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Terms & Definitions

Following is a collection of commonly used web hosting terminology and their definitions. If you have any further questions about any area of domain registrations, site hosting or web site design feel free to contact us at info@dean-martin.com.

.COM, .NET, .ORG, .GOV, .EDU, etc, etc:

The are called top-level domains and are each managed by different registering bodies. They were designed to bring some semblance of order to the internet but as it is turning out - everyone just registers what they think would sound good with their name. The exeption being .gov, .edu, and .mil which are only for their respective entities.

Administrative Contact:

The administrative contact is an individual authorized to interact with the domain registrar on behalf of the domain name registrant. The administrative contact should be able to answer questions about the domain name's registration and the domain name registrant.


Alternate name.


An applet is an embedded program on a web site. Applets are usually written in the coding language called Java. They are mainly used for creating a virtual or 3-dimensional object that may move or interact with the web site. It is a small executable module, that normally doesn't have the complete features and user interface of a normal application. Java is the language most commonly associated with applets. An applet is like a small piece of executable code that needs a full application to contain it. The applet runs inside of the application in a "sand box" or "virtual machine," which is a set of computer resources and instructions that make up an environment for the applet's execution.

ASP (Active Server Pages):

Active Server Pages enable web developers to make their sites dynamic with database driven content. The code is mainly written in VB Script, and it is produced on the server of the web site instead of the browser of your web site visitors. The server reads the ASP code and then translates it to raw HTML. This means that the web site owner doesn't have to worry about the visitor having the right tools to view the web site's dynamic content. The only downfall to ASP is that since it is run from the server, it takes longer for the pages to load because there are more steps involved in translating the code.


Abbreviation of Common Gateway Interface, a specification for transferring information between a World Wide Web server and a CGI program. A CGI program is any program designed to accept and return data that conforms to the CGI specification. The program could be written in any programming language, including C, Perl, Java, or Visual Basic. CGI programs are the most common way for Web servers to interact dynamically with users. Many HTML pages that contain forms, for example, use a CGI program to process the form's data once it's submitted. Another increasingly common way to provide dynamic feedback for Web users is to include scripts or programs that run on the user's machine rather than the Web server. These programs can be Java applets, Java scripts, or ActiveX controls. These technologies are known collectively as client-side solutions, while the use of CGI is a server-side solution because the processing occurs on the Web server. One problem with CGI is that each time a CGI script is executed, a new process is started. For busy Web sites, this can slow down the server noticeably. A more efficient solution, but one that it is also more difficult to implement, is to use the server's API, such as ISAPI or NSAPI. Another increasingly popular solution is PHP, ASP or the use of Java servlets.

Domain Name

This is a registered name that points to a particular location on the Internet. Each specific domain name is unique so when you find a few good ones it is best to hang on to them. When you find a name that is not being used you will need to register it. There used to be only one company that provided registration services (Network Solutions) and the cost was very high. Now the market has been opened up to other companies and there are many registrars. Registration fees are now less than $20 per year at many of these companies. To see pricing information on our services please visit our Domain registration page.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol):

This is a means of uploading and downloading files across the Internet. Most web sites are uploaded to the Internet by means of an FTP program. Most of the available site building software, Microsoft Front Page, Dreamweaver, HomeSite, etc. include FTP capabilities as part of the package making it very simple to do site updates. There is a free FTP program called WS_FTP that you can download at Cnet.com. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous FTP servers.

Hosting Computer

This is a computer that stores your web site information and serves it to others. There can be hundreds of web sites on one computer - or - if you have a large site it could be on a dedicated computer. Very large sites such as Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. are spread across many different computers with each one handling separate tasks. There are many, many companies that offer this service. Lately, due to the competition, the fees are dropping and the offerings are getting better.


MySQL is a very fast and efficient database server. It is commonly coupled with PHP to develope dynamic web sites and to provide a way for users to access data stored in the database from the web. It is commonly found on Unix or Linux based servers.

Name Servers

This is generally included in the webhosting, and is fairly simple to set up. Some companies will allow you to park a domain and manage your name servers, too.


PHP is another scripting language. Like ASP, it's commands are embeded within the HTML of a web page. The commands are executed on the web server, making it browser independant. The web browser only sees the resulting HTML output of the PHP code. PHP is a very fast and powerful scripting language and has become a favorite across the internet developement community.

POP (Post Office Protocol):

A method of retrieving e-mail from an e-mail server. Most e-mail applications (sometimes called an e-mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). There are two versions of POP. The first, called POP2, became a standard in the mid-80's and requires SMTP to send messages. The newer version, POP3, can be used with or without SMTP. The newest and most widely used version of POP email is POP3 email. You will see the term POP3 in most of the web hosting plans available today.

SSH (Secure SHell):

Security authentication encryption network Developed by SSH Communications Security Ltd., Secure Shell is a program to log into another computer over a network, to execute commands in a remote machine, and to move files from one machine to another. It provides strong authentication and secure communications over insecure channels. It is a replacement for rlogin, rsh, rcp, and rdist. SSH protects a network from attacks such as IP spoofing, IP source routing, and DNS spoofing. An attacker who has managed to take over a network can only force ssh to disconnect. He or she cannot play back the traffic or hijack the connection when encryption is enabled. When using ssh's slogin (instead of rlogin) the entire login session, including transmission of password, is encrypted; therefore it is almost impossible for an outsider to collect passwords.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer):

A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. It is used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers and web servers. URL's that begin with "https" indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity. In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate, which each side's software sends to the other. Each side then encrypts what it sends using information from both its own and the other side's Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can de-crypt it, and that the other side can be sure the data came from the place it claims to have come from, and that the message has not been tampered with.


Many servers take the information from your server/traffic log and compile it in a user-friendly, easy-to-read format for you to analyze trends about your web site.


July 13,2024
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