What is Web Hosting?
If you’re new to the world of creating websites, you might find yourself asking yourself “What Is Web Hosting?”.
Maybe you have some idea about what hosting is but you’re not too sure.
Fortunately (for me!), the question “What is web hosting” is a relatively easy one to explain (I think!).
Web hosting refers to a service that makes your website available to your users.
In general, most websites are intended to be viewed by anyone on the Internet, at any time.
If you want anyone on the Internet to be able to view your website at any time, A web hosting provider will allow you to upload your websites files, setup emails, and keeps your website running on a computer / server which is connected to the Internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (24/7)..
An Introduction to DNS
We should start by defining our terms. While some of these topics are familiar from other contexts, there are many terms used when talking about domain names and DNS that aren’t used too often in other areas of computing.
Let’s start easy:
Domain Name System
The domain name system, more commonly known as “DNS” is the networking system in place that allows us to resolve human-friendly names to unique addresses.
A domain name is the human-friendly name that we are used to associating with an internet resource. For instance, “google.com” is a domain name. Some people will say that the “google” portion is the domain, but we can generally refer to the combined form as the domain name.
The URL “google.com” is associated with the servers owned by Google Inc. The domain name system allows us to reach the Google servers when we type “google.com” into our browsers.
An IP address is what we call a network addressable location. Each IP address must be unique within its network. When we are talking about websites, this network is the entire internet.
IPv4, the most common form of addresses, are written as four sets of numbers, each set having up to three digits, with each set separated by a dot. For example, “111.222.333.444” could be a valid IPv4 IP address. With DNS, we map a name to that address so that you do not have to remember a complicated set of numbers for each place you wish to visit on a network.
A top-level domain, or TLD, is the most general part of the domain. The top-level domain is the furthest portion to the right (as separated by a dot). Common top-level domains are “com”, “net”, “org”, “gov”, “edu”, and “io”.
Top-level domains are at the top of the hierarchy in terms of domain names. Certain parties are given management control over top-level domains by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). These parties can then distribute domain names under the TLD, usually through a domain registrar.
Within a domain, the domain owner can define individual hosts, which refer to separate computers or services accessible through a domain. For instance, most domain owners make their web servers accessible through the bare domain (example.com) and also through the “host” definition “www” (www.example.com).
You can have other host definitions under the general domain. You could have API access through an “api” host (api.example.com) or you could have ftp access by defining a host called “ftp” or “files” (ftp.example.com or files.example.com). The host names can be arbitrary as long as they are unique for the domain.
A subject related to hosts are subdomains.
DNS works in a hierarchy. TLDs can have many domains under them. For instance, the “com” TLD has both “google.com” and “ubuntu.com” underneath it. A “subdomain” refers to any domain that is part of a larger domain. In this case, “ubuntu.com” can be said to be a subdomain of “com”. This is typically just called the domain or the “ubuntu” portion is called a SLD, which means second level domain.
Likewise, each domain can control “subdomains” that are located under it. This is usually what we mean by subdomains. For instance you could have a subdomain for the history department of your school at “www.history.school.edu”. The “history” portion is a subdomain.
The difference between a host name and a subdomain is that a host defines a computer or resource, while a subdomain extends the parent domain. It is a method of subdividing the domain itself.
Whether talking about subdomains or hosts, you can begin to see that the left-most portions of a domain are the most specific. This is how DNS works: from most to least specific as you read from left-to-right.
Fully Qualified Domain Name
A fully qualified domain name, often called FQDN, is what we call an absolute domain name. Domains in the DNS system can be given relative to one another, and as such, can be somewhat ambiguous. A FQDN is an absolute name that specifies its location in relation to the absolute root of the domain name system.
This means that it specifies each parent domain including the TLD. A proper FQDN ends with a dot, indicating the root of the DNS hierarchy. An example of a FQDN is “mail.google.com.”. Sometimes software that calls for FQDN does not require the ending dot, but the trailing dot is required to conform to ICANN standards.
A name server is a computer designated to translate domain names into IP addresses. These servers do most of the work in the DNS system. Since the total number of domain translations is too much for any one server, each server may redirect request to other name servers or delegate responsibility for a subset of subdomains they are responsible for.
