Active Channel 

Active Channel is frequently updated information residing on a Web server. Users can subscribe to the channel if they have a CDF (Channel Definition Language) capable browser (e.g. Internet Explorer)


A name that points to another name. Aliases are used to make the original name easier to remember or to protect the site's identity.


An applet is an embedded program on a web site. Applets are usually written in the coding language called Java. They are normally used for creating a virtual object that may move or interact with the web site. An applet is like a small piece of executable code that needs a full application to run it.

Active Server Pages (ASP)

Active Server Pages allow web developers to make their sites dynamic with database driven content. The code is mainly written in VB Script, and it is produced on the server of the web site instead of the browser of your web site visitors. The server reads the ASP code and then translates it to HTML.

Audio Streaming

Audio Streaming is the process of providing audio content on a web site. This takes up a large amount of bandwidth, especially if you get a lot of visitors at your site. Some hosts do not allow audio or video streaming because of this.

Availability (Uptime)

Refers to the amount of time within a 24 hour period a system is active or available for servicing requests. For example, if a hosting company says it is available 99.9% of the time, they are claiming that your web site will up all the time except for about 8 seconds each day. Over the course of a year, in this example, the hosting company is claiming that your site will only be unavailable (couldn't surf to it) for 48 minutes.


Backbone is a high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway within a network. The term is relative as a backbone in a small network will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network. In general, the better the backbone of the hosting company, the better the availability of the web sites that run on their computers.

Back ups

The backing up of data on servers to prevent the loss of data should something happen to the server. If you think you may need to restore old data in case of a disaster, it may make sense to choose regular backups.


This is the client software that displays (interprets) the HTML code it receives from the server. All browsers work slightly different and one may not display the pages correctly if the code was developed exclusively for another browser. Today the two main browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape.


C+ and C++ are programming languages. Some hosting companies provide access to C+ and C++ class libraries if your web site contains these types of program modules. Once your web site has been constructed, you will know whether access to C+ or C++ will be required.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)

A CGI is a program that translates data from a web server and then displays that data on a web page or in an email. CGI involves the transfer of data between a server and a CGI program (called a script). This allows HTML pages to interact with other programming applications. These scripts make web pages interactive. Page counters, forms, guest books, random text/images and other features can be driven by CGI scripts.

Click through

This term is used to describe the ratio of clicks to impressions on an advertisement, usually a banner ad. If a banner has been shown 100 times and 3 people click on it, it will have a 3% click through ratio.

Cold Fusion

ColdFusion is an application which simplifies database queries by allowing for a simpler programming language to handle functions between the user's browser, the server, and the database. After you have developed your web site, you will know whether ColdFusion is a requirement. If you have not used ColdFusion to develop your site, you should ignore this feature.


Co-location means housing a web server that you own in the facilities of a hosting provider.

Control Panel

An online package of tools permitting easy site management and editing. It is a very important feature to have. By having your own control panel, you can maintain basic information about your site, mail boxes, etc.


A cookie is a message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file called cookie.txt. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customised Web pages for them.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS are used to add more functionality to simple HTML pages. Internet Explorer 3.0 and up support a good portion of CSS, while Netscape 4.0 and up supports a small amount of CSS - a fully compliant browser does not exist yet.

Database Support

If your web site will leverage a database to store information, database support by the hosting company will be required. After you have developed your web site, you will know which database will be required. Some commonly used database programs are SQL Server, MySQL, Access, Oracle, and FoxPro.

Data Transfer

This is the amount of data that is transferred from an account as visitors view the pages of the web site. If you have a web site with lots of video, audio, and images that gets many visitors per day, you would have to make sure that you choose a hosting package that will allow large amounts of data to be transferred. As a general rule, 500 MB of data transfer is equivalent to 20,000 page views.

Dedicated Server

The hosting company provides you with an entire hosting setup including your own server hardware that only you can use. This means a much faster loading time for your site because the entire computer is "dedicated" to running the server software. A dedicated server makes sense for web sites that require higher availability and higher data transfer rates.

Disk Space

This indicates the amount of disk space that will be available to you on the server to hold your web site files. Normally because HTML files are small, a web site (unless it has extensive graphics or database functionality) will be small, as low as 1 or 2 MB in most cases.

Use windows explorer to check the total MB of your site while it is still on your development machine. Then perhaps double your sites current size so that you have room to grow. When you check the total MB of your site don't forget to include the total MB of your graphics files.

A good rule of thumb is to assume approx. 50 KB per page (1 MB = 1000 KB, 1 GB = 1000 MB).

Domain Parking

This is the option to 'park' your domain name without actually having your web site up and running. This is a nice option if you want to acquire a domain name for your web site well ahead of having the web site itself designed and constructed.

Domain Name

This is the unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots.  Technically, the domain name is a name that identifies an IP address. To most of us, it simply means Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, web servers depend on a Domain Name System (DNS) to translate domain names into IP addresses. Simply stated, domain names allow people to find your web site by name rather than by its numerical (IP) address.

