WebHosting Terms


Address - Code by which the Internet identifies you. The format is username@hostname, where username is your username, login name, or account number, and hostname is the name of the computer or Internet provider you use. The hostname may be a few words strung together with periods.

Anonymous FTP - A way to use the FTP program to log on to another computer to copy files when you don't have an account on the other computer. When you log on, enter 'anonymous' as the username and your 'e-mail address' as the password. This gives you access to publicly available files.

Applets - Java's advantage is in that it is composed of many smaller, re-usable chunks of programming code, called "applets" (short for "applications"). This allows for quicker transfer over the internet, meaning many new programs will now be able to become directly interactive, incorporating animation, sound, and more. (See also Java, ShockWave, and VRML)

Archie - A system that helps you find files located anywhere on the Internet. After Archie locates the file, you can use FTP to get it. Archie is both a program and a system of server computers that contain indexes of files.

Asynchronous Communication - Communication that occurs at different times, between two or more individuals, in contrast to Synchronous communication. For e.g. e-mails, some conferencing systems, bulletin boards.

ATM - ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) is a networking technology that provides a guaranteed quality of service. Standard Internet connections are based on Frame Relay technology. The throughput of Frame Relay links can be drastically reduced under certain circumstances, just as a garden hose becomes less effective when stepped on or kinked. However, ATM links are like metal pipes-they always provide the same amount of throughput, regardless of the pressure exerted on them. SleepyEngineers.com's hosting facility has direct ATM connections to the major Internet hubs on both the East and West coasts (MAE-East, and MAE-West).

Authentication - Verifying the identity of a person or computer process.

Auto-responder - Auto-responders allow you to automatically return a pre-set message whenever a selected mailbox receives a message. It will also notify a selected mailbox of the receipt and response.


Backbone - A high-speed line or series of connections that form a major pathway within a network. The term is relative, since a backbone in a small network will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network.

Backgrounds - These are images which are designed to to sit in the background of a web page so that all other information, (e.g.text, images) is seen to sit on top.

Bandwidth - Information theory used to express the amount of information that can flow through a given point at a given time. Usually measured in bits per second (bps). Also referred to as data transfer.

Browse / browser - You get access to the WWW through an application called a 'browser', like Netscape or Mosaic. To 'browse' is to search the WWW for information.

Bulletin Board System (BBS) - A computer system that provides its users files for downloading and areas for electronic discussions.


Certificates: Secure or Digital - Issued by a Certificate Authority (such as Equifax, Thawte or VeriSign) , a Secure Certificate (also known as a Digital Certificate) is proof that a Web site is linked to a legitimate business, with a physical address and phone number. It is the job of the Certificate Authority to verify the identity of merchants and issue each a digital or authentication certificate.

Chatting - Talking in real time to other network users from any and all parts of the world.

CGI script - Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is a standard for interfacing external applications with information servers, such as HTTP or Web servers. A CGI script allows a program to be run on your server which can output dynamic information. Some examples of cgi scripts are: hit counters, mail forms, search pages and guestbooks. Although Perl is the predominant language because of it's worldwide acceptance, CGI can be written in any number of programming languages such as, Unix SH, KSH, CSH, and C.

Client - A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a server software program on another computer, often across a great distance. Each client program is designed to work with one or more types of server programs.

Com - When these letters appear in lowercase type at the end of an address, they indicate that the host computer is run by a company rather than a university or government agency. It also means that the host computer is most likely located in the United States.

Control Panel: - The Control Panel is an on-line interface, that allows users to change and update their Web sites.

Cookies - A mechanism for server-side connections to store and retrieve information on the client side.

Cross Platform - Different computing systems being able to share data.

Cyberspace - A virtual universe of computers, programs, and data.


Data Transfer: - Data transfer (bandwidth) is the amount of information downloaded from a Web site. For example, let's assume all of the data (pictures, text, buttons) on your homepage totals 25KB (the size of Yahoo's homepage). If a thousand people viewed your homepage you'd have 25MB total data transfer for that month (25KB multiplied by 1000).

Disk Space: - Disk space is the storage capacity of your Web site for pictures, HTML, graphics, etc. and is usually expressed in MB.

Download - To retrieve a file from another machine, usually a host machine, to your machine.

DNS - The Domain Name System. A system for translating computer names into numeric Internet addresses.

