WestHost Knowledgebase

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Word Description
.crt An SSL certificate, an electronic document which ties a public key to a trusted entity. This electronic document is a key piece in an authentication process.
.htaccess A file that resides in a specific directory, and contains configuration information applying to that directory. The .htaccess file may also contain authentication instructions.
A Record “A” (Address) Entry: A record, residing on your server, that contains your server’s hostname and IP address. The “A” entry is essential because it tells DNS servers the identity of your server, allowing visitors to find your server on the Internet.
access_log A file containing a record of IP addresses of visitors that have accessed sites hosted by your server. This file can be found at /usr/local/apache/logs/access_log
Addon Domain An additional domain name associated with your cPanel account. Each addon domain is stored in its own directory which you can configure. This allows you to manage multiple domains from a single cPanel account. Addon domains must be registered with a domain name registrar to work.
Apache A program that receives requests from web browsers. It then responds by “serving” web pages to the browsers; for this reason, it’s called web server software.
authentication A process for confirming the identity of someone with whom you want to share information. On the web, authentication usually involves either a username and password set or a public/private key pair.
AWStats A program that provides information about the visitors to your website in both graphical and statistical views. More information about AWStats can be found at its website: http://awstats.sourceforge.net/.
bandwidth The amount of data transferred to and from a server. Every time a visitor views a file (whether it’s a web page, image, video, or audio file), that file has to be transferred to the visitor’s computer. Bandwidth is the total size of all these files transferred to visitors’ computers. You may wish to limit your users’ bandwidth, as it can affect the performance of your server.
BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) The most prominently used DNS server software. Also referred to as named.
blackhole An option for handling mail received by the default or catch-all email addresses of cPanel users. The “blackhole” option discards mail after it is accepted; for this reason, it can result in more spam being sent to your users, and it places a larger load on your server than the “fail” option.
bounce An email reply informing a sender that there was a problem delivering an email.
browser Client software that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources. Examples include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Google Chrome, and Safari.
byte A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made. See Also: Bit
cache A stored piece of information to which the server refers instead of accessing the information source, to save bandwidth and time. In WHM, you can configure caching of DNS records using the Edit DNS Zone feature. You can configure caching of disk usage data via the Tweak Settings page.
CAPTCHA CAPTCHA: Telling Humans and Computers Apart Automatically A CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. For example, humans can read distorted text as the one shown below, but current computer programs can't more information located at http://www.captcha.net/
CGI CGI stands for Common Gateway Interface. A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the 'CGI program') talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard. Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from a web server and does something with it, like putting the content of a form into an e-mail message, or turning the data into a database query. CGI "scripts" are just scripts which use CGI. CGI is often confused with Perl, which is a programming language, while CGI is an interface to the server from a particular program. Perl is an application of CGI, as well as MIVA, Python, PHP3, and other scripting languages.
chmod chmod (change mode): A CLI command that allows you to set permissions to view, write, or execute a script.
client A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a server software program on another computer, often across a great distance. Each client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of server programs, and each server requires a specific kind of client. A web browser and an FTP program are specific kinds of clients. See Also: Browser, Server
cookie The most common meaning of 'cookie' on the Internet refers to a piece of information sent by a web server to a web browser that the browser software is expected to save and to send back to the server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the server. Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online 'shopping cart' information, user preferences, etc...
cPanel Companion software to WHM, designed to simplify website maintenance for website owners.
cPanel Package Pieces of software that are bundled together for archiving and installation. cPanel packages, such as FTP and MySQL software, can be updated using the WHM Update Config feature.
cPHulk A WHM feature that helps protect your web server from malicious users who try to gain unauthorized access through brute force attacks.
cpmove A copy of a user’s website created by running a script called pkgaccount. The cpmove file is useful as a backup and can be manually uploaded to restore the user’s web files.
cpsrvd cPanel Service Daemon, the software that runs cPanel on your server.
CPU Load The amount of processing ability currently being consumed by programs on your server, measured in a percentage.
