Otherwise a pretty small technology, hosting has more jargons than all of the IT technologies combined. From dedicated server to VPS, cloud computing to bandwidth, hosting is riddled with terminologies that make it sound like a language of aliens.
Right when you thought hosting cannot get trickier, we leapt in for your help.
So, here are ten terms that we, as hosting providers, think everyone should be aware of. Buckle up!
Hosting involves storing websites and all its files on a workstation (called a server) from where it can be distributed to users over the internet. When people say they are buying dedicated hosting, they mean that they are renting a server for their website.
Perhaps the most heard – and also most unfamiliar – term in the hosting genre. Dedicated servers are workstations owned by a single client, hence the term “dedicated”. These servers are known for their superior performance and control. They are also equally infamous for their cost so most small businesses keep away from them.
The amount of traffic allowed on your server is called the Bandwidth. When you recharge your mobile or Wi-Fi with an internet plan, you are allotted a specified amount of bandwidth, say 2 GB. This means you can download files and stream videos on your mobile until you hit the 2 GB download limit.
Disasters in hosting are unlike real-life disasters. The only commonality between the two being both inflict tremendous financial losses on their victims. Disaster in hosting is when an organization lose all or some of its files due to hardware or software failure. More importantly, disaster recovery is the practice of recovering data when one such disaster takes place.
Firewalls in real life are but figments of our imagination but in the hosting industry, they do exist. A firewall is an imaginary barrier of codes designed to keep unwanted, malicious traffic away from the host and its network.
Perhaps the only term we all can agree knowing. Cloud computing, hosting’s own prodigy, is when several dedicated servers are combined and sliced of the combined resources, which can later be distributed to the clients.
VPS – virtual private server
“VPS” might sound like witchcraft if you were to ask a non-technical person. We’d make sure we pull off this definition in the easiest way possible. A dedicated server, like we said, could be too expensive for small businesses to acquire. It is, for this reason, a dedicated server is partitioned into several servers, each of which is sold to a separate client as “Virtual Private Server”. Note that the term “virtual” has been used to describe that the server though apparently private isn’t really so.
Control Panel – cPanel or Plesk
Where do you tweak all the settings on your computer? Control Panel! Right.
Where do you tweak all the settings on your server? Control Panel. Again.
You get several options (technically only two) when you rent a server: Plesk for Linux and both cPanel and Plesk for Windows server.
Content delivery network
When I was new to the hosting industry, content delivery network (CDN) had me baffled for months but I later figured it out.
The content delivery network will copy files from your server and spread them across several servers throughout the world. The aim is to get content closer to the end-user so that the website may load faster. There could be over a hundred nodes of CDN throughout the world.
Notice the lock icon appearing in the URL bar. The lock signifies that connections from this website are secure through a Secure Sockets Layer protocol commonly referred to as the SSL.
SSL is essential where crucial data is being transmitted to the browser. Every time you make an online purchase, make sure the website is SSL-secured. If not, abandon the website and look for alternatives.
Load balancing is perhaps most perplexing and for the same reason, the most spiteful term in the hosting industry.
Theoretically, it means distributing traffic loads evenly between servers so that no server feels overloaded. In reality, off-loading and on-loading traffic is another ball game that could take years to master.
Like you have an unlimited internet plan that never runs out of data, there is unmetered hosting too. With unmetered dedicated servers, you can use as much bandwidth as you want on your website. In another language, you aren’t running out of resource. Though touted as unlimited, unmetered hosting plans do have some restrictions. For example, the host may reduce network speed after you overshoot a set limit.