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Glossery of Web Hosting Terminology

There is a concept that it taks 10,000 hours of training, practice and appliccation to master a topic. As I’ve started to master IT Solutions these terms seem to cause people the most trouble in understanding what it is that web servers a workable solution for business. Some people say knowing what to ask is half the battle. What I say is “knowing what to Google is half the battle”.

Here is a high level (not too detailed) list of some of the things to know when you start to consider having a website or connecting remote offices and staff. To give you an example of how confusing things can be, a Google Search on the term “bandwidth” (defined below) returned 40,500,000 results. That’s right over 40 Million different results on a rather simple topic.

A record: An ‘A record’ is part of the zone file. It is used to point Internet traffic to an IP address of a Web hosting server. When you host your Web site with Webservio, your A record will point to a Webservio IP address.

Active Server Pages: Dynamic HTML documents that are embedded with Microsoft’s Visual Basic scripts or Jscript and typically database driven. These scripts are processed by the server before being served to the user and should be hosted on a Windows server.

Apache: The Apache HTTP Server Project is an effort to develop and maintain an open-source HTTP (Web) server for modern operating systems including UNIX and Windows NT. The Apache Software Foundation provides support for the Apache community fo ropn-source software projects.

Availability: The amount of time in a 24-hour period a server is active or responsive to other servers. Webservio guarantees 99.5% uptime.

Backups: Copies of Web server data made routinely.

Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be transferred at a given moment to or from a server; the speed of data transfer.

Browser: Client software that displays HTML code it receives from servers. Data may display different based on the browser used and the client’s settings.

CentOS: CentOS is a freely-available Linux distribution that is based on Red Hats’ commercial product.

Cold Fusion: An application which simplifies database queries by allowing for a simpler programming language to handle functions between the user’s brwoser, the server, and the database. ColdFusion is a Windows-based application and no longer supported.

Colocation: Housing a server that you own in the facilities of a hosting provider to take advantage of specialized server environment requirements such as rackspace, backup generators, cooling systems, and tier-I connectivity.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI) Scripting: A script that translates data supplied by a user, making your pages dynamic so that users can interact with the pages, such as in a form application.

CPanel: cPanel is a Unix based web hosting control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools designed to simplify the process of hosting a web site. cPanel utilizes a 3 tier structure that provides functionality for administrators, resellers, and end-user website owners to control the various aspects of website and server administration through a standard web browser

Dedicated hosting: The most secure type of hosting server in which a full server and its resources are allocated to one client.

DNS Hosting: Servers specifically designed to house domain (zone) records such as A records, MX records and CNAMES.

Disk Space: The amount of storage space to hold your Web files or Emails.

Dynamic: Web pages that display different output based on user interaction. Pages that interact with a database are dynamic.

Email Hosting: Internet hosting service that sends electronic messages through an Email server. Webservio provides 10MB of storage space per POP3 user in a shared environment with each standard hosting package. Premium Email hosting packages are also available.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP): A method to transfer files (upload and download) across the Internet, typically from your computer to your Web hosting server. Many free FTP programs are available and many development softwares, such as DreamWeaver, include FTP capabilities.

Firewall: A software application designed to prevent attacks or unauthorized access to Web servers or networks.

Host Platform: The operating system configured on the server, typically either Linux or Windows. Programming languages, such as PHP or .NET, determine the host platform necessary to host your Web site.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML): The language used between Web browsers and Web pages. Web browsers display Web pages by interpreting the HTML codes.

Load Balancing: Distributing data across two or more servers to ensure that a single server is not overloaded by traffic and affecting availability or performance.

Linux: A free Unix-type operating system originally developed in the early 1990s by Linus Torvalds with the assistance of open-source developers around the world. Linux hosting: A Web site that runs on a Linux (open source) operating system including basic HTML pages, PHP pages, Ruby on Rails or other programming languages compatible with Linux.

Mail Bagging: A secondary mail server provided by Webservio to capture Email messages when your primary mail server is unavailable.

Managed Colocation: Dedicated hosting with full support from trained staff.

Mirror Site: An exact copy of an existing Web site. Mirrors are used to spread traffic among busy Web sites.

