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Glossary of Terms

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In the world of web hosting services, there may be times when you want to know the definition of a term so that you can feel more educated. Hostwinds tries our best to not use jargon that you may not understand and this Glossary of Terms is used to help you as you seek to improve your knowledge about web hosting services.


  • Add-on Domain – A second-level domain that is hosted on a shared or business hosting plan that is in addition to the original domain name that is associated with your cPanel account.
  • Address Bar – Your address bar appears at the top of your browser and may begin with http or https. Many websites will give a warning if the website you are visiting is not secure in the Address Bar and you can type a domain name directly into this address bar such as to directly go to a website.
  • Apache – Apache is an open-source HTTP web server that is used on many Linux Operating Systems. 
  • AutoSSL – A feature that comes included with any new shared web hosting or business web hosting account with Hostwinds and installs and SSL for your domain and add on domain within 24 hours of it being created.


  • Bandwidth – This term is used to measure the amount of traffic that is being sent to and from your account.
  • Blog – A web log is used commonly by writers who have website visitors that are interested in the content of the website. WordPress was created for web logs initially and has since evolved to support many different types of websites.
  • Browser – A web browser is what is used on your computer to access the internet and surf the world wide web. Some popular web browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari for Mac users. To access your Client Area and use other control panels such as cPanel, it is suggested to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. There are also other web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Opera.


  • Client Area – This refers to the area at where you can manage your Hostwinds account.
  • Cloud Control – Hostwinds has developed a Cloud Control Panel for our clients to manage their VPS and Cloud web hosting services. It is incredibly easy to use and designed to help our clients easily manage their VPS and Cloud web hosting services. This can be accessed in the Client Area.
  • Cloud – Hostwinds Cloud services are Unmanaged Services that allow you to have root access and customize your Server in any way that you would like.
  • Content Management Systems – These are often referred to as a CMS and we offer many, many choices including all of most used ones like Jooma, Drupal and WordPress. This allows website owners to quickly and easily build a website using a WYSIWYG editor to build website pages and content.
  • cPanel – cPanel is a Control Panel that you can use to manage your web hosting account and is widely used and familiar to many people who web hosting services.


  • Database – A database is what many PHP application use to store data and retrieve it when you have a website visitor who is accessing your website pages.
  • DNS – Domain Name System is commonly compared to a phone book and will query the root nameservers for your IP address and point your domain name to your website files, your email to your email account and let people know where to look when trying to reach your domain, email and other website services. This allows your website visitors to only have to remember your domain name and not the IP address of your server.
  • Document Root – This refers to the location of your documents and files that website visitors will see when visiting your domain name.
  • Domain – A domain refers to the name of your website and how it can be accessed through a web browser. A good example of this is where is the domain name.


  • Email – Electronic mail is a website service that you can set up on any Hostwinds web hosting account. This is a service that allows others to reach you at a custom email address and not something common such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo or other email service providers. 
  • Email Client – A third party software installed on your local device (computer, mobile phone, tablet) that is used to send and receive your email without the need of using a Web Browser.


  • Firewall – This often will refer to the Firewall built into your Cloud Control panel so that you can add custom rules to restrict or allow access to your VPS.
  • FTP – File Transfer Protocol is the method that can be used to connect to your server and upload your website files from your computer to your website. 
  • Fully-Qualified Domain Name – FQDN for short, this is a domain name that is considered full and valid by having a top-level domain, a second-level domain, and a subdomain.


  • Google – is a website search engine. Google also offers many services that can be used to search, advertise, sign up for G-Suite products for your Business, provides feature reach analytics, provides webmaster tools, block malware sites from search results and many, many other Internet related products that are commonly used. The parent company is Alphabet Inc.


  • Hosting – A service that is used to deliver website services such as building a website, email services, and is housed on machines found in Hostwinds Data Centers.
  • .htaccess – This is a special file that is normally hidden due to the beginning dot and is able to give you the ability to customize the Apache service, restrict access, generate redirects and has many functions. A rogue .htaccess file may cause issues that are difficult to troubleshoot and should be used and monitored in each directory to ensure they have a purpose and will not cause issues or become too large to load in order to be most effective.


  • IMAP – Stands for Internet Message Access Protocol and is the preferred method to use to sync email to multiple devices such as your computer and your phone. 
  • IP Address – a unique identifier that indicates a location on the internet.
  • ISP – Internet Service Provider is who provides your ability to connect your computer from the internet. Without an internet connection, you will not be able to surf the web, visit your website or send and receive emails.


  • Joomla – A popular Content Management System used to create feature rich websites.


  • Kibibyte – 1 kibibyte is 1024 bytes. The unit symbol for the kibibyte is KiB and is displayed when reviewing Cloud Server Graphs from the Hostwinds Cloud Portal.
  • KVM – Kernel-Based Virtual Machine is used on many flavors of Linux and is used as a virtualization infrastructure to turn the Kernel into a hypervisor. KVM comes with Linux and allows the host to run many virtual environments. 