Domain Name - The unique name that identifies an Internet site. A given machine may have more than one domain name, but a given domain name points to only one machine. It is also possible for a domain name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, an Internet service provider's machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed domain name.

Domain Name Registration - Domain Name Registration is the process of registering your Web site address (i.e. www.SleepyEngineers.com) with an official Internet registrar.

Domain Transfer - When a domain name (Web site) is moved from one Internet address to another, the new address must be recorded by the domain registrar to allow Internet Domain Name Servers to point to the new location.


Edu - When these letters appear at the end of an address (info@mit.edu), they indicate that the host computer is run by an educational institution. It also means that the host computer is most likely located in the United States.

E-mail (Electronic Mail) - Messages that travel through the electronic networks rather than being committed to paper.


Forms - Forms add extra interactivity to Web sites. Questionnaires can be created, that include text areas, check boxes and radio buttons which are then sent by the viewer to a specified mailbox, usually the manager of the Web site.

F.T.P. - File Transfer Protocol. A method of transferring one or more files from one computer to another over a network or phone line.

Finger - A program that displays information about someone on the net. On most UNIX systems, this command tells you who is logged on right now. On most Internet hosts, it tells you the name, possibly some other information based on the person's Internet address, and the last time they logged on.

Firewall - A filter for messages. A system that has a firewall lets only certain kinds of messages in and out from the rest of the Internet. If an organization wants to exchange mail with the Internet, but does not want other Internet members "Telnetting in" and reading those files, its connection to the Internet can be protected by using a firewall.

Forward (e-mail) - E-mail forwards redirect e-mail messages to another mailbox either within its domain or to an outside destination.


Gateway - A computer that connects one network with another when the two networks use different protocols. The UUNET computer connects the UUCP network with the Internet, providing a way for mail messages to move between the two networks.

GIF - Graphics Interchange Format. A platform-independent file format developed by CompuServe, the GIF format is commonly used to distribute graphics on the Internet.

Gopher - A system that lets you find information by using menus. To use Gopher, you usually Telnet to a Gopher server and begin browsing the menus.


Helper Application - This is an application that adds extra functionality to Web documents. e.g. If you download a movie clip the Web browser is unable to play the file but it can boot up a helper application, in this case it may be 'RealPlayer' (An audio/video player application).

Hits - This refers to the number of people who have visited a given Web Site or page.( e.g.10300 hits)

Host - A computer on the Internet you may be able to log on to. You can use FTP to get files from a host computer, and use other programs (such as telnet) to make use of the host computer.

Hypermedia - Computer applications that have the ability to link information to information created by another application, characteristic of Internet Applications.

HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The method by which World Wide Web pages are transferred over the network.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language. A system used for writing pages for the World Wide Web. HTML allows text to include codes that define fonts, layout, embedded graphics, and hypertext links.

Hypertext - A system of writing and displaying text that enables the text to be linked in multiple ways, available at several levels of detail. Hypertext documents can also contain links to related documents, such as those referred to in footnotes. Hypermedia can also contain pictures, sounds, and /or video.


Image Map - An image map is another way of creating links between web pages. In image maps, different parts of the image activate different links. (an example: this is an external web link)

Internet Access - Internet access is usually made through a University Network or a commercial service provider.

Internet - The vast collection of interconnected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Internet connects roughly 60,000 independent networks into a vast, global Internet.

IP - Internet Protocol. The transport layer protocol used as a basis of the Internet. IP enables information to be routed from one network to another in packets and then reassembled when they reach their destination.

IP Address - A four-part number separated by periods (for example, that uniquely identifies a machine on the Internet. Every machine on the Internet has a unique IP number; if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more domain names that are easier for people to remember.

IRC - Internet Relay Chat. A system that enables Internet users to talk with each other in real time over the Internet rather than in person.

ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network. A way to move more data over existing regular phone lines. ISDN is only slowly becoming available in the USA. ISDN can provide speeds of 64,000 bits per second over a regular phone line at almost the same cost as a normal phone call.


Java - This programming code works in conjunction with HTML to allow dynamic programs to run and interact with your computer, where straight HTML is primarily linear information downloaded to your computer for static display. Java is a product created by Sun Microsystems. Watch for many new web sites to start incorporating limitless graphics, sound, motion, programs, etc.. (See also applets, ShockWave, and VRML)

JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group. A group that has defined a compression scheme that reduces the size of image files by up to 20 times at the cost of slightly reduced image quality.



