Simple explanation to common web hosting terms

MightWeb

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Introduction
Web hosting is a very large industry, and the terminology can be rather confusing if you're not an expert. When browsing, you'll see a heap of different abbrevations and technologies being advertised, but what do they really mean? Even more importantly, are they worth anything for you? Below is a list of some common terms used, and what they actually mean.

Missing something on the list? Reply, and I'll add it in!


CloudLinux
CloudLinux is an operating system that is quite commonly used in the web hosting industry. The two common ones you'll see used are CloudLinux, and CentOS. These are very similar (both very similar to a third one called "Red Hat Enterprise Linux"). What makes CloudLinux great, is that it allows for your web hosting provider to allocate the server resources equally between clients.

You'll commonly see that hosting providers have limits to the amount of bandwidth and disk space you can use - however, if your provider is using CloudLinux, they can set limits to the amount of processing power, RAM, disk input/output and so on.

A badly optimized script can easily, for example, cause a memory leak. This would mean that all the other clients sites would be rendered inaccessible (or very, very slow). A provider utilizing CloudLinux can make sure that one single client can not consume all of the available system resources, thus protecting his customers.

CloudLinux basically means that every website runs inside of its own little container, protected from the other web sites which in turn are run in their own little containers.

CageFS
CageFS is often paired with CloudLinux, and adds another container - this time to the actual file system. It means that no websites will ever see another user in the file system, they won't see other user processes, nor be able to see the server configuration files. This also allows for something called "PHP Selector" (if paired with CloudLinux), which allows for one site to run a different PHP version from the other sites.

Inode
You'll often see a limit to something called an "Inode" if you read your providers Terms of Service or Acceptable Usage Policy. One inode is simply one file that is stored on the system. Every e-mail you get consumes one inode. Every image you upload consumes one, every file, and so on. This limit is usually pretty high.

LiteSpeed/Nginx
LiteSpeed and Nginx are web servers. A lot of web hosting providers use Apache, which is by far the most popular web server - however, LiteSpeed and Nginx are very commonly seen today. The key differences to these two when compared to Apache is that they're built around performance. LiteSpeed, for example, can serve dynamic content (such as your WordPress blog) up to 40 times faster than the Apache web server.

MariaDB
MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL (the database server), which is fully compatible with any normal MySQL operation. It's commonly used in the industry, as it's simply much faster than MySQL.

Softaculous
Softaculous is a very popular extension that a lot of providers offer. It collects a large number of popular scripts ranging from content management systems such as WordPress or Joomla!, to frameworks such as CodeIgniter or Laravel, to shopping carts - and allows all of these to be installed with one click through your control panel.

SSD
SSD Drives are rather new to the industry, and they're used far from everywhere - but to simplify it, SSD drives are faster than the mechanical hard drives which have been used for ages. SSD drives typically have a read and write speed of above 500 megabytes per second - whilst many mechanical drives sport below 100 megabytes per second. Whilst does this of course help with performance, the usage of the aforementioned technologies such as LiteSpeed or Nginx makes a much larger difference.

CDN
CDN ("Content Delivery Network") is used to speeden up the loading of static web content (most commonly images and stylesheets). What it basically does, is it fetches and caches the static content from your website, and stores it in their network. A CDN provider typically has servers in every continent, most often in several countries in every continent. Now, every time a visitor comes to your website, it will load the dynamic content (such as WordPress posts) from your servers - but it will load images and other heavy content from a server that is much closer to them.

So, if you have your web hosting provider in the United States, and a visitor comes in from Russia, they'll fetch dynamic content from your server in the US, but they'll fetch all the heavy images, stylesheets, javascripts and so on from a server in Russia.

A list of where each provider has their servers is available on the CDN providers website.
 
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#2
LiteSpeed, for example, can serve dynamic content (such as your WordPress blog) up to 40 times faster than the Apache web server.
How could it do that? 40 times faster than the Apache? why I couldn't see it in web hosting offers?
 

RDO Servers

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#3
LiteSpeed is a light weight web server. Now, "light weight" does not mean that it can't handle as much, It means that it does not use (waste) as many resources as Apache.

