Start Here

February 3rd, 2010

A Quick Start-up Guide

  • Decide wether you want to tackle your website 100% on your own, with a little help from us, with a lot of help from us, or just let the professionals handle it. Contact us.
  • Pick a domain name that suits your business and is available.
  • Purchace and register your domain name.
  • Create a Hosting account.
  • Add your domain.
  • Upload website or start the SiteBuilder Website Creation Tool.
  • SEO
  • Other website promotions

Domain Names Explained

February 3rd, 2010

A domain name is an address on the Internet. Just as your street address must be unique so that the post office can deliver mail to you, and your telephone number must be unique so that customers can call you, your domain name must be unique so your e-mail reaches you and customers can visit your Web site.

An international address system, called the Domain Name System (DNS), was developed to ensure that every computer connected to the Internet has its own address. In the DNS system, however, that address is actually a set of numbers such as, which is called the computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address. Because these numbers are difficult for humans to remember, DNS allows you to assign a domain name, such as, to your IP address.

Now, when you want to visit Google’s Web site, you can type instead of

Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Every domain name is composed of two parts: a TLD (top-level domain) and a second-level domain. In the domain name, the .com part is the top-level domain, and the word amazon is the second-level domain. While there are an almost infinite number of second-level domains, there are a limited number of generic TLDs, some of which are shown in the following table.

Generic TLDPurpose.aeroRestricted for use by the international aviation community..bizRestricted for use by businesses; .biz was added because .com is being used by some groups and individuals that are not businesses..comNot restricted. This is the original TLD for businesses, but it has been used by many non-business groups..coopRestricted to use by cooperatives..eduRestricted to use by accredited educational institutions..govRestricted to use by the U.S. government..infoNot restricted. Intended for use by organizations that provide useful reference information..intRestricted to use by organizations involved in running the Internet and organizations established by agreements among international governments..nameRestricted to use by individuals who want to register their own name as a domain name; this allows people to have their own personal Web sites without using .com or other TLDs..netNot restricted. Intended for use by organizations who contribute to the construction or maintenance of the Internet..milRestricted to use only by the U.S. military..museumRestricted to use by museums..orgNot restricted. Intended for use by organizations such as non-profits..proRestricted to use by professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, who can pass credential checks..tvFor use by the television industry, particularly broadcasters.In addition to generic TLDs, there are a growing number of country code (cc) TLDs which associate Web sites with a particular country. For instance, .us can be used by companies in the United States . If you are an international company or do extensive business with another country, consider registering a domain name with the appropriate country code. Note that rules vary by country; some require your business to be incorporated in that country to qualify for their cc TLD. More than 130 country codes are currently in use; the following table lists a few.

cc United Kingdom.deGermany.hkHong Kong.itItaly.jpJapan.usUnited States
Deciding which TLDs are right for you is a balancing act. Remember that is an entirely different address than,, and If you own two of those names and someone else owns the other two, there is a real danger that your customers will end up at the other company’s site, and vice-versa. You may want to own several TLDs to prevent this from happening. However, each TLD costs a separate fee to register and maintain, and new TLDs are introduced regularly.

For small businesses, the .com TLD remains absolutely necessary, and many companies also purchase .biz.

Second-Level Domain
The second-level domain is what most people think of as their company’s domain name-it is the verio in, the google in The second-level domain is how your company will be known and remembered: think of it as a vital extension of your brand. You are free to create any second-level domain name that you want, as long as no one else is already using it. Here are several additional factors to consider:

Part of your business name: In many cases your domain name will include your company’s actual name or an abbreviation of that name. For instance, the domain name for The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah is
In certain cases, however, it may be better to choose a domain name that reflects the product you sell or the industry you serve. The Bed & Breakfast Associates of Bay Colony helps customers make reservations at bed & breakfasts in the Boston area. Their domain name is

Incorporating key words: When customers use a search engine to locate a business, they use keywords to describe what they are looking for. Some experts believe that incorporating a relevant keyword into your domain name helps ensure that it is listed near the top of customers’ search results. So if your company’s name is Hannah’s Internet Café and you sell fresh coffee beans from around the world, you might incorporate the keyword coffee in your domain by registering

Short, memorable, and unique: Your domain name should be easy for people to remember: this usually means making it short and unique. For example, if your company’s name is David’s Lawn and Landscaping Advice, you might choose a name like However, if there is already a or a, you should probably chose a different name because yours is no longer unusual; customers may confuse it with your competitors’ sites and go there instead.
Domain names such as and have nothing obvious to do with their businesses, but the names are unusual, memorable, and effective. If you want to build a new brand with your domain name, however, be aware that common words like monster and amazon are much more difficult to trademark. Training customers to associate an unusual word with your business usually take a lot more marketing muscle.

Misspellings: If your name contains words that are commonly misspelled, you might consider registering those misspelled versions, as well. For instance, if you own a plumbing company and your domain name is, you might also register so that people who misspell your name still find your Web site.

Be aware of trademarks: Under U.S. law, domain names are intellectual property. If your domain name includes someone else’s registered trademark, you can be held liable for damages in civil court. Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999, you can also be held liable if you register a domain name that contains someone else’s trademark, even if you don’t actively use that domain name. This same law protects you: if someone else has registered a domain name that contains your trademark, and they are using that name for commercial purposes (including trying to sell it to you), you may be able to pursue legal action.
Before finalizing your domain name, go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ( to perform a free trademark search. You can also review relevant laws and regulations at this site, including the Anticybersquatting Act. If you are uncomfortable dealing with these legal issues, consider seeking an attorney that specializes in trademarks.

Registering a Domain Name
Registering a domain name is similar to calling the telephone company to arrange for phone service. You can think up a great phone number, but if the telephone company doesn’t set it up, you can’t use it.

The actual process of registering a domain name is about as simple as going to a Web site, indicating the domain name you want, and paying the registration fee. Hundreds of Web sites offer registration services, but some are more reputable than others. Here’s what to look for:

Domain name search: The only reliable domain name search is called WHOIS; all reputable registration companies have a WHOIS search on their Web site. At a minimum, this search will tell you whether or not a domain name has been registered. You might also learn who owns the domain name and their contact information, the IP addresses associated with the name, when the name was registered, and when it expires. This information, however, can be made private by the domain name owner.
Make sure the registration Web site allows you to search for an available domain name, and confirm that it is available, before you pay. Never fill out a request form that simply indicates the domain name you want and your billing information. Also, only register a domain name with a company that allows you to pay by credit card. Tens of thousands of domain names are registered every day; when you find one that’s available, you want to pay for it immediately and know it’s yours.

Compare prices and features: There is a wide variance in how much companies charge for domain name registration. Sometimes prices reflect the level of service. For instance, some inexpensive registration services only offer domain name parking, which means you register the domain name so that you own it, but you can’t actually use it for anything (no one can visit a Web site or send you e-mail at that domain). Look carefully at the services offered.

Trusted business partner: How your domain name is managed is of utmost importance to the success of your Web site: if problems occur, customers may not be able to reach your site. If you need to make any changes to your domain name, you want those changes to be made quickly and reliably. Partner with a company that has a high level of professionalism and expertise, robust and reliable technology, and a range of services so that they can advise you as your business grows.
You do not have to register your domain name with the company that hosts your Web site. You can register your domain name with Company A and tell them to forward customers to Company B (the company hosting your Web site, or your own Web server) where your actual Web site is. To do this, the company that you register your domain name with must offer a forwarding service (also called URL forwarding).

If you register multiple domain names, you can forward them to the same Web site. For instance, you could point and to your actual Web site at Another way to handle this situation is by using a CNAME record, which is discussed in the next section.

When you register your domain name, you are doing so for a fixed time period (most companies allow you to register for a maximum of 5 years). You must keep good records and remember to renew your registration; if you allow it to expire, someone else can register your domain name and gain control of it.

