including domain name




Sometimes even for experts, computer jargon can be daunting and confusing.

Here are some common terms and acronyms demystified.

Use our A-Z index to find other topics


These definitions will help you make some sense for working with your web site and email features provided by SherwoodHosting.  The terms in this glossary are grouped by general category and can be used somewhat as a tutorial for each area.

Terms defined herein:

All About Domain Names

Domain Name

A domain name is the core identity of your unique online identity. It is the address used to make you accessible on the web and by email. Once registered, a domain name is yours and yours alone. It may not be used by anyone else on the Internet.

Domain Names always have two or more parts, separated by periods. The part on the left (the secondary domain) is the name you choose such as “mydomain”. The right component is what is known as a top-level domain name (such as .COM, .NET or .ORG).

Computers connected to the Internet use IP (Internet Protocol) numbers (e.g., 123.452.06.31) identify and communicate with other computers. Internet users would have a difficult time remembering these long strings of numbers to find sites, so domain names were developed to translate IP numbers into easy-to-remember domain names. The process of translating a domain name to its IP address is called DNS resolution and is performed by a DNS(Domain Name System) Server.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

In the example, the ".com" part of the domain name is called the Top Level Domain. There are two types of Top Level Domains. The most common type is gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), such as .COM, .NET., ORG. The other type of TLD is the ccTLD (country code Top Level Domains) that have been assigned to all countries and their dependencies (e.g., Italy is .it). Every TLD Registry - generic or country code - has its own prices, policies, and procedures that Registrants (name holders) in that Registry are subject to. It is important to know and be prepared to accept these terms before registering name(s) in a particular Registry. The most commonly registered names are in the .COM, .NET, and .ORG  gTLD's.

Domain Original Intention Who can register?
.COM Commercial Companies Anyone
.EDU Educational Institutions Universities only
.GOV Government Agencies Restricted
.MIL Military Agencies Restricted
.NET Network Providers Anyone
.ORG Not-for-profit organizations Anyone


InterNIC was a U.S. government agency that has essentially been replaced by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN now oversees the domain name registration industry concerning the top-level domains: .COM, .NET, and .ORG .    ICANN is technically an international organization, which holds meetings throughout each year to review and make policies.


WHOIS is a domain name search feature for the .COM, .NET, and .ORG database. WHOIS can be used to search for the owner/lease holder of any domain name which has already been registered. This is valuable information if you wish to contact the owner of a domain name that may or may not be attached to a functioning (hosted) web site.

Renewal of Domain Names

Registration for domain names needs to be renewed based on a scheduled yearly interval. This gives the Registrant (you) and the Registry an opportunity to update contact information and settle on the payment of the registration fee(s). SherwoodHosting provides .COM, .NET, .ORG domain registration and automatic renewals free of charge with the purchase of one of our hosting packages. We feel you should not be bothered with the details and worries of registration and renewal. The consequences of not renewing or renewing late can mean a blackout for your web site and email, or worse, someone could slip in and buy your name out from under you.

Transfer: Registrant (Domain Name Owner/Lease Holder transfer for a given domain name)

The procedure for changing ownership of a domain name is known a Registrant Transfer. Domain names can be given to or sold to a different party, or the name of the company that owns the domain may change. The Registrar requires a process by which permission from the old owner to hand over control to the new owner is obtained and authorized by notary public documentation. There may be a fee involved for the transferring of a domain name from one owner to another, that is separate from the actual price the former owner wants in order to relinquish control of the name.

If you are interested in a domain name that has been registered by someone else, we can place a "watch" on the name such that if it becomes available, we can alert you and register it.

Transfer: Registrar (Transferring which ICANN-sanctioned company actually holds the domain name registration)

If you have a pre-existing domain name, it is helpful to have us transfer the name to be registered by our registrar. We take care of the transfer procedure, although you may need to assist us in giving the previous registrar permission to release the name. If you choose not to transfer a name to us, then:

  1. there is no discount in your hosting plan fee
  2. you have the responsibility for modifying the DNS server parameters, and
  3. it's up to you toremember to renew the name each year
  4. you're probably needlessly paying a fee for regsitration, a service that we offer for free.