Name servers can be “authoritative”, meaning that they give answers to queries about domains under their control. Otherwise, they may point to other servers, or serve cached copies of other name servers’ data.
A zone file is a simple text file that contains the mappings between domain names and IP addresses. This is how the DNS system finally finds out which IP address should be contacted when a user requests a certain domain name.
Zone files reside in name servers and generally define the resources available under a specific domain, or the place that one can go to get that information.
Within a zone file, records are kept. In its simplest form, a record is basically a single mapping between a resource and a name. These can map a domain name to an IP address, define the name servers for the domain, define the mail servers for the domain, etc.
How DNS Works
Now that you are familiar with some of the terminology involved with DNS, how does the system actually work?
The system is very simple at a high-level overview, but is very complex as you look at the details. Overall though, it is a very reliable infrastructure that has been essential to the adoption of the internet as we know it today.
As we said above, DNS is, at its core, a hierarchical system. At the top of this system is what are known as “root servers”. These servers are controlled by various organizations and are delegated authority by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
There are currently 13 root servers in operation. However, as there are an incredible number of names to resolve every minute, each of these servers is actually mirrored. The interesting thing about this set up is that each of the mirrors for a single root server share the same IP address. When requests are made for a certain root server, the request will be routed to the nearest mirror of that root server.
What do these root servers do? Root servers handle requests for information about Top-level domains. So if a request comes in for something a lower-level name server cannot resolve, a query is made to the root server for the domain.
The root servers won’t actually know where the domain is hosted. They will, however, be able to direct the requester to the name servers that handle the specifically requested top-level domain.
So if a request for “www.wikipedia.org” is made to the root server, the root server will tell not find the result in its records. It will check its zone files for a listing that matches “www.wikipedia.org”. It will not find one.
It will instead find a record for the “org” TLD and give the requesting entity the address of the name server responsible for “org” addresses.
The requester then sends a new request to the IP address (given to it by the root server) that is responsible for the top-level domain of the request.
So, to continue our example, it would send a request to the name server responsible for knowing about “org” domains to see if it knows where “www.wikipedia.org” is located.
Once again, the requester will look for “www.wikipdia.org” in its zone files. It will not find this record in its files.
However, it will find a record listing the IP address of the name server responsible for “wikipedia.org”. This is getting much closer to the answer we want.
Domain-Level Name Servers
At this point, the requester has the IP address of the name server that is responsible for knowing the actual IP address of the resource. It sends a new request to the name server asking, once again, if it can resolve “www.wikipedia.org”.
The name server checks its zone files and it finds that it has a zone file associated with “wikipedia.org”. Inside of this file, there is a record for the “www” host. This record tells the IP address where this host is located. The name server returns the final answer to the requester.
What is a Resolving Name Server?
In the above scenario, we referred to a “requester”. What is the requester in this situation?
In almost all cases, the requester will be what we call a “resolving name server” A resolving name server is one configured to ask other servers questions. It is basically an intermediary for a user which caches previous query results to improve speed and knows the addresses of the root servers to be able to “resolve” requests made for things it doesn’t already know about.
Basically, a user will usually have a few resolving name servers configured on their computer system. The resolving name servers are usually provided by an ISP or other organizations. For instanceGoogle provides resolving DNS servers that you can query. These can be either configured in your computer automatically or manually.
When you type a URL in the address bar of your browser, your computer first looks to see if it can find out locally where the resource is located. It checks the “hosts” file on the computer and a few other locations. It then sends the request to the resolving name server and waits back to receive the IP address of the resource.
The resolving name server then checks its cache for the answer. If it doesn’t find it, it goes through the steps outlined above.
Resolving name servers basically compress the requesting process for the end user. The clients simply have to know to ask the resolving name servers where a resource is located and be confident that they will investigate and return the final answer.
We mentioned in the above process the idea of “zone files” and “records”.
Zone files are the way that name servers store information about the domains they know about. Every domain that a name server knows about is stored in a zone file. Most requests coming to the average name server are not something that the server will have zone files for.
If it is configured to handle recursive queries, like a resolving name server, it will find out the answer and return it. Otherwise, it will tell the requesting party where to look next.
The more zone files that a name server has, the more requests it will be able to answer authoritatively.
