WEBSITE HOSTING FAQ


Must I sign a contract for hosting a website with Web Inn?
Why do I need a hosting company?
Can I use a hosting company in Durban if I am in Johannesburg?
Why do I have to pay for hosting if I am already paying an internet service provider?
Why should I use (and pay) another hosting company when my service provider also gives me free space for a website?
What should I consider when choosing a hosting company?
What do you mean when you talk about traffic?
If I change my hosting company, won’t I lose my email address?
If I change hosting company, won’t my site go down?
How do I change hosting company?
What is the difference between Optima hosting and Reseller hosting?
Can I upgrade from my normal hosting package to Optima?
Do I have to have dedicated IP's with Optima hosting?
What is a private nameserver?
Why a refundable setup fee on the Optima hosting package?

Must I sign a contract for hosting a website with Web Inn?


No. Our hosting runs on a month to month basis because we are sure that you will be happy enough with us to want to stay.

However, from time to time we do offer special packages and these may be conditional on a contract, purely to ensure that the specials don't get abused. You will however never be tied to a contract with us without it being your conscious decision to do so.

Why do I need a hosting company?


Without a hosting company you will not have a website, except on the hard drive of your computer. Nobody will be able to reach it. To use an analogy: imagine that your website is a mobile studio. If it has nowhere to park, then it will have no phone lines, address or any means of being found. A hosting company is like the landlord for the ground on which you are parking your business, except that the ground in this case is in cyber space.

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Can I use a hosting company in Durban if I am in Johannesburg?


Absolutely. You can in fact use a hosting company anywhere in the world and many people use hosting companies that are in a different country. As long as you have access to your host in case you have a problem, it is better to select the best hosting company rather than the closest.

Although we are in Durban, we provide hosting for various clients throughout South Africa and internationally.

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Why do I have to pay for hosting if I am already paying an internet service provider?


A hosting company and an internet service provider are essentially two different things. A service provider is the company that gives you access to the internet. A hosting company gives the rest of the world permanent access to your website.

Some service providers do also offer website hosting, but these are essentially two separate services altogether.

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Why should I use (and pay) another hosting company when my service provider also gives me free space for a website?


There are advantages and disadvantages to both options: doing your hosting with your service provider or keeping it seperate. One consideration is obviously the cost. If the hosting is a free service, this will save you monthly hosting fees.

A downside is that you have all your eggs in one basket and can end up trapped, where the two services are so interconnected that you dare not change either later without it hurting your business.

A further possible downside is the bandwidth. This is how busy their server (main computer) is with all the activity going on.

A hosting company that does nothing but host is less busy than one that offers connectivity and hosting. - It is like the difference between having a freeway with just fast cars on it vs one that is loaded with large trucks as well. This can effect reliability and speed.

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What should I consider when choosing a hosting company?


Some of the more important considerations are:

Uptime is critical. They should guarantee at least 99% and the guarantee should not just be words. - Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
However - a word of caution: be careful of any guarantee of 100% uptime. This indicates that the host is either being deceptive or is not maintaining their servers properly and not doing essential upgrades. This places your site at risk because security and stability will become compromised, eventually leading to all sorts of potential problems (all placing your site at risk) and even a complete server crash.

Bandwidth is critical. - Do they have sufficient bandwidth to cope with the load? How many websites do they put on each physical server? A good host would ensure that there is always enough free server space and capacity.

Check that they offer enough space for your site and for reasonable future growth. For a small business site, this should be at least 50-100MB (megabytes), excluding email addresses. A 100 MB allowance on an average small site should offer sufficient room for quite a bit of future growth. If you have email accounts as well, you should allow for roughly 50mb per address in addition.

Check that they allow enough traffic. This is measured in megs or gigs. 1 gig is roughly equal to 100 000 hits. Each time someone visits your site, every image or script on a page is a hit. For a small business website 500MB is normally more than sufficient unless the site is offering software downloads, streaming, chat rooms, forums, large flash objects or other forms of interactivity that use up a lot of bandwidth.

If you want to use any scripts, check that your hosting company allows the specific script and that there is no additional charge attached. This includes any forms, auto responders, flash or special effects that you want to use on your site.

Email: you must get at least one email address linked to your website, that you can check through either your normal email programme (like Outlook Express) or on the web itself from anywhere in the world. One of the biggest advantages to having this facility (apart from looking professional) is that your email address belongs entirely to you for as long as you own the domain name. - This means that you can change hosts and connectivity providers in the future without any fear of losing your email address.

Support: can you contact them and get free basic support - including after hours? Are they available in an emergency? Do they actually give you quick and meaningful answers and/or solutions ? Do they bend over backwards to help you ?

