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50 Things Every Web Hosting Shopper Should Know

If you have launched or are looking to launch a website, then odds are that you know you will need hosting. Think of it like a house – the website itself is the house’s structure, but you need a place to put it; hosting is like the lot.

As you begin shopping for Web hosting, you will find hundreds of companies, each with their own promises, guarantees, and options. It’s a web that can quickly become confusing – even to someone who has previously secured hosting for a website. So, before you jump into shopping, here are the 50 things every Web hosting shopper should know

1. b2evolution

A content and community management system that integrates various popular components and features of CMS (content management systems), blogs, galleries, email and marketing tools, and forums into a single open source program

2. Bad hosting neighbor

This term can mean several things – it can refer to a less than honorable website to which you link from your site or it can refer to another party in your shared hosting environment affecting your site performance by using excess CPU or RAM for their own site

3. Bandwidth/data transfer

The amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another in a given time period. This affects things like page load times.

4. Blogging platform


The software or site that acts as the home for the blog. There are countless sites available that serve as blogging platforms, including WordPress, Joomla, Blogger, Typepad, and more

5. Cloud hosting

A type of hosting that stores data virtually in the cloud where it is accessible to the owner anywhere, rather than at physical data centers.

6. CMS

Content management system – Provides an easy way for the everyday internet user to manage website content through a graphic user interfact

7. Country code tld


These are the two letter codes that signify content and websites in other countries, such as domains that end in .us or .uk.

8. CPU

Central processing unit, or the brains of the computer where all of the calculations take place.

9. Database

A document or system that archives and records sets of data and information

10. Ddos attack

This acronym stands for denial-of-service attack or distributed denial-of-service attack. It is a type of cyber attack that attempts to make a computer or network resource unavailable against the wishes of its owner

11. Dedicated hosting


A hosting scenario in which you lease an entire server, rather than sharing the space with other organizations

12. Dedicated IP address

In general, most organizations are fine with a standard IP address, however, if your site deals with particularly sensitive / secure information – or if you have a need to access files and your site via FTP, you may need a dedicated IP address.

13. DNS

Domain name system – translates Internet domain names and host names to IP addresses

14. Domain name

The domain name is how people will find your site – it’s the URL. Make your domain name simple and intuitive – for example, if your business is “Bob’s Pets,” your best domain name would be www.bobspets.com. Don’t deviate from your business name whenever possible – doing so will only hurt your chances of securing business.

15. Domain privacy

This service is provided by numerous domain name registrars. As the site owner, you would purchase privacy from the domain registrar who in turn would replace your info in the WHOIS with information for a forwarding service to main your privacy and anonymity.

16. Domain registrar

This refers to the entity registering your domain. When you register your domain, you will go through the process of registering your domain name / URL to associate it with your IP address. Doing so ensures that you own your site and are the only one able to access your domain. The actual domain registrar is an entity that has the access and accreditation to register domain names, including the extension, such as .com, .net, .us, etc.

17. Drupal


A free online open source content management framework system that is based in PHP. It typically requires a programmer to customize it, but makes content editable for marketers and others who might update website content, but do not know HTML or programming languages

18. Ecommerce cart

Stores a shopper’s items for them to purchase during an online shopping session

19. Email hosting

A way to secure email for your organization. Email hosting is facilitated by a hosting service that operates email servers. Additional fees are required to have your organization’s email addresses associated with your proper domain (ie; name@yourorganization.com)

20. Fantastico

A commercial script library that makes it easy for users to install Web applications to a website by automating the installation process

21. File permission

Files can be set to grant access to only assigned users or groups. Permissions may include entire access to the file, access to editing, read-only, etc.

22. FTP and SFTP

Types of file transfer protocols. FTP works using two separate channels to transfer data, while SFTP transfers information via a single connection using a secure shell protocol.

23. Green hosting

Eco-friendly hosting that involves using green technologies to facilitate the hosting services. For example, the technologies are often made from eco-friendly materials and / or work to reduce emissions and resource usage (such as energy) while running

24. Hosting coupon code

Occasionally, hosting organization will provide online coupon codes to offer organizations hosting service discounts. These coupon codes are typically valid only for new customers, though there are certainly exceptions to every rule

25. Hosting uptime


This refers to the amount of time that a server has been up and running. Most often, this number is given in percentage form (ie; 98% uptime). This number is a good point of reference when shopping for Web hosting, as it lets you know the likelihood of your site and information being consistently live. For example, if a potential provider has 82% uptime, you may want to look elsewhere as their servers have significant downtime – and if the servers are down, so is your site


ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This organization coordinates the unique identifiers assigned to each computer across the globe so that each can communicate with the others; this coordination enables the internet to function. It also administers the allocation of Internet naming resources and certain responsibilities related to DNS management.