A zone file describes a DNS “zone”, which is basically a subset of the entire DNS naming system. It generally is used to configure just a single domain. It can contain a number of records which define where resources are for the domain in question.
$ORIGIN is a parameter equal to the zone’s highest level of authority by default.
So if a zone file is used to configure the “example.com.” domain, the
$ORIGIN would be set to
This is either configured at the top of the zone file or it can be defined in the DNS server’s configuration file that references the zone file. Either way, this parameter describes what the zone is going to be authoritative for.
$TTL configures the “time to live” of the information it provides. It is basically a timer. A caching name server can use previously queried results to answer questions until the TTL value runs out.
Within the zone file, we can have many different record types. We will go over some of the more common (or mandatory types) here.
The Start of Authority, or SOA, record is a mandatory record in all zone files. It must be the first real record in a file (although $ORIGIN or $TTL specifications may appear above). It is also one of the most complex to understand.
The start of authority record looks something like this:
domain.com. IN SOA ns1.domain.com. admin.domain.com. ( 12083 ; serial number 3h ; refresh interval 30m ; retry interval 3w ; exiry period 1h ; negative TTL )
Let’s explain what each part is for:
- domain.com.: This is the root of the zone. This specifies that the zone file is for the
domain.com.domain. Often, you’ll see this replaced with
@, which is just a placeholder that substitutes the contents of the
$ORIGINvariable we learned about above.
- IN SOA: The “IN” portion means internet (and will be present in many records). The SOA is the indicator that this is a Start of Authority record.
- ns1.domain.com.: This defines the primary master name server for this domain. Name servers can either be master or slaves, and if dynamic DNS is configured one server needs to be a “primary master”, which goes here. If you haven’t configured dynamic DNS, then this is just one of your master name servers.
- admin.domain.com.: This is the email address of the administrator for this zone. The “@” is replaced with a dot in the email address. If the name portion of the email address normally has a dot in it, this is replace with a “\” in this part (firstname.lastname@example.org becomes your\name.domain.com).
- 12083: This is the serial number for the zone file. Every time you edit a zone file, you must increment this number for the zone file to propagate correctly. Slave servers will check if the master server’s serial number for a zone is larger than the one they have on their system. If it is, it requests the new zone file, if not, it continues serving the original file.
- 3h: This is the refresh interval for the zone. This is the amount of time that the slave will wait before polling the master for zone file changes.
- 30m: This is the retry interval for this zone. If the slave cannot connect to the master when the refresh period is up, it will wait this amount of time and retry to poll the master.
- 3w: This is the expiry period. If a slave name server has not been able to contact the master for this amount of time, it no longer returns responses as an authoritative source for this zone.
- 1h: This is the amount of time that the name server will cache a name error if it cannot find the requested name in this file.
A and AAAA Records
Both of these records map a host to an IP address. The “A” record is used to map a host to an IPv4 IP address, while “AAAA” records are used to map a host to an IPv6 address.
The general format of these records is this:
host IN A IPv4_address host IN AAAA IPv6_address
So since our SOA record called out a primary master server at “ns1.domain.com”, we would have to map this to an address to an IP address since “ns1.domain.com” is within the “domain.com” zone that this file is defining.
The record could look something like this:
ns1 IN A 111.222.333.444
Notice that we don’t have to give the full name. We can just give the host, without the FQDN and the DNS server will fill in the rest with the $ORIGIN value. However, we could just as easily use the entire FQDN if we feel like being semantic:
ns1.domain.com. IN A 111.222.333.444
In most cases, this is where you’ll define your web server as “www”:
www IN A 333.333.333.333
We should also tell where the base domain resolves to. We can do this like this:
domain.com. IN A 333.333.333.333
We could have used the “@” to refer to the base domain instead:
@ IN A 333.333.333.333
We also have the option of resolving anything that under this domain that is not defined explicitly to this server too. We can do this with the “*” wild card:
* IN A 333.333.333.333
All of these work just as well with AAAA records for IPv6 addresses.
CNAME records define an alias for canonical name for your server (one defined by an A or AAAA record).
For instance, we could have an A name record defining the “server1” host and then use the “www” as an alias for this host:
server1 IN A 18.104.22.168 www IN CNAME server1
Be aware that these aliases come with some performance losses because they require an additional query to the server. Most of the time, the same result could be achieved by using additional A or AAAA records.
