Web Hosting Terminology


New to web hosting? Learn some of the most commonly used terms to not be put off by acronyms and tech speak.

Bandwidth A term used by web hosts to describe how much data can pass from the server your website is hosted on to people visiting your web site. This includes the files that make up your website as well as any data downloaded from databases or media files.
Web Space The amount of space allocated to your website by a web host to store all your files and data. The more web space you have the more information you can store.
Domain Name A domain name is the identifier people use to visit your website on the internet. You type this into your browser address bar to visit a site's URL - the address of a webpage. For example, the BBC's domain name is bbc.co.uk, and correspondingly their full URL would be http://www.bbc.co.uk/
Sub-Domain Sub-domain names are domains that are part of a parent domain name. They are free to set up in your hosting control panel and can be useful if you have areas of your site you want to categorise or separate e.g. dictionary.domain.com, thesaurus.domain.com.
Domain Name System (DNS) The system that maps domain names to the corresponding machine's IP addresses. This system is essentially a phone book that translates human friendly names into computer friendly numbers. Because this information is stored across multiple computers any updates to a domain (including registration and ownership details) can take up to 48 hours to work its way across all of them.
IP Addresses An IP address (Internet Protocol Address) is the numerical (or alphanumerical) identifier that computers need to connect to each other over a network such as the internet. Because IP addresses are difficult to remember, domain names are used which relate to IP addresses using the Domain Name System.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Once you are ready to see what your website looks like online, uploading the files to your web space is really easy and is often as simple as clicking, dragging and dropping. The method you will use to get your website online is called File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Don't be put off by the name, all this does is take the files from your computer and put them on to the web server for people to access. Simple!

All of our hosting accounts include at least one FTP account for you to use and upload your files to your website. You can upload your files using the file manager built into the web hosting control panel, but FTP is usually a quicker alternative. Some HTML editors come with this built in (e.g. Dreamweaver & Microsoft Expression Web) but even if yours doesn't there is the industry standard stand alone (which is free) to download called FileZilla.
HTML HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) is the first layer of a web page and deals with the content (the text, any lists, tables, quotes).
MySQL MySQL (owned and developed by Oracle) is the world's most popular open source database. It is also part of the open source software stack known as LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).
TLD (Top Level Domain Name) Top level domain names have no association with any countries and were amongst the first to be created. E.g. .com, .net, .org.
ccTLD (Country code Top Level Domain Name) A country code top level domain name. These domain names are associated with a country or geographic location e.g. .co.uk (UK), .fr (France and .cn (China). The ability to register these domain names from another country depends on the registrar's rules. For example, co.uk has no restrictions whereas .it (Italy) demands you are based in Europe.