Not familiar with what a SLA or SAN is? Don’t sweat it – the world of hosting is full of odd names and terminology. We’re here to help you understand as much as possible with this abridged glossary of common hosting terms:


Apache is a popular Web server program with a reputation for reliable performance and great security features. Many programmers love it because it’s free!


Bandwidth relates to how much traffic a website can take. The higher the bandwidth, the more traffic the website can handle.


When a Cloud Computing customer temporarily increases their utilization of cloud resources to satisfy an increased need.


Cloud Computing refers to any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that extends IT’s existing capabilities in real time over the Internet.


Multiple servers in constant communication make up a clustered system. When one server goes down, another server automatically picks up the workload and operations continue uninterrupted.


DoS stands for Denial of Service Attack, which is the most common network attack where multiple computers attempt to overtake a server’s bandwidth by constantly hitting a page, sometimes hundreds or thousands of times per second.


When cloud service is transferred from a failing data center to a healthy one, so service is not interrupted.


Firewalls are a barrier designed to prevent unauthorized communications between computer networks or hosts.


HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is a standardized system for tagging text files, this tagging tells computers how to display the data website visitors see when they access a web page.


HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer (or Transport) Protocol. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.


IP stands for Internet Protocol. An IP Address refers to a number, which is associated with every computer or machine on a network connected to the Internet.


IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service, which is a model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, and servers. In this arrangement, the provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it.


LAN stands for Local Area Network and refers to a computer network that spans a small area. LANs can be connected to other LANs to form a wide-area network commonly referred to as a WAN.


Load Balancing is a method of data distribution over a network so that a single server does not become overloaded.


A Name Server is a program that translates names from one form into another. For example, the Internet relies on Domain Name Servers (DNSs) that translate domain names into IP addresses.


On-demand software refers to applications provided through networks (like the Internet) or as network-based services, allowing users to download and use it. Sometimes it’s free; sometimes it isn’t.


Packet Switching is the common way data is exchanged throughout the Internet. Data is divided into “packets” for easier delivery, and put back together when it arrives at its destination.


PaaS stands for Platform as a Service in which a provider delivers development environments as a service allowing users to build their own applications that run on the provider’s infrastructure.


Is a condition created within a database or data storage technology in which the same piece of data is held in two separate places.  Also refers to duplicate power sources in order to prevent or mitigate the effects of a power failure.


Runbook is a routine compilation of the procedure and operations that an administrator performs. Typically it contains a description for the handling of special requests and contingencies.


SAN stands for Storage Area Network. SANs are high-speed subnetworks linked to storage devices. A SAN helps server efficiency by keeping stored data off the network’s servers, releasing increased network capacity to the end user.


SLA stands for Service Level Agreement. It serves as the formal written agreement between the service provider and the service recipient. It defines the level of service, support and provisions agreed upon by both parties.


SaaS stands for Software as a Service. SaaS providers deliver a single application through Web browsers to thousands of customers.


SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Originally developed by Netscape, this protocol allows for the safe handling of confidential/sensitive information. SSL is most commonly used for E-Commerce Websites.


In a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN), switches (defined as computer network devices) connect computers, regardless of their physical location.


VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a private communications network used within a single organization, or by several different companies, allowing them to share files and communicate.


WAN stands for wide-area network and refers to a system of LANs connected via telephone lines or radio waves. The Internet is the largest WAN in existence.


XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. XML is a set of rules like HTML, except that it was designed to transport and store data, where HTML was designed to display data.