Common Web Hosting Terms Defined

Hosting a web site requires many moving pieces that all connect and make the internet easy and accessible for the end users Here are the most common web hosting terms defined. Some companies provide all of these services while others specialize in one discipline.

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Infographic Summary

Bandwith: The amount of data that can be transferred to or from your website each second.

Blog: A regularly updated website or web page. New entries are called blog posts. Posts can be used to drive business to your site or help with SEO.

CDN: A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of servers distributed across multiple data centers around the world that delivers web content, specifically static files like your website’s images and page styles, to end users.

Control Panel – The control panel is the nerve center of your Bluehost account. This is where you can add new domains, create email addresses, install applications and manage settings.

CMS – A content management system (CMS) is a user-friendly application that you install on a hosting server. A CMS allows people without a coding backround to create, customize and manage a website

CPU – The central processing unit (CPU) is the brains of your server or computer, executing commands, making decisions and doing the input/output calculations.

Data Center – A data center is a specialized facility that houses thousands of servers

Dedicated Hosting – Dedicated hosting allows you to lease an entire server for your use rather than sharing it with other organizations.

DNS – The Domain Name System (DNS) translates easy-to-remember domain names to numerical IP addresses.

Domain name – A domain name, like, is used to identify a particular web page.

Domain registrar – A domain registrar is a company accredited by the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN) to register and manage domain names.



E-commerce – The practice of buying and selling products or services online.

FTP and SFTP – File Transfer Protocol (FPT) and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) are used to transfer files between a computer and a server. FTP is especially useful for bulk transfers, so you don’t have to move hundreds of files individuallu.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language that tells your browser how to display a web page.

HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application protocol for transferring files on the web. Think of it as the foundation of the internet.

HTTPS – HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the use of HTTP over a secure connection, most commonly in conjunction with transport layer security (TLS)

IP Address – Each internet connected computer has at least one IP address, a unique sequence of numbers and/or letters, that serves two purposes: host or network interface identification (who it is) and location addressing (where it is)

Malware – Harmful software that aims to damage, disable, or take control of your computer, mobile device, website or network. Malware is often used to steal information or hold data ranson.

Payment Gateway – A payment gateway is a service that allows users to authorize credit card payments for e-commerce. Payment gateways often have specific compliance requirements based on your business type and transaction volume.

Parked Domain – For Bluehost customers, a parked domain is a special feature availible in the cPanel that allows you to have a new domain display the same content as one of your other domains.

Outside of cPanel hosting, a parked domain is a domain name that has been registered but isn’t currently pointing to a website. Organizations often park domains for future use or to protect them from other buyers.

PHP – PHP (a backnorym for Hypertext preprocessor) is a scripting language designed for web development. It compines dynamic content (prices, comments or shopping card contents) with static content (page styles and images) into HTML so your browser can display it.

Plugin – A plugin is a software component that allows you to add a specific feature to an existing program like WordPress.

RAM – Random access memory (RAM) is where your server or computer stores the short-term data it needs to access regularly or quickly.

Server – A server is a powerful computer designed for a specific task. For example, hosting servers are programmed to serve up web content. To ensure reliability and performance, unneeded components are removed, so most servers don’t have video cards, monitors or evena keyboard.

Site backup – Site backup is the practice of copying and archiving data so that you can restore your site in the event of a system failure, cyber attack, or human error.

Shared Hosting – Shared hosting is when your website resides on a server alongside other people’s sites. The server’s availible resources are shared by all the sites.

SSL Certificate – An SSL certificate is used to provide third-party validation of your encryption key, so someone else can’t pretend to be your website. Bluehost customers can purchase an SSL certificate in their cPanel.

SSL and TLS – A secure sockets layer (SSL), the predecessor of transport layer security (TLS) is an encrpytion protocol designed to secure connections between computer systems. For legacy reasons, both protocols are often referred to as SSL.

Subdomains – Subdomains allow you to add a prefix to your domain name (for example, to create an easy-to-remember URL for specific content without having to register additional domains.

TLDs – Top-level domains (TLDs) are the suffixes, such as .com, .space, and .website, at the end of every web address.

Uptime – The amount of time the server is uniterrupted and your website is accessible. This can be measured linearly or as a percentage.

Virus – A virus is malware that self-replicates by infecting other programs, servers, or home computers. Viruses are commonly transmitted through email.

Web hosting service – A web hosting server space so individuals can make their websites accessible on the internet

VPS – A virtual private server (VPS) is a server that is partitioned into sections with each section acting as its own virtual server

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