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Web Hosting Glossary

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ActiveX

A loosely defined set of technologies developed by Microsoft. ActiveX is an outgrowth of two other Microsoft technologies called OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) and COM (Component Object Model). As a moniker, ActiveX can be very confusing because it applies to a whole set of COM-based technologies. Most people, however, think only of ActiveX controls, which represent a specific way of implementing ActiveX technologies. Once downloaded, ActiveX controls have a large degree of freedom, presenting a security risk. ActiveX controls have to be digitally signed by their creator. Major competitor to ActiveX controls are JavaBeans. Some hosts support ActiveX server components for ASP.

Address

Unique identifier or location of a web page. Also called a Web Address or URL (Uniformed Resource Locator)

Anonymous FTP (Anon FTP)

A method for downloading and uploading files using FTP protocol without having a username or a password. In place of a username, word “anonymous” is used, and in place of a password, email address is usually used. If a hosting plan offers this service, your users will be able to download or upload files with FTP without having their own account.

ANSI

American National Standards Institute. The U.S. standards organization.

Apache Web Server

Often referred to as simply Apache, a public-domain open source Web server developed by a loosely-knit group of programmers. The first version of Apache, based on the NCSA httpd Web server, was developed in 1995.

Core development of the Apache Web server is performed by a group of about 20 volunteer programmers, called the Apache Group. However, because the source code is freely available, anyone can adapt the server for specific needs, and there is a large public library of Apache add-ons. In many respects, development of Apache is similar to development of the Linux operating system.

The original version of Apache was written for UNIX, but there are now versions that run under OS/2, Windows and other platforms.

The name is a tribute to the Native American Apache Indian tribe, a tribe well known for its endurance and skill in warfare. A common misunderstanding is that it was called Apache because it was developed from existing NCSA code plus various patches, hence the name a patchy server, or Apache server

Applet

Most often refers to a small Java program designed to run in a Web browser. Java applets run in a sandbox, so they can’t perform unauthorized functions like file reading or opening Net connections to other computer from your computer.

Application ServerAlso called an appserver. A program that handles all application operations between users and an organization’s backend business applications or databases. Application servers are typically used for complex transaction-based applications. To support high-end needs, an application server has to have built-in redundancy, monitors for high-availability, high-performance distributed application services and support for complex database access.

Archie

A program that enables you to search for files anywhere on the Internet by filename.

Archive

(1) To copy files to a long-term storage medium for backup. Large computer systems often have two layers of backup, the first of which is a disk drive. Periodically, the computer operator will archive files on the disk to a second storage device, usually a tape drive.
On smaller systems, archiving is synonymous with backing up.

(2) To compress a file.

ARPANET

The precursor to the Internet, ARPANET was a large wide-area network created by the United States Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA). Established in 1969, ARPANET served as a testbed for new networking technologies, linking many universities and research centers. The first two nodes that formed the ARPANET were UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute, followed shortly thereafter by the University of Utah.

ASCII

(American Standard Code for Information Interchange). A standard for coding text files. Every character has an associated number and any text can be represented by a sequence of numbers.

ASP

Active Server Pages. ASP is Microsoft’s server-side scripting technology. An Active Server Page has an .asp extension and it mixes HTML and scripting code that can be written in VBScript or JScript. ASP is distributed with Microsoft’s IIS web server, so most host using IIS will also offer ASP for dynamic web programming. ASP.NET is the next version of ASP. Other popular server-side scripting languages are Perl, PHP, ColdFusion, TCL, Python, and JSP.
Authentication

The process of identifying an individual, usually based on a username and password. In security systems, authentication is distinct from authorization , which is the process of giving individuals access to system objects based on their identity. Authentication merely ensures that the individual is who he or she claims to be, but says nothing about the access rights of the individual.

AVI

Audio/Video Interleave. Microsoft’s video for Window’s standard.

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Backbone

Main high-speed network connections which together comprise the Internet. Backbone connections are installed, operated, and maintained by major telecommunications companies like Sprint, MCI, or AT&T.

Bandwidth

(1) The amount of data that can be transferred over a network in a fixed amount of time. On the Net, it is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or in higher units like Mbps (millions of bits per second). 28.8 modem can deliver 28,800 bps, a T1 line is about 1.5 Mbps.

(2) Bandwidth is also synonomous with the term Data Transfer and is used by many hosting companies to refer to the aggregate total of data (in MB) that is allowed to by downloaded or uploaded into your account in a given month

Binary

The Base 2 number system. Important for computers as chips and memory are designed with binary-based registers.

binary mode

FTP client mode used to transfer binary files (multimedia files, executables and other data files). Not suitable for transferring normal text files.

Bit

(Binary DigIT) the smallest unit of information, comprising of either a 1 or 0.

Bit rate

The speed at which bits are transmitted over a communication link. Expressed in bits per second (bps).

BRB

Be Right Back

Broadcast

Sending a packet to all machines on the network.

Browser

Short for Web browser, a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Both of these are graphical browsers, which means that they can display graphics as well as text. In addition, most modern browsers can present multimedia information, including sound and video, though they require plug-ins for some formats.

Browser sniffing

The process in which the web site tries to determine what kind of web browser the user is using. This is done to suit the website to the particular capabilities of the browser.

BTW

By The Way

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Cable Modem

A modem designed to operate over cable TV lines. Because the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely fast access to the World Wide Web.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

A feature of HTML that gives both Web site developers and users more control over how pages are displayed. With CSS, designers and users can create style sheets that define how different elements, such as headers and links, appear. These style sheets can then be applied to any Web page.
The term cascading derives from the fact that multiple style sheets can be applied to the same Web page. CSS was developed by the W3C.

CCIT

Comite Consultatif International Telegraphique et Telephonique (International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee). International telecommunication standards body.

CERN

(Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire) A nuclear research laboratory where the World Wide Web was invented.

Certificate

Digital ID used for SSL transactions. It includes owner’s public key, the name of the owner, the issuer, hostname, and the expiration date.
CGI

Abbreviation of Common Gateway Interface, a specification for transferring information between a World Wide Web server and a CGI program. A CGI program is any program designed to accept and return data that conforms to the CGI specification. The program could be written in any programming language, including C, Perl, Java, or Visual Basic.

CGI programs are the most common way for Web servers to interact dynamically with users. Many HTML pages that contain forms, for example, use a CGI program to process the form’s data once it’s submitted. Another increasingly common way to provide dynamic feedback for Web users is to include scripts or programs that run on the user’s machine rather than the Web server. These programs can be Java applets, Java scripts, or ActiveX controls. These technologies are known collectively as client-side solutions, while the use of CGI is a server-side solution because the processing occurs on the Web server.

One problem with CGI is that each time a CGI script is executed, a new process is started. For busy Web sites, this can slow down the server noticeably. A more efficient solution, but one that it is also more difficult to implement, is to use the server’s API, such as ISAPI or NSAPI. Another increasingly popular solution is to use Java servlets.

cgi-bin

A directory on the server where the executable CGI scripts reside.

Client

A computer program that requests a service from a server program, usually over the network.

clustering

Connecting many computers or servers and making them appear as one machine. This is done to increase reliability and performance.
ColdFusion

A product created by Allaire Corporation of Cambridge, Mass. (in 2001, Allaire merged with Macromedia) that includes a server and a development toolset designed to integrate databases and Web pages. With Cold Fusion, a user could enter a zip code on a Web page, and the server would query a database for information on the nearest movie theaters and present the results in HTML form. Cold Fusion Web pages include tags written in Cold Fusion Markup Language (CFML) that simplify integration with databases and avoid the use of more complex languages like C++ to create translating programs.

