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Hosting often uses its own language, or languages,
comprised of acronyms, proprietary names and terms
that have been granted new meanings. For some it's a
first language. For others it's an entirely new
language. This abridged glossary is designed to
assist in "translating" the more common hosting
terms into more common language.
One of the world's most popular Web server programs,
Apache was built by a group of open-source
programmers and is often used because of its
outstanding performance, strong security features
and the fact that it is free.
The software components that your custom application
relies on for its functionality. Examples include
web servers, application servers and database
The amount of data that can be transmitted at a
given moment to a server. The higher your bandwidth,
the larger amount of traffic your site can handle at
Short for Common Gateway Interface, a small script
that processes data taken from the user (such as
from a form application).
The directory on a web server where CGI scripts are
Short for Distributed Denial of Service Attack, the
most common form of attack on network devices. It
overwhelms a network by monopolizing its bandwidth
by flooding it with information from multiple hosts,
thereby preventing legitimate network traffic.
Refers to the individual hardware components that
make up a unique hosted configuration. This includes
servers, firewalls and load balancers.
A piece of security software or hardware designed to
protect web servers. They are typically used to
protect sites from hacker attacks/unauthorized
Short for File Transfer Protocol, a method of
allowing remote users and Web servers to exchange
Short for HyperText Markup Language, the language by
which web servers and client browsers communicate.
All server-side functions (such as database
processing), although they may be performed in
another language, must eventually be output back to
the user in HTML.
Stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, the protocol
by which HTML files move across the Internet. HTTP
requires a client browser and an HTTP server
(typically a web server).
Short for Intrusion Detection System, it recognizes
all types of hostile network traffic and computer
usage that can't be detected by a conventional
Short for Internet Information Server, Microsoft's
server software for Windows NT/2000.
Short for Internet Protocol, which designates the
format of "data packets" that are used to exchange
information over the Internet.
Short for Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition, J2EE
is a programming platform for developing and running
distributed multi-tier architecture applications,
based largely on modular components running on an
An acronym for a set of free software programs
commonly used together to run dynamic Web sites:
Linux, the operating system;
Apache, the web server;
MySQL, the database management system (or database
Perl, PHP, and/or Python, scripting languages.
Distributing data across a network of servers in
order to ensure that a single Web server does not
get overloaded with work, thereby affecting
Refers to the copying of data for the purpose of
having an additional copy of an original source,
specifically storing data on separate tape media not
located on the server. If the original data is
damaged or lost, the data may be copied back from
A server responsible for translating domain names
and IP addresses.
Short for Network Operations Center, a hosting
company's "home base," so to speak. The NOC is
usually where most administration, technical support
and physical server storage takes place.
The method by which most data is exchanged
throughout the Internet. Most data is broken down in
to smaller "packets" prior to transfer, and then
reassembled at the destination.
Short for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, a
method of data protection/backup. Data is stored
over a number of servers so that information will
still be accessible if a piece of hardware/software
Short for Storage Area Network, a network designed
to attach computer storage devices such as disk
array controllers and tape libraries to servers. In
a storage network, a server issues a request for
specific blocks, or data segments, from specific
disk drives. This method is known as block storage.
The device acts in a similar fashion to an internal
drive, accessing the specified block, and sending
the response across the network.
The ability of a piece of software or hardware to
expand/grow as necessary.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
A formal written agreement made between two parties:
the service provider and the service recipient. The
SLA itself defines the basis of understanding
between the two parties for delivery of the service
itself. The document can be quite complex, and
sometimes underpins a formal contract. Generally, an
SLA should contain clauses that define a specified
level of service, support options, incentive awards
for service levels exceeded and/or penalty
provisions for services not provided.
Short for Standard Query Language. A standard
protocol used to request information from databases.
Servers that can handle SQL are known as SQL
Short for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol developed
by Netscape to handle and protect
confidential/sensitive information required for
e-commerce transactions (like credit card numbers).
SSL addresses usually begin with 'https'.
Short for Virtual Private Network, a private
communications network usually used within a
company, or by several different companies, to
communicate over a public network.
Web hosting is a service that allows users to post
web pages to the Internet. A Web host, or hosting
service provider (HSP), is a business that provides
the technologies and services needed for Web sites
to be viewed on the Web.
Short for Extensible Markup Language. XML is a
language allowing developers to create their own
markup tags. All XML tags are defined by the
programmer, and can be interpreted differently in
different applications. For example, the "" tag in
HTML means Italics, but could mean anything in XML,
depending on the function the developer assigns to