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Understanding hosting phrases and acronyms: Derek's jargon buster Part 1

Derek Campbell Head of Technical Services (AsiaPac)

Precedent hosting jargon buster

I know that for the vast majority of people, the words, phrases and acronym’s I churn out on a daily basis sound altogether foreign - partly due to the fact I’m Glaswegian of course - but for the most part it’s down to the fact I manage Precedent’s hosting and infrastructure support!

When I tell someone I’m ‘Pen-testing’, I won’t be found rummaging through the stationary cupboard choosing this month’s biro selection, I will in fact be involved in one of the most important parts of the development cycle -  penetration testing - which ensures that the site adheres to the latest security levels and identifying any potential risks that the site is under from being attacked by hackers.

But that is just one of many phrases and acronym's used in the all important world of hosting. So in order to try and demystify what we do (and shed a little light on some of those ‘Scottish’ phrases I might be found banding about), I’ve created my own two part jargon busting guide. It will hopefully   take you through some of the more arcane sounding terms so you can better understand what we are all talking about on a daily basis and more importantly, what you are actually buying, and what it all means.

Part 1 - those pesky hosting acronym’s:

  • CD = Content Delivery. This is the server that delivers all content to the public.
  • CM = Content Management. This is the server that content is managed and created on.
  • DDoS = Distributed Denial of Service Attack. The most common form of attack on network devices. It overwhelms a network by monopolizing its bandwidth, flooding it with information from multiple hosts, thereby preventing legitimate network traffic.
  • DNS = Domain Name System. A server responsible for translating domain names and IP addresses.
  • FTP = File Transfer Protocol. Simply put, it’s the main way by which you, or a web designer, transfers the web pages you have created, from your computer to your web host’s server.
  • IDS = Intrusion Detection System. It recognises all types of hostile network traffic and computer usage that can't be detected by a conventional firewall.
  • HTML = Hyper Text Markup Language. The language by which web servers and client browsers communicate.
  • IIS = Internet Information Server. Microsoft's server software for Windows Server. All Sites hosted on windows are based on IIS normally.
  • RAID = Redundant Array of Independent Disks. A method of data protection/redundancy. Data is stored over a number of disks so that information will still be accessible if a piece of hardware/software crashes.
  • SQL = Structured Query Language. A standard language used to request information from databases. Servers that can handle SQL are known as SQL servers.
  • SSL = Secure Sockets Layer. A protocol developed by Netscape to handle and protect confidential/sensitive information required for e-commerce transactions (like credit card numbers). SSL addresses usually begin with 'https'.
  • VPN = Virtual Private Network. A private communications network usually used within a company, or several different companies, to communicate over a public network.

And some Scottish phrases thrown in for good measure:

  • Aye = Yes. Aye, I’ll get that done straight away’. A regular Scottish phrase for me. No problem’s too big.
  • Dae = Do. I’m gonnae Dae that! Again, a phrase I’m all too familiar with.
  • Am no = I’m not. ‘Am no gonnae dae that.’ Rarely used, I am after all, a yes man.
  • Heehaw = Nothing.  What you up to this weekend? HeeHaw! A great phrase, one we need to use more.
  • Bevvy = The word that usually signals the end of another good week in hosting.