If you are just getting started as a webmaster, there are a few terms you’ll come across that you may not understand. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a short list of 10 common web hosting terms that you should know.
Data Transfer (Bandwidth)
Each time a file is uploaded to or downloaded from your hosting account, you are using a resource called data transfer (some hosts refer to it as bandwidth). This transfer of data is often unlimited on shared hosting and may only count for outgoing traffic (downloading).
Each file of every website takes up space. The space used comes from an allotment of storage space on a disk drive on the host server. The amount of storage space is often unlimited on shared hosting, but this does not mean it is limitless.
One often overlooked limit in web hosting is the inode limit. Each file and directory represents one inode. If you have 20 files and 3 directories, you are using 23 inodes. The inode limit varies between web hosts, but it’s common to have a limit over 150,000. You should check with your web host to find out what your inode limit is.
One of the most popular web hosting control panels is CPanel. It has been an industry leader for over a decade. This control panel provides a large list of features to manage nearly every aspect of your hosting environment. CPanel offers email setup, file management, DNS configuration, IP blocking, statistics software, error log viewing, easy redirects, and much more.
If you need more than one CPanel account, you need WHM. WHM (Web Host Manager) is a control panel that manages your web hosting environment. It provides many configuration options and makes it easy to create unlimited CPanel accounts. Many people use WHM to resell hosting services using the built in Package feature.
FTP is a method of transferring files from your computer to your web hosting account. Using software called an FTP Client, you can upload files to and download files from your web hosting account. You can also mass delete files and directories. For a list of FTP Clients, check out our article Getting Started with Building a Website.
If you need to interact with your hosting account and file system on a command line level, using SSH is the way to go. SSH creates a secure connection to the server so you can run various commands in the server shell.
Addon Domains, Sub Domains and Parked Domains
If you want to use multiple domains on the same hosting account, you will use the Addon Domain feature of your control panel. Each domain will appear to be on their own hosting account to anyone who views them, but they will each run from the same hosting account. Keep in mind that this means each domain will pull from the same pool of resources. You must own the additional domain that you would like to use as an addon.
If you would like to direct an additional domain to the same site the primary domain is showing, use the Parked Domain feature. You must own the additional domain to park it.
The easiest explanation for a sub domain is this: sub.domain.com. The domain itself is domain.com. The sub. is the sub domain. This feature is often used by web sites which want to separate areas of their website, such as blog.domain.com. Sub domains do not require additional domains to be purchased.
When you want to install a popular piece of web software, look into Softaculous. Softaculous is a one click installer that boasts a massive library of more than 300 applications and scripts. You can quickly install WordPress, Joomla, Prestashop, Magento, CodeIgniter, phpBB, Dolphin and many more.
Contrary to what it sounds like, this typically does not mean you have an endless amount of resources. Storage space, one of the primary unlimited features, has a limit. Disk drives only have so much space, and the more drives and files there are, the harder it is on the server. If you are considering a web host that offers unlimited resources, ask the host for more specific information. If you plan to host 50GB of content and serve it out to 30,000 people a month, make sure your host allows that on the plan you’re considering.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of common terms, these are things you should get to know well. They will help you understand your hosting plan better and how to interact with it.