If we transfer a name for you, the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your previous registrar and how willing they are to let go of the registration. The steps are:

  1. SherwoodHosting initiates the request for transfer
  2. If you know your previous registration username and password, then we can use this information to streamline the process significantly
  3. You may need to authorize release of the name from the previous registrar, most often by clicking on a link they provide in email to you. Doing this quickly helps the process because after a short timeout period, if you don't respond, we have to begin again.
  4. If you do not have access to the email address that InterNIC has on file for your account (and you do notknow #2 above), a different process may need to be used, and will take longer.

If edits need to be made immediately to an existing account hosted by another provider, as your web designer, we can help you through that stage until the web site is transferred to SherwoodHosting

Registration handles all domain name registration filings with our registrar for you. Once your domain name has propagated, you will be able to use instead of your temporary web access provided in your welcome email letter. We highly recommend that you use instead of your temporary URL.


A Registrar is the organization who administers and holds domain name information, and disseminates its current information to the worldwide domain name database. Registrars must be an ICANN-accredited entity (or an affiliate to such an entity) which acts on the behalf of a Registrant regarding domain name registrations or modifications. The earliest and formerly most popular registrars were Network Solutions (now Verisign™) and It doesn't matter (except for price and ease of accessibility for changing registration information) who is the registrar is-- they all provide the same basic service to uniquely register your domain name in the world and update the internet database.


The entity, organization, or individual who is the owner/lease holder of a particular domain name is known as the Registrant. When registering a domain name for a Company or Organization be sure that the Company or Organizations name is listed as the Registrant if you wish for the Company to have complete control over ownership/lease hold.


The organization responsible for the actual administration and maintenance of the top-level domain database is known as the Registry. The Registry is where Registrars create new or modify existing domain names for Registrants.

Domain Parking

Registrars require Primary and Secondary Name Servers (DNS) and IP Numbers for every domain registered . Every domain name has to be linked to this information for it to be valid (i.e., each domain name needs to have an address attached to it). At the time of registration some people do not intend to have Name Server information (which is generally provided by a Web Host) because they are reserving the domain name for later hosting. Domain Parking is a convenient way to hold or 'Park' domain name(s) for an extended amount of time if you are not ready to use them.

Directory (DIR) Aliasing

If you want different domain names to point to different directories of your web site, then you need DIR Aliasing. For DIR aliases, you create a folder in your root directory, as the home directory of the DIR Alias. FTP connections and e-mails are routed to your main domain.

Example: points to
E-mails sent to is routed to

Domain Aliasing (Parking)

The Parking feature allows you to have multiple domain names pointed to a your primary domain hosted account, i.e. can redirect customers to This redirection is entirely performed at the DNS-level, and does not involve any kind of CGI script. It's fast, reliable and will work with any type of web browser. And, because this feature is implemented at the DNS-level, all FTP and e-mail addresses associated with your alias will also be redirected as well.

Sub Domain

A sub-domain is very similar to Directory Aliasing (DIR Aliasing), except that instead of pointing to, will point to The difference is you do not need another domain name. This allows you to select a sub-domain that will act as a prefix on your existing domain. For all sub-domains we will assign another IP address and directory in your domain to be used as the home directory of your sub-domain's web site.

NOTE: Sub-domains are useful in situations where you are hosting multiple businesses under one domain name, e.g., Books, Paintings, Music, etc.   In this example, you would have multiple sub-domains, e.g.,,,,, etc.  You must create the subdomain in your Cpanel first, and then create the subdirectory (folder) in your web site in a second step. If you already have the subdirectory created, rename it to something else and then back to the name you want to achieve this sequencing.


Propagation is the distribution of your domain name information throughout the internet so that other servers can know where to find your site. During this time, your DNS Zone information is spread to servers that didn't know about it before.