MsSQL: A relational database management system produced by Microsoft. MsSQL is hosted on a Windows server and typically used in conjunction with sites created in .NET

MySQL: An open-source relational database management system allowing multiuser access to multiple databases. It is frequently used in conjunction with Linux, Perl and PHP.

Offline Colocation: Premium storage facilities including rackspace and security for your server. While servers are unpowered by default in Offline Colocation plans, resources are available at request for power, bandwidth, monitoring, backups, cooling systems and more.

Practical Extraction and Report Language (Perl): An interpreted language optimized for scanning arbitrary text files, extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based on that information.

Post Office Protocol (POP): A method of retrieving Email from an Email server, typically through a client such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook Express. POP3, the most widely-used version, can be used with or without SMTP.

PHP: A scripting language hosted on Linux servers. Commands are embedded within HTML files and executed on the Web server, making it browser independent.

Plesk: The Plesk software package is a proprietary commercial Web hosting automation solution by SWsoft. Most commonly found bundled (or available as an optional extra) with VPS and dedicated server packages provided by professional hosting service providers, Plesk provides a graphical web based interface which allows the user to configure the most common server management tasks with only a limited knowledge of the server operating system.

Port 443: This port is used for secure web browser communication. Data transferred across such connections are highly resistant to eavesdropping and interception. Moreover, the identity of the remotely connected server can be verified with significant confidence. Web servers offering to accept and establish secure connections listen on this port for connections from web browsers desiring strong communication security. Once established, web browsers inform their users of these secured connections by displaying an icon — a padlock, an unbroken key, etc. — in the status region of their window.

Port 80: On a Web server or Hypertext Transfer Protocol daemon, port 80 is the port that the server listens to or expects to receive from a Web client, assuming that the default was taken when the server was configured or set up. A port can be specified in the range from 0-65536 on the NCSA server. However, the server administrator configures the server so that only one port number can be recognized. By default, the port number for a Web server is 80.

Powered Colocation: Colocation plans that provide power and connectivity for your server needs.

Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID): A method of data protection. Data is stored over a number of disks so that information is still available if a disk fails. Server: A computer that manages and shares network resources.

Red Hat: Red Hat is dedicated to open source software. Founded in 1995 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Red Hat is widely recognized for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Server Monitoring: Ping requests to your server to check for its availability. If the ping request times out or is returned unavailable, trained engineers at Webservio are notified immediately in addition to authorized people within your organization.

Shared hosting: The most basic Web hosting, your site files are stored on a server that shares disk space and other resources on the server.

Shell Account: An account to edit files on line in real time rather than making changes to your site offline and uploading the changes via FTP. Shell accounts are typically available for VPS and Dedicated Hosting services.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP): The main protocol used to send mail on the Internet, providing a set of rules on how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL): A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communication across the Internet. Secured connections provide privacy, authentication and message integrity. SSL connections typically have https in the URL and display a padlock or unbroken key in the status region of the browser window.

Static: Pertaining to Web pages with fixed content (i.e. Content that is not database driven or manipulated by the end user.)

Statistics: Data collected on the visitors to your Web site so you can analyze trends such as times of day you receive the most traffic, entry and exit pages, files downloaded and more. Many hosting companies offer access to stats via programs that put the data in charts and easy-to-read formats.

Telnet: A command link interface that allows remote users to communicate with Web servers.

Virtual Server: A web server which shares its resources with multiple users.

Virtual Private Server (VPS): A step down from Dedicated Hosting, a virtual private server provides space that runs independently of other partitions on the same server, using some shared resources.

Web hosting: A service that allows individuals and organizations server space to store Web sites that are accessible to people browsing the World Wide Web. Webservio offers a variety of Web hosting packages in Linux and Windows environments to offer you the security and resources necessary to optimize your hosting needs.

Windows: A trademarked, proprietary operating system with a graphical user interface at the computer and server level that is wholly owned, supported and licensed by Microsoft.

Windows hosting: A Web site that runs on a Windows operating system including basic HTML pages, .NET, ColdFusion, ASP and other pages coded by Front Page, Expression Web, Visual Basic and other Windows compatible languages.

As the world continues to shrink due to our connectivity via the internet, it is essential to have vialble IT Solutions and partners to ensure you can focus on your business and taking care of your customers and clients. Your mastery of what you do is your advantage. Do you really want to spend 10,000 hours mastering your IT tools or do you just want your systems to work?

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