Using Your Domain Name
Remember that the Domain Name System (DNS) has two components: an IP address and a domain name. Before using your domain name, you must point it to the IP address of the computer that is hosting your Web site. If you hired a Web hosting company, they will tell you the IP number to use (note that some Web hosting companies will give you a name server address, such as, to use instead of an IP address).

Pointing your domain name is easy. Simply go to the Web site of the company you registered your domain name with, and select their DNS management tool (if you hired a Web hosting company, go to their site to manage your DNS). Many companies, including Verio, will point the domain to the IP address if you buy the domain and hosting together.

After selecting the DNS management tool, you will need to create a record, which is basically an entry in a database that is used to manage all Internet domain names. There are three primary types of records, but the only one you absolutely need is an A Record, which is used to route Web site traffic to your Web site and e-mail to your e-mail server.

Inside the A Record you will create a Web (www) entry by typing in your Web site URL and the IP address of the computer hosting your Web site. You can also create an e-mail entry if you want to use your domain name as an e-mail address; this entry must point to the computer that hosts your e-mail server (the company hosting your Web site will give you this information).

Following is a sample A Record for the domain name; it points to a computer with the IP address of

A Record for
mail.hannahcoffee.comNumeric IP use your domain name as an e-mail address, you will also need to create an MX Record, which simply contains the name of your e-mail server (your Web hosting company will give you this information). In our example, the accompanying MX Record might simply be:

MX Record for
Mail Server

If you registered multiple domain names but want them all to point to the same Web site, you can create a CNAME Record. Think of the CNAME Record as describing an alias for your primary domain name. For example, your primary domain name is, but you also registered,, and You must create a CNAME Record for each of the three alias domain names to point them to Following is a sample CNAME Record for hannahcoffebiz that points it to

CNAME Record for
hannahcoffee.bizRefers to Host Name
hannahcoffee.comNote that you should always refer aliases to your primary domain name, which is the one listed in your A Record. When editing DNS records, be patient. The changes you make can take anywhere from 2 hours to several days to take effect. Also be very careful: fixing problems takes an equal amount of time.

Creating records is the final step in managing your domain name. You are now ready to build your Web site and get your business online.

Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines and Directories

February 2nd, 2010

When consumers use the Internet to learn more about something they’re interested in, they typically start at a search engine like Google or a directory like Yahoo! Your goal is for the consumer to see a link to your Web site before they see one for your competitor. There are two broad methods for achieving visibility. The first is to purchase ad space from the search engine or directory service, which is explained in our article “How to Run Paid Ads on Search Engines and Directories.” The second method involves optimizing your Web site so that it appears near the top of search engines and directory listings, which we discuss in the remainder of this article.

Search engines and directories are two very different animals. A search engine uses an automated piece of software called a robot or spider to find Web sites and index their information; the search engine then uses a proprietary algorithm to rank those Web sites. Optimizing your Web site for search engines is a complex, imprecise procedure. First of all, each search engine uses its own algorithm for ranking Web sites. Secondly, search engine companies don’t reveal how these algorithms work because they don’t want anyone gaming the system (most search engine companies change their algorithms on a regular basis as further insurance against cheating). Popular search engines include Google and MSN.

A directory, on the other hand, is built by human-beings who visit Web sites, assess their content, and decide how each site should fit into the directory’s structure. Popular directories include Yahoo! and The Open Directory Project (ODP) at

A third category, hybrid sites, combine results from search engines and directories. Some of these sites also mix in paid ads that appear as search results. Popular hybrid sites include Yahoo! and AOL.

The Optimization Process
Even if you already have your Web site up-and-running, wait until you have optimized it before registering with directories and search engines. Because the criteria that determines a high-ranking Web site is different for each search engine and directory, and because the criteria changes frequently, Web site optimization is not a precise science. However, over the years the principles described in our 10-step plan have proven to help businesses improve their rankings.

Step 1: Assess the Competition
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to optimizing your Web site, a certain amount of imitation can also make good business sense. Visit all the key search engines and directories and use them as your customers would. Enter search words; navigate directories; make a note of the businesses that are well-placed in your categories, and then visit their Web sites. Look at the words they use to describe their business; examine their HTML code and create a list of the keywords and META tags they use.

Step 2: Create Your Keyword List
A keyword list contains the most important words that describe your business. Building a good keyword list is vital for good search engine placement but will have little effect on your placement in directories. When building your list, think of the words that customers use when looking for your business, products, or services. Consider including any applicable keywords that your successful competitors are using.

Step 3: Create META Tags
HTML includes a set of META tags that are used to describe the contents of each page on your Web site. META tags are one of the things that search engines look at when categorizing and ranking your Web site, so proper use of META tags is important to optimizing your ranking. The three most important META tags are TITLE, DESCRIPTION, and KEYWORD.

The TITLE tag identifies the contents of the Web page; the TITLE should be accurate and unique for each page of your site and should incorporate one or two of your most relevant keywords.

The DESCRIPTION tag contains a lengthier description of the contents of your Web page; some search engines display the contents of this tag with a customer’s search results (other search engines use an HTML remarks line, if it is present). Each page’s DESCRIPTION should be unique and include relevant keywords.

The KEYWORD tag is a list of your keywords and phrases, each separated by a comma. Do not use the same word more than twice–some search engines consider this spamming and will lower your sites ranking accordingly.

For more information on the use of META tags, visit

Step 4: Build Great Content
No matter what other techniques you use to improve your Web site’s ranking, they will be ineffective in the long run if you don’t have great content. The content of your Web site should be unique, high-quality, and relevant to your products and services. This is especially true for obtaining a good ranking in directories, because human-beings–not algorithms–are assessing your Web site.

Be sure to use your keywords in the headings and text of your site’s homepage. This is especially important for a good ranking in search engines.

Your content should also be fresh and frequently updated. This is important in determining your initial ranking in directories, and it is vital to your continued ranking in search engines because they spider the same sites repeatedly, and updated content helps you establish credibility.

Ensure that each page of your Web site is unique. If you reuse the same text from page to page, search engines may interpret this as an attempt to artificially improve your ranking, which will result in lowering your ranking.

Step 5: Link to Other Quality Sites
You have spent a lot of time and effort to bring customers to your site, and in general, you want to keep them there as long as possible. However, no one business can be all things to all people, so you can provide a real service to your customers by giving them links to quality Web sites that contain relevant content they are interested in. By providing these links, you can also increase your ranking in both directories and search engines.

When you link to another Web site, make sure that site loads in a separate browser window; this makes it easier for your customers to return to your site.

Step 6: Encourage Other Sites to Link to You
Encouraging other Web sites to link to your site accomplishes several things. Most importantly, it can be a major source of new customers. Also, search engines will give you a better ranking if other sites provide links to you. Some search engines also take into account how popular the sites are that link to you; for instance, a link from would be more valuable than a link from someone’s personal Web page.

Many Web sites will be more willing to link to you if you offer a reciprocal link to them.

Step 7: Register Your Site with Directories
At this point you have a complete Web site and are ready to advertise it to the world. Your next step is to submit your site to all the directories, such as Yahoo! and ODP. Registering your site begins the review and ranking process, which may take a matter of days, weeks, or months, depending on the directory. Once you register your site with a directory, visit that directory often to ensure your site is categorized correctly.

When determining your ranking, many search engines will check to see if your site is listed in directories. The more directories your site is listed in, the higher your ranking, so be sure to complete this step before proceeding to the next.

Step 8: Register Your Site with Search Engines
Now it’s time to register your site with the search engines. As with directories, simply registering your site does not mean it will be ranked and available in the search engine. Check with the engine often to ensure your site is listed properly. Search engines constantly revisit the same Web sites to make sure they are still active and to update their ranking, but when you make major changes or upgrades to your site, you should re-register it with the search engines. This will help ensure that you are quickly rewarded for your work.