LAN - Local Area Network. A group of connected computers, usually located in close proximity (such as the same building or floor of the building) so data can be passed among them.

Links - By inserting hypertextual links into web documents it is possible to connect two documents together. These documents can be on different computers on opposite sides of the globe.

Listserv - A family of programs that manages mailing lists by distributing messages posted to the list, adding and deleting members automatically.

Locally - This term refers to information stored and viewed on your machine(local). As opposed to the information stored and viewed on other machines on the internet.

Login - A noun or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a computer system. Unlike a password, the login name is not a secret. Verb: The act of entering into a computer system; for example, "Login to the WELL and then go to the GBN conference."


Mailbox - E-mail - Also called POP accounts, E-mailboxes serve as a convenient way to manage messages sent to your domain.

Main Mailbox - Also known as Default Mailbox, receives all of the e-mail sent to a domain that is not otherwise forwarded (via a forward or auto-responder).

Mail To - This enables e-mail contact to be written into a Web document. (e.g. select this e-mail address test@SleepyEngineers.com

Message - A piece of e-mail or a posting to a newsgroup.

Mirror - An FTP server that provides copies of the same files as another server. Some FTP servers are so popular that other servers have been set up to mirror them and spread the FTP load to more than one site.

Modem - MOdulator, DEModulator. A device that you connect to your computer and to a phone line to allow the computer to talk to other computers through the phone system. Modems convert the computer's digital signals into analog waves that can be transmitted over standard voice telephone lines. Modem speeds are measured in bits per second (bps)--also sometimes expressed as Kilobits (thousands of bits) per second.

MySQL - MySQL is a relational database management system. A relational database stores data in separate tables rather than putting all the data in one big storeroom. This adds speed and flexibility. The tables are linked by defined relations making it possible to combine data from several tables on request. The SQL part of MySQL stands for "Structured Query Language" - the most common standardized language used to access databases.


Net - Net is an abbreviation for the term Internet which stands for Interconnected networks. When these letters appear at the end of an address (info@SleepyEngineers.com), they may indicate that the host computer is run by a network but is more often used interchangeably with .com. It also means that the host computer is most likely located in the United States.

Netscape - Netscape is a WWW browser. An application that allows you to search for information on the World Wide Web and now other services such as Newsgroups and e-mail.

Network - Any time you connect two or more computers together so they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect two or more networks together and you have an internet (small "i").

NNTP - Network News Transfer Protocol. A protocol defined for distribution, inquiry, retrieval, and posting of news articles.

Newsgroup - A distributed bulletin board system about a particular topic. Usenet News (also know as Netnews) is a system that distributes thousands of newsgroups to all parts of the Internet.


ODBC Support: - Object Database Connectivity (ODBC) support allows ODBC compliant applications to connect to an ODBC database and extract data without requiring that the user have programming skills. For example, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and mySQL are ODBC compliant applications. Using ODBC and mySQL a user can import data directly into an Excel spreadsheet once mySQL ODBC drivers have been installed on the user's computer.

Off-Line - This is working on a computer that is currently not connected to the Internet.

On-Line - This is working on a computer that is currently connected to the Internet.


Packet -A chunk of information sent over a network. Each packet contains the destination address, the sender's address, error-control information, and data.

Page - A document, or collection of information, available by way of the World Wide Web. To make information available over the WWW, it is organized into pages. A page may contain text, graphics, video, and/or sound files.

Ping - A network management tool that checks to see whether you can communicate with another computer on the Internet. It sends a short message to which the other computer automatically responds. If the other computer does not respond to the ping, you usually cannot establish communications.

POP - Point of Presence. A physical site in a geographic area where a network access provider, such as UUNET, has equipment to which users connect. The local phone company's central office in a particular area is also sometimes referred to as their POP for that area. (As an example, AT&T's POP for the Seattle area is in downtown Seattle.)

POP - Post Office Protocol. A system by which a mail server on the Internet lets you grab your mail and download it to your PC or Macintosh. Most people refer to this protocol with its version number (POP2, POP3, and so on) to avoid confusing it with Point of Presence.

Pop Account - Same as an e-mail mailbox. A Pop Account is a mailbox that is set up to accept e-mail sent to a particular address.