  • LAMP stack – An acronym that stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, this is a collection of software that would be installed on a Linux-Based operating system that includes the basic functionality required to run a webserver on a VPS or dedicated server, or on any other computer.
  • Left Click – Using your mouse, a left click is used to click on a hyperlink to view a new page on many websites for easier navigation.


  • Managed – Hostwinds offered Managed services for Shared Hosting, Business Hosting and Dedicated Servers by default. This feature can be added to any Unmanaged VPS and should be added to your service when you order it so that we can help you at any time you need it.
  • Multi PHP – A feature that provides the ability to set PHP version use on a per-domain level, including being able to apply different versions of PHP to different addon domains as well.


  • Nameserver – A nameserver is what holds the authoritative records for your domain name. When a website visitor types in your domain name, it will query the nameservers your are using so that the domain can be resolved to an IP address. A quick whois search on your domain name will reveal what nameservers your domain is using and where the A records, MX records and other DNS settings for your domain are stored and can be managed from.
  • Node – Commonly refers to a machine that is attached to the network.


  • OpenStack – A very powerful cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage and networking services.


  • PHP – HyperText PreProcessor is a programming language used to build dynamic websites and is a top choice for many web developers.
  • phpMyAdmin – A database client utilized to manipulate Database rows, columns and settings your database(s) is using.
  • POP3 – Post Office Protocol version 3 is a good choice for businesses or individuals who need to store emails and backups on a personal computer. 
  • Programming – This is used to send instructions to the behavior of your server and it’s services to deliver a result.




  • Registrar – The company responsible for managing, regulating and selling domain names. This is also more often than not where you would go to do administrative changes to a domain, such as transferring it, changing nameservers, changing domain privacy settings and changing your domain name registration information.
  • Reseller – A reseller has the ability to offer website services from Hostwinds using our White Label Reseller option, or offer their own services to their customers using Hostwinds Reseller web hosting. This allows you to create your own web hosting business, reach success and enjoy creating extra revenue. The benefits are endless with our Reseller option that you choose.
  • Roundcube – A modern, well-designed and robust web-based email-client used for accessing email on an email server. This is one of the default options for email on Hostwinds Webmail platform.


  • Shared Hosting – Our Shared Hosting services are a great place for someone wanting to start their own website and get online. This service is paid separately from domain name registration and offers you the ability to have your own email address, website and get online with just a few steps.
  • Softaculous – A software available inside of cPanel accounts that provides one-click installs for hundreds of different tools, applications, frameworks and web-platforms to make the process of getting a website up and running that much faster.
  • SSH – Secure Shell is the name for SSH and allows you to gain remote access to your server and perform command line tasks.
  • SSL – Secure Sockets Layer is what this stands for and is commonly used to encrypt the website visitors information when visiting a website. SSL is commonly used for websites that request information from a website form or have an eCommerce application that you can buy items from.
  • Site – This often is used to refer to the name of your website and is referenced throughout our knowledgebase.


  • Top-Level Domain – The part of the domain that comes after the final “dot”, ie; .com, .net, .org.
  • TTL – Time To Live is the amount of time before an ISP checks your DNS for any changes. It is suggested to lower your TTL before making any DNS changes so that ISPs know to visit your DNS Zone file more frequently and to minimize downtime for your website and emails. This value is normally in seconds, so a TTL of 300 means five minutes. 


  • URL – Uniform Resource Locator is your website’s address. is where you can find all of the documents and files for the Hostwinds website using the URL.


  • VPN – Acronym that stands for Virtual Private Network, this is commonly described as a virtual tunnel that your internet traffic uses to either encrypt your traffic between you and the VPN, or to enable you to access networked resources while not physically connected to that network.
  • VPS – Virtual Private Server is used to reference a service that is between our Shared and Business Hosting services and our Dedicated Server Plans. These are very affordable, highly scalable to meet your needs, root access so you have full control over your server, and support several different Linux and Windows Operating systems.


  • Website – A website is what is shown to your website visitors when typing in your Domain Name. This will show the document root of your website and include files such as index.html or index.php which serve as your homepage.
  • Weebly – A drag-and-drop website builder known for it’s easy-to-use interface and always-modern styling that allows for building your site on their services and publishing directly to your selected location on your hosting plan. Great place to start if you’ve never designed a website before.
  • WordPress – A freely available, open-source framework creating a full Content Management System (CMS). Used for many purposes and different types of websites, this application powers a large portion of websites running today. Flexible, modular, well-documented and easy to install are why so many people choose to use it.
  • WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get is the meaning of this acronym and is used commonly in many applications to quickly and easily create website pages and content with little to no coding to get your website and all of the pages looking exactly how you want.


  • XML – XML is a variation of HTML, in that it stores data in a text-based, easy-to-read file. The primary difference is that XML pages are generally not designed for directly rendering to a page. Typically, these are used for a specific application or process to store data in an easy-to-manipulate and light-weight form.




  • Zabbix – A Monitoring tool used by hostwinds to make sure servers are alive and active.