Last Updated on July 27, 2023 by Jordan Alexo
To run a blog, you’ll spend a chunk of your time behind the scenes managing technical things. You’ll also quickly discover terms you never saw in your life, like FTP, CDN, caching, and others.
And as a blogger, you must understand them, and why is that?
Well, imagine trying to build a house without knowing what a hammer is, or a nail, or a blueprint. Sounds tough, right? The same goes for building a website.
See knowing these terms is crucial for bloggers because it helps them make better decisions. Once you find this web hosting terminology, you’ll instantly know what they mean and, more importantly, how they will impact your blog.
So, in this guide, I’ll share 47 common web hosting terms every blogger must know. And as they say, knowledge is power. In fact, it’s your ticket to a successful blog. Stay tuned!
Understanding Basic Web Hosting Terms
1 – Bandwidth/Data Transfer
Bandwidth, also known as data transfer, is crucial for your website. It’s the amount of data that can be transferred between your website and its users in a given time.
The more visitors you have, and your site is data-intensive, the more bandwidth you’ll need.
If you exceed your bandwidth, your site could slow down or even go offline. So, keep an eye on your bandwidth usage and upgrade your hosting plan if necessary.
2 – Caching
Think of it like your website’s short-term memory. It keeps a quick copy of your pages ready to go, so it doesn’t have to build them from scratch every time someone visits.
It makes your site load faster and gives your visitors a smoother experience. And guess what? Google loves fast websites.
So, get a caching plugin like LightSpeed or W3 Total Cache to optimize your site’s performance.
3 – CDN (Content Delivery Network)
It stores copies of your site on servers worldwide, so your visitors get served from the closest location.
This provides faster load times for your visitors. And reduces the number of people leaving your site because of slow page loading. Some web hosts like WPX Hosting provide their CDN.
In case the company you’re using doesn’t have one, try CloudFlare.
4 – CMS (Content Management System) vs Website Builder
A CMS, like WordPress, gives you more flexibility and control. You can customize every aspect of your website, but it requires a bit more technical know-how.
Conversely, a Website Builder, like Wix or Squarespace, is more user-friendly. It’s perfect for beginners and offers many pre-designed templates.
Well, both can create a fantastic website. It just depends on your needs and skills.
5 – Control Panel
It’s the dashboard where you manage all aspects of your web hosting account. From setting up email accounts to managing databases. The control panel is your one-stop shop for all things hosting.
You might find it overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll appreciate the control and flexibility it offers.
6 – cPanel
cPanel is one of the most popular control panels in web hosting. Also known for its user-friendly interface and features.
It makes managing your website easier. From file management to security, email setup to software installation.
If you’re new to web hosting, cPanel is a great place to start.
7 – Domain Name
It’s your website’s address and how people can find you online—for example, www.yourwebsite.com.
So, pick a name that’s unique, memorable, and short. Also, people connect your domain name to your brand. In other words, it gives them a brief idea of what your website is about.
8 – Domain Registrar
This is the company where your domain name is registered. Think of them as the real estate agent for your website’s address.
They make sure your domain name is unique and that it points visitors to your website.
So, choose a reliable, reputable registrar, such as Namecheap or GoDaddy.
9 – DNS (Domain Name System)
This is like the GPS for the internet. It takes your domain name and points it to your website’s actual location on the web (the IP address).
It’s the magic that makes your website appear when someone types in your domain name.
So, make sure your DNS settings are on point. Because without it, your visitors won’t be able to find you.
10 – FTP/SSH.htaccess
FTP is your go-to for moving files around. It’s like the courier service between your computer and your web server.
Then there’s SSH, your secure line for accessing your web server. Similar to having a private, encrypted phone line to your website.
And .htaccess? Well, that’s your secret weapon for controlling your website’s behavior, from redirecting URLs to protecting directories.
11 – HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
This is the building block of your website. It’s what gives your site structure, like walls and rooms in a house. And the best part?
You don’t have to be a coding expert to understand the basics. In fact, I spent some time learning to code HTML when I started blogging. It only took me a couple of weeks to grasp some basics.
