OK, now I'm starting to picture what you're up to.
Rather than explain what the difference between a compressor and a limiter is, it might be easier to explain what they are commonly used for.
A compressor can be used to volume adjust, either up or down, all of the audio being processed, the fast transients of a sound (snare drum snap, punchy sounds in vocals) or the tail of a sound. It is also commonly used to squash sounds in that it enables you to raise the overall volume of a sound because it is more dense.
A limiter is mainly designed to stop peak transient sounds going over a set threshold. Otherwise known as a brick wall.... i.e. in your case, it would be used to stop it from clipping.
If you use high ratios on a compressor you are effectively turning it in to a limiter.
Do you understand/ have you played around with the threshold, attack, release and ration settings on the compressor? Do you understand what they do?