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Frequently Asked General Hosting Questions

    Common General Questions:
  What is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)? Do you support Macromedia® Dreamweaver®?
  What are subdomains? How often do you create backups?
  What is "Monthly Data Transfer?" Is the server monitored for problems?
  Are there stats regarding traffic and visitors? What is Apache and why is this important?
  Is there a Control Panel? I've heard of Linux, but what is it?
  How are my files stored on the server? Unique IP versus Shared IP
  What are server side includes (SSI)? What is the Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG)?
  What type of programs can I use on the server? What are password protected folders?
  What is a private CGI-BIN? Do you provide customized error pages?
  Do you support Microsoft® FrontPage®? Are mySQL databases allowed on the server?


Q  What is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)?
A SSL=Secure Sockets Layer.  When you shop from an online store, a reputable online retailer will obtain your sensitive information such as credit card numbers using SSL.

When you access a particular web page and the URL address bar shows "https://" (note the "s") in the beginning of the link, it means you are securely accessing that particular page.

All of our accounts come with secure server access so that you can receive payments and other information securely via the web.  Securely obtain sensitive information from your guests with the full power of ActiveWebHost.com's SSL enabled accounts.

CAUTION!  Watch out for hosting companies that force you to manually send them your files you wish to securely access via https (SSL).  Why?  Why should you have to wait on them to manually update, delete, or add *any* file you wish to access securely via https?  This would include shopping carts, files, images, HTML, etc.  This only wastes your time and could potentially lead to serious problems when you need to make immediate changes.  This also wastes the hosting companies time as well, but even so, some hosting companies still practice this outdated method of hosting.

Some hosting companies will tell you that you need your own secure certificate.  While it is true that a secure certificate is nice to own, it does usually cost $100 to $250 additional per year.  Why not use the secure certificate that comes with every ActiveWebHost.com account for your website and save the money?  However, if you wish to purchase your own certificate, we would be more than glad to set it up for you.

*Any* file on your ActiveWebHost.com hosted website can be accessed via https (not just files in a special "secure" folder - nor do you have to send us the files).

To avoid problems like this and others, check out the Web Host Survival Checklist.

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Q  What are subdomains?
A Subdomains are features that allow you to setup "mini" websites under your domain such as store.mydomain.com, resources.mydomain.com, plans.mydomains.com, games.mydomain.com, etc.

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Q  What is "Monthly Data Transfer"?
A Each time someone visits your web site they use up a part of your monthly transfer allowance.  The average site requires about 500 Mb to 1 Gigabyte of data transfer each month.   We are pleased to offer such generous monthly data transfer amounts.

CAUTION!  HTML is transferred as text, images and programs are transferred as binary.  Do you think it would be fair if you could only transfer 20% of your total monthly bandwidth allowance each month as binary?

No, we don't think so either, but we have discovered hosting companies that monitor your traffic and charge excessive fees for exceeding 20% binary transfers each month.

Watch out for those hosts that give you "unlimited traffic" yet in their terms of service, limit your binary transfers and charge excessive fees for going over the allowed amount.

ActiveWebHost.com has no restriction (such as text versus binary) on your site traffic distribution.

To avoid problems like this, check out the Web Host Survival Checklist.

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Q  Are there stats regarding traffic and visitors?
A Certainly!  Where are your visitors coming from?  Know all there is to know about your visitors - it's all just a click away!

Your report will include information about visitors, page views, file accesses, referrers, browsers used by your visitors, platforms used by your visitors, visitors' hosts, visitors' top-level domains, and the most common entry and exit pages.

These reports are among the most detailed and useful around, but you will also have access to your raw log files in case you want to examine the data further.

We provide the following stats programs:
(Clicking a link will present a demo and will open a new browser window)

>>>  AWStats  |  Analog Stats  |  Webalizer  <<<

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Q  Is there a Control Panel?
A It's so easy to control your web site.  Start saving time today and let our "Point-and-Click" Control Panel do all the work for you!

Your ActiveWebHost.com Control Panel is of the latest technology and is easy to use and feature rich.

DEMO!  Click here for an online demo.