Upgrades: can you upgrade your hosting package later without hassle or huge cost? You may not be thinking of changing your site right now, but who knows what you may decide in another month or 6 months time. Your hosting provider should offer packages that are flexible enough to accommodate this without disrupting your website or breaking the bank.

Hosting set-up: will they help you with getting set up (including email) and sorting out any difficulties you may have or are you just a number and a cheque at the end of the month? Find out the full extent of this support. It may be limited to the pure hosting side.

Statistics: do they supply statistics that are comprehensive enough for you to clearly track what is and is not working on your site? You cannot possibly know if your site is an effective marketing tool unless you can monitor the results. You need to know how many visitors you are getting and where they are coming from, what they are doing on your site and how much business your site is generating. - Stats help you to more accurately assess and improve on your investment.

Backups: do they do regular backups so that if their server does go down they can reload everything again immediately? - Please note that it is still your responsibility (personally or via your webmaster) to ensure that you have a full backup of your current site, but your host should at least be able to get a fairly recent version of your site back up and running if there is a server problem.

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What do you mean when you talk about traffic?


Every time someone visits your site or sends an email to or from your website; every time you upload or download anything on your site, this is traffic. Any reliable hosting company will give you a traffic limit because this is how they ensure that their server does not get overloaded. - An overload will slow down your site’s loading and can even cause a complete server crash.

Hosting companies who offer unlimited traffic (bandwidth) are not being honest and should be approached with caution. Similarly, hosts that allow extremely high bandwidth at a low cost should also be eyed with caution because they are overselling. In other words, they are taking a gamble that you will not use what they are giving you anyway, so they inflate their packages to look more impressive. - This is like paying for a gallon of milk when you'll only drink a glass full.

While there is a good chance that you won't use everything in your package, the next 3 or 4 guys might and this will affect your site as well because they are on the same server.

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If I change my hosting company, won’t I lose my email address?


No. Not if your email address is linked to your domain name. If your hosting company and connectivity (internet service provider) are the same and your email is NOT linked to your domain, you would be able to keep your email address as long as you keep your connection with the same service provider, but this does not mean that you have to keep your hosting with them as well.

We would advise that you speak to your service provider to make sure before doing anything. We are happy to do this for our clients.

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If I change hosting company, won’t my site go down?


Not if your existing host has a cancellation period and you upload your site to the new host immediately that your space is available with them. This provides a transitional period during which you in fact have a site up with both hosting companies. The moment that the cancellation (domain transfer) with the old host takes effect, the other site (and email facility) kicks in completely.

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How do I change hosting company?


If you were moving to Web Inn, we would initiate it all for you and guide you through the (very simple) part of the process in which you would most likely need to be involved. The only thing you need to do is ensure that you are paid up to date with your existing host and, as a matter of courtesy, we always recommend that you advise them (before we start the transfer process) that you are leaving them. If you do not know their cancellation policy, it would be a good idea to get this information from them before starting the transfer process so that there are no nasty surprises.

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What is the difference between Optima hosting and Reseller hosting?


Optima hosting is very similar to reseller hosting in that it allows you to host multiple domains/websites within one package. You are free to use this allocation for your own websites, or for websites that you 'host' for other people (and charge a fee for).

The limitation with this is that you would need your own dedicated IP's and private nameservers if you did not want your clients to know about our existence. With the private nameservers our identity is completely obscured and you are free to present yourself as the primary host. This is common practice with hosting resellers.

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Can I upgrade from my normal hosting package to Optima?


Yes you can. It is not strictly an upgrade because Optima hosting is setup very differently and your site would need to be moved to its new location, but we do this all for you. The refundable setup fee of R500 is payable prior to setup.

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Do I have to have dedicated IP's with Optima hosting?


No you do not. You would only opt for dedicated IP's if you want to have private nameservers and you would only need private nameservers if you wanted to hide our identity - for example if you were reselling hosting space within your package.

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What is a private nameserver?


All hosting is done on servers and these servers have names/identities. A private nameserver would be one that has a name which is not identifiable as belonging to Web Inn, thereby giving you anonymity.

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Why a refundable setup fee on the Optima hosting package?


We are happy to do this setup completely free, but it involves a fair bit of work. If we do the setup and the client then decides to stop paying their hosting fees, that is a cost to us that can never be recovered.

By charging a refundable fee, we are in effect doing the setup free for clients who remain with us for a period of at least 6 months.

Please read the applicable terms for full details.

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If you still have any unanswered questions, please feel free to contact us


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If you're not sure of all the web terminology and jargon, why not have a quick read through our basic web glossary before you get going.

*According to Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study as conducted by World Wide Worx

                        
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