Hosting Terms

When you are looking for web hosting it helps if you can understand the terms that the hosting providers use in describing their hosting. That way you will be able to work out which parts of what they are offering are relevant and have a better idea of whether or not they meet your requirements.

Disk Space
The amount of space available for you to use on their server to host your site. You will usually find that other restrictions on your use of the web space will impose limits that you would reach far sooner than whatever the disk space limit is and so this limit is really irrelevant - that's why some providers specify unlimited disk space as that will never be a limiting factor.
The total size of all the files transferred between your web hosting and other computers as well as the messages that are passed requesting those files during a given period - usually per month. Where the bandwidth is specified as unlimited it will be effectively limited by the actual capacity of the hardware although unless you have a completely static site other limits will probably come into effect long before that. In working out your bandwidth requirements (where an actual limit is specified) you need to take into account that the files a single visitor downloads to view pages from your site will usually be cached and not need to be downloaded again for several days and also that most of your visitors will only visit a small number of pages on your site.
Uptime Guarantee
This is effectively meaningless except for it making it easier for you to cancel the hosting early if the guaranteed uptime is not met. In practice with most hosting the failure to meet the guarantee would be a one off event outside of their control.
Where a hosting provider allows more than one domain on a hosting account it means you can host multiple web sites on the one account. The sites would then share all the other limits and restrictions specified.
Dedicated IP Address
You will need this if you are going to install your own security certificate or need ports open on your account that are not usually open if you are using a shared server.
Security Certificate (SSL)
These are specific to a particular domain and allow web pages a secure connection to the server using https:// addresses. For your own secure access a shared certificate where you get an alert that the domain on the certificate doesn't match the domain you are accessing is sufficient as you will know what the shared certificate's domain is. For use with the public pages on your site you will need your own certificate if your site needs secure web pages.
Shared Hosting
The hosting is provided on a web server that also hosts a number of other accounts. The accounts share the resources of the server and so the limits that are imposed will usually be a small fraction of the capability of the server.
VPS Hosting
This means that the server is running several virtual servers where each appears to be running on the server by itself but where it is actually sharing the overall resources with several other virtual servers. To the person using the account it will look exactly as if they have the entire computer to themselves and can install whatever hosting services they need. It is only the actual physical hardware that is shared in this instance (unlike shared hosting where most of the software is also shared).
Dedicated Hosting
Means you really do have an entire server to yourself
Addon Domain
Additional domains (after the first one) sharing the same hosting. Provided that you don't provide direct links between the sites based on their relative locations in the hosting, no one will know that they are sharing the same account.
Parked Domain
A domain name set up to point to the same web pages as the main domain on your hosting. (To park a domain on an addon domain you simply set it up as another addon domain pointing to the same location as the first).
This is a scheduling facility that allows you to specify that a particular script is supposed to run at the time intervals specified (eg. every 15 seconds or at 1pm on the first of every month, or every hour on Mondays).
Perl, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python
Scripting languages that can be used to provide dynamic functionality server side for your site. You can use (or write your own) script in any of the supported languages and have it run on your site.
mySQL, postgresql
Databases you can use with your scripts to store the data that the scripts need to function.

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