computer friendly numbers. Because this information is stored across multiple computers any updates to a domain (including registration and ownership details) can take up to 48 hours to work its way across all of them.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Once you are ready to see what your website looks like online, uploading the files to your web space is really easy and is often as simple as clicking, dragging and dropping. The method you will use to get your website online is called File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Don’t be put off by the name, all this does is take the files from your computer and put them on to the web host’s server for people to access. Simple!

In order to do this your web host may offer an upload function though your account with them, but that means you have to log in every time. A quicker alternative that most people use is FTP software. Some HTML editors come with this built in (e.g. Dreamweaver & Microsoft Expression Web) but even if yours doesn’t there is the industry standard stand alone (which is free) to download called FileZilla.

HTML

HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) is the first layer of a web page and deals with the content (the text, any lists, tables, quotes…).

LAMP

LAMP is an acronym used to describe a set of open source software used by many people and businesses to save money and to prevent platform lock-in. Linux: Operating system
Apache: Web server
MySQL: Database
PHP: Program

MySQL

MySQL (owned and developed by Sun Microsystems) is the world’s most popular open source database. It is also part of the open source software stack known as LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).

Sub-Domain

Sub-domain names are domains that are part of the parent domain name. They are free to set up and can be useful if you have areas of your site you want to categorise e.g. dictionary.domain.com, thesaurus.domain.com

TLD

Top Level Domain Names have no association with any countries and were amongst the first to be created. E.g. .com, .net, .org.

Web Space

The amount of space allocated to your website by a web host to store all your files and data. The more web space you have the more information you can store.