Website Lingo Explained
Following are a few words and phrases used in reference to websites and online marketing. They are defined here in easy-to-understand language. Very often there are several technical terms that refer to the same thing. Those have been grouped together.
Host / Host Provider / Self-Hosted / Server
The host is where the files that comprise your website reside. Those files are stored on a server, which is like a computer with a very large hard drive. A host provider is a company that has lots of servers in one location, often called a server farm.
The term self-hosted is usually used in conjunction with WordPress sites. There are two versions of WordPress. One is hosted by them for free and has several restrictions. One requires that you purchase your own hosting (self-hosted) and has no restrictions. (For more on this topic, read WordPress or Blogger – Which is Right For Me?)
Domain / URL / IP Address / DNS
The domain is the common name of your website, such as: www.mysite.com. The URL is basically the same thing, but is usually includes the entire path, such as: http://www.mysite.com. Both the domain name and the URL give site surfers an easy way to remember the address of your site.
The real location of your site is the IP Address, which looks something like this: 184.108.40.206.
A DNS (Domain Name Server) converts whatever the user types into their browser into an IP address and attempts to locate those files on the World Wide Web. In other words, if a site surfer types in www.mysite.com, the DNS will convert that into the IP address and retrieve the files on the server that is located at that specific address.
cPanel is the brand name of a software application that provides an easy-to-use interface for managing certain tasks on your host server such as setting up e-mail mailboxes, checking site statistics, installing applications, and transferring files.
Cpanel (also spelled cpanel, or CPanel) is also a generic term that refers to the control panel on your host. It may or may not be the cPanel brand. Most hosts provide some type of control panel interface.
FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. It is a software application that allows you to transfer files between your computer and your host. There may be an FTP application in your host’s control panel, often called File Manager. There are also several standalone FTP applications you can download for free like Filezilla and CuteFTP.
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to a variety of practices used to help your site, posts, and articles rank high with search engines like Google. Such practices include using keywords and creating more in-bound links to your site through various means.
SEO can also refer to Search Engine Optimizer, which is a job title for a person or company that helps you improve traffic to your site by using techniques that are attractive to search engines. These can include all of the above practices plus changes to the underlying code or design of your website.