Domain Name System (DNS)

A model for tracking other machines (that contain web sites) and their numeric IP addresses. It translates domain names (for example, into a numerical IP address). When a computer is referred to by name, a domain name server puts that name into the numeric IP address assigned to that computer. So when you buy a domain, say, it does not become accessible until it gets assigned an IP address from a hosting company. Once the IP address is assigned, a cross-reference record (DNS record) is created that points your domain name to the numeric IP address.

Email POP Account

POP (Post Office Protocol) is an actual e-mail account on your web host's e-mail server. Think of each POP account as a unique email address.  You should know exactly how many email accounts are required to meet your specific needs.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A way of transferring files (uploading and downloading) across the Internet. Most web sites are uploaded to the Internet by means of an FTP program. This is how the web site you create on your computer at home is transferred (uploaded) to the Internet. Some software, such as Microsoft Front Page, does not require use of an FTP program but the use of most other HTML editors requites the use of and FTP Program.

Host (Name Server)

When you hear the term "host" in the Internet world, it is referring to an Internet company that has the required servers and software to connect domain names to (IP) Internet Protocol numbers so that your site can be viewed by the public when they type your domain in their browser window. Basically this is where you house your site, and you usually have to pay a monthly or annual fee for this service.

Host Platform

This is the platform of the hosting providers' servers. Hosting companies typically have hosting platforms based upon Windows 2000 (Win2K), Windows NT or Linux. If you have a basic web site that does not make use of server side applications such as a database then you do not need to worry which platform is used.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

This is the code that web pages are written in and the browser interprets to turn into the web page you view on the screen.

Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP)

The protocol for transferring hypertext files across the Internet. It requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW). You see it every time you type a web site in your browser http://...

IP Address

A unique number used to specify hosts and networks. Internet Protocol (IP) numbers are used for identifying machines that are connected to the Internet. They are sometimes called a dotted quad and are unique numbers consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, They would look something like this Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

A company or institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money. They will usually allow users to dial up through a modem, DSL, or cable connection to view the information on the Internet Access is via SLIP, PPP, or TCP/IP. Picking your ISP is an important decision but has more to do with how you access the Internet rather than which host you choose.


A scripting language which enables web designers to add dynamic, interactive elements to a web site.

Java Servlets

A servlet is an application or a script that is written in Java and executed on a server, as opposed to on a client. It is analogous to CGI, although servlets are more than simply CGI scripts written in Java.

ODBC Sources

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is a generic way for applications to speak to a database. ODBC acts as an interpreter between an application (say a Cold Fusion or ASP application) and a database (like Microsoft Access). By using ODBC, a connector can be created that will allow a web application that you create to read data from and insert data into an Access database that you've created. An ODBC source is a directory entry that specifies database information. This ODBC source (or DSN Source) allows your site to point to the correct database located on the web server.

Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language)

Perl is an interpreted language optimised for scanning arbitrary text files, extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based on that information. It's also a good language for many system management tasks.


PHP is another scripting language. Like ASP, its commands are embedded within the HTML of a web page. The commands are executed on the web server, making it browser independent. The web browser only sees the resulting HTML output of the PHP code.

Post Office Protocol (POP)

This is a method of retrieving e-mail from an e-mail server. Most e-mail applications (sometimes called an e-mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).


The monthly amount that you will have to pay a hosting company to provide the hosting services requested. Paying monthly is normally perfectly acceptable, but discounts may be available by paying quarterly or annually.

Root Server

A machine that has the software and data needed to locate name servers that contain authoritative data for the top-level domains.

Set up Fee

A one time setup fee to set up your hosting account.


A computer, or software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW or HTTP server, or to the machine on which the software is running. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. More specifically, a server is a computer that manages and shares network resources.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet. Most Internet email is sent and received using SMTP. SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact.

Server Side Includes (SSI)

Commands that can be included in web pages that are processed by the web server when a user requests a file. The command takes the form <!--#include virtual="/path/to/file"-->. A common use for SSI commands is to insert a universal menu into all of the pages of the web site so that the menu only has to be changed once and inserted with SSI instead of changing the menu on every page.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

A protocol designed to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. It is used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers and web servers. URL's that begin with "https" indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity.


Detailed information regarding your Web site, including the number of hits, the source of those hits, most popular pages and amount of data transferred, as well as other useful information.


Telephone or e-mail technical support provided by the hosting company to their customers. When there's a problem with your site, e-mail or database etc, you want to be able to get an answer promptly by e-mail or on the phone. 24/7/365 support is important if your site is an e-commerce site with a lot of daily visitors.


This is a set of communications protocols to connect hosts on the Internet.


A computer operating system designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW).

Unique IP Address

Obtaining a unique IP address (see IP Address) provides a one-to-one relationship between your domain name ( and an IP address.

Video Streaming

The process of providing video data or content via a web page.

Virtual Server

A virtual server is a web server which shares its resources with multiple users. It's another way of saying that multiple web sites share the resources of one server.



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