TLDs, VPS, SSD: Common Web Hosting Terms You Must Know

In the world of web hosting, acronyms reign supreme. But for beginners dipping their toe in the immersive world of websites and domains and the Internet itself, it can all get a bit overwhelming.


It doesn’t matter if you are taking on the task yourself or dealing with a site that sells domains and web hosting services (UK2 is a good example of this). Regardless, it’s important you understand what the key terms mean and how they affect your decisions. This is why a quick glossary of the top terms might come in handy. So here’s a basic guide featuring some of the most used terms you might come across to get you started:

Add on domain

This is any additional websites that you wish to incorporate into your web hosting account.

Dedicated IP

An IP address can be permanently assigned to your site and is actually a pre-requisite should you wish to obtain SSL (see below) in order for you to accept payment on your website.


This is a domain name service created by Daniel J Bernstein after he became frustrated with holes in BIND security on sites. You are still able to claim a $500 prize if you can find a security hole in his design.

FTP (file transfer protocol)

This term refers to the common way of transferring, downloading and uploading files between sites.

Load balancing

This is when a server cannot manage the number of visitors on a site and so shares its load with other ones. It means there are no hold-ups and faster processing is possible.

SSD (solid-state drive)

This ‘hard drive’ stores data on microchips instead of platters like a traditional hard drive does. It’s the preferable option for many as they run faster and offer a high output speed.

SSL (secure socket layer)

This is special encryption that ensures transactions made over the web are secure and protected. You can tell a site has SSL if it has ‘https://’ at the start of the web address when a secure page is being used.

SQL (structured query language)

This is a standard programming language used when obtaining information from a database.

TLD (top-level domain)

The purpose of a TLD is to identify what is associated with a website, such as who owns it, its purpose and where it is based geographically. For every TLD there is a secondary registry, which is managed under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

VPS (virtual private server)

A VPS is a partitioned server. It’s a good way to save money when compared to a dedicated server and the inflexibility of a shared plan – each portion functions as a full server in its own right.


XML is used to create and share common information formats on the web and is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium.


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