Control Panel

A utility, provided by Web Hosting companies to their clients, that allows a client to log in to their account and perform a number of account maintenance functions (billing information, e-mail accounts, ftp accounts, etc)

Cookie

A message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. 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 customized Web pages for them. When you enter a Web site using cookies, you may be asked to fill out a form providing such information as your name and interests. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your Web browser which stores it for later use. The next time you go to the same Web site, your browser will send the cookie to the Web server. The server can use this information to present you with custom Web pages. So, for example, instead of seeing just a generic welcome page you might see a welcome page with your name on it.

CPU

Central Processing Unit. The actual “computer” that executes programs on a machine.

Crawler

Also known as spider, an automated software that retrieves webpages and follows the hyperlinks contained in them. Used to generate indexes used by search engines.

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Data transfer (aka Transfer)

In Web Hosting parlance, data transfer (also called Bandwidth) typically refers to the amount of data that is permitted to be downloaded per month, usually expressed in MB. A web hosting account with 1000 MB transfer will allow users to stream or download any number of files provided the aggregrate data does not exceed 1000 MB for the month.

Database

Data in a structured format stored on a server. Most popular type is a relational database. The most common query (information retrieval) language for relational databases is SQL. Linux-based hosts most commonly include MySQL database and Windows NT-based hosts usually include Access or MS SQL databases.

Dedicated Server

In the Web hosting business, a dedicated server is typically a rented service. The user rents the server, software and an Internet connection from the Web host.

DNS

Short for Domain Name System (or Service or Server), an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address.

The DNS system is, in fact, its own network. If one DNS server doesn’t know how to translate a particular domain name, it asks another one, and so on, until the correct IP address is returned.

Domain name

Domain name is an easy-to-remember address that can be translated by DNS into server’s IP address. Domain names are hierarchical. Domain’s suffix indicates which TLD (top level domain) it belongs to, for example .com, .gov, .org, .net, or .jp. Recently ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) added several new TLDs, like .biz, .pro., and .museum.

DSL

Digital Subscriber Line. A technology that allows high-speed internet connections to the Internet over phone lines.

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E-Business

Using web and Internet technologies in conducting the business activities. Also expanding end enhancing traditional business practices by means of the Internet.

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FAQ

(Frequently Asked Question) Lists of frequently asked questions and answers to them are used as a way of sharing knowledge on the web. They are a very good way of finding solutions to different problems. Some companies include them in their websites to minimize the number of Customer Support inquiries.

FCC

(Federal Communications Commission). U.S.A. telecommunications regulatory organization. It controls standards that pertain to electronic and electromagnetic transmission and also licenses the frequencies and bandwidth for the commercial use.

Fibre Optic Cable

A cable used for transmitting data as a light wave. A fiber optic cable is composed of one or more optical fibers. It is more expensive that copper wire, but offers higher transmission speeds and over larger distances.
Filtering

Screening network packets for certain properties, such as the source or destination address, protocol used or even a pattern in the data. It is used in firewalls in order to decide if the traffic is to be forwarded or rejected. Provides the basis for network security.

Finger

A UNIX program that takes an e-mail address as input and returns information about the user who owns that e-mail address. On some systems, finger only reports whether the user is currently logged on. Other systems return additional information, such as the user’s full name, address, and telephone number. Of course, the user must first enter this information into the system. Many e-mail programs now have a finger utility built into them.

Firewall

A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

Flame

An insulting email message sent to an individual as punishment for not adhering to the netiquette. Can be sometimes seen in the newsgroups or on internet message boards.
FrontPage Extensions

Microsoft’s server-side applications that lets users of FrontPage Web site creation tool to incorporate “web-bots” that perform pre-packaged function like full-text Web site searching or adding a hit counter. FrontPage extensions are also available for Unix-based operating systems but some hosts refuse to use them because of potential security holes.

FTP

Short for File Transfer Protocol, the protocol for exchanging files over the Internet. FTP works in the same way as HTTP for transferring Web pages from a server to a user’s browser and SMTP for transferring electronic mail across the Internet in that, like these technologies, FTP uses the Internet’s TCP/IP protocols to enable data transfer.

FTP is most commonly used to download a file from a server using the Internet or to upload a file to a server (e.g., uploading a Web page file to a server).
Major browser also have FTP capability.

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GIF

(Graphics Interchange Format) A graphic file format invented by Compuserve. One of the most widely used formats for internet and web. Uses a lossless compression method but is limited to 256 colors.

Gigabyte (GB)

2 to the 30th power (1,073,741,824) bytes. One gigabyte is equal to 1,024 megabytes.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A way of interacting with the computer that relies on graphical symbols. Most often requires a mouse. It is less powerful then the command-line interface, but is more user friendly and is easier to learn for users without technical background.

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Hexadecimal

Base16 numbering system. The hexadecimal system is useful because it can represent every byte (8 bits) as two consecutive hexadecimal digits. It is easier for humans to read hexadecimal numbers than binary numbers. For example FF in hexadecimal is 11111111 in binary or 255 in decimal.

Hit

In the WWW world “hit” is used to describe a single request made by a web browser. The data transmitted by the web server in response to the request is a text file or a binary file (images, audio, video, executables and other data).

Home Page

Main web page on a website, usually with an introduction and links to other sections of the site. This is the page that is initially displayed when user makes a request for a particular domain name.

Host

A networked computer dedicated to providing a certain kind of service. Most hosts on the internet are web servers (a type of host).

HTML

Short for HyperText Markup Language, the authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web.

HTML defines the structure and layout of a Web document by using a variety of tags and attributes. The correct structure for an HTML document starts with <HTML><HEAD>(enter here what document is about) and ends with </BODY></HTML>. All the information you’d like to include in your Web page fits in between the <BODY> and </BODY> tags.

There are hundreds of other tags used to format and layout the information in a Web page. Tags are also used to specify hypertext links. These allow Web developers to direct users to other Web pages with only a click of the mouse on either an image or word(s).

HTTP

Short for HyperText Transfer Protocol, the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested Web page.
Hyperlink (or link)

A special type of database system, invented by Ted Nelson in the 1960s, in which objects (text, pictures, music, programs, and so on) can be creatively linked to each other. When you select an object, you can see all the other objects that are linked to it. You can move from one object to another even though they might have very different forms.

Hypertext

A special type of database system, invented by Ted Nelson in the 1960s, in which objects (text, pictures, music, programs, and so on) can be creatively linked to each other. When you select an object, you can see all the other objects that are linked to it. You can move from one object to another even though they might have very different forms.

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IEEE

(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Organization that ensures that electronic devices produced by different companies can interoperate. IEEE developed the 802 family of standards that govern computer networks.

IIS

Short for Internet Information Server, Microsoft’s Web server that runs on Windows NT platforms. In fact, IIS comes bundled with Windows NT 4.0. Because IIS is tightly integrated with the operating system, it is relatively easy to administer. However, currently IIS is available only for the Windows NT platform, whereas Netscape’s Web servers run on all major platforms, including Windows NT, OS/2 and UNIX.

Image Map

An image displayed on a webpage that has different areas that are hyperlinks. By clicking on different parts of the image browser can be redirected to another webpage, or can display modified version of the current one.

IMAP

Internet Message Access Protocol. A method allowing a client email program to access remote messages stored on a mail server. The protocol includes operations for creating, deleting, and renaming mailboxes, checking for new messages, message parsing, searching, and setting and clearing flags.

IMHO

In My Humble Opinion (or: In My Honest Opinion)

IMO

In My Opinion

Internet

A global network connecting millions of computers. More than 100 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions.

Unlike online services, which are centrally controlled, the Internet is decentralized by design. Each Internet computer, called a host, is independent. Its operators can choose which Internet services to use and which local services to make available to the global Internet community.

Internet backbone

see Backbone

Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)

A network control protocol running on top of the IP protocol. It is used by Internet hosts to maintain information related to multicast. All machines that want to use the multicast have to have the IGMP implemented.

InterNIC

Short for Internet Network Information Center, a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce and now a defunct entity. InterNIC began as a collaborative project between AT&T and Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) supported by the National Science Foundation.