Step 9: Review Your Web Server Log
Your Web server keeps a log of information that is invaluable for refining your Web site content and shaping your marketing and advertising efforts. For instance, your log file contains information about what search engines or directories your customers are coming from and what search words they used to find you. By keeping successful keywords and replacing unsuccessful ones, you will build your customer base and search engine ranking.

Web server logs can contain hundreds-of-thousands of lines of information, to make the best use of them, you will need specialized software. Some Web hosting companies, make this software available (Verio provides an excellent software package, called Urchin, to its customers for free).

Step 10: Repeat This List Frequently
Building a successful site is a recursive process. As in all aspects of business, you should periodically assess your competition and adjust your efforts accordingly. Adjust your META tags. Rework your keywords. It is especially important to frequently update the content on your site, not only because it improves your ranking in search engines, but because your Internet customers expect it.

Creating a Customer Database for Your Site

February 2nd, 2010

One of any business’s greatest assets is its list of customers. It is a record of past sales and a source of future revenue. The Internet presents a unique opportunity for you to obtain information about visitors on your Web site and to convert those visitors into customers.

As you are probably aware, consumers on the Internet are often very hesitant to provide any information about themselves while online. Most of us have experienced the frustration of entering our e-mail address on one Web site and soon after receiving volumes of spam e-mail. In the worst cases, personal data is stolen from a Web site and those customers become the victims of fraud or full identity theft. The media has covered such cases extensively, so many consumers are now aware of the risk in providing personal information. If you plan to leverage your Web site to increase your customer database, we recommend the following:

Be clear and forthcoming about how you will and will not use any personal data your company collects. Create a privacy policy and adhere to it.
Do everything you can to safeguard the personal information you collect from customers. Don’t use obvious names for your database files–spammers are very clever about searching your Web site for files like “users.txt” or “customers.txt”.
Review your database records regularly and expire old data. Having a database of 10,000 names isn’t very valuable if 8,000 names are invalid due to corrupted or outdated information.
Never present your customer list on your Web site in any browsable format.
If you keep these main points in mind, you’ll be one step closer to having a database of happy, repeat customers.

Implementing an Online Database
There are many ways of actually collecting information from visitors to your Web site. Some fairly straight-forward methods can be used, even if you do not have advanced technical skills. We will cover several methods in this article, but regardless of how you go about collecting and storing the information, your first priority should be security.

Investing in an SSL certificate from a company like GlobalSign to secure data submissions is vital. SSL encrypts data as it passes back and forth between the customer’s Web browser and your Web server. Even if you create a simple Web form to collect customer data, that information passes through dozens of points on the Internet as it travels from the customer’s Web browser to you. Investing in an SSL certificate from a company like GlobalSign or GeoTrust to secure data submissions is vital.

Most people are familiar with a Web form; they are created with HTML and appear on your Web site as a form with various fields for customers to fill out. An accompanying Submit button is used to process the customer’s information. The processing of the collected information is the $64,000 question. What does that mean? How do you get an action to take place when the visitor hits that Submit button?

The engine that processes data in a Web form is called a forms handler. The forms handler can be a script written in JavaScript, PHP, ASP, Java, or many other languages; it can also be a bot process such as a FrontPage forms bot. When your customer presses the Submit button at the bottom of your Web form, the forms handler either sends you the customer’s data in some manner (email, FTP, etc.) or writes the data immediately to your online database.

FrontPage: The Simple Way
As discussed in our article “Popular Web Tools and Technologies” FrontPage is a Web development tool that enables you to design Web pages and advanced Web forms. While FrontPage is an application that you run on your local PC, there is a server-side component, called the FrontPage extensions, needed for proper forms handling. To create Web forms with FrontPage, verify that your Web hosting service supports FrontPage extensions.

You can use FrontPage and FrontPage extensions to create online Web forms that collect data and either send it to you via an e-mail or store it locally (in a secured area of your Web site for later download), or both. FrontPage also has the ability to store collected data in an Access database. FrontPage has some limited ability to validate Web form data: it can certify that fields expected to contain numbers actually do and that e-mail address fields appear to be valid (i.e., they are formatted correctly).

You should consider several things when collecting data with FrontPage. First, if you configure FrontPage to e-mail a customer’s Web form data to you, that data will pass through many points on the Internet where it could easily be captured and examined by unscrupulous people. So you should never collect vital personal data such as credit card information via an e-mail transmission. Secondly, the e-mail address where the data is to be sent (e.g., your company’s e-mail address) is coded into the FrontPage form; this means an unscrupulous person can easily grab your e-mail address and spam it. For these reasons, it is unadvisable to use e-mail to transmit customer data.

FrontPage forms can also store collected data in a local file (CSV format) or MDB (Microsoft Access) database. The only problem with this approach is that it is more difficult to transfer data from the Web site to your office for merging into a complete contact management application such as Gold Mine or a FileMaker database. The optimal solution in this scenario is to use the data live from your Web hosting company, which eliminates the technical difficulties of supporting data in multiple locations.

Script-Driven Database Solutions
Nearly all script engines such as PHP, Perl, ASP, and JSP have database functionality built in or available as an add-on to the language. Like FrontPage extensions, nearly any other script engine can be built as a form handler and assigned to process form data on a Web site. So which one should you choose? That depends on several technical factors (the type of Web server you’re using, for instance) as well as what expertise you have available to you. If you are working with a Web hosting service, they should have at least one script engine available to you for free.

If you are hosting your own Web site, we recommend that you survey popular script sites on the Internet to get a feel for what sort of commercial or freeware solutions already exist. Sites like and are great resources.

Where and How to Store the Data
Once you decide on how to gather customer data on your Web site, you next need to decide how to store it. The most popular database for Web servers is MySQL. It’s free, it’s powerful, it’s widely used, and there are many resources available in print and online that will help you learn how to use it. Other solutions exist for larger scale data warehousing such as full SQL from Microsoft or Oracle, but these are generally used by large corporations with higher capacity needs (and higher budgets) than the average small- or medium-size business.

MySQL works particularly well with the PHP scripting language. PHP has built-in MySQL functionality and is the most widely used freeware scripting language used on the Internet today.

The problem still remains of how to make live use of customer data that is stored in a MySQL or full SQL database. Both of these solutions are transaction databases and by default don’t come with a user interface that gives you access to the data. If you are savvy in writing your own scripts (PHP or otherwise) you can craft an interface that gives you access to the data via a Web connection, or you can search for an out-of-the-box solution that provides you with the access you need. If you are accessing your customer data via a live connection to database provided by your Web hosting service, you must secure it via SSL.

The FileMaker Solution
Another approach to building a Web database is to use FileMaker, a complete database solution offering both robust data storage capability and a complete user interface via the FileMaker client. There are many FileMaker hosts on the Internet who can host a FileMaker database for you. FileMaker is not a freeware application but its cost is reasonable for what you get. FileMaker Server and FileMaker Server Advanced can be purchased for about $2,000 and FileMaker clients can be purchased for around $230 per seat.

If you are using a dedicated server solution (virtual or physical) from a Web hosting service, you will have the flexibility to install FileMaker Server on your server. You can work with your service provider to configure FileMaker to give you live access to your customer database while simultaneously allowing your Web site forms to add data to the same database. One great benefit of this setup is that your company operates from a single database, greatly increasing your efficiency.

Making the Final Choice
All the database solutions discussed here can work well for you. If you are working with a Web hosting service such as Verio, look first at the solutions they offer. Ultimately you must choose a solution that is best suited to your exact needs, works well with the other software you have (server operating system, Web server, etc.), and is within your technical ability to implement it.

Privacy Policies and Internet Advertising Law

February 2nd, 2010

One reason the Internet is an excellent marketing and advertising tool is that it provides much more information about consumer behavior than is available through traditional print-based media.

