Common Web Hosting Definitions and What They Mean

If you’re trying to get a web-based business off the ground, you’re going to have to understand some basic technical terms used when discussing the Internet, web design and web hosting. Unfortunately for newbies out there, this information can be hard to understand and many web hosting information sites can seem like they are written in a foreign language.

Let’s take a look at the most common web hosting terms and what they actually mean:

  • Web Hosting—Web hosting refers to the computer that is used to “host” your website. All of the data being sent from the site to computers and collected by customers entering information in will be stored on this computer. These hosts are generally companies that offer a variety of options depending on your needs and price range.
  • Bandwidth—This refers to the amount of data that is transferred on your server. If your hosting company limits or charges you by the amount of bandwidth used, then this is an important term to know. Your site will use up bandwidth with every piece of text or image viewed by a customer along with anything that they may download.
  • Cloud Hosting—This is a hosting option where your website is stored “in the cloud” meaning it is actually spread across multiple servers, many times in different locations. This type of hosting allows you to access your site’s data from anywhere.
  • CPU—Stands for central processing unit. This is the processing power behind your server. If a server has a newer, faster CPU, then you can access your site quicker and it will load faster for customers.
  • Dedicated Hosting—This occurs when your website, and only your website, is hosted on one server that is not shared. As a result, all of the server’s resources go to giving you the fastest speeds possible. As a result of all this speed and power, you will pay the most for this option.
  • Dedicated IP—Your IP is the identifier that is associated with each computer online. If your IP is dedicated, then it is specifically tied to your website, something that is required if you plan to securely accept credit card sales with an SSL certificate.
  • Email Hosting—Another option from different web hosting companies, this provides dedicated email for you and your employees often with an address tied to your domain name.
  • Linux Server—A server that does not use the Windows operating system, but instead uses Linux as its programming interface.
  • Shared Hosting—With this option for hosting, several websites are stored on one computer server. These sites share all resources including bandwidth and processing speed. If one site has a traffic spike, it will slow down the other sites on the server. This is often the cheapest option for web hosting.
  • SSL—Secure socket layer refers to the encryption used when data is transferred from a customer to your website and vice-versa. This is a security standard that you must have if you want to have a safe online store presence.
  • Uptime—This refers to how often your website is “up and running” and able to be accessed online. Most web hosting services will offer a 99% (or better) uptime guarantee.
  • VPS hosting—Virtual Private Server is the in-between option for dedicated and shared hosting. It means that your shared server is partitioned so that you have your own set of dedicated resources that you don’t have to share with the other sites on the server.

Hopefully, this will provide you with a good run-down of the most common terms found in web hosting.

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