One case when a CNAME is recommended is to provide an alias for a resource outside of the current zone.
MX records are used to define the mail exchanges that are used for the domain. This helps email messages arrive at your mail server correctly.
Unlike many other record types, mail records generally don’t map a host to something, because they apply to the entire zone. As such, they usually look like this:
IN MX 10 mail.domain.com
Note that there is no host name at the beginning.
Also note that there is an extra number in there. This is the preference number that helps computers decide which server to send mail to if there are multiple mail servers defined. Lower numbers have a higher priority.
The MX record should generally point to a host defined by an A or AAAA record, and not one defined by a CNAME.
So, let’s say that we have two mail servers. There would have to be records that look something like this:
IN MX 10 mail1.domain.com IN MX 50 mail2.domain.com mail1 IN A 22.214.171.124 mail2 IN A 126.96.36.199
In this example, the “mail1” host is the preferred email exchange server.
We could also write that like this:
IN MX 10 mail1 IN MX 50 mail2 mail1 IN A 188.8.131.52 mail2 IN A 184.108.40.206
This record type defines the name servers that are used for this zone.
You may be wondering, “if the zone file resides on the name server, why does it need to reference itself?”. Part of what makes DNS so successful is its multiple levels of caching. One reason for defining name servers within the zone file is that the zone file may be actually being served from a cached copy on another name server. There are other reasons for needing the name servers defined on the name server itself, but we won’t go into that here.
Like the MX records, these are zone-wide parameters, so they do not take hosts either. In general, they look like this:
IN NS ns1.domain.com IN NS ns2.domain.com
You should have at least two name servers defined in each zone file in order to operate correctly if there is a problem with one server. Most DNS server software considers a zone file to be invalid if there is only a single name server.
As always, include the mapping for the hosts with A or AAAA records:
IN NS ns1.domain.com IN NS ns2.domain.com ns1 IN A 111.222.333.444 ns2 IN A 555.666.777.888
There are quite a few other record types you can use, but these are probably the most common types that you will come across.
What is DNS?
Domain Name Servers (DNS) are the Internet’s equivalent of a phone book. They maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
This is necessary because, although domain names are easy for people to remember, computers or machines, access websites based on IP addresses.
Information from all the domain name servers across the Internet are gathered together and housed at the Central Registry. Host companies and Internet Service Providers interact with the Central Registry on a regular schedule to get updated DNS information.
When you type in a web address, e.g., www.m1-serverz.com, your Internet Service Provider views the DNS associated with the domain name, translates it into a machine friendly IP address (for example 220.127.116.11 is the IP for (http://www.m1-serverz.com) and directs your Internet connection to the correct website.
After you register a new domain name or when you update the DNS servers on your domain name, it usually takes about 12-36 hours for the domain name servers world-wide to be updated and able to access the information. This 36-hour period is referred to as propagation.
Renewing Domain Names
Auto Renew helps protect you from losing your domain name registration. If your domain name registration is set to Auto Renew, your account will be automatically charged approximately sixty (60) to ninety (90) days prior to the end of your term period. If Auto Renew is not set up in your account, you will need to renew your domain name registration through Account Manager. If you have your Account Manager User ID and password:
- Login to Account Manager
- Click on Renewal Center in the top menu.
- Select the domain names and any other products and services that you would like to renew and then click on the Renew button.
- You may be prompted to add some additional products to your renewal order –Using the check box(es) and drop down menu(s) select any additional options and services you want to add and then click on the Continue button – depending on your selections, you may be taken to a second screen for additional options, when complete, click on the Continue button.
- Select your desired term for the products and services you would like to purchase. Then click on the Secure Checkout button to proceed.
- Select your payment method and then provide the requested information.
- Click on the link to read the M1-Serverz Domains and Web Hosting® Service Agreement and when completed select the check box then click on the I agree to the Service Agreement – Continue button .Your selected products and services have been renewed. Only Account Holders/Primary Contacts and Account Administrative Contacts on the account can purchase or renew services for the domain name. Account Technical Contacts on the account cannot purchase or renew services.
Registering Domain Names
Domain Name Extensions Available For Registration And How They Are Most Commonly Used
M1-Serverz® offers a variety of domain name extensions.