By monitoring visitors on your Web site, and collecting reactions to ads placed on other Web sites, you can obtain a host of consumer information, including how many people viewed your ad, what percentage of people clicked on the ad, what percentage of people purchased your product after seeing the ad, which pages on your Web site are visited most often, the names of other Web sites your customers have visited, and customers’ e-mail addresses and other personal information.

This data can help you substantially improve your products and services. Unfortunately, the ease of collecting consumer data has resulted in fraud, violations of consumer privacy, and identity theft. As a result, consumers are increasingly wary of providing personal information, and more laws are being passed to protect their rights.

In this article we examine several Internet advertising and privacy laws, and we discuss how to reassure your customers while legally collecting the information you need to build your business.

The Law of the Land
Long before the Internet, the U.S. government passed laws protecting the privacy of consumers’ personal information and shielding them from misleading, fraudulent, and deceptive advertising practices. These laws also apply to the Internet–you should be especially familiar with Section 5 of the FTC Act. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes guidelines to help businesses apply older laws to the Internet. For instance, the three primary legal requirements for truth in advertising are:

Advertising must be truthful and not misleading.
Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims.
Advertisements cannot be unfair.
To honor these legal requirements when advertising on the Internet, the FTC recommends that businesses:

Place disclosures on the same Web page as the claim they apply to, and when necessary, provide adequate visual cues to indicate that a consumer must scroll down on the page to view the disclosure.
When hyperlinking to disclosures, make the link obvious and noticeable, label the link accurately and indicate its importance, place the link near relevant information, ensure that the link takes consumers directly to the disclosure, and monitor link usage to ensure its effectiveness.
Display disclosures prior to purchase.
Ensure that an advertisement’s “text, graphics, hyperlinks, or sound do not distract consumers’ attention from the disclosure.”
If your Web business sells other companies’ products, be aware that the FTC can also hold you responsible for misleading ads and product descriptions, even when those materials are provided by the manufacturer. The FTC recommends that “to protect themselves, catalog marketers should ask for material to back up claims rather than repeat what the manufacturer says about the product” and that “in writing ad copy, catalogers should stick to claims that can be supported.” The FTC pays closest attention to ads that make health or safety claims, or that present data or statistics that consumers would have difficulty verifying.

In addition to pre-existing laws, the U.S. Congress has enacted several new laws that govern Internet advertising and privacy. The most important of these is H.R. 29, more commonly known as the SPY Act (Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act), which came into effect on March 5, 2005. The Act prohibits specific types of Internet advertisements and methods for manipulating users’ computers, including:

Advertisements that cannot be closed “without undue effort or knowledge by the user.”
Advertisements that can only be closed by “turning off the computer or closing all sessions of the Internet browser for the computer.”
Modifying a computer user’s browser settings so that a different Web page appears when the browser is launched.
Changing a computer user’s default ISP or Internet connection method, as well as any settings associated with these connections.
Altering a “list of bookmarks used by the computer to access Web pages.”
Altering any “security or other settings of the computer that protect information about the owner or authorized user for the purposes of causing damage or harm to the computer or owner or user.”
“Collecting personally identifiable information through the use of a keystroke logging function.”
The SPY Act also addresses Internet consumer privacy issues, particularly the use of information collection programs that are installed on a user’s computer to gather information about that user. The Act defines an information collection program as one that collects personally identifiable information and either sends the information to anyone other than the computer user, or uses the information to display advertising on that user’s computer.

Before you can install and execute such a program, the user must be given notice of the program’s data collection functions and must consent to the program’s execution. The Act states that notice of the program’s information collection functions must be clear, conspicuous, written in plain language, and clearly distinguished from any surrounding text or information. Further, the program must contain one of the following statements (or something substantially similar) depending on the program’s exact function:

“This program will collect and transmit information about you. Do you accept?”
“This program will collect information about Web pages you access and will use that information to display advertising on your computer. Do you accept?”
“This program will collect and transmit information about you and will collect information about Web pages you access and use that information to display advertising on your computer. Do you accept?”
If your business caters to children, you should be aware of The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires that businesses “obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children, including their names, home addresses, e-mail addresses, or hobbies.” Also investigate state laws.

Many industries have special laws governing information privacy; these laws also apply to doing business on the Internet. For instance, if your business offers loans, financial or investment advice, insurance, or any type of financial product or service, make sure you adhere to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999.

Developing Your Privacy Policy
Now that you are aware of the laws governing Internet privacy, it is time to develop a privacy policy for your business. A privacy policy is a legal document that:

Explains to consumers how your business will collect, use, and keep secure any information you obtain about them.
Demonstrates a level of responsibility to your customers, forming a bond of trust that will increase their confidence in you and willingness to do business with you.
Helps your business meet legal requirements.
Functions as a guideline for making business decisions.
Following is a summary of the FTC’s recommendations for a privacy policy:

Notify consumers about your Web site’s information collection policies.
Allow consumers to choose how your business uses any information you collect which personally identifies them.
Give consumers a mechanism for reviewing the information you collect about them.
Ensure the security of all consumer information that your business collects.
Two excellent examples of a privacy policy can be found at and The remainder of this article discusses the elements of a complete privacy policy.

What Information Is Collected and How
Your privacy policy should clearly state what consumer information you collect from anyone who visits your Web site (or communicates with your business in any other manner). There are two broad types of consumer information:

Personally identifiable information (PII) is the most sensitive because it can be used to identify an individual. PII includes a person’s legal name, e-mail address, physical mailing address, social security number, phone number, medical records, and bank account numbers or other financial data. Consumers feel most secure when the only PII you collect is information they provide to you directly, such as by filling out a form on your Web site.
Non-PII is anonymous information that cannot be used to identify an individual. Non-PII is often used to track how visitors navigate your Web site, which pages were viewed most often, what other Web sites they have visited, and similar data.
You should also identify the technologies and methods your business uses to collect consumer information. Disclosing your methods accomplishes two things: increases customers’ trust and confidence in your business, and helps technically-savvy customers opt-out of data collection. For non-technical customers, however, you should explain how they can opt-out of providing both PII and non-PII.

How Collected Information Is Used
In this section you tell consumers exactly how you will and will not use the information you collect. Use this as an opportunity to sell them on your Web site’s features and services. For instance, maybe you use cookies to track what articles they read so that you can suggest related articles.

Because e-mail spam is such a problem, the first question consumers usually have for a business is, “Will you give my e-mail address to anyone else?” Customers are usually most comfortable when their e-mail addresses are only used by the business they directly give them to. However, there are many situations where businesses can benefit from sharing their customers’ e-mail addresses. Whether you plan to share customers’ information or not, it is vital that your privacy policy accurately describes your business practices and, in the process, reassures customers so they will continue to provide the information you need to successfully run your business.

How Consumers Can Opt-Out
Generally speaking, PII should only be collected with the consumer’s consent. Non-PII can be collected without the consumer’s consent, but your privacy policy should clearly explain how the consumer can opt-out of your data collection process. The actual steps for opting-out depend on the type of information you collect and the technologies you use to do it.

If you allow third-party advertising companies, such as 24/7 Real Media or DoubleClick, to run advertisements on your site, you should tell consumers how to opt-out of these companies’ information collection process as well. However, you do not have to provide the exact instructions; simply point customers to the appropriate page on the third-party’s Web site. Alternatively, if the third-party advertiser is a member of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), point your customer to the NAI opt-out page at

For more information about third-party advertisers and the NAI, please see our article “Introduction to Internet Advertising.”

How Collected Information Is Kept Secure
Privacy and security are two separate issues. The security section of your privacy policy should describe how you ensure that all consumer information is protected from theft. If you share consumer information with business partners, what steps do you take to ensure they keep the information secure?

