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The Motive Web Design Glossary

host, hosting

For a website to be viewed by other people it must be stored on a computer (server) that is connected to the internet.

A company that provides this service is known as a host; and the service it provides is hosting.

Choosing a host

Issues to be aware of when evaluating hosting services include:


The more webpages your website has, the more storage space you are likely to need.

Storage space is typically defined in megabytes (MB).

As a rule of thumb, 1 MB provides enough space for 20 webpages, or 20 high-quality images, or five illustrated PDFs.

You should also take into consideration the cost of adding more storage space to your account.


For a webpage to be viewed, information (data) is copied from the host’s server to a person’s computer. The amount of data transferred is described as ‘traffic’.

Traffic is typically defined in gigabytes (GB) per month. (Note: 1 GB = 1000 MB.)

The amount of traffic you will need can be guesstimated by considering the number of people you expect to be using a website (each month), and the size of files they will be viewing.

Note that if you go over your traffic allowance, you may be charged an excess fee.

programming environment

There are different ways to build websites. Larger-scale and e-commerce websites are often created using a content management system (CMS).

A typical CMS requires a database (for storing webpage information), and a way to show the information in the database on a webpage (scripting language/interpreter).

Common database-interpreter combinations include MySQL-PHP and SQL-ASP.

(If you are working with a web designer-developer, then they can provide guidance on the programming environment that you will need for your website.)


Servers are not always located in the same country as the company providing the hosting service.

Some hosts charge different rates for local and international traffic.

The speed of your website is also affected by how your host server is connected to the internet.

So, if you’re a New Zealand company, but your primary audience is in the US, then a server in the US may be better for your customers.

Related terms: ASP, bandwidth, blog, domain name, download/upload, FTP, internet, MySQL, open source, PHP, server, traffic.


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