Any extension can be used for any purpose, but here are the most frequently registered extensions and their common usage.
Please note, protecting brand identity has become very important, so customers will often register multiple extensions and variations of their domain names.
|Generic Top Level Domains|
|.net||Websites for businesses involved with the infrastructure of the internet|
|.tv||Rich media websites|
|Country Specific Domains|
|.am||Armenia, but also used for AM radio|
|.ar.com||Argentina, but also used for Arkansas|
|.cn||China, renewals only|
|.com.cn||China, renewals only|
|.net.cn||China, renewals only|
|.org.cn||China, renewals only|
|.co||Colombia, but also used for company and/or other commercial endeavors|
|.fm||Federated States of Micronesia, but also used for FM radio|
|.gs||South Georgia & Sandwich Islands|
|.im||Isle of Man|
|.kr.com||Republic of Korea|
|.la||Laos, but also used for Los Angeles or Louisiana|
|.li||Liechtenstein, but also used for Long Island|
|.ru||Russian Federation, renewals only|
|.tc||Turks & Caicos Islands|
|.vg||British Virgin Islands|
|.ws||Western Samoa, but also used for website|
Getting Started with Private Registrations
What is Private Domain Name Registration?
Every domain name is listed in the public WHOIS database with information about the domain registrant (that’s you!). Anyone can look up domain names in this database to get associated contact information.
The result, unfortunately, is that spammers and telemarketers search through WHOIS for new contacts. Private Domain Name Registration puts M1-Serverz Domains and Web Hosting between the personal information attached to your domain and the rest of the world. Alternate contact information keeps your private information private.
Here is what is included in Private Registration:
- Alternate contact information spam and telemarketing calls from reaching you. People searching the WHOIS database will see contact information for M1-Serverz Domains and Web Hosting®, instead of your phone number, home address, and email address.
- Unlike with other proxy services, you remain the registrant for the private domain name.
- Email Masking. Your Private Registration e-mail address is filtered for spam and forwarded to your designated email account.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name, like www.example.com, is a lot like a street address for a house or business. Let’s use the White House as an example. The street address, 2400 New York Avenue, is an exact location — like an IP address. You might not know the exact street address, but when you visit Washington, D.C., you can tell your cabbie that you want to visit the White House and still get there. This is how a domain name is used: It’s an easy way to reach the exact location of a website without having to remember its numeric address.
A domain name consists of, at least, a top-level and a second-level domain. A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot (“.”). The most common TLDs are .com, .net, and .org.
Many domains, also called extensions, can be registered by anyone, like .com, .net, and .org. A second-level domain (SLD) is the portion of the domain name that is located immediately to the left of the dot and domain name extension. For example, the SLD in example.com is example.
Advanced Domain Name Description: A domain name represents a physical point on the Internet — an IP address. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) governs coordination of the links between IP addresses and domain names across the Internet. With this standardized coordination, you can find websites on the Internet by entering domain names instead of IP addresses into your Web browser.
What is an IP Address?
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifying string of numbers, like 18.104.22.168, given to every individual computer, server, and network on the Internet.
Like a license plate is used to help identify vehicles, an IP address is used to identify and locate information online.
Additionally, they allow for communication over the internet between devices and networks connected to the internet.
What is the ‘www’ before my domain name?
The www before your domain name is a subdomain, not part of the domain name itself.
Therefore, if you set up your www CNAME record to point to your primary A record, your site will resolve both at www.example.com and example.com.
If you can reach your website by typing in your domain without the www but cannot reach it when you type the www, then your CNAME might be set up incorrectly.
How do domains work?
When visitors enter your domain name into a Web browser, the browser request uses your domain name to find the domain name’s associated IP address and, therefore, the website.
People use domain names instead of IP addresses because it is easier to remember a name rather than a series of numbers.
Your domain name and its associated IP address are stored in a common database along with every other domain and associated IP address that are accessible via the Internet.
What is a URL?
A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of an Internet website or webpage. Think of a URL as a street address for the location of information on the Internet.
For instance, a complete URL like http://example.com/music, points you to the music page of the example.com website.
Take a look at the anatomy of this URL to better understand how they direct online users to specific information: http://example.com/rap/music.html
http:// = protocol
example = domain name
/rap/music.html = path
/rap/ = directory
/music.html = file name
What is a nameserver?
