A Guide To Web Hosting Jargon
Get to know your abbreviations, you never know when hosting lingo could come up at the pub quiz!
For people steeped in the day-to-day terminology of modern-day computing, it can be difficult to appreciate this industry’s complexity through the eyes of an outsider. The world of IT has always relied on acronyms and abbreviations, from WYSIWYG and GUI to HTTP and HTML – don’t worry, we’ll clear these up below.
To cast a little light on the sometimes tricky terminology that peppers the world of servers and networks, here is a potted guide to some of the jargon industry newcomers are likely to encounter:
SVR/SRV: Just like City vs United, or ketchup vs brown sauce, debate rages about the correct abbreviation for a server. There is also disagreement about whether an abbreviation is even necessary, since its acronyms often contain more syllables than the word itself.
CS: Not to be confused with CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets (a form of web page display), CS denotes a client server. This is a server that processes requests made through the customer-facing side of an interface, most commonly requesting information from a server.
P2P: This is a variant on the client server outlined above, in which both parties can either provide information or request it. File-sharing networks are examples of peer-to-peer networks.
HTML: As the programming language most web pages are constructed out of, HyperText Markup Language defines the internet. HTML is a fairly simple English-based programming language that tells a web browser (Chrome, IE, Safari, etc) how to display the content it’s received. HTML5 is the latest iteration of this language.
VPN: A Virtual Private Network runs over the internet, allowing people to exchange data as if their devices were directly connected to each other. Employees in two different offices may be connected through a VPN if they have access to the same databases and shared resources.
CGI: Film buffs will instantly associate this with computer-generated imagery, but in the world of servers, CGI also stands for a common gateway interface. An example of this might include an online form, which takes data from a user and sends it back to a server.
DDoS: You may have encountered this term in the news recently, since a Distributed Denial of Service attack is a popular method of blocking legitimate network traffic by bombarding a server with numerous requests for information. A DDoS attack often forces websites offline.
SQL: A Standard Query Language uses predefined behaviour protocols to interrogate databases, such as reporting stock levels on an online retailer’s website. A server that can handle these requests is known as an SQL server.
LAMP: Many modern websites have been constructed using a series of four free software programs. These are the Linux operating system, the Apache web server, the MySQL database server, and one of three scripting languages – Perl, Python or PHP. Together, these provide the building blocks needed to create and host a website with variable content.
Dynamic: A dynamic website, typically using the LAMP platform outlined above, is one whose content changes or where customers can interact with it (such as by making purchases). BBC News and Amazon are classic examples of dynamic websites, whereas sites whose content always remains the same are static websites.
SSL: Familiar to 24 fans, a Secure Socket Layer provides a method of distributing sensitive information via the internet without third parties being able to view it. The process of sending credit card information or secure passwords is increasingly migrating away from SSL towards a more sophisticated encryption method known as Transport Layer Security, or TLS.
RAID: A Redundant Array of Independent Disks provides backup to a server by storing copies of data, so the information won’t be lost if anything happens to a particular piece of hardware or software.
Scalability: This is particularly relevant to cloud servers. It describes the process of hosting websites or databases online, rather than on a nearby machine. Scalability allows the introduction of extra cloud-based resources to cope with high levels of demand, typically ensuring a website remains available to view as it receives high volumes of traffic.
WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get, pure and simple!
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