Anyone who maintains a website or is setting up a new one would definitely come across a number of technical terms: ISP, Web Hosting, Registrar, DNS, FTP, server, database etc. I have noticed frequently that many new enthusiasts quickly lose their overview in this set of terms. With this blog post, I think you might find it easy to understand each of these terms and how to select a suitable vendor for each of them.
The easiest way to explain this is probably the role of the ISP (Internet Service Provider). The ISP is the internet service provider, which ensures to provide you access to the internet through an internet connection. In Sri Lanka, these include well-known providers such as Sri Lanka Telecom, Lanka Bell, Dialog etc. The ISP, therefore, has no direct influence on a website. Rather, they establish the connection to the visitor to access the website.
Much more important here is the role of the Web Hosting provider. They provide the servers on which the website is stored. They are responsible for ensuring that the data is secured, that there is constant access to the website and that important tools such as databases, PHP, various content management systems (CMS) and much more accessible.
The Registrar is responsible for ensuring that a website is found by means of a domain name. A domain is registered with the registrar. They then make the connection to the web hosting provider by means of a DNS entry (entry in the Domain Name System). Web hosting providers can also take on the role of the Registrar at the same time. This is popular since customers now have access to two services but one invoice.
Connection between ISP, Web Hosting provider and Registrar
What is exciting is not only the individual roles of these three components but above all, their connection to each other. This can be shown with a simple example:
Let’s assume you enter a web address, e.g. www.shirazkuwailid.com, in your browser. Next, via the ISP connection, the registrar is first asked where the data for this website is located. By means of the DNS entries (Domain Name System), which refer to the selected web hosting provider, the data from the hosting provider are displayed in the visitor’s browser. The registrar only sets the course to the correct hosting provider, which forwards the request to its servers to the correct website and delivers the data back to the visitor.
The most important terms on the web explained briefly
I have already mentioned some terms in the blog article. Here is their exact meaning:
This is the service of a web hosting provider. Usually, a certain amount of storage space, domains, databases and emails are offered for a monthly fee. I have listed few affordable hosting service providers that you can choose from;
A domain is nothing more than the URL you type in to reach a website, e.g. www.shirazkuwailid.com.
Note – A domain does not necessarily require the notion of “www”, it is possible to implement a redirection without “www”.
Not every domain displays data directly. Some also only refer to another domain. Forwarding from shirazkuwailid.com to www. shirazkuwailid.com is also a redirection.
DNS (Domain Name System)
DNS helps to connect from the entered domain to the correct hosting provider. For example, it redirects the query “www. shirazkuwailid.com” to the hosting provider where the website data is located. It forwards the request for “mail (at) shirazkuwailid.com” to the correct mail hosting providers, such as Outlook from Office 365 or Gmail from Google.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Simply explained, you can load data onto a server via an FTP connection. FTP programmes are often used to upload or download and can be easily carried out by dragging & dropping files. To establish such a connection to the server, three pieces of information are usually required: Server, user name and password. You will receive these from your hosting provider.
A computer of a hosting provider with special software on which the website is stored. A connection to the allocated space on the server can be established via FTP.
Many websites use a database to manage the data. The database is also provided by the hosting provider and can be accessed by entering a user name and password. The following information is required for a connection from a website to the database: Database name, database user, password and database host.
CMS (Content Management System)
A system for managing the website content. Here, content, menus, design and other areas of a website can often be managed without programming knowledge. Well-known CMS are; WordPress, Typo3, Joomla, Magento, Drupal. Or also website builders, such as Wix, Squarespace, Jimdo.
Do you have questions? Do you need clarification on a web topic?
Feel free to contact me.