Web Hosting: Understanding the Terminology

When you start researching web hosting, you may come across terminology that is unfamiliar and confusing.

In this article we hope to assist you with this.  It is vitally important to make  informed decisions when choosing your perfect web host!


What is …? 

Control Panel

Let’s start with CONTROL PANEL as this is probably one of the most common phrases you will encounter.   A control panel is a graphical user interface/GUI used to access the ‘back-end’ of your web or blog site.  You need this to perform certain functions ‘behind-the-scenes’ such as pages modification, files management, security checks and updates, and so on.


BANDWIDTH is very important and refers to the amount of data transferred from one point to another in a certain time frame – bps/bits per second.  The faster your web or blog host can ‘serve up’ your web pages to an Internet browser, the better for you!


The speed and power at which a computer, server or network operates is also determined by the CPU/central processor units.  These units carry out the ‘instructions’ of a computer program and must be able to muli-task at a high level of efficiency.


When an Internet user types your domain name into the browser, it first needs to be converted into ‘IT language’ – this is a string of numbers – in order to be located on your web or blog host’s server.   The DNS/domain name system on a computer or smart device, translates domain names into IP/Internet protocol addresses.   The IP address of your web or blog site is then located on the server where your web pages are stored, and sent back to the browser for the Internet user to view.

SSL Certificate

Security in the form of encryption is very important on the Internet.  Sensitive information such as your web files and/or financial transactions can easily be hacked if not protected.  And SSL/secure socket layer CERTIFICATE creates such secure links.


UPTIME refers to the successful operational capabilities of a computer, network or server.  You are looking for an uptime of 99.999%, to ensure your web or blog site is functional and accessible at all times!



Are there different hosting control panels?

 Yes!  cPanel, Plesk and Virtualmin are only a few of the many control panels available.



cPanel Hosting


Each control panel offers unique but also very similar benefits.  Look for compatibility with different browsers, and support for third-party add-ons.  Simplified set-up procedures and reduced time and effort when performing routine tasks are a great benefit! Powerful, yet flexible features will make for a great user experience.



Scripting or Coding Language 

I know you have encountered these before …PHP, HTML, Joomla … but do you know what it is?  Most of us don’t unless you are an IT Geek!

PHP is a computer scripting or programming language designed to create web pages.  It automates the execution of tasks.

HTML is a markup language used to create web pages.  It helps format the overall view of a page.

Joomla is a free and open source content management system/CMS, used to publish web content. Joomla is created with PHP scripting language.

The most important thing you need to know, is that if you don’t know how to code or script, you will need a CMS to create your web or blog site. WordPress as great example of a CMS, also referred to as a website builder.



What are Operating Systems? 

 Linux, Android or Microsoft Windows are a few of the OPERATING SYSTEMS/OS available.  This is software (fundamental files) that communicates with the hardware of your device and allows programs to run. Linux and Microsoft Windows are used for computers, and Android for smartphones and the like.  OS provides your device with basic functionality.  Your OS should offer you security, versatility, flexibility and reliability.  When purchasing a new device it will already be equipped with OS.



Something Extra …

 The buzz words nowadays are – EXTENSIONS, PLUGINS, ADD-ONS.  From customizing the browser experience to adding extra features to a web or blog site, there are many different reasons for utilizing it.

Extensions are small software modules used to tailor the behavior of a browser to individual needs.  Add-ons and plugins enhance a computer program’s features by giving it additional capabilities.

Examples are AdBlock, Adobe Flash, Sucuri, WooCommerce.


We hope this article has given you some insights you will find useful when doing your research.  If anything, it will allow you to ask the right questions when chatting to prospective web or blog host provider.  Knowledge is Power.  Proudly brought to you by:

Contact OpenHost with your web hosting and domain registration questions.  We offer you years of proven experience and expertise.  Find us at www.openhost.co.za
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