Nameservers are the Internet’s equivalent to phone books. A nameserver maintains a directory of domain names that match certain IP addresses (computers).
The information from all the nameservers across the Internet is gathered in a central registry.
Nameservers make it possible for visitors to access your website using a familiar domain name, instead of having to remember a series of numbers.
What do I do with my domain once it’s been registered?
Registering a domain name does not automatically activate a website that displays when visitors enter your domain name into a Web browser.
The domain name must have a hosted website that includes a numeric address, called an IP address, for visitors to access the website using your domain name.
Besides setting up a website, there are a number of things you can do with your domain name once you register it.
- Sell it — Domain names can be a great investment. If you have registered a domain name that you are not using, maybe someone else can. You can set up a For Sale parked page to let visitors know that it’s available — and don’t forget to include your contact information.
- Protect your brand online — The more domain names you register, the better. Prevent others from registering a similar domain name to yours. These similar domain names can steal your customers or confuse them. What can you do with all these domain names? Forward them to your main domain name’s website.
- Hold on to it — Maybe you haven’t decided what to do with your new domain name. Don’t worry — there’s no rush. You can leave it parked with us for the length of your registration.
Why should I register more than one domain name?
If you’re thinking about registering more than one domain name, you’ve got the right idea.
Registering and using multiple domains names is great for building your business, protecting your brand name, and creating a dynamic online identity.
When you register multiple domain names, you can:
- Keep your competition from registering a similar domain name drawing customers to them instead of you
- Promote the different products and services you offer
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Enjoy more opportunities to market to — and be listed in — search engines
- Create distinct advertising strategies reaching different target markets
- Provide customers more ways to find you when searching the Internet
- Capture common misspellings of your domain name, instead of sending visitors to an error page
- Protect your brand and online identity
When can I register an expired domain name?
Usually, a domain name is not available for re-registration as soon as it expires. Most registrars allow a grace period that can be as short as one or two weeks or as long as a year for registrants to renew expired domain names.
The actual grace period can be different for each individual registrar and domain name extension.
That is, the grace period for a .com domain name might be different from the grace period for a .us domain name, even at the same registrar.
After the registrar’s grace period, most domain names have a redemption period.
This period can last from two weeks to 30 days, and, during this time, the current registrant can renew the domain name by paying a redemption fee along with the domain name’s renewal fee.
If the current registrant does not renew or redeem the domain name, it might be auctioned.
When a domain name is released to a public auction, you can participate and possibly capture the domain name by placing a bid on it.
If the domain name is not renewed, redeemed, or purchased through an auction, it is returned to its registry.
The registry determines when the domain name is released again for registration. Once it’s released, you can register the domain name through us.
What is the difference between domains vs hosting vs website?
Computers communicate by using numbers, called IP addresses, to contact each other, much like you use a phone number to dial a specific person’s phone.
Domain names on the internet are much like entries in a phone book.
The phone book tells people looking for a business what the entries are just as a domain tells people (i.e. their computers) that a domain is hosted on the server.
Without a domain, you would have to tell your customers that your site is located at a temporary url such as 123.456.789.123/~mysite instead of using a domain name such as mysite.com, making your site appear unprofessional and impractical.
The web-hosting or server is much like the space that you rent out to have your business in. It’s merely the space itself.
It does not include furnishings like shelves for your products, just as the web-hosting account doesn’t include a site for you to sell your products.
Luckily, in the web-hosting world, it’s very easy to furnish the space provided by your host, because you can install many framework applications through the QuickInstall icon within your cPanel.
Without the hosting services, you won’t have a place for your files to reside, so your domain would then become like a disconnected phone number in the phone directory, and your site files would have nowhere to stay.
The site files are what your visitors and potential customers actually see when going to site such as your products and services.
The site files are the same as any other file you normally use, like a .jpg photograph, or .mp3 music file. Though, website files are also .php files or .html files, which are PHP scripts or html pages respectively.
The web-hosting server knows how to read these files, which explain how the webpage looks or instruct the server to do a series of computations.
These computations are things like figuring out what blog article it’s supposed to send back to the viewer, or what forum post it’s supposed to send back.