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Q  How are my files stored on the server?
A We allocate generous amounts of disk storage space for your use.  You can typically store over 300 average web pages (graphics and all) within 10 to 15 Megabytes.

Even our smallest account comes with plenty of room for your website to grow!

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Q  What are server side includes (SSI)?
A Server Side Includes allow your website to dynamically and automatically change.  It's main advantage is that your guests come back for new content or view an altered web design each visit, etc.

Server side includes (SSI) will scan your HTML looking for special SSI codes before sending it out to the user.  If it finds one of these codes, it replaces the code with information.

For example, a simple SSI can display the current date and time.  SSI can be used for other purposes as well.  For further information please see the SSI chapter in our online manual.

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Q  What type of programs can I use on the server?
A We cover all the bases to ensure your web site has the power and flexibility for you and your web visitors.

Our servers support the latest online programming languages such as C/C++,  Perl 5, PHP, mySQL, and Python.  Your web pages can also include Java applets (though not Java servlets).

Popular software uses include online photo software, ecommerce enabled sites (shopping carts), calendars, blogs, message boards, and much more.

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Q  What is a private CGI-BIN?
A Your account includes a private (not shared with anyone else) cgi-bin for your use.

A cgi-bin is a special folder that is used to store your online enabled programs such as shopping carts, online photo software, run your own search engine, contests, education tests, polls and voting, webcards, classified ads, auctions, e-commerce, bulletin board, games, and much more.

It is a special folder used for increased security when you use programs such as CGI, PL, PHP, etc.

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Q  Do you support Microsoft® FrontPage®?
A Absolutely!  Microsoft FrontPage extensions are available for your web site.

You can install them at anytime from your online Control Panel.  If you use Microsoft FrontPage, the extensions allow you to use several automated features that are built into FrontPage.

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Q  Do you support Macromedia® Dreamweaver®?
A Absolutely!  We do support Macromedia Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver is a popular HTML editor.  Visit Macromedia Dreamweaver to learn more.

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Q  How often do you create backups?
A We keep your data safe!  We perform daily backups of all accounts.  We maintain daily, weekly and monthly backups of all data to ensure your data is kept safe and secure.  You can also use your Control Panel and download your most recent backup for additional safety and also highly recommended.

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Q  Is the server monitored for problems?
A The server network is monitored 365/24/7.  We can spot any potential trouble to keep your web site safe and sound.  We are also monitored by a 3rd party (AlertSite.com).
  • The first layer of monitoring is the server itself as it notifies us by emails and pagers of any problems.
  • The second layer is our port monitoring software that physically scans the ports and notifies us of any problems via email and pagers.
  • The third layer of monitoring is done by a  3rd party service and monitors the ports as well (http, smtp, ftp, etc.) from outside the "server farm" which provides the following benefits:
  1. Even though we do internal monitoring, the 3rd party monitoring service does more than monitor the up/down status of a device. Individual services (SMTP, DNS, HTTP, etc) are checked with their respective protocols to ensure the service itself is responding properly.
  2. Most importantly, the 3rd party monitoring service tells us if our services are available to our clients (such as you and your clients) because they check the servers responsiveness via an Internet connection. We will always know with certainty that mail is deliverable, that our DNS server is resolving and that our servers are returning requests.
  3. The server is monitored for web performance from a global perspective which includes points from: United States, Southeast United States, Northeast United States, West Coast United States, Central United Kingdom, Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, etc.
  4. The 3rd party monitoring service also does much more than just "ping" an IP as pinging doesn't ensure that a site is being served, but only that a port is open. The new service "speaks" the protocol of the monitored server and issues commands designed to test that the server is working properly. 

    This 3rd layer monitoring service adds up to another important step in eliminating costly downtime as well as improving customer quality of experience.

Why do we do this much monitoring?  Your site is important to us - it's as simple as that!

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Q  What is Telnet & SSH?
A Telnet and SSH (Secure Shell Access) is method to interact with your hosting account that is favored by programmers as it is a command line interface (no graphics, all typing).

SSH Secure Shell is secure (encrypted) Telnet services that allows you to log on to your account and administer your site by issuing commands at the Unix/Linux prompt.  Most users don't need this service but it is there in the event the need arises.  Typically users that wish to setup programs may need to access their account using SSH software.