CSR Certificate Signing Request (CSR): A request for a certificate sent by a server’s administrator to a certificate authority.
cyberspace Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer the word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information resources available through computer networks.
daemon A computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being visible to, and directly controlled by, the user.
datacenter A facility used to house servers. A data center is generally a safe place to keep a server as it typically includes backup power supplies, multiple communication connections, and environmental controls.
deprecated A term used to describe a feature which is no longer supported.
Dictionary Attack A method whereby a malicious user tries to guess a password using words found in a dictionary. Similar to a brute force attack.
directory A repository for files, analogous to a file folder on your personal computer. In website management, a directory will contain your web files.
Directory Harvest Attack DHA: A technique employed by spammers whereby they attempt to find valid email addresses through guesswork, using various permutations of common addresses.
Disk Space Quota A limit placed on the amount of disk space an account is allowed to use.
DKIM DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a method for associating a domain name to an email message, thereby allowing a person, role, or organization to digitally sign their e-mail. This helps remote servers determine if a mail was sent from a legitimate server for the domain in question.
DNS Domain Name System: The component of the Internet which acts as a “phone book,” converting human-readable domain names (such as www.example.com) into computer-readable IP addresses (such as, in the case of example.com).
DNS Zone An administrative space or portion of the Domain Name System. This space is responsible for directing web traffic to the correct location. An example is example.com, a DNS zone whose servers direct its web traffic.
DNS Zone File A file on your server that primarily maps IP addresses to domain names. A correctly configured zone file must exist in order for visitors to access your server from the Internet.
dnsadmin A program that manages DNS services and clustering.
domain The name a user gives a website, which will appear in the website’s URL and email addresses. Usually seen as example.com, where example is meant for the domain name.
Domain Forwarding A technique that allows you or your users to automatically send visitors to a domain when they access another domain. For example, a user may reach example.com by typing example2.com. See also redirect.
Dovecot Mail server software designed for optimal security. More information can be found at http://www.dovecot.org
e-commerce E-commerce or eCommerce stands for Electronic Commerce. Refers to the general exchange of goods and services via the Internet.
e-mail E-mail or email stands for electronic mail. Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. Email can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses (Mailing List).
Environment Variables Values that advanced administrators place within specific files on the server to change the behavior of Apache and PHP. (For information on configuring environment variables see http://docs.cpanel.net/twiki/bin/view/EasyApache3/WebHome ).
error_log A file that contains a record of errors encountered by the Apache web server. This file can be found at /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log
ethernet A very common method of networking computers in a LAN. Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer.
Exim Mail server software, known for its configurable nature. More information can be found at http://www.exim.org
fail An option for handling mail received by the default or catch-all email addresses of cPanel users. The fail option returns as undeliverable all mail received by the default address.
FireFox Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser descended from the Mozilla Application Suite and managed by Mozilla Corporation.
folder Also called a directory. A repository for files, analogous to a file folder on your personal computer. In website management, a directory will contain your web files.
Forceful Reboot 1 of 2 methods for restarting your server. This forces the server to restart regardless of what error(s) if may have encountered. You should only use a forceful reboot if you cannot reboot gracefully, as it may case data loss.
FTP FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is a very common method for transferring files on the Internet. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP. You can download a free FTP client at http://filezilla-project.org/ and use your cPanel credentials to connect to your server with FTP.
Graceful Reboot The preferred way to restart your server. This method stores new system information before shutting down.
gzip A program which compresses files for disk space conservation, minimizing transfer times, and making the transfer of multiple files easier. The compressed files use the filename extension .gz. In Unix and Linux systems, gzip is often used with tar to create a “tarball” file (which ends with .tar.gz).
Home Directory A cPanel account’s highest-level directory, which contains all the files and directories used by websites managed by your account. Files placed in a home directory are not viewable online unless they reside in the public_html directory or a subdirectory of public_html.
homepage Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. 'Check out so-and-so's new Home Page.' Another sloppier use of the term refers to practically any web page as a 'homepage,' e.g. 'That web site has 65 homepages and none of them are interesting.' The main page that first loads is usually called index.html, index.php, or home.html and may be referred to as the home page.
host Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as WWW. However, you can generally split services up. For example you could have Google Apps hosting your email, but WestHost hosting your website.
hostname The recognizable name by which a server will be known on the Internet. For example, host.example.com. You can specify or change your server’s hostname using WHM’s Hostname feature. Please note that the server hostname is distinct from your domain name.