The InterNIC is currently an informational Web site established to provide the public with information about domain name registration. ICANN now oversees the domain name registration industry.

Intranet

A part of an organization’s network that is private. Only authorized individuals have access to the intranet.

IP

Abbreviation of Internet Protocol, pronounced as two separate letters. IP specifies the format of packets, also called datagrams, and the addressing scheme.

IP Address

Internet Protocol Address. A unique number identifying all devices connected to the Internet. This number is usually shown in groups of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by periods, for example 207.46.230.218. The current version of IP is IPv4. A new version, called IPv6 or IPng, is under development.
IRC

Internet Relay Chat. Multi-user chat service. IRC users can go into public or private channels to discuss a topic or transfer files. IRC servers are connected into networks. The most popular IRC client program is mIRC. Many hosts are wary of letting customers access IRC because of a possibility of a denial of service attack on the whole network.

ISO

(International Organisation for Standardisation). An Geneva-based international organization that develops and publishes various international standards.

ISP

Internet Service Provider. A company that provides its subscribers with Internet access. Customers have a username and a password and can dial-up or use a cable or DSL line to connect to ISP’s network which is connected to the Internet. The biggest ISP is AOL.

ITU

(International Telecommunication Union). (Formerly CCITT). Another international standards body concerned with telecommunications.

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Java

Sun’s popular programming language. Java is a platform-independent (at least in theory), crash-protected, object-oriented language that can be used to write applets that run in a browser, servlets that run server-side, or independent programs. Java’s syntax is similar to that of C++.

Java class files

The file or set of files that contain the code for a Java applet.

Java Servlet

Servlets are programs written in Java that run on a Web server and can produce dynamic pages. Also see JSP.

Java Virtual Machine (JVM, Java Runtime Environment)

A set of programs that allow for Java applets to be run on a particular computer system.

JavaScript

Simple, client-side programming language created by Sun and Netscape. JavaScript can be embedded in HTML pages to create interactive effects and do tasks like validate form data. JavaScript is a separate language from Java. All popular modern browsers support JavaScript. A few hosts support server-side JavaScript.

JDBC

Java Database Connectivity – a mechanism allowing Java applets to access different databases.

JPEG

Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced jay-peg. JPEG is a lossy compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, some detail is lost in the compression.

JScript

Microsoft’s implementation of ECMAScript standard based on JavaScript. Limited, object-based, interpreted scripting language. Here is the official JScript site. JScript is comparable to VBScript.

JSP

Java Server Pages. Extension of Java Servlet technology for combining Java server-side programs and HTML. JSP pages have an extension .jsp.

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Kbps

Kilobits per second. 1Kbps = 1024bps.
Kilobyte (KB)

In decimal systems, kilo stands for 1,000, but in binary systems, a kilo is 1,024 (2 to the 10th power). Technically, therefore, a kilobyte is 1,024 bytes, but it is often used loosely as a synonym for 1,000 bytes

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LAN

Local Area Network. A network of devices (computers, printers, hubs) occupying a small area. Usually LANs do not span more than one building. LANs are very fast compared to WANs.

Link

(1) Another name for a connection. Sometimes refers to a physical line.

(2) Abbreviated form of the term hyperlink.

Latent Semantic Indexing

A document indexing process, used by Search Engines, that records which keywords a document contains and examines the document collection as a whole to see if any other documents contain the same keywords. LSI considers documents that have many common words to be semantically close, and those with fewer in common to be semantically distant. When an LSI-indexed database is searched it looks for similitarity values it has calculated for every content word, and returns documents it thinks best fit the query. LSI does not require an “exact match” to return useful results because two documents may be semantically close even if they don’t share a particulary keyword.

Linux

A public-domain UNIX-like operating system first developed by Linus Torvalds. Linux and FreeBSD are very often used by hosting companies as their operating systems for web servers as it is an inexpensive and highly stable/secure OS.

Login

To make a computer system or network recognize you so that you can begin a computer session.

LOL

Laughing Out Loud

Lossless

A compression scheme is loseless if no information is discarded during compression.

Lossy

Lossy compression discards some information during compression. Useful when degradation of quaility is acceptable to dramatically reduce size.

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MAC

Media Access Control.

MAC Address

Short for Media Access Control address, a hardware address that uniquely identifies each node of a network.

Mailing List

A way of having a group discussion with list subscribers by email. Emails are sent to all list subscribers. Popular mailing list programs, like Listserv and Majordomo, allow for automated subscription and un-subscription from a mailing list. Some hosting plans allow creation of mailing lists.

Mailserver

The Internet host (together with the appropriate software) that is used to send, receive and forward email messages.

MBps

MegaBytes (MB) per second, 1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes or 1024 kilobytes.

Mbps

Megabits (Mb) per second, 1Mb = 1,048,576 bits

Megabyte (MB)

1MB = 1024 KiloBytes = 1,048,576 (2 to the 20th power) bytes

MHz

MegaHertz = 1.000.000 Hertz. 1 Hertz is a cycle per second.

MIME

(Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) a method of including binary data and other multimedia content within email messages.

Mirror site

A site that stores the exact content of some other site. Mirroring is done in order to minimize the load on a particular server and also to increase reliability.

Modem

MOdulator-DEModulator. A device used to transform digital data sent by a computer to analog format suitable for transmission over a transmission line. It also transforms analog signals back to the digital form.

MP3

An extremely popular lossy audio compression format for audio files.

MPEG

(Motion Picture Experts Group) video compression format for movies or animations.

mSQL (Mini SQL)

Light-weight relational database.

MySQL

Pronounced “my ess cue el” (each letter separately) and not “my SEE kwill.” MySQL is an open source RDBMS that relies on SQL for processing the data in the database. MySQL provides APIs for the languages C, C++, Eiffel, Java, Perl, PHP and Python. In addition, OLE DB and ODBC providers exist for MySQL data connection in the Microsoft environment. A MySQL .NET Native Provider is also available, which allows native MySQL to .NET access without the need for OLE DB.

MySQL is most commonly used for Web applications and for embedded applications and has become a popular alternative to proprietary database systems because of its speed and reliability. MySQL can run on UNIX, Windows and Mac OS.

MySQL is developed, supported and marketed by MySQL AB. The database is available for free under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) or for a fee to those who do not wish to be bound by the terms of the GPL.

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Netiquette

Informal set of rules that should be followed when using internet services like email, message boards and newsgroups. Describes what it means to be “well behaved” while interacting with other people online.

Netscape

Officially called Netscape Communications Corporation, Netscape was founded by James H. Clark and Marc Andreessen (creator of Mozilla) in 1994 and was acquired by AOL in 1999. It revolutionized the computer software market by giving away for free its popular Navigator Web browser until it had acquired an overwhelming market share for this category of software. The term Netscape is often used as the name of the company’s browser, not the company itself.
Newsgroup

A virtual Internet place where people exchange thoughts, ideas and interests, and amuse themselves by means of text messages.

NNTP

(Network News Transfer Protocol) An Internet protocol that describes how the newsgroups messages are distributed, stored, posted and retrieved.

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OC-1, OC-3, OC-12, OC-24, OC-48

Optical Carrier transmission speeds, used in fiber optic networks conforming to SONET standard. OC-1 is 51.85 Mbps. Higher levels are multiples of that speed.

ODBC

(Open Database Connectivity) A standard allowing applications to access different databases in an uniform way.

Offline

The state of a computer or any other device when it is not connected to the network (i.e. it is not online).

Online

Tha state of a computer when it is connected to the network and communicate with other machines.

Operating system

A software heart of the computer. It is a set of programs that manage the hardware resources of a computer, provide the environment for application programs to run and provide the user interface. Most known operating systems are: different flavors of Unix (SunOs, HP-UX, Irix, FreeBSD, Linux,…), MacOS and Windows.