With Whom You Share Collected Information
It is not necessary that you list every single company, business partner, or entity that you might share collected information with. You should, however, mention types of entities you will share information with; for instance: business partners, credit card companies, and government agencies. For each type of entity, list the type of collected information you would share and under what circumstances.

Getting More Information
There are several organizations that can assist your business by recommending privacy policies and security technologies, reviewing your privacy practices, and providing endorsements. One of the most respected is TRUSTe (, an independent, non-profit organization established to safeguard Internet privacy and security.

Look at your competitors’ privacy policies and consider them from a customer’s perspective. Make sure that your policy does a better job of informing and reassuring potential customers.

If you have questions about advertising and privacy laws, or how they are interpreted and applied to business, we recommend that you consult a lawyer. For information about running an Internet advertising campaign, see our article “Introduction to Advertising.”

Introduction to E-Mail Marketing

February 2nd, 2010

Consider these three facts about American e-mail usage in 2005. A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 53% of Americans consider e-mail less trustworthy due to spam. A study by the e-mail security company Postini found that in March of 2005, a full 87% of all e-mail messages sent were spam. Yet a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. found that the average e-mail user has three e-mail accounts and spends almost one hour every day reading and sending e-mail messages. Based on these findings, it is reasonable to draw a few conclusions:

Americans want to use e-mail as a communication tool, but they are frustrated by the high levels of spam they receive.
It is easy for legitimate commercial e-mail messages to be lost, accidentally deleted, or simply remain unviewed among the deluge of spam in your customers’ in-boxes.
Your e-mail marketing must be personalized, focused, relevant, enticing, and unique to be seen.
In the past several years, spam has become so endemic that the U.S. Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act, a set of laws governing how businesses can send commercial e-mail. Adhering to the Act is vitally important for your business; for more information, please see our article “The CAN-SPAM Act and What You Need to Know.”

Advantages of E-Mail Marketing
Used correctly, e-mail can be a powerful marketing tool for increasing brand recognition, increasing sales, driving traffic to your Web site, and building and maintaining customer relationships. Some of the advantages of e-mail over more traditional marketing methods include:

Inexpensive: You may need to spend some money on designing your text- and HTML-based e-mail pieces, but you can eliminate paper, printing, manufacturing, and shipping costs.

Fast: An e-mail piece can be created very quickly, and many of your customers will receive it within 30 seconds of it being sent. Likewise, response time is very fast: 80% of customers who respond to an e-mail piece do so within 48 hours of receiving it.

Personalized Message to a Targeted Audience: E-mail enables you to send targeted messages to specific segments of your customer base. Research shows that personalizing an e-mail greatly increases the chance that your customer will read it; it also increases the chance they will follow your call to action.

Verifiable Results: Like no other marketing vehicle, e-mail enables you to immediately measure many types and degrees of customer reaction to your campaign. You can measure how many customers open your e-mail, how many click on a link in it, and how many ultimately purchase a product or take any other action suggested in the message.
Building an E-Mail Marketing Campaign
In this section we explain the five steps involved in launching a successful e-mail marketing campaign.

Step 1: Obtaining a List of E-Mail Addresses
Perhaps the biggest challenge is obtaining a list of qualified e-mail addresses. You can take two different approaches: build your own list, or rent a list. One way to build your list is to ask your Web site visitors to sign up for further information about your company, its products, and services. The advantage to this method is that you collect a relevant list of pre-qualified customers who have expressed interest in your company. The disadvantage is that it can take a long time to build a list. You must also be vigilant about following the CAN-SPAM Act laws. Keep the following in mind as you build your list:

Obtain your customers’ permission to send them e-mail by giving them a way to opt-in. Make it clear that you are asking them to sign up to receive commercial information about your company, products, and services. Make the form they fill out short and easy. Ask them about their interests so that you can send them targeted e-mail.
Clearly explain your privacy policy (what you will do with the personal information they give you) and adhere to it.
Offer something free–but of value to your customers–to entice them to sign up. Some examples are: free information or research, product discounts, a chance to win a prize, personalized customer service, access to additional services on your Web site, or notification of future events.
You must also provide a clear and easy method for your customers to opt-out of further e-mail.
The second method is to rent a list of e-mail addresses from another company. This can be a quick-fix solution, but ratchet down your expectations: rented lists are normally only one-third to one-half as effective as lists you build yourself. If you rent a list, you must manage the process closely. To get your money’s worth and avoid legal issues, ensure that:

The company you are renting the list from follows all rules of the CAN-SPAM Act.
The list contains qualified e-mail addresses; in other words, the people on this list have indicated that they want information about the type of products and services that your company offers.
The list has been kept up-to-date and contains only people who have recently opted-in or that communicate regularly with the company you are renting the list from.
The company guarantees useful results. Guaranteeing that a percentage of customers open your e-mail is not nearly as useful as guaranteeing a percentage of responses or click-throughs. Be wary if no guarantees are offered.
You are comfortable with how the campaign will be managed. Will the company provide you with the list so that you can physically send the e-mail, or do you have to submit the e-mail message to the company so that they can send it. The latter is very common when the company wants to protect the privacy of their list, but it also means you must rely on the accuracy and timeliness of their reporting mechanisms.
Step 2: Define Goals for Your Campaign
Like any other marketing effort, you should define goals for your e-mail campaign. Are you trying to increase brand awareness, drive customers to your Web site, increase sales, or improve customer relations? Once you’ve decided on your goal, define what success will look like. If you want to drive customers to your Web site, you should already have several weeks or months of traffic statistics to use as a baseline for measuring the success of your e-mail marketing campaign.

Step 3: Determine Customer Segment to Reach
Once you define goals for your e-mail campaign, you need to define the customers that can best help you get there. If you took the time to ask your customers several questions about their interests when they opted-in to your e-mail program, it will pay off now. Being able to send targeted e-mail to specific customer segments is usually much more effective than sending generic e-mail offers to your entire list.

Step 4: Create the E-Mail Message
With a campaign goal defined and a customer segment identified, you can now create the e-mail message. One of the keys here is personalization. Any marketing piece must appeal to its intended audience, but this is especially important in e-mail because customers are so inundated with spam and junk they don’t want. When your e-mail lands in your customer’s in-box, it must stand out from the clutter; it must be clearly and immediately obvious that it is of interest to the customer. Here are some proven techniques to help you out:

The “To” line of the e-mail should include your customer’s name; even this simple level of personalization increases the chances of your e-mail being read.
The “From” line should clearly indicate your company’s name, or the name of someone associated with your company (and preferably known by the customer). A recent survey by Return Path revealed that recognizing a trusted company’s name in the From line helped influenced 60% of customers to open an e-mail. If the customer does not recognize who the e-mail is from, they are much less likely to open it, fearing spam or viruses.
The most important line is the “Subject.” It is vital that these words accurately describe the value proposition of the e-mail, but most importantly, they must grab the customer’s attention. However, don’t overplay your hand. For instance, putting the word “free” in your Subject line is more likely to cause suspicion than excitement. It is also a good idea to keep the Subject as short as possible; recent research by EmailLabs found that open rates were 12.5% higher and that click-throughs were 75 percent higher when the Subject line contained 50 characters or less.
The body of the e-mail should begin by addressing the customer. As in all direct marketing pieces, it is generally best to make your message as short as possible. Also, end with a call to action: if you want to drive traffic to your Web site, provide both a link and an incentive for clicking on the link. If you provide a link, be sure it takes the customer to the specific page on your Web site that provides the information or offer mentioned in your e-mail.
Using HTML to create vibrant, professional e-mail messages not only increases the appeal of the message to customers, but it is an excellent way to extend your branding. You can even format the contents of your e-mail to look like a page from your Web site. However, you should avoid loading your marketing e-mail with lots of graphics–customers with older computers or dial-up Internet connections may become frustrated if the e-mail takes to long to download and open.
Step 5: Measure Your Success
An enormous benefit of using e-mail marketing is the speed and precision with which you can measure customer reaction. You can conceive of a campaign, execute it, and measure it’s effectiveness within a matter of days. Following are some of the most important metrics to track for each e-mail campaign:

Sent: This is simply the number of e-mail sent and functions as a baseline for several other metrics
Bounced: The number of e-mail that bounced back because they were undeliverable. Some e-mail may not be deliverable for temporary reasons (such as a failure at the customer’s ISP); other e-mail may be undeliverable because the customer’s e-mail account is no longer active. If e-mail is undeliverable to a customer after three consecutive campaigns, their contact information should be considered invalid and deleted from your list.
Delivered: The number of e-mail sent, minus the bounce back rate, equals the number actually received by customers. DoubleClick reports that the average delivery rate is 90 percent.
Opened: The actual number of e-mail opened by customers. DoubleClick reports an average of 34.3 percent. If your average is significantly lower, consider changing the text in your e-mail’s Subject line.
Opt-Out: The number of customers who opted-out of receiving future e-mail from you. Obviously a high number here means that customers reacted poorly to the message or offer in the current e-mail.
Click-Through Rate (CTR): The number of customers who responded to the call to action by clicking on a link in the e-mail. DoubleClick reports the average is 8.2 percent.
Conversion: This is the ultimate number of successes, the people who were motivated by the e-mail and acted on it. If the goal of the e-mail was to sell more cameras, this is the number of people who bought cameras.
The inexpensive nature of e-mail marketing encourages experimentation; its ability to reach segmented audiences encourages refinement. Test variations of your messages on small groups of customers to find the most successful solution. Keep your e-mail lists fresh and relevant by constantly working to add new customers and weeding out old, expired, and invalid data.

E-Mail Marketing Software, Services, and Associations
There are many products and services available to help you manage your e-mail campaigns. Additionally, several professional marketing associations offer advice and up-to-date information about e-mail marketing. Here is a short list of resources to consider:

Autoresponders: Used to instantly send an automated message to customers who opt-in to your e-mail list. Autoresponders can also aid your e-mail campaigns by sending repeated e-mail messages, over a specified time, to your customers.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA): A professional trade association with more than 5,000 member companies worldwide. The DMA publishes quality advice and information about e-mail marketing and actively works for policy change in the industry. Their Web site is
E-Mail Templates: There are many free, HTML e-mail templates available that can give your campaigns a professional look. Many of these templates require no technical skills at all to use. For several examples, see
Publishing and Tracking Systems: These services offer businesses the ability to easily manage multiple e-mail campaigns and track their results. The features offered and associated costs vary considerably. Look for a system that tracks all the metrics discussed earlier in this article, enables you to send e-mail attachments, and offers free technical support over the phone.
The Future of E-Mail Marketing
E-mail marketing best practices continue to evolve, and new laws governing commercial e-mail are enacted on a regular basis. If you haven’t done so already, please read our article “The CAN-SPAM Act and What You Need to Know.” This Act forms the basis of commercial e-mail law in the U.S. Since its inception, the Act has been updated several times; for recent additions and proposed changes, see One proposed change all businesses should monitor closely would reduce or eliminate a company’s ability to engage in “pass-along” marketing–the practice of encouraging customers to forward commercial e-mail to friends.

Another important new development in the fight against spam is e-mail authentication. This technology seeks to significantly reduce spam by only delivering e-mail messages that can be verified as originating with a valid business. Several e-mail providers, including Microsoft Hotmail, are adopting authentication technology. This means businesses who want to send e-mail to Hotmail users will also need to adopt authentication technology. For more information, visit

20 Free Ways to Advertise Your Web Site

February 2nd, 2010

Television ads are often prohibitively expensive for small businesses to produce and air. Magazine and radio ads are less expensive but still require a sizeable investment when part of an ongoing campaign. Although you can spend a lot of money on an Internet campaign, there are many ways to leverage the Internet and gain free advertising for your business. Following are 20 ideas to consider.

Increase your visibility on search engines: Insert keywords that describe your business into the HTML < META > tags on your Web site pages. Repeat these keywords in the text of your Web site’s homepage. Strategic use of keywords can put your business name at the top of customers’ search results. For more information, see our article “Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines and Directories”.
Put your URL on everything: Maximize your advertising efforts by listing your Web site address on everything you do. Print the URL on your company’s letterhead, on your business cards, on the front of your building or the door to your office suite. Use the URL in your e-mail signature. List the URL on any print advertising that you do, including phone books, brochures, flyers, and direct mail pieces.
Submit your site to every directory, specialty listing, industry organization, and yellow pages you can find: No matter what industry your business is in, there are online directories, such as Yahoo! Yellow Pages, that you should register with. Many business and industry associations allow you to list your business on their Web site. In addition, there are individuals who maintain popular lists of resources; use Web search engines to find these lists, and then create an entry for your business.
Utilize evangelists: Channel the energy of your most enthusiastic staff and encourage them to promote your company’s product as they surf the Web.
Blogs: A Weblog, or blog, is a collection of short articles, essays, or loosely-formatted thoughts, usually written by one individual. Since the 2004 U.S. presidential election, blogs have become extremely popular as both a medium to get your message out and a vehicle for paid advertising. Blogs also encourage reader comments, making them a valuable tool for gathering customer feedback. Companies such as Blogger ( will host your blog for free. You can also install a blog on your own Web site with free software such as MediaWiki (
Podcasting: Podcasts are audio files recorded in a radio talk show format. By posting podcasts on your Web site and other sites like Apple’s iTunes (, customers can subscribe to your podcasts, download them as soon as they are available, and then listen to them on their computers or portable MP3 devices. The software to create podcasts is free; for more information visit
Join online communities: No matter what the topic, there are thousands of people discussing it passionately on the Internet. By contributing to these discussion groups, you can inform your customers and advertise your business..
E-mail lists: Cultivate a list of your customers’ e-mail addresses and send them new product announcements, coupons, special offers, and useful information. See our article “Introduction to E-Mail Marketing” for more information.
Get the attention of the press: Pitch news ideas about your industry to local newspapers, radio stations, and television stations. Pitch ideas to Web news sites. Propose that one of your employees be the expert interviewed in the news piece.
Win awards: Research organizations that give awards for the products or services you provide. Apply for these awards and take the process seriously. When you win, make the most of the publicity.
Donate time or resources to a charity: Encourage charitable organizations to promote your business’ donations and involvement. Try to get media coverage for the organizations and community causes you champion.
Publish information and reports about your industry: Provide consumers with free information about your business’ industry. Invest in potential customers and they will invest in you.
Reciprocal links: Companies such as LinkLeads ( help businesses by facilitating an exchange of hyperlinks. By allowing a company to insert links to their products on your site, a company will allow you to insert links to your products on its site.
Reciprocal banner ads: Companies such as 123Banners ( help businesses by facilitating free banner advertisement swaps. By allowing a company to advertise on your site, they allow you to advertise on theirs. Be sure you retain control over what Web sites carry your ads, and what ads you post on your site.
Coupons: Make coupons available on your Web site and e-mail them to your customers. Encourage them to give the coupons to friends and family.
Free samples of your product or service: Offer free samples of your product or service. Distribute these samples as widely as possible. Register your giveaways with Web sites such as A+ Free Stuff ( that act as a clearinghouse for free products. Before giving something away for free, ask customers to provide their e-mail address or fill out a short survey.
Free classified ads: Use services like Yahoo! Classifieds ( to post free ads for your products and services. Also consider posting offers for free samples of your products, sweepstakes, and other giveaways.
Excellent customer service: There’s no advertising like personal recommendations made between friends and family. The best way to encourage this type of “viral marketing” is to provide excellent customer service. Take the time to properly train and motivate your sales people and do what is necessary to satisfy your customers’ needs.
Business alliances and partnerships: Build partnerships with businesses that offer complementary products and services, and then promote each other. Make joint press statements about your industry, your partnership, and your products and services. Make sure your partners provide links from their Web sites to yours.
Ezine: Write an e-mail newsletter, called an ezine, with articles about your industry, your products and services, and related news of interest to your customers. Check out sources such as and, which provide free articles you can use in your ezine. Advertise your ezine for free with directory sites such as
Not all these ideas may be appropriate for your business. The important thing is to think creatively and experiment. The Internet is an extremely flexible tool that gives your business many avenues for advertisement and enables you to react quickly to customer feedback.