HTTP HTTP stands for HyperText Transport 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).
httpd.conf The configuration file for the Apache web server. For more information, visit http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/configuring.html.
hyperlink Generally, any text that contains links to other documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.
IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol: Along with POP3, one of the two most widely used email transfer methods.
Internet The vast collection of interconnected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's. The Internet now (July 1995) connects roughly 60,000 independent networks into a vast global internet.
InterNIC InterNIC (now known as Network Solutions) currently holds an exclusive contract with the U.S. government to assign domain names for .COM, .NET and .ORG. The contract is scheduled to expire September 30, 1998. Network Solutions is the company that runs the InterNIC registry.
IP Address IP stands for Internet Protocol. It is a unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.
IPMI Intelligent Platform Management Interface. This is a web interface for remote management of a dedicated server account.
IRC IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. Basically a huge multiuser live chat facility. There are a number of major IRC servers around the world which are linked to each other. Anyone can create a channel and anything that anyone types in a given channel is seen by all others in the channel. Private channels can (and are) created for multi-person conference calls. IRC is not allowed on WestHost shared servers.
ISDN ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. Basically a way to move more data over existing regular phone lines. ISDN is rapidly becoming available to much of the USA and in most markets it is priced very comparably to standard analog phone circuits. It can provide speeds of roughly 128,000 bits-per-second over regular phone lines. In practice, most people will be limited to 56,000 or 64,000 bits-per-second.
ISP ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money. Common examples would be Comcast, Qwest, Cox, Frontier, and Roadrunner.
kernel A central component of your server’s operating system. The kernel manages communications between the user and the server’s resources, such as its processor and the memory.
LAN LAN stands for Local Area Network. A computer network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building. Usually you will have a local IP associated with that network and a WAN IP as your external IP that everyone else on the internet sees you as. If support is asking for your IP, then mean your WAN IP. You can find this IP out by going to http://meormyhost.com or http://whatismyip.com
Mailing Lists A list of email accounts that can be mailed simultaneously using one account name. Also see Mailman.
Mailman Mailing list software; Mailman sends email to a group of specified email addresses. For more information, visit http://www.list.org.
mod_userdir A feature of Apache that lets visitors view websites on your server by typing your hostname followed by a tilde and the website owner’s username. (Example: http://host.example.com/~username) Disabling this via the WHM Security Center is desirable, as the bandwidth used when the site is accessed using this method is attributed to the web host’s main domain, skipping bandwidth monitoring systems. For more information on mod_userdir, you should visit http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/mod/mod_userdir.html
MX Record MX (Mail eXchanger) Entry or MX Record: A record that specifies where email should be sent for a domain, as it contains the mail server’s IP address. If you are using an email scanning service or custom mail delivery, you may need to change the MX record for your domain using the Edit MX Entry feature.
MySQL This term refers to a database management tool, as well as the type of database it manages. Such databases are integral to applications like bulletin boards and retail shopping. WHM lets you manage MySQL database services via the SQL Services section.
nameserver A piece of software that obtains DNS information from a physical nameserver, a computer that contains a list of domain names, and their corresponding IP addresses. These computers are spread through the Internet and allow you to find where a domain is located. Nameservers gather data about domains over time; therefore, changes to DNS records can take up to a week to reach all the nameservers on the Internet (or “propagate”).
Parked Domain A second domain that points to your primary domain. When users attempt to access the parked domain, they will see your main website.
Passive FTP Passive Mode (PASSV): A mode for FTP connections that will initiate connections from the client side. Using this mode may be helpful if a user is having problems connecting to an FTP server through a firewall.
Perl Known for its ability to process text, Perl is a useful language for web applications. Perl applications are commonly found as .pl, .pm, and .cgi files and may require Perl modules. Perl modules can be installed using the WHM Install a Perl Module feature.
