Planning a New Website - Part 4: Top 5 Web Terms To Understand

Confused by web terminology? We've explained the top 5 terms used when buying your domain and hosting.

Web Hosting / Server

Put simply a 'web server' or 'web hosting' service is a computer that's connected to the internet and acts as a store for the files that make up your website. These might be simple things like pages, images, etc, but can also be more complex files like databases. You don't need to worry about the physical location of the server unless it's handling a very large amount of traffic in a specific region.

Domain Name

The 'friendly' name of your website. It will probably look something like '' or ''. You'll notice right away that there is no 'www' in front of the domain name. That's because the 'www' part refers to a 'sub domain' or just a part of your whole domain.

Once you've purchased your domain the 'www' part will need some server space or 'hosting' to store your website (see above), but there will also be other sub domains including one for your email traffic to '' and so on.

You'll buy your domain name from a...

Domain Name Registrant

Registrants are companies that sell domain names. They will often sell server space and email services for your website too. You don't necessarily have to host your website or email with the Registrant, but it's often simpler to do so....otherwise you'll need to know a lot about...

The Domain Name System (DNS)

Like a giant 'phone book' of the Internet, the DNS tells internet services (like web browsers and email clients) where certain domains 'live'. In a web browser we usually enter a domain name into the URL box to get to a website (like for instance). Domain names are nice and easy for humans to remember, but don't mean much to computers. Computers use IP addresses to find each other. They're very efficient, but not easy to remember (they look something like '').

When you register your domain your Registrant will publish a new DNS record to the internet that says something like:

' is at

Typing '' into your browser will result in a message being sent to the computer at asking for your webpage.

Content Management System (CMS)

Websites are built using computer code (HTML) that tell the browser how to make up the page on screen. In the old days these files were all hand coded, meaning even small changes needed the help of someone fluent in HTML code.

A Content Management System or 'CMS' is an application, much like a word processor, that lets editors 'login' to the site and make changes in a text editor rather than coding them on HTML. As a result anyone with basic computer skills can update a website. In addition, site-wide changes such as menu changes, etc can be made once and the resulting change is duplicated across all pages by the CMS.

Next time we'll look at some of the coding languages that are used to build websites and what they do.

Don't forget that we specialise in consumer technology companies and we're always on hand to help you make sense of web marketing.

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