February 2nd, 2010
    Frequently Asked Questions : Table of Contents  

1. General Questions

  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions0">1.1.
    What is the difference between Unix accounts and Windows
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions1">1.2.
    What do I need to use web hosting services?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions2">1.3.
    How do I change my billing information?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions3">1.4.
    How do I change my contact information?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions4">1.5.
    I forgot my Miva password, what should I do?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions5">1.6.
    Can I accept credit card on my site? Will it be secure?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions6">1.7.
    What is SSL?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions7">1.8.
    I lost my password, what should I do?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions8">1.9.
    What happens if I excess my data transfer limit?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions9">1.10.
    Can I purchase additional disk space?
  • href="support_faq.php#GeneralQuestions10">1.11.
    What happens if I purchase additional products in the middle
    of the month?

2. Mail

3. Domain Name

  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName0">3.1.
    What is a domain name?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName1">3.2.
    What does “register a domain name” mean?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName2">3.3.
    How can I get a domain name in .com, .net or .org?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName3">3.4.
    What is involved in registering a domain name in .com, .net
    or .org?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName4">3.5.
    Will my name and contact information be publicly available?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName5">3.6.
    How long does a domain name registration last? Can it be
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName6">3.7.
    How much does a domain name registration name cost?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName7">3.8.
    How long does it take to register or transfer a domain name?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName8">3.9.
    Someone else has registered by company’s name as a .com
    domain name. What is the process for resolving my complaint?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName9">3.10.
    What are the rules for registration of .net and .org names?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName10">3.11.
    Are .com, .net, and .org domain names available for registration
    on a global basis?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName11">3.12.
    I’ve seen domain names ending with two-letter combinations,
    like .uk. What are the rules for registering in these domains?
  • href="support_faq.php#DomainName12">3.13.
    What is a stopgap domain?

4. FTP

5. Troubleshooting

  • href="support_faq.php#Troubleshooting0">5.1.
    When I’m trying to connect to my account using FTP, the
    system doesn’t respond for some time and then logs out with
    an error.
  • href="support_faq.php#Troubleshooting1">5.2.
    I am getting errors with FrontPage.
  • href="support_faq.php#Troubleshooting2">5.3.
    My webalizer doesn’t work. What’s the problem?
  • href="support_faq.php#Troubleshooting3">5.4.
    The online file browser shows the zips as compressed files
    and offers to decompress them, but fails to do it.
  • href="support_faq.php#Troubleshooting4">5.5.
    I get “Failed to add new resource over the hard credit”
    message when I’m trying to create a new resource.
  • href="support_faq.php#Troubleshooting5">5.6.
    ASP is not working, however the button next to this resource
    on the Domain Web Service page is set to ON.

    1. General Questions  

1.1. What is the difference
between Unix accounts and Windows accounts?

Unix provides secure and reliable environment perfect for
most of the hosting needs, but sometimes you want to take advantage
of some Windows applications such as MS Access, ASP scripting.
For that you might want to use NT.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.2. What do I need to use
web hosting services?

Web browser and Internet connection is all that is needed.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.3. How do I change my billing

Go to Billing->Billing Info menu, and click
the Change Billing Info button.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.4. How do I change my contact

Go to Acct. Preferences->Contact Info and
edit your contact information.

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1.5. I forgot my Miva password,
what should I do?

There is no way to retrieve this password, you will have to
re-install Miva.

Warning: All the data in the Miva will
be lost, including Products, Orders and other settings.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.6. Can I accept credit card
on my site? Will it be secure?

Yes, H-Sphere supports secure transaction protocol, such as

height=17 src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.7. What is SSL?
The SSL security protocol provides data encryption, server
authentication, message integrity, and optional client authentication
for a TCP/IP connection. Because SSL is built into all major
browsers and web servers, simply installing a digital certificate
turns on their SSL capabilities.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.8. I lost my password, what
should I do?

Go to the control panel site. Click on the link “forgot your
password”, it is usually located bellow the login box, and follow
the instructions.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.9. What happens if I excess
my data transfer limit?

Any data transfer in excess of plan threshold will be charged
at the end of the billing period.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.10. Can I purchase additional
disk space?

Additional disk space can be purchased through H-Sphere.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

1.11. What happens if I purchase
additional products in the middle of the month?

Any additional resource purchases will be pro-rated accordingly.
The charge will be calculated based on the date when the resource
was purchase to the end of the billing cycle.

href="support_faq.php#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

    2. Mail  

2.1. I have difficulties in retrieving mail
using Netscape. I can’t log into my mail account because the
account user name now takes the form of the full e-mail address.

Write mail server login name in the Netscape preferences with
the % character instead of the @ sign, e.g. login:

href="#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

2.2. How do I pop in to pick up my virtual
domain email?

Virtual domain users need to use the following format for
thier user name when popping in:

Eudora might require the following syntax:

Microsoft clients may take the following syntax:

If you don’t include the %virtual_domain_name, vpopmail will
assume it is either a /etc/passwd user or a vpop user in ~vpopmail/users
or configured with “default domain”.

href="#top"> src="images/top.gif" width=70 border=0>

2.3. I can’t send mail with Outlook Express.
I get a rcpthosts error.

You need to check your pop3 box before sending mail trough
the server. When the POP3 box is checked, you can send emails
within the next 15-30 minutes.

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2.4. How do I get FormMail working?
It’s a perl script. You need to add .pl as extention for CGI.
You can find it on the web options page.

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    3. Domain Name  

3.1. What is a domain name?
Domain names are the familiar, easy to remember names for
computers on the Internet (such as They correspond
to a series of numbers (called Internet Protocol numbers) that
serve as routing addresses on the Internet. Domain names are
used generally as a convenient way of locating information and
reaching others on the Internet.

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3.2. What does “register a domain
name” mean?

The Internet domain name system (DNS) consists of a directory,
organized hierarchically, of all the domain names and their
corresponding computers registered to particular companies and
persons using the Internet. When you register a domain name,
it will be associated with the computer on the Internet you
designate during the period the registration is in effect.

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3.3. How can I get a domain name
in .com, .net or .org?

H-Sphere provides an easy way to register .com, .net or .org

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3.4. What is involved in registering
a domain name in .com, .net or .org?

To register a domain name, you will be asked to provide the
registrar you select with the various contact and technical
information that makes up the registration. H-Sphere will guide
you through the process, and will make it extremely easy. H-Sphere
will automatically contact the registrar, who will then keep
records of the contact information and submit the technical
information to a central directory known as the “registry.”
This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information
necessary to send you e-mail or to find your web site. You will
also be required to enter a registration contract with the registrar,
which sets forth the terms under which your registration is
accepted and will be maintained.

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3.5. Will my name and contact information
be publicly available?

Yes. Information about who is responsible for domain names
is publicly available to allow rapid resolution of technical
problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark,
and other laws. The registrar will make this information available
to the public on a “Whois” site.

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3.6. How long does a domain name
registration last? Can it be renewed?