At least now, when I look at HTML, I can understand a few essential things.
12 – HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
It’s the rulebook for how information gets sent and received online. When you click a link or type in a website, HTTP fetches that page for you.
HTTP is an essential part of how the internet works, and understanding it can help you make better decisions for your website.
13 – ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
It stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Sounds fancy, right? They’re like the internet’s phone book.
ICANN keeps track of all domain names and the corresponding IP addresses. So, if you’re registering a domain name, you’ll likely come across ICANN.
14 – IP (Internet Protocol) Address
This is like your website’s street address on the internet. It’s a unique set of numbers that points to your website’s location on the web.
So, when someone types in your domain name, the DNS (remember that one?) translates it into your IP address to find your site. That’s the beauty of the internet.
You could say it makes your site come alive with animated graphics, form submissions, and interactive maps.
16 – Linux Server
This is a type of web server that uses the Linux operating system. It’s known for its stability and security, which is why many web hosts love it.
Plus, it’s open-source, meaning a community of developers constantly improves it.
17 – MySQL
MySQL is a database system used to store and retrieve your website’s data. Also, it keeps all your data organized and ready to be pulled up whenever you need it.
Whether it’s blog posts, user information, or product details, MySQL keeps it all neatly stored and easily accessible.
18 – Payment Gateway
You’ve got your site, and you’re ready to sell, but how do you get that sweet cash from your customer’s bank to yours?
Enter the Payment Gateway. It’s like a digital middleman, securely transferring money from your customer’s credit card to your online business account. It’s a must-have for any e-commerce site.
Also, it’s all done automatically. So, while you’re sipping your morning coffee, your payment gateway is working overtime to make sure your business is growing.
19 – PHP
Let’s chat about PHP. It’s a scripting language that’s used to create dynamic web pages. It’s like the puppet master behind the scenes, pulling the strings to make your website dance.
Whether processing forms, generating dynamic page content, or sending and receiving cookies, PHP does the heavy lifting. So, if you want to add dynamic functionality to your site, PHP is your guy. Up next, we’re talking about SSL. Stick around!
20 – SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) /SSL Certificate
You could imagine this as your website’s personal bodyguard. SSL protects your visitors’ data as it travels between their browsers and your website.
It’s like a secure tunnel that keeps data safe from prying eyes. So, if you’re collecting sensitive information like credit card details or passwords, an SSL certificate is a must.
Once again, many web-host nowadays provide free SSL with their plans.
21 – TLD (Top-Level Domain)/Domain Extension
This is the last part of a domain name, like .com, .org, or .net. And don’t forget that different TLDs can give different impressions, so choose one that makes sense for your blog.
Like .org often is used for non-profit organizations, while .gov is for governmental institutions. To avoid complications, usually, the classic .com is the best option and the most commonly used.
Types of Hosting
22 – Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting is like having your website on a team of servers instead of just one. If one server gets tired, another one steps up to the plate.
It’s like having a relay team for your website, always ready to keep the game going. So, if you’re expecting big traffic or your site needs to be up and running constantly, cloud hosting could be your best bet.
23 – Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated Server Hosting is similar to having your own personal server. No sharing, no noisy neighbors, just you and all the server resources you could ever want.
Often for new bloggers, it isn’t needed; besides, it isn’t budget-friendly per se.
But once your site receives high traffic or if you need more storage, a dedicated server could be your perfect match.
24 – Managed Hosting
Managed hosting is like having a personal assistant for your website. They care for all the technical stuff, so you can focus on what you do best: creating awesome content.
Usually, you can see this info on a web host price plan page when comparing hosting options.
25 – Reseller Hosting
Think of it as your own mini web hosting business. You buy hosting services, break them into smaller parts, and sell them to your clients.
It’s a fantastic way to add another service if you’re in web design or digital marketing.
Plus, it’s a fantastic side hustle to help you make some extra cash.
26 – Shared Hosting
You’re sharing the ride (or, in this case, the server) with other websites, splitting the cost of resources like bandwidth and storage.