OSI

(Open System Interconnection). A network standard developed by ISO and CCITT. It describes the way in which protocols of different layers communicate. This enables machines of different vendors to communicate over the network.

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Page

Name for a basic web document. Websites usually consist of many (web) pages.

Perl

Open source CGI scripting programming language. Written in 1987. Still one of the most popular web programming languages mostly due to its powerful text-manipulation facilities. A huge number of Perl scripts are available for download.

PHP

PHP is an free, open-source server-side scripting language. PHP code can be embedded in HTML. PHP files usually have extensions like .php or .php3. PHP language style is similar to C and Java. Other popular server-side scripting languages are ASP, Perl, ColdFusion, TCL, Python, and JSP.

PKZIP or PKUNZIP

Popular compression and decompression programs.

Plug-in

An add-on piece of software that can extend the features of an existing application. For example Netscape browser plug-ins allow displaying of new types of web content, that the browser can’t display on its own.

POP

Post Office Protocol. Popular and simple email retrieval standard. All messages are downloaded at the name time and can only be manipulated on a client machine. Current version is POP3.

Port

1) An interface on a computer to which you can connect a device. Personal computers have various types of ports. Internally, there are several ports for connecting disk drives, display screens, and keyboards. Externally, personal computers have ports for connecting modems, printers, mice, and other peripheral devices.

(2) In TCP/IP and UDP networks, an endpoint to a logical connection. The port number identifies what type of port it is. For example, port 80 is used for HTTP traffic. Routers and firewalls typically block traffic over most ports allowing only those applications to run across a network that are “safe” to allow the outside world.

PPP

(Point to Point Protocol) A network protocol widely used to connect computers to the Internet. Most often used on a telephone line.

Protocol

A set of rules by following which two parties can communicate. The TCP/IP protocol suite is the basis of todays Internet.

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RAID

Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. Type of disk, often used on servers, where several physical disks are combined into an array for better speed and fault tolerance.

Level 0 implements data striping where file blocks are written to separate drives. Does not provide fault tolerance, because failure of one drive will result in data loss.

Level 1 implements data mirroring. Data is duplicated on two drives either through software or hardware. Provides faster read performance than a single drive.

Level 2 – not used in practice. Data is split at bit level at written to multiple drives.

Level 3 – requires at least 3 drives. Data block is striped at byte level across drives and error correction codes (parity info) is recorder on another drive. Provides fault tolerance but slower writing performance.

Level 4 – Similar to Level 3 but provides faster performance because it uses blocks for striping.

Level 5 – Similar to Level 4 but improves performance but also striping parity info across multiple drives.

Level 6 – Similar to Level 5 but also uses second parity scheme for better fault tolerance.

Level 7 – Proprietary RAID design by Storage Computer Corporation. Faster than other levels because it uses multiple levels of cache and asynchronous I/O transfers.

In addition multiple RAID levels can be combined to improve performance or reliability.

Reseller

Resellers are usually smaller companies that still try to build their customers base. They don’t own the server with user accounts but can perform most administrative functions.

RJ-11

A standard connector that is used to connect to the telephone line. Also known as a phone jack.

RJ-45

A standard connector that is used to connect to the Ethernet network. Looks like a big phone jack.

ROFL

Rolling On the Floor Laughing

Router

A network device (can be a dedicated computer) that is used to connect two or more networks together and route packets between them.

RSA

A public key cryptosystem developed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman. It can be used to encrypt session keys and to generate digital certificates.

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S/MIME

Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions – a way of making email messages more secure. S/MIME uses digital certificates to attest the message origin and encryption to ensure that message could not be read while in transit.

Scripting Language

A programming language in which programs are the series of commands that are interpreted and then executed one by one. Doesn’t require the compilation phase, for the price of lower performance.

Search engine

A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. Although search engine is really a general class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google and Yahoo that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web and USENET newsgroups.

Typically, a search engine works by sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query.

Self-extracting Archive

A compressed (archived) file that is also an executable program. The file(s) that were archived are extracted automatically when the program is run without the need for an archive utility like WinZip.

Server

A networked computer that handles client requests for resources. Most servers on the Internet are web servers.

Session

All the data exchange between two terminals, starting when the connection is established and ending when connection terminates.

Setup fee

Initial fee charged by a host to set up your hosting account.

SHTTP

Secure HTTP. A version of HTTP protocol that uses encryption to assure that the traffic between the server and the browser cannot be eveasdropped on. Should be considered mandatory for all e-commerce applications.

Smileys

Characters used in text-only communications to convey emotions. Example 🙂 🙂 😉 :O :(…

SMTP

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The predominant protocol used to transfer email messages across the Internet mail servers.

Snail Mail

A normal paper mail delivered by the Post Office.

SNMP

(Simple Network Management Protocol). A most widespread protocol used for network management.

Spam

Unsolicited email sent in mass quantities to multiple receipents, most often for marketing purposes.

Spider

An automated software that retrieves webpages and follows the hyperlinks contained in them. Used to generate indexes used by search engines.

SQL

Structured Query Language. Limited programming language used for updating and performing queries on relational databases. All databases share a common subset of SQL. Most popular SQL databases available with hosting plans are MySQL and MS SQL.

SSH

Secure Shell. Developed by SSH Communications Security, it is a standard for encrypted terminal Internet connections. SSH programs provide strong authentication and encrypted communications, replacing less secure access methods like telnet.

SSI

Server-Side Includes. Instructs the server to include some dynamic information in a Web page before it is sent to a client. This dynamic information could be current date, an opinion poll, etc. Many hosts require that SSI pages have .shtml extension to reduce the load on servers by not having to parse non-SSI pages.

SSL

Short for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that’s transferred over the SSL connection. Both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer support SSL, and many Web sites use the protocol to obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers. By convention, URLs that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http:

Static (or dedicated) IP

If a host offers a static IP, it means that your site will be assigned a unique and unchanging IP address.
Streaming

Playing multimedia files (audio and video) from an online file without requiring a full download. Audio and video are compressed but they still may require a lot of bandwidth. Popular streaming formats inclue Real Media, Quicktime, and Windows Media.

Subdomain

Subdomain is a way to divide your domain name and site into sections with short and easy to remember names. For example, a section of this site for new users could be at newbies.webhostingratings.com. Other use of subdomains might be to let somebody else use your account (but this may not be allowed by your host’s terms of use). Large websites might make their subdomains point to another server to reduce load on the main www site.

Surfing

Using world wide web is often referred to as “surfing the web”.

Switch

A switch is a network device that forwards packets to other devices on the same networks. Switches are more intelligent than hubs and typically place each node in its own broadcast domain eliminating collisions and improving overall performance.

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T1

Dedicated telecommunications line providing 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth. Consists of 24 individual channels 64 Kbps each, that can be configured for voice or data transmission. T1 lines can be leased by businesses that required a dedicated Net connection of with higher reliability than a DSL and faster than an ISDN line but are still quite expensive.

T3

Dedicated telecommunications line providing 44 Mbps of bandwidth. T3 lines are often used by ISPs to connect to the Internet backbone.
TCP

Abbreviation of Transmission Control Protocol, and pronounced as separate letters. TCP is one of the main protocols in TCP/IP networks. Whereas the IP protocol deals only with packets, TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data. TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.

TCP/IP

Short for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, the suite of communications protocols used to connect hosts on the Internet. TCP/IP uses several protocols, the two main ones being TCP and IP. TCP/IP is built into the UNIX operating system and is used by the Internet, making it the de facto standard for transmitting data over networks.

Telnet

Character-based protocol for connecting with remote systems. Still popular among hosts, but it is being replaced by much more secure SSH access.

Terabyte (TB)

1024 gigabytes = (2 raised to the 40th power bytes!)

TLD

Short for top-level domain, and refers to the suffix attached to Internet domain names. There are a limited number of predefined suffixes, and each one represent a top-level domain. .com, .net, .gov, and .org are examples of TLD’s.