Propagation primarily affects you because of changes to your WHOIS (domain registration) information. The WHOIS information is the master record that tells every DNS Server in the world how to find you. A change to your WHOIS information (done by can take up to 72 hours to propagate fully.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

An internet "address." A draft standard for specifying the location of an object on the Internet, such as a file or a newsgroup. They are used in HTML documents to specify the target of a hyperlink which is often another HTML document (possibly stored on another computer).
Examples of URLs:

The first part of the URL, before the colon (often http), specifies the access method. The part of the URL after the colon is interpreted specific to the access method.

URL Forwarding
URL Redirection or Website Redirection

Much like email forwarding, URL forwarding redirects your browser from the originally entered URL web address to the forwarded URL. Often the original URL address entered will be a short, easy-to-remember URL, while the destination page is actually defined by a much longer, more complex URL. The new URL may be on the same server or a different one, and may itself be subject to redirection. The user is normally unaware of this process except that it may introduce an extra delay while the browser sends the new request and the browser will usually (although not always) display the new URL rather than the one the user originally requested. Redirection can happen at several levels (DNS, .htaccess, html header tag "refresh") but all have the end result of getting your browser to go where the author or web host wants you to go.


POP3 e-mail Account

The technical name for a standard email mailbox is called a POP3 Account. With POP3 e-mail accounts, you can retrieve all e-mails addressed to your domain on our server. With multiple POP3 e-mail boxes, you can have multiple addresses, such as and You may also set up addresses for members of your family, staff, or divisions within your company, such as or

Incoming Email arrives for you at SherwoodHosting and is stored in your POP mailbox until you access it(and delete it from theserver).

You can have an actual mailbox, like at a post office, or you (or we) can set up a forwarding mechanism to forward you incoming domain name address email to an existing mailbox (such as AOL or one that comes with your connectivity account). See getting started with email for more options and details.

E-mail Forwarding

The e-mail forwarding feature enables you to forward e-mails sent from various addresses to one specific e-mail box. This feature is available in all of our hosting plans. You can consolidate multiple e-mail addresses, business and personal, to your personal mailbox at your local Internet Service Provider so that you can retrieve them all from one location.

Mailing List

Mailing lists area feature which provide users with an effective and efficient method of communicating with a number of people in an e-mail environment. Whenever an e-mail is sent to a mailing list address, it is immediately forwarded to all members of that list. The member list is maintained by the moderator of the list. A mailing list is a great way for turning e-mail into a public forum or business tool.

E-mail Alias, "Default" Address

E-mail aliasing is a general forwarding technique- when no email user for your domain name matches a valid account or other forwarding address that you've set up, the email is transferred to use your "default" email alias address Thus if you have mailboxes a,b, and c, and someone sent email to d or e it would be transferred to your default address.

All e-mail addressed to will be delivered to your e-mail box. You can use this feature to provide your customers with a variety of addresses to send their e-mail to, which in turn could help you sort out your incoming messages. You could have for general questions, for orders and more.

Another convenient usage of this feature is that you can set up a default transfer address, and then give out as many specific email addresses as you want without having to set up specific mailboxes. For example if you want to "track" how someone got your email address, you can for instance give out when registering at, then if you receive email addressed to (which would go to your default mailbox address), then you know that the email came from or was leaked (address lists sold) by amazon.


Like Microsoft™ Outlook's "Out of Office Attendant," an autoresponder is a feature that allows you to generate automatic customized responses whenever a specific e-mail address receives an e-mail. Typically, this feature is used by people when they are away, notifying the sender of an e-mail that the recipient is away and will be back on a specified date. Alternatively, it can be used as a business tool to send specific responses with information, such as pricing information if a customer sends an e-mail to a specific address, i.e.

When you set up an Autoresponder, you do not have to delete asimilarly named POP username or forwarder. This allows you to temporarily set up an out-of-office message response.