It’s budget-friendly and perfect for smaller websites or blogs that are just hitting the road.
But remember, if one website takes up too much space, it could slow everyone down.
Anyway, for beginners, shared hosting is the best option.
27 – VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
Similar to having your cabin on a large cruise ship. You’re still on the ship with other passengers but have your own private space and resources.
You get more control, power, and room to stretch your legs. It’s a step up from shared hosting, ideal for websites that are growing and need a bit more horsepower.
28 – Uptime
This is the amount of time your website is up and running. It’s like your website’s heartbeat. The closer to 100%, the better. Because every second your site is down, you could lose visitors and potential customers.
So, when choosing a web host, look for one with a strong uptime guarantee.
29 – Web Hosting
Well, this service stores your website and serves it up to visitors. It’s like the land where your website lives. Without it, your website wouldn’t be accessible to the world.
Advanced Web Hosting Terms
30 – Load Balancer
Load Balancer is like the traffic cop for your website. It directs visitor traffic to different servers to ensure no single server gets overwhelmed.
So, it helps to keep things running smoothly, even during those rush hour traffic spikes.
For this reason, if your site is growing and traffic is increasing, a load balancer could be helpful.
31 – Firewall
A firewall is your website’s bodyguard, keeping out unwanted visitors. Similar to having a bouncer at the door of your website, checking IDs, and turning away troublemakers.
Every web hosting service has a firewall protecting its servers and the websites hosted on them. I mean, they don’t want to have problems with someone hacking into their systems and then having customers mad at them, right?
32 – DDoS Protection
DDoS Protection is like your website’s personal shield, protecting it from DDoS attacks.
These attacks can flood your site with traffic, causing it to crash. Not cool, right? But with DDoS protection, you can keep your site up and running, no matter what.
33 – Subdomain
Picture your website as a tree, and each subdomain is a branch of that tree. You might have a ‘blog’ branch or a ‘shop’ branch, each with its own leaves but still part of the same tree.
So, subdomains help you structure your site, making navigation easier for visitors. Plus, search engines see subdomains as separate entities, which can give your SEO a nice little boost.
34 – WHOIS
WHOIS is similar to the yellow pages for domain names. It’s a public database where anyone can look up information about a domain name, like who owns it and when it was registered.
So, if you’re curious about a domain name, just do a WHOIS lookup. But remember, your information will be public, too, unless you opt for WHOIS privacy.
35 – Parked Domain
A parked domain is an option used to save domains for future use. You own the domain name, but there’s no website associated with it.
You may park a domain name to build a website later or prevent other people from registering it. For instance, if you own “peterjack.com,” you might want to get “peterjack.org, peterjack. io” and park them so nobody else can grab them.
This way, nobody can build a site there and claim to be you.
36 – Addon Domain
This is like adding an extension to your house. It allows you to host additional domains from your existing hosting account. Each addon domain has its unique content and appears as a separate website to your visitors.
So, if you’re looking to expand your online business without the hassle of multiple hosting accounts, addon domains could help.
37 – Database
A database is like a library for your website. It’s where all your content, from blog posts to user information, is stored and organized.
When a visitor comes to your site, the database is where the server looks to find the right information.
38 – File Manager
File Manager. Picture it as the desk drawer of your website. It’s where all your website’s files – images, scripts, HTML files – are stored and organized.
Just like how you’d sift through your desk drawer to find a document, your server uses the File Manager to find the files it needs to display your website.
You should have some basic knowledge about the File Manager. It can help you manage your site more effectively, from updating images to tweaking code.
Email Related Terms
39 – Auto Responder
This service automatically sends quick replies when you’re not around. Whether it’s a “Thanks for subscribing!” message or a “We’ll get back to you soon” email. You certainly have seen these messages in your inbox after opting for newsletters.
So, autoresponders keep your audience engaged even when you’re busy. They’re a fantastic tool to help you automatize parts of your blog.
