Common Hosting Terms: What You Need to Know

In the wide world of web terminology, sometimes it’s hard to follow all of the jargon.  We’re trying to build a library of posts that help you cut past the extras and get down to the terms you actually need to know to help make decisions (or changes) for your website.

We’ve compiled a short list of common hosting terms we think you should learn (or, at least, have a place to reference).

Bandwidth: Is the amount of data you can download/upload within a given timeframe.  Visualize bandwidth as a pipe restricting water flow.  The bigger the pipe (bandwidth), the larger amount of water (data) can flow through at any given time.

cPanel: cPanel is short for control panel.  Instead of having access directly to a server (and needing to know a heck of a lot more techincal jargon and IT ‘stuff’), most hosts provide a control panel allowing users to easily make changes to their setup.  For example, control panels may let you setup email addresses, upload files to your website, create databases and much, much more.

Domain Name Servers (DNS): Domain Name Servers map domain names with the IP Address (a unique number which identifies a computer and its location on the internet) of the web server where your website is hosted.  DNS settings point your domain to where your website files are stored so users can view your website.

Database: A database is a set of tables containing data for or from your website.  The easiest way to visualize a database is to think of the tables as individual spreadsheets.  Information can be pulled (retrieved) from your database for display on your website OR data can be inserted (example: contact information collected) for reference outside of your website.

Domain: The address of a website.  Example:  Domains are typically purchased through a registrar (We typically use or to purchase domains for clients).

FTP (File Transfer Protocol): FTP is a method for you to upload your files from your computer to a web server OR download files from the webserver to your local computer.  We recommend using filezilla, a free FTP client.

Shared Hosting: With shared hosting, multiple websites are stored on one web server.  By sharing resources, shared hosting greatly reduces the overall expense making it a cost-effective choice for many website owners.  Keep in mind, however, it’s very important to find a reputable, reliable host that will provide you with high-levels of service and uptime (more on that topic later).

Webmail: Email accounts accessible via a website.

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