Common Web Hosting Terms

by Alex Trần
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Web Hosting- Space:

The amount of space you are allowed to store on your web hosting server. This is usually measured in GB (gigabytes). 

Let my simplify this:

  • High quality photos taken from your iPhone or Android are around 1MB-2MB each.
  • 1024 MB = 1 GB

So 1 GB is like 500-1000 photos from you phone. 

Usually a simple blog post with 5-6 good quality images is not more than 4-5 MB. 

For hosting WordPress blogs, I recommend you purchase hosting froma web hosting company which offers unlimited hosting space (or at least a really large amount of space). I will suggest some of these hosting in the later section of this course. 

Bandwidth:

Bandwidth is the amount of data that is being transfered.

For example, if you have a blog post that takes up 1MB of space and one of your readers opens that blog post, they will be consuming 1MB of bandwidth.

Similarly, if 100 readers read that same post, your total bandwidth consumption will be 100MB. 

For a new WordPress site, I suggest you to buy hosting from companies that offer either unlimited bandwidth or relatively high bandwidth (over 200GB).

cPanel:

cPanel is the web hosting control panel which offers a graphical interface with which you can manage your server. 

cpanel-web-hosting

It’s because of cPanel that you will be able to manage your web hosting server without knowing any technical skills. The interface makes it easy to do various tasks like installing WordPress, adding or deleting files, creating new FTP users, and so on. 

cPanel is one of the most standard control panels which you will find in all shared hosting companies. (Read about “shared hosting” in the next section.)

This is what cPanel looks like:

Sub-Domain

A sub-domain comes before the root domain.

Some common examples (sub-domain is bolded):

  • forum.domain.com
  • members.domain.com
  • store.domain.com
  • ask.domain.com

When you have a domain name, you can create any number of sub-domains.

One of the best examples of a sub-domain is what is offered by popular free blogging platforms like BlogSpotWordPress.com, and Tumblr.

Here you can book any available sub-domain name like “yourname.blogspot.com” or “yourbusiness.wordpress.com”.

(The sub-domains offered by these free platforms arenot recommendedfor any commercial or serious online activities, but they can be useful for testing or casual internet purposes.)

Any business person can take advantage of the sub-domain feature to add more sub-sites to their main business website. The best reason to add a sub-domain is toextend a business’s platform. However, do note that Google treat, sub-domain website as completely different website. So if you are thinking from gaining backlink perspective, it won’t be of much help. 

For example, if you want tointegrate a forum for your business, you can add it as a sub-domain with a name like “forum.yourbusiness.com”.

  • But don’t confuse a sub-domain with a sub-directory! That is something entirely different. 
    • A sub-directory goes after the root domain.

Ex:

 domain.com/forum

Domain.com/Store

Here is an image which shows root domain vs. sub-domain vs.sub-directory:

Domain vs subdomain vs subdirectory

(A “sub-directory” is where you add a new siteinto a directory of your domain. For example, “yourdomain.com/forum“.)

Most businesses use sub-domains to add a new site to their main business site for expansion or branding purposes.

Example:

  • If you want to integrate a blog to your main business, you can simply add a new sub-domain with the word “blog”, and integrate a blogging platform like WordPress(.org) to create your blog as a sub-domian.
    • Your blog will now be at the sub-domain “blog.yourbusiness.com”

This is very useful from an SEO perspective as Google treats sub-domains differently than sub-directories, and it will not affect the ranking of your main domain.


As you move ahead in your online career, this knowledge will help you a lot. Keep these terms in the back of your head, and refer back to this glossary when you get stuck.

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