40 – Catch-all
This handy feature ensures you never miss an email, even if it’s sent to an incorrect email address on your domain. It’s like having a safety net for your emails, catching those misaddressed messages, and delivering them to a designated inbox.
This means no lost customer queries and no missed opportunities.
41 – DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)
This is a way to authenticate your email. It helps protect your emails from being flagged as spam and ensures they reach your audience’s inbox.
If you’re sending out newsletters or marketing emails, DKIM is a must.
42 – IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
IMAP is the behind-the-scenes tool that lets you check your email from any device, whether at home, in the office, or on the move.
It keeps your inbox synced across all your devices, so you’re always up to date.
43 – MX record (Mail Exchanger record)
These are the signposts that direct your emails to the right place. They’re like the GPS for your emails, guiding them to their destination.
If you’re running a business and using a custom domain for your email, you’ll need to know about MX records. They’re crucial for ensuring your emails go where they’re supposed to.
44 – Mailing List
A mailing list is a powerful tool for keeping your audience engaged and updated. Whether you’re sharing blog updates, product launches, or exclusive content, a mailing list lets you connect easily with your subscribers.
45 – POP3 (Post Office Protocol)
This is the old-school way of accessing your emails. It’s like going to the post office to pick up your mail, except the post office is your email server.
Once you download your emails, they’re removed from the server. It’s a one-and-done deal.
46 – SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
SMTP is the mailman of the internet, delivering your emails from one server to another. It’s the backbone of any email service, ensuring your messages get where they need to go.
If you’re sending newsletters or transactional emails from your website, you’ll rely on SMTP to get the job done.
47 – Webmail
This is your email service that’s accessible via a web browser. It’s like having a portable post office to access anywhere, anytime.
Whether on your laptop in a coffee shop or on your phone in the airport, your emails are just a few taps away.
We’ve just taken a tour through 57 web hosting terms that are going to make your life a lot easier.
Remember, understanding these terms isn’t just about sounding smart – It helps you make better decisions, save money, and get the most out of your website. Next time you see someone mentioning you should get cloud hosting; you’ll know exactly what it means.
So keep this glossary handy, and anytime you’re faced with a confusing term or concept, just check the term.
If you got any questions related to blogging, leave them below. Jordan Alexo is here to help you out!
Frequently Asked Questions
1 – What is web hosting vs. domain?
Think of web hosting as the actual house where your website lives. It’s the physical server where all your site’s files, data, and content are stored.
Now, your domain? That’s the address of the house. It’s how people find your website on the internet. You need both to have a functioning website.
But remember, they’re different things. You can own a domain (reserve your address) without building a website (the house). But to have a website that people can visit, you need both a domain and web hosting.
2 – What are the components of web hosting?
It’s like a well-oiled machine, with each part playing a crucial role. You’ve got your web browser, which is your window to the internet. Then there’s the FTP client, your tool for moving files around.
The web server is the heart of the operation, delivering your HTML pages and images to the world. The FTP server is your highway for transferring files to and from the server. The mail server, split into POP and SMTP, handles all your email traffic.
And lastly, the database server, where all your dynamic data lives. Each of these components is a software program running on servers in the web-hosting environment.
They all work together to keep your website up and running smoothly. So, when you’re choosing a web host, make sure they’ve got all these components in check.
3 – Is DNS and hostname the same?
DNS and hostnames, they’re like two peas in a pod, but they’re not the same. Think of a hostname as a label for a house, like ‘The Smith Residence,’ and DNS as the GPS coordinates.
They both lead you to the same place but in different ways. A hostname, like www.example.com, identifies a website or host on the internet. Also, they’re sometimes called domain names and are way more user-friendly than numeric IP addresses.
But a hostname and an IP address don’t always have a one-to-one relationship. Why? Because of something called virtual hosting. One server with one IP address can provide services in the name of many hosts.
And on the flip side, services in the name of one host can be provided by many servers with different IP addresses. It’s all mapped out by a DNS server, which provides the mapping between hostnames and IP addresses.
So, while they work together, DNS and hostnames are not the same thing.