Web Hosting

Web Host

Web Hosts offer a service where their "server" stores your web site's HTML files and graphics on hard disk, and then deliver those files upon request from your web browser (such as Netscape, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Mozilla) for viewing.


File Transfer Protocol. The standard rules that govern the transfer of files and programs over the Internet. FTP allows files to be moved from one computer to another over a network, regardless of the types of computers or operating systems involved in the exchange. FTP is also the name of the program a user invokes to execute the protocol.

See information on the FTP process and software to accomplish it.

Web Site Traffic

All files (web pages, text, images) accessed by people browsing your web site constitutes web site traffic, also known as data transfer. For example, every time a web page, image, midi file, mpeg video, e-mail, etc. is loaded or transferred from or to a server, a data transfer occurs. All hosting plans include a limited amount of web site traffic, also known as a bandwidth quota. This quota is rarely reached unless you have (1) huge MP3 or video files that are downloaded frequently, or (2) pages in your web site that are tremendously popular and are viewed by thousands of people. Web traffic quota measurement is reset on the first day of each month.

Web site statistics

A number of commercially available web statistic analyzers exist in the market that will allow you to take standard web server log files and produce graphical reports.™ provides customers with the option of using one of several provided (our favorite is AWstats), or one of their own choosing (and installation).

CGI-BIN facility

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) provides advanced users to write (or use existing from free libraries) specialized software programs (scripts) that can perform custom or advanced complex functions. "cgi-bin" (CGI binary) is the term used for both the type of custom software as well as the standard web directory name (sub-folder) that contains the program files to be executed.

A typical use for CGI is the processing of online forms. When the user fills in the boxes on the form and hits the SUBMIT button, the CGI program specified in the html code will be run on the server, and the information in the client-side browser form become available to the program as parameters. The program, being a program, can then do anything the programmer wanted it to do.

Formmail, for example, is a standard program written in C that transmits the contents of the boxes on the form to a specified destination, then displays a web page that confirms the action.

Other CGIs might ask for a password, check the password, then access a database for requested information. What it does is up to the programmer, but we do ask that the CGIs are reasonable in their usage of CPU time and memory. While we do not require that they be submitted for approval first, out of control programs that hog the CPU and system resources will be hunted down and killed by our system monitors.

Standard pre-installed system CGIs reside in the public cgi-sys subdirectory. Your presonal CGIs reside in a web subdirectory named cgi-bin directory under your public_html directory. If your domain is named, you would then access your scripts as, while the pre-installed system scripts are located at You may need to set up the preinstalled scripts thru your browser control panel to see the correct HTML that is used for such. The control panel will walk you thru these simple processes.

All SherwoodHosting.comT web accounts come with full access to their own cgi-bin directory. Your web site can be fully interactive by using the power of custom programs executed from your cgi-bin directory.

Audio/Video HTTP Streaming

Audio and video files can be stored on your web site for playing/viewing in web browsers. Although we do not have Real or other streaming servers, you can still "stream" audio, video, and flash files to your web site viewers. Visitors can play prerecorded sound, video & animated files over the Internet using the http protocol.

Web Page Password Protection

Directory and file password protection allows you to protect web pages by asking browsers for their username and password using HTTP-standard Basic Authentication. The general procedure for setting up access authorization for your users is accomplished via your cpanel settings or the usage of an .htaccess file.

Web Page Authoring

Authoring Tools

Web Page Creation (Authoring) Software Applications

There are a number of appications that you or your web designer can use to create and maintain (edit) your pages in your web site. These vary in styles and capabilities (and price).

Authoring Software
Editing Style
Netscape Composer Free  WYSIWYG Fair
Microsoft® FrontPage® Medium  WYSIWYG IE mostly
Dreamweaver Medium  WYSIWYG Excellent
Contribute Low ($80)  WYSIWYG Excellent
BBedit, HomeSite Shareware   You're on your own

Most authoring software helps you easily create and manage professional-quality websites without programming. Both new users and web development professionals will enjoy the ease in building and maintaining high-quality web sites in very little time. SherwoodHosting.comT provides FrontPage® extensions free of charge in all of its hosting plans.