PHP A computer scripting language in which many web-based applications are written. PHP applications are commonly found with the filename extensions .php, .php4, or .php5. Some PHP applications require PEAR packages, which can be installed in WHM through the Module Installers feature.
phpMyAdmin An application that allows you to manipulate and manage MySQL databases over the Internet.
PID Process ID (PID): A unique number that your server assigns to each process that runs.
POP POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3): Along with IMAP, 1 of the 2 most widely used email transfer methods. POP3 simply copies every message in your email account to your local computer, removing it from the mail server. No information is sent back to your email account about message replies, forwarding, etc. If you use multiple computers to check your email, it is advised that you use IMAP instead of POP3.
POP before SMTP An authentication method for mail servers that will allow a user who has received mail via POP3 or IMAP to send mail for 30 minutes without reauthenticating through SMTP.
propagation The spread of a website’s DNS information across the Internet.
proxy Short for a proxy server. This server receives requests from users and forwards those requests to other servers.
public_html The subdirectory, located inside a user’s home directory, that holds the files that make up a website. The www directory is a symbolic link to public_html. Any files and folders inside of public_html are visible over the Internet, unless the domain owner specifically protects them with a password.
python Python is a general-purpose high-level programming language whose design philosophy emphasizes code readability.
quotas Limits to the amount of disk space a user is allowed to take up.
RBL RBL (Realtime Blackhole List): A list of mail servers known to send spam.
redirect To send users who access a domain to another domain. For example, a user may reach example.com by typing example2.com. See also domain forwarding.
reseller In web hosting, resellers take a large amount of resources (bandwidth and disk space) on your server and sell those resources in smaller packages to individual cPanel account holders.
sitemap Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site. Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.
SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol: This protocol is the standard for transmitting email messages across the Internet.
spam Chiefly, unsolicited email sent in bulk, usually by an automated system. As spam is considered a costly nuisance to the recipient, cPanel includes features like SpamAssassin and BoxTrapper that can cut down on the amount of spam received.
SpamAssassin An application which can filter suspected spam before you receive it. SpamAssassin can be configured to filter spam more or less aggressively, according to your needs. Learn more about SpamAssassin at http://spamassassin.apache.org.
spoof An attack wherein the attacker conceals his identity by appearing as another user through the falsification of data, such as email headers.
SSH Secure Shell (SSH), known as Secure Socket Shell, is a UNIX-based command interface and protocol for securely getting access to a remote computer. It is widely used by network administrators to control Web and other kinds of servers remotely. SSH is actually a suite of three utilities - slogin, ssh, and scp - that are secure versions of the earlier UNIX utilities, rlogin, rsh, and rcp. SSH commands are encrypted and secure in several ways. Both ends of the client/server connection are authenticated using a digital certificate, and passwords are protected by being encrypted. SSH uses RSA public key cryptography for both connection and authentication. Encryption algorithms include Blowfish, DES, and IDEA. IDEA is the default.
subdomain A subdomain is anything that appears before your master domain in the URL, i.e. http://yourchoice.masterdomain.com.
tcp transmission control protocol: a protocol developed for the internet to get data from one network device to another.
TTL Time to Live: Often abbreviated as TTL, it specifies how long a particular record should be kept in memory before it should be deleted. This is most often used within DNS.
URL URL (Universal Resource Locator): On the web, a URL is a string of characters that identifies the location of a website. Since IP addresses are difficult to remember, URLs are used instead.
webmail Any application which allows you to access your email through a web browser. The main advantage to webmail is the ability to access your email account from any computer connected to the Internet without having to install or configure a specific mail program.
whois A Unix/Linux command that can be executed in a terminal session in order to find out who owns a domain. For example, whois WestHost.com will return the ownership information for the WestHost domain.
zone A DNS Zone, an administrative space or portion of the Domain Name System. This space is responsible for directing web traffic to the correct location.
Zone File A DNS Zone File, a file on your server that primarily maps IP addresses to domain names. A correctly configured zone file must exist in order for visitors to access your server from the Internet.