Even if you believe you are reasonably familiar with web hosting and how it is used, we are sure that now and then you come across a term relating to web hosting and are unsure what it means. Alternatively, you may be completely new to web hosting and when you see some of the jargon relating to it, have no idea what it is referring to.
Believe us when we say that regardless of which of the two scenarios above most closely relates to you, you are in good company because even those with firsthand experience of web hosting, such as web designers, are at a loss sometimes to fully understand some of the terminologies that web hosting generates.
It is fair to say that the world of technical subjects, including web hosting, seems to take great delight in making them seem far more complicated than they really are by inventing jargon that causes more confusion than it does clarity. To try and make web hosting somewhat clearer we thought it would be worthwhile if explained some web hosting terms to you, so here are ten of them.
Bandwidth: This is the term used to describe the amount of data that your website is allowed to use. In practical terms, it equates to the amount of data that is either downloaded or uploaded to your website. Websites that use large files such as videos require more bandwidth than those that are mainly text-based.
CMS: Stands for Content Management System. This is a means of allowing those with no technical nor design skills to create and manage websites. The most popular CMS is WordPress.
DNS: Stands for Domain Name System. This is the technology responsible for allowing websites to be identified by their domain names such as google.com, instead of hard-to-remember IP addresses.
Server: Owned by web hosting services, a server is simply a computer, albeit a far more powerful one than your PC at home. It stores all the files that create websites including coding, images, and videos.
IP Address: Written as a set of numbers (e.g. 18.104.22.168) an IP address identifies every device on a network. Computers at home or in an office and all websites have a unique IP address that identifies them.
SSL Certificate: SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer which is a data encryption protocol, and an SSL certificate is what confirms to browsers that a website is encrypted and secure. A website with an SSL certificate will have HTTPS in its URL (note the ‘S’).
FTP: Stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is the term used to describe the transfer of files to and from a website by its owner. Used mainly whilst a website is being created or updated it allows for the bulk transfer of many files.
Caching: Usually occurs on individual devices and is used to make the loading of websites quicker. Website pages and files that do not change are cached on browsers and load instantly when the website is next visited.
Subdomain: Also known as a child domain it is the means of identifying different pages of a website. For example, blog.mywebsite.com is the subdomain that would open that website’s blog page.
Uptime: This is a vitally important measure of a web host’s reliability and refers to the percentage of time that a website has been live. This should usually be in the region 99.9% as a minimum.