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Jonathan Griffin. Editor @ The Webmaster

. Hosting Expert & Editor @ The Webmaster:

Our goal is to help you #MasterTheWeb by producing high quality hosting tutorials and guides. Whether you are new to hosting, or just trying to complete a task, we hope you will find what you need here.

Domain Tutorials & Guides

Hosting Tutorials & Guides

cPanel Tutorials & Guides

What is a Domain, Hosting, and cPanel?

Jonathan Griffin. Editor @ The Webmaster

. Hosting Expert & Editor @ The Webmaster:

Trying to learn, or complete a task relating to a web hosting can be daunting. This is especially so, when you may not know the meaning of some of the terminology used in the tutorials and guides you read.

You will find below some of the most frequently used terminology. It is not intended to be an all encompassing glossary, just a primer on the most important terms used throughout our tutorials and guides.

What is a Website?

A website is a collection of web pages that are grouped together and accessed via your web browser. You are reading this text on a web page now, which is part of our website.

You access a website via an address that you type into the web browser. Our website address is www.thewebmaster.com. When you type that address in a browser it will lead you to our homepage. The address thewebmaster.com is called a Domain Name.

What is a Domain?

As we mentioned above, domain name is your website’s equivalent of a physical address. Where you would use a company’s street address to find their offices, a domain name is how you would find a company’s website.

Without a domain name, you would need to remember the specific IP address of the server you wish to visit. This could either be in an IPv4 format, or the newer IPv6 format, which look as follows:

  • IPv4 -
  • IPv6 - 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1

As you can see, it is much easier to remember www.thewebmaster.com than one of the IP addresses above.

A domain name consists of two main elements; the website’s name, and the domain name extension. Using our website as an example, thewebmaster is the website name, and .com is the domain name extension.

The www part is the subdomain. Historically, people used www to symbolise the World Wide Web. Today, people use a variety of subdomains, for example, the blog subdomain may host a companies blog, or staging may be used by developers to host a development version of your website.

If you need help choosing a domain name you can check out our in-depth guide here. It is good practice to purchase your domain at an experienced registrar, rather than with your hosting provider. We recommend either Namecheap or GoDaddy, and you can find detailed instructions on how to do this here.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting refers to the act of storing (hosting) your web pages (collectively your website) on a server connected to the World Wide Web. As part of your web hosting you will be assigned an IP address, which you can then configure with your domain name to make it easily accessible.

A web hosting provider is a company that supplies the web server and other technology needed in order for you store your web pages on the web. The hardware, software and associated technology web hosting providers can vary so it is important to choose the right hosting for your needs

Web hosting can be broadly classified into the following types:

  • Shared Hosting - Your website is hosted on a server shared by other websites. It is the cheapest type of hosting available.
  • Managed WordPress Hosting - You website will be hosted on a server optimized for WordPress. This typically includes advanced features such as auto-updating of WordPress and plugins.
  • Cloud Hosting - This is where your webhost lets multiple servers work together. Users are able to scale up their resources, and as such it is suitable for busier websites. Some Cloud Hosting allow root access, allowing them to alter their server configuration.
  • VPS Hosting - Like Cloud Hosting, but located on a single server.
  • Reseller Hosting - Based on shared hosting, this allows you to create multiple accounts and either resell them or use them for clients.
  • Dedicated Hosting - You get your own dedicated server in it’s entirety. You won’t have to share it with anyone, so all the resources are there when you need them.

If you are new to hosting, or have just created your first website, shared hosting is a great place to start.

You can find a detailed list of our recommended hosting providers here, which includes helpful advice on what type of hosting is right for you.

Alternatively, you can view our full list of shared hosting providers here, which includes a detailed guide on how to choose the best company and service for your needs..

What is cPanel?

cPanel is a popular control panel used for managing web hosting. It features a graphical user-friendly interface so you do not need any technical knowledge to manage your hosting.

Because it is easy to use, it is very popular with many web hosting providers. You can manage your files, email addresses, domains, backups, and databases through the cPanel control panel. You can view our tutorials showing how to carry out many tasks within cPanel here.

Furthermore, many hosting providers install add-ons allowing easy integration with third-party services such as CloudFlare, or Codeguard (backup service). One popular add-on is Softaculous, a one-click software installer, allowing you to install WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and hundreds of other software in just a few clicks.

There are other control panels available, such as Plesk and DirectAdmin. You can read about the differences here.