 

arindamb

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MariaDB
MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL (the database server), which is fully compatible with any normal MySQL operation. It's commonly used in the industry, as it's simply much faster than MySQL.
If I want to change my website database type from MySQL to MariaDB, is it too complex?

For CMS like wordpress, common forum softwares, drupal or joomla
 

ElixantTechnology

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#6
MariaDB is a MySQL Drop-In replacement, and there is a 97% chance that your web hosting provider is already utilizing it (if not, they should upgrade as MySQL Community Edition will be no more soon). You don't need to make any changes to your website, as it has the same functionality of MySQL just with better peformance.

If I want to change my website database type from MySQL to MariaDB, is it too complex?

For CMS like wordpress, common forum softwares, drupal or joomla
 

Danlucy

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#7
Danlucy
Great information but how to install MariaDB into MySQL? I don't really understand this
 

ElixantTechnology

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ElixantTechnology
Hey there,

Are you a simple webhosting customer or do you have your own VPS? If you have your own VPS, do you have cPanel installed? If so, when did you get your VPS, because as of recently cPanel automatically comes with MariaDB. If you are a webhosting customer, then there is a good chance your host has already installed it and you should not be concerned.
 
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LiteSpeed/Nginx
LiteSpeed and Nginx are web servers. A lot of web hosting providers use Apache, which is by far the most popular web server - however, LiteSpeed and Nginx are very commonly seen today. The key differences to these two when compared to Apache is that they're built around performance. LiteSpeed, for example, can serve dynamic content (such as your WordPress blog) up to 40 times faster than the Apache web server.

MariaDB
MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL (the database server), which is fully compatible with any normal MySQL operation. It's commonly used in the industry, as it's simply much faster than MySQL.
Great explanations for web hosting terms!

I really heard of LiteSpeed and Nginx because Apache is too popular today, just a thing is making me confused is, why starting a new hosting everyone always choose Apache, why not is Nginx?

If I am using MySQL database, can I use MariaDB instead? if so then how?

I was suggested by hosting provider to use this but I am not familiar to MariaDB.
 

LJSHost

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#11
LJSHost

Most use apache because its the default with a cPanel server and it's a proven workhorse that has been around forever.
MySQL can be upgraded to MariaDB but this is only something you can do with your own dedicated server or VPS.

https://mariadb.com/blog/upgrading-mysql-51-mariadb-100-centos-6

If your on shared hosting you will have no control over what database server you use, unless your hosting providers gives you a choice within your cPanel.
cPanel does use MariaDB as default anyway so you could already be using it.
 
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coredump
How can I know my databases are using Mysql or MariaDB

There are advantages of MariaDB that without on Mysql?
 

Gecko

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Gecko
If you are using cpanel hosting then on the main page you can tell by looking under the stats on the left. It will be listed next to where it says "MySQL Version" (if you don't see it the click the expand stats). It will show something like this " 10.1.13-MariaDB-cll-lve " next to the "MySQL Version".

Cheers!
 
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coredump
Recently I have upgrade to Mariadb for my VPS hosting but when i check MySQL version its telling me this

Code:
mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.1.22-MariaDB
Is MariaDB just a module of Mysql and it needs MySQL to run?

I am confusing about this problem.
 

Marc A

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#10
Nice post! Very informational, I was pleased you brought the most simplest terms into the post.

Could you find something someone with this knowledge of cpanel, doesn't know about?
 
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#14
thanks for clearing this up for many new beginners...
 
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#15
Great information for someone like me who is amateur in this field of web hosting. I learned a lot of new things from your post. You have exlained it in a very simple manner. Thanks a lot for that. But I would like to know more about cpanel and how exactly it works. Can you kindly explain that too? Really appreciate your help. :)
 

AlienLike

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#18
A fresh info that I came across covers the essential features that a web hosting provider should cover in order to be secure. And it really made me think about the importance of a secure web hosting provider. Of great importance is to choose a hosting provider that offers online backup services so the website can be brought back in case something goes wrong. Furthermore, the SSL is another must-have feature.
 
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