Traceroute

A computer program that lists network hosts visited by a packed on the way to its destination. Very useful for network debugging.

Traffic

Data packets being transmitted over a network.

Twisted Pair

A pair of wires twisted one around the other. Very common in the networking applications.

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Unicode

A 16 bit ISO 10646 character set. It can accommodate more characters that ASCII, thus allowing for easier internationalization.

Unix

A family of multi-user operating systems, first developed by AT&T Bell Laboratories in the 1970s and then licensed to many universities. A basis for Linux, a very popular operating system among web hosts.

UPS

Uninterruptible Power Supply. UPS kicks in if power is lost allowing servers and other critical infrastructure to keep operating until generators kick in or the administrators shut them down.

URL

(Uniform Resource Locator) is a way of addressing used for world wide web. An URL consist of the type of service (protocol), then the host name and then the file on the host.

Usenet

Network of all the newsgroups in the Internet.

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VBScript

Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition. Interpreted scripting language (subset of MS Visual Basic language) for creating scripts that can be embedded in HTML pages or for creating ActiveX Controls. Meant as an alternative to JavaScript. Here is the official VBScript site. VBScript is comparable to JScript.

viewer

An stand-alone application used to display files of different formats. For example a QuickTime move viewer or a JPG file viewer.

Virus

A malicious program written to disrupt computer systems.

VPN

(Virtual Private Network). A virtual private network is a method of accessing the private network in a secure way over public communication lines and networks.

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W3C

World Wide Web Consortium. An international industry consortium that develops standards for the world wide web.

WAV

An audio file format. Very accurate, but offers no compression, thus resulting in very large files.

Webmaster

A person responsible for the maintenance of a particular website.

whois

An Internet service allowing to obtain the information about a domain name.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A group of LAN’s interconnected across a campus or region.

WWW

World Wide Web

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XML

Extensible Markup Language. A meta-language, abbreviated version of SGML, used to specify other document types used on the Web. Accepted as a format in 1998 to replace dependence on HTML extensions. MSIE 5.5 and Netscape 6 both support XML.

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YMMV

Your Mileage May Vary

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ZIP

A popular compression format that allows files to be compressed (or shrunk) to allow for easier file sharing.

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Web Hosting Explained

If you are reading this page then you need the concept of web hosting explained. You may not be specifically knowledgeable about the technical aspects of Web Hosting and what all the terms mean but by browsing the web you are constantly accessing web pages that are hosted by individuals or companies across the world.

What you are viewing right now is a web page. Using your web browser, you have typed in or clicked a web address (or URL) telling your browser where to go on the Internet. When your request to look at that page goes out to the Internet, your address contains a domain name that is translated to a unique internet protocol (IP) address that tells the Internet where to look for the web page. Web pages can be located on University Servers, at company sites, in military headquarters, web service providers, and any other number of organizations. Web pages can even be located on individual people’s computers and some run software on their computer to do just that. Any computer or server that actually has the web page physically located on it is called a host. The server is said to host the web page. When you click or type to come to this web page, this web page is hosted on a server – contained as a file on a hard drive.

In the early days of the Internet, web pages were primarily means of sharing information between academia and governmental agencies. The links on the pages made it easier to find the information needed rather than remembering or keeping a list of all the internet addresses. In fact, it is still possible to browse to web pages using IP’s (but that’s a different subject). Outside of academia, in those early years, web pages were more of a novelty with very few businesses actually relying upon them to share critical information or generate revenue. Putting a web page on a home computer or on a SUN workstation with no backup was acceptable – if the computer or workstation got turned off or crashed then it was more of a hobby than a necessity.

As the web became more ubiquitous with businesses and organizations recognizing the power that the web had to offer, it was no longer acceptable to treat web pages as a hobby. Hosting a web site on just any computer just wouldn’t cut it any more. Powerful web servers, switches, and routers were built in data centers that had fire suppression systems with Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems and diesel generators that would continue to operate even if the surrounding area lost electricity. As more people connected to the Internet, the “need for speed” or bandwidth became more critical (Think of all the people trying to access Google at the same time and how quickly they are able to respond – they can’t do that with a single dial-up connection to the Internet.)

Finally, as more people and critical business systems came online so did malicious users intent on spreading viruses and attacking web servers. In addition to all the fancy hardware necessary to provide web pages, companies now had to protect their servers from malicious coders using firewalls and other preventive measures. I still vividly remember the “cowboy” days of the mid-90’s when military and industry where trying to get their arms around the new technology – some may remember how easy it was for hackers to play with the FBI website.

All the technology and expertise that goes into providing a reliable and secure website on the Internet is clearly not cheap. Web Hosting companies have proliferated to fill this gap. The Web Hosting company takes care of building the secure data center with reliable hardware, software, and technical expertise. Individuals and companies pay the Web Hosting provider to give them space on their machines, allow them to run applications, set up web stores, and use bandwidth on the Internet. The company and individual pay a small amount for reliable service while the Web Hosting Company benefits from volume of customers.

If you still need web hosting explained more you can visit multiple forums to learn more about specific techologies.

Using FTP Clients

Using FTP clients is remarkably simple.  It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and its easier to show some basic functions when using ftp clients than to describe them.  In very simple terms, using FTP clients consists of setting up the client to communicate with your web server and then uploading and downloading files between them.

Setting up your FTP client to connect to a Server:

Using FTP Clients - Setting up FTP Client to Connect to Server

While the above picture is from a CuteFTP screenshot, it is representative of the setup for most clients.  Essentially, the client needs to know where to go to connect to your web server and then what your username and password for the server is.  Your web hosting company provides the FTP server information to you as well as your username and password.  Once the information is filled in, you need only press connect and the FTP client takes you to your web server.  Note also, the option to login anonymously.  You can use your FTP client to anomymously login to any number of sites that support it to download files from their servers.

Using ftp clients to transfer files:

Using FTP Clients - Transferring Files using an FTP client

Another screenshot from CuteFTP.  The screenshot is a bit compressed to fit into my typing space but the image is illustrative of the simplicity of the FTP client.  In the left window pane is your computer.  You can browse to any folder on your computer and the left window pane will show the directory you are working in locally.  In the right window pane is the server you are connected to.  Like any other computer, the server has files within folders.  The FTP client allows you to browse to the folder you want on the distant end.  When you have browsed to the appropriate folders for your client end and the distant end you can now select files and drag them from one window to the other or use the upload and download arrows.  Files can be transferred in either direction and many FTP clients have a sync function that figures out what needs to be uploaded or downloaded to make the local and distant end folders identical in content.

There is more to using ftp clients than this short guide but gives the basics.  The full functionality of CuteFTP or other clients can be found by reading their respective manuals.  Suffice to say that there is great power and flexibility offered by thes programs with variations on their use limited only by your imagination.  FTP clients don’t care what the file is or how big it is.  You can use them to upload and download web pages to keep your web page up to date as a webmaster or you can use them to download music for your personal collection.

Bandwidth Explained

Although I discuss web hosting bandwidth (also known at data transfer) in the web hosting rating criteria section of web hosting, the topic deserves some special consideration to better inform hosting choices. The term itself, bandwidth, takes on many different definitions depending upon the technology discussed (radio, data line capacity, web hosting, etc.) The web hosting world uses the term bandwidth in the following way:

Bandwidth = the total amount of data, typically measured in MegaBytes or GigaBytes, that may be downloaded or uploaded from a particular web site or web hosting account during a given month. A web hosting account is metered and restricted to stay under its monthly bandwidth allotment. This is also often referred to as Data Transfer.

That may confuse some further so let me expound a bit by way of analogy. This entire web site, with all its html files, databases, and images is about 2.50 MegaBytes. That’s not much storage because I don’t upload a lot of large images and most of that is text typed by my stubby little fingers. My web hosting account allows about 40 GB in storage so I have about 39,997 MB to go until I fill up my storage so I better get a stenographer and quick.