H-Sphere provides you with the ability to register and renew
the domain registrations in one-year increments, with a total
registration period limit of ten years.

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3.7. How much does a domain name
registration name cost?

The prices vary depending on the plan you select.

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3.8. How long does it take to register
or transfer a domain name?

It will take you just a few minutes to register a domain,
but it might not be available on the Internet for up to 48 hours.
This is due to the fact that Internet DNS databases are updated
only once a day, causing the delay.

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3.9. Someone else has registered
by company’s name as a .com domain name. What is the process
for resolving my complaint?

All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution
policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name
registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between
the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the court
rules who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will
implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations
allegedly made abusively (such as “cybersquatting” and cyberpiracy”),
the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure
to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays
often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can
invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with
one of the dispute-resolution service providers listed at
For more details on the uniform dispute resolution policy, see

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3.10. What are the rules for registration
of .net and .org names?

They are the same as for .com. Traditionally, however, names
in .net have been used by organizations involved in Internet
infrastructure activities and .org is frequently used by not-for-profit

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3.11. Are .com, .net, and .org
domain names available for registration on a global basis?

Yes. The .com, .net, and .org domains are available for registration
by Internet users across the globe. ICANN-accredited domain
name registrars are also located in various countries around
the world. To view the InterNIC list of domain name registrars
by country, click here.

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3.12. I’ve seen domain names ending
with two-letter combinations, like .uk. What are the rules for
registering in these domains?

Two letter domains, such as .uk, .de and .jp (for example),
are called country code top level domains (ccTLDs) and correspond
to a country, territory, or other geographic location. The rules
and policies for registering domain names in the ccTLDs vary
significantly and some are reserved for use by citizens of the
corresponding country. You should check with the registrar offering
ccTLD registration services regarding the specific terms and
conditions for registration. H-Sphere supports hosting of such

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3.13. What is a stopgap domain?
A stopgap domain alows to create hosting if you don`t have
any domain name. If you register with a stopgap domain, you
will get a domain name like “loginname.u1.your-base-domain”.
You can create your own web-site and access it with either the
IP (if the IP is dedicated) or the above domain name. This kind
of domain doesn`t have any registration records in the DNS.

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    4. FTP : File Transfer Protocol  

4.1. Anonymous FTP users don’t see the content
of my directory.

Anonymous FTP users can’t enter your root directory. They
can enter only the directory you dedicated for anonymous ftp

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4.2. How come my virtual FTP users can browse
my root directory?

Your virtual FTP users can have access to more than one virtual
FTP directory, so you need to allow them to enter the root dir.
You can use FTP subaccounts to restrict their access to only
one directory.

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    5. Troubleshooting  

5.1. When I’m trying to connect
to my account using FTP, the system doesn’t respond for some
time and then logs out with an error.

Use FTP active mode (disable passive). It is in your computer’s
FTP configuration.

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5.2. I am getting errors with

Try switching it off and back on.

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5.3. My webalizer doesn’t work.
What’s the problem?

One possible reason can be that you are approaching your disk
quota. Webalizer needs at least 2 MB unused disk space to function

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5.4. The online file browser shows
the zips as compressed files and offers to decompress them,
but fails to do it.

WebShell can decompress only those files that are located
inside the /usr/local/bin directory. If it’s not there, just
create a link.

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5.5. I get “Failed to add new
resource over the hard credit” message when I’m trying to create
a new resource.

This means you have reached your Credit Limit. For example,
you’ve used all your money on your balance if you pay by check,
or your credit card expired/was broken and failed to be charged.
In this case you’ll still be able to run your hosting account
(with recurrent and extra usage payment accrued), but you won’t
be able to create any new resource (neither paid nor free).

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5.6. ASP is not working, however
the button next to this resource on the Domain Web Service page
is set to ON.

Check if the *.asp files are not included into SSI section.
It’s a common mistake. If you set the *.asp files to be lauched
via SSI library, set ASP to OFF, delete the *.asp extension
from SSI list and then set ASP to ON again.

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Transferring a Domain

February 2nd, 2010
Moving / Transferring from other Web Host (ZERO DOWNTIME!)
  • Establish a hosting account with us. You will then be able to access your new account via the server’s hostname which you will get on your setup email. Start uploading your website files to your domain folder through FTP or any other site publishing software (FrontPage, Dreamweaver, HomeSite, etc.)
  • In your welcome email, you will get a temporary link to access your NEW web site before anything goes live. Verify that everything is working on your NEW site (graphics, web pages, links, etc…)
  • Once verified, go to your registrar and change your “name servers” to those that are mentioned in your setup email.
  • Your site will be updated WORLDWIDE within 24-72 hours. Note: although you may be able to see your site is on your new server within possibly 12 hours, please allow a complete 72 hour cycle before you delete your old host.
  • Enjoy your new site @ Live Hosting Company If you have any problems during the transfer, please have a live chat session with our support staff and let us know what you’ve done so far, and we’ll help you finish it all up! EVEN IF YOU DO IT RIGHT, drop us a line and let us know that you love the speed!

If you already bought a domain name and want to host with us:
  • First step is you establish a web hosting account with us. Start by ordering any of our premium web hosting plans.
  • After your payment is verfied you will get your setup email within 30 seconds. In there will be all your usernames / passwords that grant you access to the server via your assigned server hostname. Proceed to upload your files to the server via the server’s hostname. MAKE SURE YOU PUT EVERYTHING IN YOUR DOMAIN FOLDER and MAKE SURE YOU RENAME YOUR HOMEPAGE “index.html” ALL LOWER CASE. Then use the temporary link provided in the email to view your site.
  • Once you have everything verfied go to the place where you originally registered your domain (your registrar).
  • In your setup email(s) there will be a pair of DNS or Nameservers. Use those DNS to change them for your domain. If you don’t have a domain control panel (that is where you usally can do these changes) please email your registrar or call them and tell them to change your name servers to those provided to you in your setup email from us.
  • After the DNS changes has been made your domain will now begin to point to your server with Live Hosting Company. This will take 24-72 hours to resolve along the whole world as every ISP updates their DNS at different times.
  • If after 48 hours you can not access your domain via please do a whois on your domain HERE make sure your name servers show up as those provided in your setup email. If they do not call your registar right away to get it corrected!

      Want to transfer your domain name to Live Hosting Company as your domain registrar?    
You already have a domain that you registered somewhere else and you want to move the domain itself physically to us and get hosting to keep everything in on place?

  • First step is you go to our domains website HERE and open an account to login into the domain portal. Once you created the account click on transfer on the top right side.
  • Type in the domain you want to transfer to us.
  • Please make sure the admin contact email is an active email because an email will be sent to this email to approve the transfer. You can find out that email this is by doing a WHOIS HERE If that is not a current email please go to where you registered the domain and update it.
  • If you ask, the domain still has 6 months or 2 years left before it expires, will i lose those? the answer is NO you will not, when you do this transfer it will add one year on TOP of the current expiration date! So just add one year to when it expires now!
  • Once you have processed this look out for an email, approve it and just wait it out about 24-48 hours for the whole process to occur, if you already approved the email and you login into your domain control panel and you see the process is not complete, contact your registrar and ask them why they haven’t released it.
  • Meanwhile all this is happening feel free to buy your hosting plan and upload all your files to the server. Remember once you order hosting you have immediate access to the server via the server’s hostname.
  • If you don’t want to move your domain to us, you don’t have to. All you have to do is modify your DNS follow the steps above. But remember that your domain will expire at some point so it is wiser to add years to the domain and not wait until the last minute and risk losing your domain!

Creating your own website?

January 31st, 2010

Our Live Hosting Plans come complete with a free WebSite Creation tool and  52 free scripts.

Get started building your website in 3 easy steps:

  • Login to SiteBuilder (demo)
  • Select a website template & add content
  • Publish to your web hosting account