27. IP address


A unique string of numbers and dots that identifies each individual computer connected to the internet

28. Joomla

A free open source content management framework system for building and publishing Web content.

29. Live chat support

A customer service feature that allows you to reach company customer service over the Internet on-demand. Most frequently, this service is via typed chat

30. Malware

Harmful software that aims to damage or disable your computer, website, or network

31. Money back guarantee

A guarantee from the hosting company that if you are not satisfied with their service, they will return your funds (and stop service)

32. Mysql


A popular open source relational database commonly used by programmers to pull queries and reports

33. MX record

The MX record (mail exchanger record) specifies the mail server that is responsible for and allocated to receiving email messages for a particular domain. This resource record resides within the DNS system

34. One click installation

Often times, software and hosting services require complex installation and set-up processes. One click installation means that installation should be easy and can be done by the user with the click of a button

35. Overselling

Selling more of a good or service than the organization can actually deliver. In Web hosting, this often means selling hosted space to more customers than the provider could actually host if each customer were to use all of their allocated space. For example, if a hosting company sells to 12 customers assuming that they will only use 80 percent of their space and bandwidth – even though it could not deliver if those same 12 customers used 100 percent, that provider would be overselling. In truth, the likelihood of all customers using all available or purchased assets is very slim, so Web hosting overselling typically has very few repercussions

36. osCommerce

An e-commerce and store management software program that can be installed on any Web server that runs MySQL or PHP. This software is available for free under the GNU General Public License

37. Reseller hosting

A type of hosting in which another organization (the reseller) purchases hosting services in bulk, then resells them in smaller pieces to organizations in need of hosting. The reseller makes a profit for providing the service, but at times, customers can secure better pricing than they could if they were to purchase hosting individually

38. Shared hosting


Ideal for smaller companies or startups that need hosting, but do not have the funds or need to host a high amount of data. In this hosting scenario, the organization leases server space from a server which it shares with other organizations. This can work out, but may come with bad hosting neighbours (see reference in list)

39. Simplescripts

An add-on service that complements blog sites, such as WordPress. The service provides one click installations and upgrades for blog sites, forums, photo galleries, and more to make installation and data transfer – not to mention website management – easy and convenient

40. Service level agreement (SLA)

A written agreement with a hosting provider or other organization that establishes the terms of the agreement, such as length of service, delivery schedule, specific scope, etc.

41. Site backup

The process of backing up your site to ensure that your data is safe and maintained in case of system failure or cyber attack. Some, but not all, hosting companies include back-up services as part of their hosting provisions

42. SSL certificate

Protects your website against malware, hackers, and cybertheft. SSL certificates are a good idea for any website, but particularly critical for ecommerce sites and any site that requires visitors to enter personal information

43. Top level domain (tld)

The Internet has a hierarchal domain name system which places some domains at a higher priority than others. There are several types of TLDs

44. Trial period

Some hosting companies provide a free trial which does allow you to better understand their services. However, hosting typically requires set-up and configuration, so moving your site if you choose not to stick with the service following the trial may cause site downtime or other growing pains

45. Unlimited hosting

A term that is intended to imply that the hosting fees cover unlimited data, disk usage, etc. However, this term is a misnomer as there are always limits to hosting; if there weren’t, hosting companies would lose money, not to mention run out of space

46. VPS hosting


A form of hosting that provides the purchasing organization with a virtual private server (VPS). The VPS runs its own operating system which grants the customer superuser-level access so they can install the software of their choice, provided it runs on the matching OS

47. Web hosting

There are numerous hosting organizations out there – they essentially house your site, bringing it live to the Web and providing security and data storage services

48. Web server

This typically refers to hardware that helps to deliver content to the Web. Servers host information about websites, games, data, and more.

49. WordPress


A free blogging and website building tool that uses a content management system (CMS) and is based on PHP and MySQL. There are countless plug-ins available so that users can customize their sites and run various add-on programs and utilities

50. Zen cart

A PHP-based online store management system that uses a MySQL database and HTML components. Previously united with OSCommerce, Zen Cart split in 2003 and is, like OSCommerce, available for free under the GNU General Public License