Here’s where web hosting bandwidth comes in. My account allows me 300GB of bandwidth per month. It is measured on a monthly basis, like an odometer, and reset to zero at the end of the month. Let’s assume that I have to upload the entire contents of my web site of 2.50 Megabytes. As I’m doing that, the web hosting company is metering my account and figuring out how many megabytes I uploaded to them which is 2.50 MB. As I uploaded the entire contents of my web site, I just used up 2.50 MB of my 300 GB bandwidth per month that I get and have 29.997 GB remaining. Let’s assume, though that you like my web site so much that you visit every single page on my web site. You have now downloaded 2.50 MB and used up another 2.50 MB of bandwidth and now my “odometer” has only 299.995 GB left. This continues as you get the word out and many visitors come (about 125,000 in a month) until the web hosting company “cuts me off” and won’t allow files to be downloaded or uploaded any more or charges me an overage fee. It’s kind of like minutes on a cell phone except the web hosting company, in this case, is limiting the amount of aggregate data that can pass back and forth between my web site.

In real life, the entire web site’s contents are not downloaded or uploaded repeatedly but certain pages are viewed over and over again. In my case, my Web Hosting Ratings List, is viewed about 150 times per day. The file is 45 KB in size so that computes to about 6.750 MB per day of bandwidth or about 202.5 MB per month. Other files are viewed as well but I don’t really use more than about 2 GB of web hosting bandwidth per month (so why are you worried about needing 1000 GB?)

How Much Web Hosting Bandwidth Do I Need?

Ah! That’s a trick question. You already know, by way of analogy, that if you have a mostly text site, only a few MB in size, with only a few thousand visitors per month that you don’t need much.

My site is growing, however, what about when I have 10,000 visitors per day. I’ll need much more bandwidth on my account than I have today as those 10,000 visitors eat up bandwidth with every page viewed (and there are lots of great pages to view here). So, one factor, in bandwidth choice would be the number of visitors to your site.

Here’s another analogy. I gave some free web space to a friend of mine who was having a baby and told her she could upload Windows Media files in the form of videos and audio up to her site. Lo and behold, the week her child was born, I got a warning that one of my web hosting accounts was about to exceed its bandwidth limit. Turns out she had uploaded some 2 minute video clips of the baby, each 10 MB in size. Dozens of friends and well-wishers wanted to view the video of the baby. You can imagine, with repeated downloads, how quickly bandwidth can add up when it is being downloaded 10 MB at a time. The same is true of websites that host large photos with web hosting bandwidth metered off 1 MB at a time every time a person views or downloads a large image.

If you want a rule of thumb, get a high bandwidth web hosting account when:

a. You are going to have lots of visitors
b. You are hosting large files, video, or photos
c. Both a and b are true

Keep in mind that some host’s unmetered bandwidth does not apply to sites that primarily host videos and photos or are for file-sharing but, if you are a business with an information website and expect tons of visitors then you can, theoretically, host as many customers as you want since for you the bandwidth is unmetered. If you want a lot of bandwidth, with no restrictions regarding file-sharing, video, photos, or audio then high bandwidth plans are the plans for you. As always, requirements should dictate your choice.

Managing your Domain

When you purchase a domain from a registrar or host a domain with a web hosting company, you will have a control panel that allows you to configure aspects of your domain.  Once you purchase a domain, the domain is yours to do with as you please.  If you become unsatisfied with the support or performance of a domain registrar or a hosting company then you can take your service, and your domain, elsewhere.  This page describes some of the common domain management tools and some considerations for their use.  Managing your domain is not a difficult thing to do if you know the basics.

There are other options, in addition to the below when managing your domain but I have limited discussion to the fundamental “must knows”.  ICANNwholesale has some great tutorials on their domain management interface, which, while it differs slightly from other domain registrars, the concepts are the same.

Contact Information

There are three types of contacts with a domain name: Administrative, Technical, and Billing.  Of the three, the most important is the Administrative contact.  It is the Administrative contact that controls the domain and has authority to change Technical and Billing contacts.  Make sure you are the Administrative contact at a minimum.  There is no reason why you should not be the billing and technical contact as well though sometimes web hosting companies will list themselves as the technical contact while they host your domain.  I recommend you make yourself the contact for all three types.  Contact your web hosting company or use the control panel of your domain to make appropriate changes.

Of all the contact fields, you want to make sure that the e-mail address is one that comes to you.  Domains can be managed by any number of domain registries authorized to do so.  There are those who try to transfer domains to themselves.  Transfer requests use e-mail and, if not responded to, will go forward automatically.  Discussed later are some domain security settings you should set to prevent this but suffice to say that you should make sure the e-mail address in the Contact Information is yours.

One drawback to contact information on for domain names is that it is publicly available.  While it is necessary to keep your domain contact information pointed to you to protect your domain from being pilfered, the drawback is that marketers and spammers use the e-mail and mailing addresses to bombard you with unsolicited offers.  Some domain registrars, like RegisterFly, offer a service that allows you to hide your contact information from the world wide web and eliminate this major nuisance.

Nameserver Information

On the page what is a domain name? you can find an explanation of the domain name system.  A nameserver is a server at a registry, a web host, or any company that contains a list of domain names and their associated IP addresses.

When you register a domain with a registrar (RegisterFly, Network Solutions, etc.), the registrar creates a record in the domain registry that says “Customer X owns domainname.xxx” with all the contact information of the customer. The different registries (.com, .net, .us, …) now know that the registrar is the place to send queries about that domain name.  As an example, suppose I register websitepundit.com with RegisterFly.  RegisterFly tells the .com registry that I know own the domain and the .com registry is updated to tell the WWW to go to RegisterFly any time it needs nameserver information for websitepundit.com.

When a record is first created it will have the nameserver information for the registrar.  You can change the nameserver information to any nameserver you desire.  For any organization there is typically a primary domain nameserver (DNS) as well as a backup.  You can enter either the server’s domain name (ns1.domain.com) or the actual IP address if you know it.  The nameserver information needs to be set to whoever is hosting the domain.  Web hosting companies will provide nameserver information in the FAQ typically.

Hosting Options

This option will be only be available in a Domain Registry control panel if the nameserver information is still set to point to the domain registrar.  This option allows the user to control what the world will see.

Parked:  Used when you’re not actively using your domain or building content and not ready to make it go live yet.

Redirected (with Frames aka Domain masking):  Sends the user to another location when they type the domain name.  The address is the address bar is your domain name but a different domain name is actually loaded.  It’s sometimes called with frames or domain masking because it creates a “frame” around the actual website and masks to most users where they are actually visiting.

Redirected (with no Frames):  Sends the user to a different website but doesn’t mask where he has been redirected to.  For example, if you type www.chevy.com, you are redirected to www.chevrolet.com and that is loaded in the address bar.  www.chevy.com is an alias for the company’s main website.  Sometimes companies will buy variations of a domain name and redirect them to their main site.

For Sale:  Some domain registries allow you to select this option so that when a user types your domain, they get a for sale sign letting them know you’re willing to sell them the domain.  Some companies charge thousands of dollars for popular domain names.

E-mail Forwarding: There is much to say about this topic so I made it a separate web page under setting up domain e-mail.

Transfer Security

Domain registrars allow you to set tight security for your domain to prevent domain thieves from transferring domains to themselves.  Registry settings allow you to automatically reject all transfer requests.  Default setting should be high security to prevent the transfer and set back to normal only when you are in the process of changing registrars (which is rare).  When managing your domain, this is one of the most important security steps you can take.  Don’t neglect this.

