Glossary of Web Hosting Terms

Web hosting, like any industry, has its own language of abbreviations and terms. The following list describes some of the more commonly used web hosting terms that you may encounter.


Apache (officially Apache HTTP Server) is the name of a popular, open-source web server software commonly used among web hosts. As of August 2019, it was estimated to serve 29% of all active websites.


A backup is a copy of files or data. As long as you have a backup of your website, it can be, used to restore your site in the event of data loss or corruption.


Bandwidth is the rate of data transfer, or speed of an internet connection. It is usually expressed as the amount of data transferred in a second, such as megabits per second or gigabits per second. The term is colloquially used to describe the data transfer limit of a hosting account.


cPanel is a popular web hosting control panel that enables you to quickly and easily manage files and configure many account settings including domains, email and SSL certificates. cPanel is usually the default software in a share-hosting environment.

On 27th June 2019 cPanel announced an arguably controversial new account based pricing structure. The new pricing structure is on a combined per-server and per-account basis that many users and partners consider cumbersome and difficult to implement, and also will result in significant price increases for some customers and providers. After the resulting backlash from their customers, cPanel issued a second announcement but notably refused to budge on the new pricing structure.


DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

A Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) occurs when multiple computers flood a target system with network traffic. Depending on the target system’s configuration, it may be unable to handle the increased traffic, and site performance may suffer.

Dedicated server

A dedicated server is a separate physical server that hosts a single account or website (as opposed to a shared hosting server, which is a server that hosts many accounts). A dedicated server gives you complete control over the operating system, resource usage, and more. Because the server only hosts one dedicated account, web site performance is usually significantly faster. Dedicated servers cost much more than a share hosting account, and are intended for customers who need a server with high availability and performance.

Domain name

A domain name is a unique, human-readable identifier for a site, such as Domain names represent a numerical string (the IP address) that instructs a client where to access the actual server, but humans find it easier to remember domain names than they do a selection of 12 digit numbers.

DNS (Domain Name System)

Domain Name System (DNS) is the service that translates human-readable domain names (such as into numerical IP addresses that computers can understand (such as When you buy a domain name, typically your hosting company creates a DNS record that associates the domain name with a numerical IP address.