Posting Up - To send a message to a discussion group or mailing list.

PPP - Point-to-Point Protocol. A scheme for connecting two computers over a phone line (or a network link that acts like a phone line). Similar to SLIP.

Propagation - The process of disseminating information throughout a system.

  • Example 1 - After registration, new Internet domain name information is propagated across the Internet when local DNS servers update their databases from a central file. Note: Not all local DNS databases are updated with the same frequency (hourly, daily, every other day, etc.).
  • Example 2 - Password changes often must be made on several different servers and will not complete propagation until all affected servers update their databases. Updating (rehashing) a given server's database is usually an automated process that is performed at specific intervals.
Protocol - A language Computers use when talking to each other.



Remote Access - When you access a computer that you are unable to see. This is done via a modem or computer network.


Screen Resolution - The number of dots per square inch (dpi) displayed on a screen. The higher the number of dots, the better the resolution.

Search Engine - A software application found on-line which allows you to search for information, by key words, available on the Internet (e.g. web sites, newsgroups)

Server - A computer that provides a service to other computers on a network. An Archie server, for example, lets people on the Internet use Archie.

Service Provider - A service provider is a company who supplies Internet services to personal users or business. Among other things they provide access to the Internet or somewhere to place Web Pages making them available to the WWW. You pay the service provider a set fee.

ShockWave - Similar to Java, bringing enhanced multimedia to the Internet. ShockWave is a development tool created by the company Macromedia.

Shopping Cart Software - Software that permits users to set up an on-line store to sell merchandise via the Internet.

Site - A site is the term given to a place where information can be found on the World Wide Web. (i.e. A Web site)

SLIP - Serial Line Interface Protocol. A software scheme for connecting a computer to the Internet.

Socket - When your computer is on the Internet via a SLIP connection, a socket is a conversation your computer is having with a computer elsewhere on the net. You may have one socket for an FTP session, another socket for a Telnet session, and another socket taking care of getting your mail.

SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol A protocol used to transfer e-mail between computers.

SQL - Structured Query Language - a standardized language used to access databases. See MySQL.

Synchronous Communication - Communication that occurs at the same time, between two or more individuals, for e.g. telephone conversations, Internet Relay Chat, face-to-face communication


TCP/IP - Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The system that networks use to communicate with each other on the Internet.

Telnet - The command and program used to login from one Internet site to another. The Telnet command/program gets you to the "login" prompt of another host.

Terminal - A device that allows you to send commands to a computer somewhere else. At a minimum, this usually means a keyboard and a display screen and some simple circuitry. Usually you will use terminal software in a personal computer--the software pretends to be ("emulates") a physical terminal and allows you to type commands to a computer somewhere else.


UNIX - A computer operating system (the basic software running on a computer, underneath things such as word processors and spreadsheets). UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is "multiuser") and has TCP/IP built in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator. The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this: http://www.matisse.net/seminars.htm. The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a Web browser program, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

USENET - An informal group of systems that exchange "news." USENET predates the Internet, but today, the Internet is used to transfer much of USENET's traffic.


Viewer - A program used by Gopher, WAIS, or WWW client programs to show files with contents other than text. You would use a viewer to display graphics or video files, or to play sound files.

VRML - Virtual Reality Markup Language. A standard by which the internet uses for delivering 3-dimensional virtual reality over the Web.


WAN - Wide Area Network. Any internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus. (See also: Internet, LAN, network)

World Wide Web - The newest and most ambitious of the special Internet services. The World Wide Web provides full text and graphical access to documents created using Hypertext Markup Language(HTML). It is the first Internet service that incorporates many of the most popular platforms (e-mail, Gopher, FTP, Wais, Newsgroups). Attributed to the world wide success of the Internet. Often abbreviated 'WWW'.

Web - An abbreviated term for the World Wide Web.

Web Document - Is a collection of information stored on the World Wide Web (WWW) which has the benefit of using hypertext links to link to other documents on the (WWW).

Web Site - A collection of html files, graphic files and any other file types that are supported by the World Wide Web that can be viewed by using a World Wide Web browser.

Windows Socket - (WinSock). Windows Sockets is a standard way for Windows-based programs to work with TCP/IP. You can use WinSock if you use SLIP to connect to the Internet.



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