Domain Nameserver Information

When you register a new domain name, the domain name is given default nameserver information by the domain company you register the domain with or by the hosting company who you bought the domain through.  A nameserver is shorthand for domain nameserver.  Every domain on the internet, in the ICANN registry, has attributes called nameservers.  The nameservers information is, in some sense, a map or directions that tells the internet:

“Go to this domain name server and they’ll be able to tell you where to go to find my internet files…”

When you establish an internet account with a hosting company to have them host a domain for you, what is really happening on their servers is they set up a directory on their server called “yourdomain.com”.  In order for your domain to actually work, however, you have to set the nameserver information to their nameserver information which, in turn, points browsers to your directory once they reach the nameserver on their end

Let’s run through a scenario:

1.  I purchase a web hosting account through Lunar Pages.

2.  I already own the domain solideogloria.com so I tell them I want to host the domain name solideogloria.com on their servers.

3.  They build a directory on their servers for my account and load, in their namservers, a “pointer” that says whenever anybody comes looking here for solideogloria.com point them to that account directory.

4.  During signup, they tell me “Rich, our nameservers are ns1.lunarpages.com and ns2.lunarpages.com.”

5.  I now have to go into my domain control panel at ICANNwholesale and set my nameserver information for the domain.  Initially they are pointed at park at the parked nameservers for ICANNwholesale but I have to set them to point to Globat’s nameservers.

6.  I unlock my domain, set the nameserver information for the domain and, Voila!, the internet now knows to look to Globat every time my domain name is typed.

Typically, each hosting company has two nameservers.  This is for redundancy, if one nameserver is down, the other will likely be up to answer nameserver requests.

Keep in mind when you buy a domain name as part of your web hosting package, because many packages offer free domains or you can purchase one for a nominal fee, the web hosting company takes care of setting your nameserver information for you.

Some might think knowing this information is pointlessly detailed and nitnoid but let me assure you that understanding how to control your domain is most vital.  If you ever want to switch hosting companies, knowing how to manage your domain will help you if you find a better hosting package elsewhere.  Also, knowing this information will give you the flexibility to transfer your domain to different domain registrars because, why pay $35 a year for a domain when you can pay only $7.85 for the same or better features?

There are some great free tutorials that ICANNwholesale makes available for its users.  While the “managing your domain” articles are somewhat geared toward their interface, every domain registration entity has the same basic controls even if they look a bit different on the control panel.

Domain Redirection Explained

When you register your new domain with a domain registrar the control panel for that domain hosting account provides many features that are free with the service. Among these features is the ability for domain redirection.

When you first register the domain with the registrar, the registrar will set up the DNS entry for that domain to point to them. In layman’s terms this means that if somebody types www.yourdomain.com then that domain is set up to point to their service. In order to point it to a web host or company server you have to edit the nameserver (DNS) settings for that domain through the control panel.

Let’s say you cannot afford a web host or your own DNS and server farm and still want your domain to point to (redirect) a web page you’ve developed. Perhaps you’re a small Church and your website is at http://www.aol.com/~smithrj because you got free web space from your ISP and that’s all you can afford. You can still purchase a domain name for less than $10 a year and use domain redirection to a free web page so you can advertise your church website

You register the name www.greatchurch.org and when your account is set up you can enter the domain control panel. Go to the nameserver settings for the domain and choose Redirect with Frames or Redirect without Frames. The panel will then allow you to enter the site URL that you want your domain to be redirected to. Redirecting with Frames places the destination site within a Frame or “envelope” that hides the actual destination of the URL while Redirect without Frames just takes you to the domain name. If you want an example of domain redirection without Frames visit the URL http://www.websitepundit.com (a domain I own) and you will notice you are redirected to my site. It’s a way for me or anybody to alias as many names as desired to locations.

For small organizations with shoestring budgets, it’s a way to show their website with their own name at a very low price.

Setting up Domain E-mail

Many do not understand the capabilities that come free with their domain and take advantage of them.  How many times have you visited a site for www.localcompany.com and in the Contact Us page the sales or customer service personnel have e-mail addresses like [email protected]?  It certainly is not the main measure of the quality of the business but the Average Joe is probably thinking, “Geez, what is that, their personal e-mail address?”  Why not use domain email which is free with every hosting account?

The bottom line is that if you have paid money to own a domain than you should, at the least, buy from a domain registrar that offers e-mail forwarding for their accounts.  Further, many web hosting providers include one domain registration with their setup (many of the those rated here) and you have another avenue to have a unique domain email address.

What do you mean by a domain e-mail address?

If you register a new domain, widgets.com, one of the features that comes with the domain (from the domain registry or the web host or both) is the ability to set up e-mail accounts for that new domain name.  Now instead of [email protected], the company or individual can set up e-mail addresses like [email protected] or [email protected]  Those new e-mail addresses can be POP3 accounts or just forwarding accounts.  Either way, these domain e-mails are included with your cost and setting them up is not only free to you but gives the impression to the outside world “…this business is professional because it has its own e-mail addresses.”

What is e-mail “forwarding”?

E-mail forwarding is a feature that allows incoming mail to a domain email account, such as [email protected], to be redirected or forwarded to another e-mail address (i.e. [email protected]).  This is the easiest way to set up a new e-mail address without having to change your e-mail program.  These are sometimes called “aliases”.  An alias is another name that refers to the same person.  In our example, George Smith has an e-mail address with aol – [email protected]  He has just purchased the domain name widgets.com and sets up a forwarding rule which “reads”: Whenever an e-mail comes in to [email protected] forward the e-mail to [email protected]  [email protected] is an “alias” for [email protected] as all traffic goes to the same destination.  

Many services allow hundreds for forwarding rules or aliases to be created.  Suppose George is a small business but wants to give website visitors the confidence that they are dealing with a solid company.  He could create forwarding rules for [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc. and have them ALL get forwarded to [email protected]  As George adds employees he can change the forwarding rules to go to other e-mail addresses.  The point is however that you can have as many Aliases as you want pointing to the same destination e-mail.

“Catch-all” Address

The “Catch-all” address is a form of the forwarding rule.  In fact, you can set up just the “catch-all” address in lieu of any other forwarding rules.  The catch-all address form is usually in the form of “*@widgets.com will be forwarded to [email protected]”.  What this tells the server is that, unless any other forwarding rule is specified, any e-mail that is sent to widgets.com will be forwarded to [email protected]  The * is a wildcard that means that I can type “[email protected]” and it will be forwarded to the aol account.  This is a very quick way to set up e-mail aliases if they’re all going to the same person.  With a single catch-all rule, George ensures that [email protected] will come to him so he can give different e-mail addresses out and produce the confidence that he is a large company.

POP3 e-mail accounts

A POP3 e-mail address is a unique e-mail address with its very own storage space.  While forwarding addresses are pseudonyms for actual e-mail addresses, most hosting accounts allow you to create hundreds of unique POP3 e-mail accounts that are stored on the web hosting company’s servers.

From the control panel of the service, the provider allows its customers to set up POP3 accounts with usernames and passwords.  They usually have very generous storage limits for each e-mail account.  Outlook and Outlook Express allow a user to log into multiple e-mail accounts and the web hosting companies provide the details on how to set each POP3 account in these and other programs.

Instead of mere aliases, widgets.com may need unique e-mail addresses for each of its employees or business sections.  The hosting companies rated provide more POP3 accounts than most businesses or individuals will ever require.

Giving a family (or Church) their own e-mail addresses

Domain names are so cheap now, at only $9.99/yr that families can benefit from registering a domain name familyname.com or familyname.net or familyname.us.  Once the domain name is owned, think about the power of adding an alias for every member of the family.  Joe Schnelly has just bought Schnelly.us.  In his forwarding rules he creates e-mail addresses for [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc. for all the cousins, parents, brothers, etc. in the family.  Each alias goes to the actual e-mail address of the family member but now there is an easy way for everybody to remember the e-mail address of another member of the family.

The same idea could be used for the local church that buys cornerchurch.org.  I set up aliases for every member in my local church so members can e-mail each other my sending e-mails to las[email protected].

Your imagination at using the power and flexibility of the tool is your only limitiation in many instances.

