Shared Hosting: A space is given on a server that is shared with other clients. You share CPU power, RAM, and bandwidth. Due to the sharing, cost is cheap. But your control over site performance is limited and not scalable. Heavy traffic and content sites cannot be accommodated on a shared server. Security can also be an issue. Typically access to the back end of the server is limited.
Private Dedicated Hosting: A server is dedicated solely to your site. You are able to determine how to allot your processing power and ram. You are also not sharing any bandwidth. This is very secure. This is also very expensive.
VPS: Virtual Private Server. A virtualized rendition of a private server. Like a shared service, a space on a larger server is allotted to your site, but you determine the CPU and RAM dedication and can scale the bandwidth based upon need. This service is not as expensive as a private.
Cloud: Virtualized server with redundancy (continual duplications of content), making you less dependent on hardware. This permits your site to stay online regardless of hardware complications. It is also scalable, easy and quick to set up, though it can be expensive. It also offers access to the server at the root level–and can often require back end knowledge.
Collocation: A hybrid approach to keeping data on the cloud as well as on your own private servers. This can be used as backup or a precaution for high security data.
Static Site: Traditional website, typically built with HTML and CSS, built to relay brand images and information. The site can also be built in Adobe Flash, adding branded stylistic capabilities. This is typically used as a “business card.” The end result is the same, regardless of the end user’s preferences or interaction.
HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language. This is a series of tags and rules that determine how content can be read by a web browser. It is a open and close tag system, requiring content to be enclosed between identified open and close tags.
CSS: Casscading Style Sheet. This is a style driven language that is referenced by HTML. It is used to define style elements throughout the document by categorizing the site content into Classes. This provides uniformity and design to the site, while also making it very easy to change style elements and layout without having to rewrite all of the HTML.
CMS: Content Management System is dynamic web design platform. It provides a back end interface that separates content from design, making it easier to alter design elements without having to change the content. Utilizes PHP, MySQL, with CSS, HTML, and Java Script. Themes, templates, and plug-ins can be implemented easily. Open source options are available. Typically CMS sites are built to be robust, so they do require a server that runs PHP and MySQL. Because they are all built on the same platform, if a bug is discovered, viruses can be easily spread across all sites built on that CMS. They are also easier to break from the back end.
Flash: Platform created by Adobe. Offers design capabilities to enhance the user experience, including images, animation, and transitions. It is a light, in that flash files typically don’t take up much space or require much bandwidth to load. It is contained package, making it impossible for search engines to see the content within the flash conatiner. It also requires a plug in for the browser to be able to play it.
HTML 5: A rewrite of HTML5, cleaning up the very cumbersome tag structure while also providing stricter standards for cross browser uniformity. HTML5 also allows more dynamic capabilities such as a canvas feature, which allows users to manipulate the content on the page. It also has in browser video and audio capabilities, which eliminates the need for plug-ins.
The capabilities of HTML5 are also dependent on CSS3 and Java Script, which tend to be encapsulated into the brand that has become HTML5 when discussing this technology.
PHP: PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (the name is a recursive acronym) is a widely used, general-purpose scripting language that was originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages. This is a server side script. It could be considered a series of actions that reference either other actions or databases to return specific and often times cusomtized information. A very good example of PHP is the news feed on your Facebook account–where the action is to collect the latest feeds of your friends and list them by date and time onto an aloted area in your start page.
MySQL: A relational database management system (RDBMS) that runs as a server providing multi-user access to a number of databases. Essentially it is a big old excell spreadsheet that allows code to access and retrieve categorized information.