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Common Web Hosting Terms Explained

Common Web Hosting Terms Explained

Common Web Hosting Terms ExplainedWhen you start researching domain name registrations and web hosting providers for the first time, it can be a very confusing experience, especially with all the web hosting terms that are thrown around such as ftp, diskspace, bandwidth, mysql databases & what ever else can be displayed to look fancy.

In this article, i will explain what these terms mean, to give you a better understanding of what you are buying when you sign up to a cheap web hosting provider.


This is the amount of space you have for files such as images, website files, videos ect. The average website will not need much more than 1GB as personal or business websites are usually very small in size.

Video sharing & download sites generally use massive amounts of diskspace and are usually forbidden on shared web hosting servers. Most of the best web hosting providers offer unlimited diskspace, although all will have terms and conditions which you must be aware of, also a fair use policy may be in place to protect other websites who share the same server.


This is the term used to measure activity on your website such as website visitors, downloads and uploads. When a visitor lands on your website, it requests the website files from your web hosting company, each time this happens, bandwidth is used.

Every time a visitor loads another page on your website, downloads files from your server or even uploads in some cases, bandwidth will be used. Most of the best web hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidth, although all will have terms and conditions which you must be aware of, also a fair use policy may be in place to protect other websites who share the same server.

Its important to understand that if you choose a shared web hosting provider and your bandwidth exceeds a certain threshold, your web hosting provider may ask you to upgrade to a vps or dedicated server.

From our experience, providers allocate around 5% of the server resources to members of shared web hosting and if this is exceeded, it can cause issues with other websites on the same server, which is why you will be asked to upgrade. Generally, small business websites wont have much traffic, so this will not become an issue.

Domain Name:

This is the actual address on the internet that will load your website. The domain name is used to represent an IP (internet protocol) resource. When you register a domain name, its nameservers point to an IP address thats provided by your web hosting company, so when you type in the domain name, it directs you to all the files uploaded within your server.

Domains include the generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as the popular .com, .net, .info and .org. Other domains include the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .co.uk.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is the name used to describe the uploading of files to your web hosting server. When you sign up to a web hosting package, you are always provided with FTP details that you can use to access your server via an FTP Client.

When you login, you can upload multiple files at once, which saves you a lot of time, especially compared to uploading files via a file manager, as some only allow single file upload. FTP Clients such as FileZilla is the most popular and easiest to use.

MySQL Databases:

A MySQL Database is a relational database management system that allows multi-user access to a number of databases. In other words, it allows you to run websites that require the storage and access of membership details, posts, user generated details ect.

Websites that require a MySQL database would include blogs, forums, photo galleries, content management systems and many other member based websites. As MySQL Databases are widely used by the features that web hosting providers supply, you will be provided with several databases, as part of your package.

Addon Domains:

Within our list of recommended web hosting suppliers, you can manage multiple domains from the same web hosting account. This is also referred to as “multiple domain hosting”.

You can register other domain names and add this to your account within the control panel, you are then able to create databases, email accounts and upload your website files for each specific domain listed within your account.

You may pay a little extra for multiple domain hosting, but you will save more money in the long run if you decide to manage multiple websites at the same time.

Script Installer:

As shared web hosting is designed with simplicity in mind, you dont need any experience to install scripts such as those used for blogs, forums, photo galleries ect. With the built-in script installer provided by most popular web hosting providers, you only have choose the software, choose the directory where you want it installed and then click the install button.

The script installer will automatically install all files, set up file permissions & configure the database without any work or programing on your part. Popular scripts available include wordpress, joomla, drupal & phpbb.

Control Panel:

This is where every aspect of your web hosting package can be configured, including emails, visitor statistics, mysql databases, scripts and more.

Each provider has their own preferred control panel, so the available features may vary and you must visit the provider you prefer to see what control panel and features are available before you purchase any package. Popular control panels include plesk, cPanel and eXtend.