Microsoft® FrontPage® Extensions

Microsoft® FrontPage® extensions allow you to connect to your Server directly with your FrontPage® client and make the creation and maintenance of your Server much easier. They also allow you to use special FrontPage® Bots, which can greatly enhance the functionality of your Web pages.

Active Server Pages

Active Server Pages (ASP) technology allows HTML pages to contain complex scripts that are executed at the server, allowing for dynamic pages to be created from data retrieved from databases or any other resources available to the server. You can write your own ASP scripts and execute them from your cgi-bin directory.


Documents on the World Wide Web are written in a simple "markup language" called HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear, additionally, in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).


Term coined by Ted Nelson around 1965 for a collection of documents containing cross-references or "links" which, with the aid of an interactive browser program, allow the reader to move easily from one document to another


Internet and Name Server


Internet Protocol address. Every machine on the Internet has a unique 32-bit numerical assignment which allows computers and hosts on the network to locate it. The IP address consists of a dotted octet, four sets of numbers separated by dots. (For example: If a machine does not have an IP address, it is not officially on the Internet.


A pioneering network of Advanced Research Projects Agency computers under the authority of the U.S. Department of Defense. Predecessor to the Internet, ARPANET was an experimental network developed in the late 1960s by the U.S. Department of Defense to create a communications link which would enable ARPA scientists and research contractors to share their resources and ideas. The network was designed to survive breakdowns along any of its connections, in case of a nuclear attack, through use of individual packet switching computers interconnected by leased lines. If a connection broke down, the packets could be automatically re-routed.


Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. A non-profit, public benefit California corporation acknowledged by the Department of Commerce in October 1998 to assume the functions of IANA as part of the transfer of Internet administration to the private sector. See

Redundant Internet Connection

The servers at™ have fully redundant connections to the Internet backbone with multiple carriers. Network connectivity to your hosting service will not be a concern. Our servers also have redundant backup power supplies (UPS: uninterruptible power supply) and diesel generators, and are located in a secure computer vault room.

Secure web site (SSL)

For security and privacy, you can take advantage of our Secure Socket Layer (SSL) service. By using this service, personal data such as credit card information transmitted through a secure (SSL) form will be fully encrypted en route to our secure server. Although unlikely, it is possible for data to be intercepted on the internet, and thus encrypted information is safe because it cannot be decoded by the snooping party.


DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS is basically a piece of translation software. This System translates a domain name such as into an IP address, allowing people to easily access the addresses of websites or other services.

Primary and Secondary Name Servers

The Primary and Secondary Name Servers indicate the hostname of a name server that will contain authoritative data for the domain name being accessed and will deliver/translate that domain name to its corresponding IP number. The designation of "secondary" indicates that the name server will be used in addition to, and as a backup for, the primary name server that is listed as Primary. Note however that in the name-lookup process, the primary does not take priority over the secondary or any other listed server(s)-- jsut think of it as an alternate.

IP address/numbers

IP stands for Internet Protocol. Each computer host on the Internet has a unique IP address, which correlates to its domain name. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember IP addresses are numerical, often 32-bit addresses that are expressed as four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by periods, for example:     For more information, has an easy to comprehend article on How IP Addresses Work as a part of its larger article on How Domain Name Servers Work.


The InterNIC is a concept for an integrated network information center that was developed by several companies, including Network Solutions, in cooperation with the U.S. Government. Currently, the term "InterNIC" is being used in conjunction with a neutral, stand alone web page (located at that is established for the purpose of providing the public with information regarding Internet domain name registration. InterNIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

While a rather generic term, ISP generally refers to a person, organization, or company that allows its users access (a.k.a. connectivity) to the Internet.  In addition to Internet access, many ISPs provide other services such as web hosting, email, and other services.





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