Return on Investment

A key factor when choosing a pay-per-click network (aka ppc network) and embarking upon an advertising campaign should be return on investment (ROI). There is an old adage that says you have to spend money to make money. While true, it is also true that you can spend more money than you make and put yourself out of business if you cannot measure the effectiveness of your advertising. Simply put, ROI is a measure of how much return (profit) you make on a given investment (advertising dollars).

So how to you maximize ROI on Pay Per Click networks?

In my Pay Per Click Advertising Guide you will notice the many different Pay Per Click networks available to advertise your products and services. Pay Per Click advertising can be deceptively expensive especially since some advertising networks have bid prices as low as $0.01 per click. It adds up more quickly than you think and if you’re using a very rough gauge of success (i.e. “Gee, it seems like my sales went up when I started that ad.”) and cannot more precisely gauge the success of particular campaigns or specific keywords then you could be throwing away hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. That is not how you maximize ROI, in fact, you have a negative ROI at that point.

Here are a couple of scenarios in two extremes. First, on the one extreme is a keyword on Yahoo! Search Marketing that costs $8.00 per click to be in top position. Paying this amount could cost you $8000/day. Just because somebody is bidding this amount does not mean they are profiting – in fact, many lose a lot of money quickly on Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing and then give up on Pay Per Click networks. Of course, there’s always enough new people flocking to these networks all the time that drive up the price per click and make it unprofitable. That $8/click may very well be profitable but how can you know unless you measured that after every 10 clicks you made a $100 sale or some other metric?

An opposite extreme is a network like Xuppa. You can pay $0.02 per click for the same term you would have to pay $8 per click on Yahoo! Search Marketing. What a deal! That is until you are paying $50 for 5000 clicks and you still haven’t gotten a single sale from the leads on that network. I have actually measured Kanoodle keyword target ads ROI – I had 400 clicks without a single user leaving my landing page. In fact, half of those “visitors” never even let the page fully load. The reason is click fraud. I don’t do keyword targeted ads on that network anymore and it only took me a couple of days of data instead of months of “I wonder if I’m getting any sales” to figure out Kanoodle was not for me.

The reason I can pick and choose keyword prices on Yahoo! Search Marketing and Adwords or pick and choose which networks work is because I measure ROI. There are two tools I recommend:

1. Google Analytics – Free with your Google Account. Measure campaign performance and keyworkd performance on your web site.

2. AtlasOnePoint – a real powerhouse. It costs about $80+ per month which seems like a lot of money but it comes with more sophisticated tools than you can shake a stick at. Their documentation alone is really good to look at just to see the different kinds of advertising strategies that are out there and even pitfalls like bidding wars that occur on those networks. If you are a business that will be advertising heavily on the major search engines, you ought to really consider the services. $80 is a drop in the bucket compared to most Pay Per Click advertising budgets.

Once you begin measuring ROI with either of the above services you will better be able to tell which ad networks work best and which campaigns within those ad networks work. This will help you better determine how to price your keywords and whether to give up on some campaigns to maximize ROI. I was actually pleasantly surprised recently to see how great ROI was on the 7search network. Results vary so measure ROI for your own ads.

Click Fraud

Click Fraud = clicks on a Pay-Per-Click Network Ad by a user who has no interest in the information advertised toward the end of either profiting from those clicks or harming their competition.

Your bottom line: you seem to have lots of visitors from Pay Per Click networks but no sales or interest. Lots of visitors reach your landing page but never click beyond the page they visit. Your costs go up with no income generated from the visitors.

Category 1: The Unscrupulous Affiliate

The first type of click fraud stems from the profit motives of the fraudulent “clicker” who makes money every time your ad is clicked. The large, medium, and small Pay Per Click networks all have affiliate programs whereby the search engine offers to pay the affiliate a commission or percentage of the income generated from each click on the customers that are enrolled through them. Alternatively, Pay Per Click networks pay websites to place Pay Per Click ads on their pages and they receive a commission on every ad clicked on their page.

I need not connect the dots on why this fraud occurs. If Joe the webmaster knows he can make a profit when somebody clicks on ads on his site, might he figure out a way to see to it that those ads are clicked and he makes income. There have been reports of “click farms” using cheap labor in underdeveloped nations with people visiting sites and clicking on ads. The fraud is distributed to evade detection.

This first category of Click fraud seems to be inversely proportional to the size and reputation of the network (in other words, the smaller and more obscure the Pay Per Click network, the more click fraud occurs). Yahoo! Search Marketing is probably most immune to this because they do not offer any affiliate incentives for ads clicked on their network. Google, on the other hand, has been known to have problems with their Content Network (aka AdSense). Google pays sites to provide sponsored results on their web pages and pays them a portion of the ad revenue generated when users click on those ads. Google tries to detect this and combat it by taking legal action against those who engage in it but it still goes on. Google even noted, in their SEC filing, that this fraud could end up hurting their business model.

In my own experience, I stay away from smaller Pay Per Click networks until I can measure ROI and click fraud (more later on that). I’ve learned this the hard way having spent over $1K on networks that provided thousands of clicks but no real interest in my site. As for Google, I love their regular and search network results when I set up Ad campaigns but I stay away from their content network (AdSense). I simply have not had any success – lots of clicks but no real interest that extends beyond the landing page. My experience is not unique.

Category 2: The Dishonest Competitor

If you are bidding on a competitive keyword then so are a lot of other people. Sorry to make a purely analagous statement that seems to go without saying but because you have a lot of competition, you also have plenty of opportunity to be competing against competitors that don’t play fair.

Because competition can get very tight, the bid amounts for keywords rises which causes profits to shrink for those keywords. If you make $60 per sale and it costs you $3 for every visitor to your site, you must make a sale for every 20 visitors (on average) in order to break even. You have a competitor with the same product and same profit margin but he wants you off the Pay Per Click network so he begins clicking on your ads hoping to drive your Pay Per Click costs up to where you decide it’s not worth the investment and leave. He makes no money, per se, off the direct profit from those clicks. His only interest is harming his competition.

Google and Yahoo! Search Marketing are probably the most susceptible to this type of click fraud because they are popular and where most of the real competition occurs. They both make extensive efforts to detect and eliminate click fraud (and will even refund money to you if they figure it out) but it still occurs.

Click Fraud Reduction

There are two basic strategies to reduce the impact of click fraud on your business model:

1. Use conversion tracking – Use the free conversion tracking tools provided by Google and Yahoo! Search Marketing or pay for conversion tracking and ad management with a company like Atlas OnePoint. Conversion tracking allows you to measure how many people are clicking on your ads but, more importantly, how many of those clicks from each Pay Per Click engine, or for a particular keyword, are converting into sales. Click fraud is not the only reason to use conversion tracking but it is a tool to help measure it. If you are getting no or very few conversions from tons of visitors from an ad network then it may be an indicator of click fraud. Of course, even with click fraud in the mix, you may measure that you still make a profit on average and keep the ad up but you won’t know anything if you don’t at least measure conversions and see which ads make money and which are just costing you money.

2. Use a Pay Per Click Auditing Service– I use a pay-per-click auditing service called WhosClickingWho. The system allows the customer to detect multiple visitors from the same or different networks using any keyword to visit your site. The system has multiple benefits. First, it’s actually a great tool to see where your visitors are coming from (even your legit ones). Second, it is useful to see multiple visits from one user and note patterns of fraud. The third party results from the service are very useful when you submit a click fraud claim to the Pay Per Click networks to get a refund. Lastly, it deters the unscrupulous because they know you’re monitoring the fraud. You have the option of triggering a popup asking them to bookmark your site because you’ve noticed them visiting your site repeatedly through Pay Per Click ads. It’s like having a sign for a security alarm in your front yard – it doesn’t frighten away all burglars but it does deter most. If you are going to be spending more than a few hundred dollars a month on PPC advertising then you really should make the investment.