ActiveWebHost.com provides *true* Telnet so you can use your PC based SSH software.  Watch out for hosts that provide simulated Telnet as it's restrictions usually interfere with the typical programmers Telnet needs.

Our servers support SSH secure shell in order to protect you and your website from becoming a possible easy target.  SSH secure shell encrypts your commands and information and keeps you secure.

As a result, we do NOT allow general (unencrypted) Telnet access in order to protect all of our clients.  While we understand Telnet software can be obtained for free, there are also free versions of SSH Secure Shell software and retail prices start at $27.  Using SSH Secure Shell is an investment in the security of your website.

One popular free SSH software is Putty.  It's a clean running application that will not require installation on Windows-boxes.  You can find it here.

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Q  What is Apache and why is this important?
A The Apache HTTP Server is a robustly developed and maintained open-source HTTP server for modern operating systems including UNIX and Windows NT.

So, what does that mean in English?  The Apache HTTP Server provides a secure, efficient and extensible server that provides HTTP services in sync with the current HTTP standards.

Okay, so that possibly wasn't much clearer, but suffice it to say, it does a lot of automatic hard work for you so you don't have to.

Apache has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April of 1996. The August 2002 Netcraft Web Server Survey found that 63% of the web sites on the Internet are using Apache, thus making it more widely used than all other web servers combined.

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Q  I've heard of Linux, but what is it?
A Your website will operate from a top-end computer running RedHat Linux, which is a fast and reliable operating system.

Linux looks and acts just like Unix including its flexibility and freedom and stability.  If you have something that works on a Unix account, it will also work on a Linux account and vice versa.

Will you need to know Linux to operate your website?  No, it's not necessary unless you wish to program in CGI, PHP, etc. and then it can be helpful to understand some of the more basic Linux commands.

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Q  Unique IP versus shared IP
A Every Internet Address (otherwise known as a domain) has an IP associate with it.  This IP can be shared with other users on the same computer or it can be dedicated to just your website.

The greatest advantage of having an unique IP is if you need anonymous FTP access or want to purchase your own SSL (https) certificate for your specific domain.

Considering that most people advertise their website via their domain name and NOT their IP, it's not critical for everyone to have a dedicated IP.

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Q  What is the Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG)?
A The GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) is an OpenPGP compliant application which enables you to encrypt data on your web site.  It is compatible with PGP  5.x and has very similar functionality.

If you intend to receive sensitive information over the web, SSL access alone does not guarantee the safety of your data.  SSL keeps the information safe as it travels to your web site, but does not provide any protection once the data arrives.  GPG can be used to immediately encrypt the data when it arrives at your web site - you only decrypt it once you have downloaded it to your hard drive.  That gives you peace of mind knowing that the information your customers enter into your secure form will be safe all the way across the web.

For further information please see the GPG Chapter in our Online Manual.

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Q  What are password protected folders?
A Stop intruders in their tracks!

Your password protected directories can easily be setup with your ActiveWebHost Control Panel!

You can restrict access to any folder on your site so that visitors are prompted for a user name and password in order to access any files in the protected folder.  It's as easy as point-and-click with your Control Panel!

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Q  Do you provide customized error pages?
A Absolutely!

Don't loose traffic simply because your guest happens to accidentally access a page that no longer exists.  Help your guests find their way by offering a helping hand with your CUSTOMIZED 404 Page.

When a visitor to your site tries to access a page that does not exist, they will usually receive Apache's default Error 404: File Not Found message.

If you prefer you can set up your account so that your own customized 'missing document' page is displayed instead, perhaps with a link to your home page (or whatever you like).

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Q  Are mySQL databases allowed on the server?
A Absolutely!

The power of a mySQL enabled software ensures quick delivery of your data to your guests.  Don't keep them waiting!

mySQL=Structured Query Language.  mySQL is an excellent online database that can handle thousands of items (products, clients, services, billing, etc.).

Many online enabled software packages are designed to use mySQL as it is incredibly fast especially when compared to a "flat file" database.

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