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Afrihost FAQs
Web Hosting FAQs - Afrihost

Frequently Asked Questions

Web Hosting FAQs

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is the process of renting space and bandwidth through a company so that your website will be online. It means that you can publish your website so that anybody in the world can visit your website on the Web.

You can either pay a web hosting company for your website hosting or you can opt for free hosting. If you go for free hosting then you will have banner ads or pop-ups on your website. If you pay you will have no adverts and will be in complete control of your website. 

Can I use Flash, JavaScript or Java Applets on my website?

Yes. These are client side features – which mean that it runs on your visitor’s computer. So you can add flash, JavaScript or Java Applets to your website and as long as your visitors have these features available on their computers they will be able to view your web pages perfectly. Any browser (such as Internet Explorer or Netscape) that supports them will do. So these features are all supported by default on all hosting packages.

What is MySQL, MS SQL and Access databases?

MySQL, MS (Microsoft) SQL Server and Access are database systems. Databases are a collection of data arranged for ease and speed of search and retrieval. Databases are used to create a variety of sites. If you are going to make use of any of them make sure that you choose a Hosting package which will support the specific database you are looking to use. 

What is PHP?

This is a programming language which enables your website to be more dynamic.

PHP is a HTML embedded scripting language that lets you create dynamic web pages. It is an open source, server-side, and cross-platform scripting language. PHP-enabled web pages are treated just like regular HTML pages and you can create and edit them the same way you normally create regular HTML pages.

Each programming language has its own benefits. Find out more at www.php.net

What is ASP.NET or ASP?

This is a programming language which enables your website to be more dynamic.

These are Microsoft products which enable you to build web based programs based on the Microsoft infrastructure.

Each programming language has it’s own benefits. Find out more at www.asp.net

What is Perl?

Short for Practical Extraction and Report Language, Perl is a programming language developed by Larry Wall, especially designed for processing text. Because of its strong text processing abilities, Perl has become one of the most popular languages for writing CGI scripts. Perl is an interpretive language, which makes it easy to build and test simple programs.

Each programming language has it’s own benefits. Find out more at www.perl.com 

How do I publish or upload my website to the internet?

The most common way of uploading files to your site's account is by using FTP. When you sign up you will be sent your FTP account and details that lets you access files in your account. 

You can then use a FTP tool to transfer your website files from your hard drive to your FTP account on the web server. You can use a dedicated FTP program such as WS_FTP, CuteFTP or FileZilla. Alternately you can use the built in Windows or Internet Explorer FTP program. If you prefer a Web interface, you can use your account control panel's File Manager instead.

We suggest using dedicated FTP programs because these programs have the best user interfaces and support advanced options like setting file permissions and resuming aborted file transfers.

You can download FileZilla in the Download Section of our Support site.

Should I use Linux Hosting or Windows (Microsoft) Hosting for my site?

In order to decide whether to go for Linux or Microsoft hosting you will have to identify what your website will need supported. 

If you need to support Microsoft products such as ASP.net, ASP, MS Access, Microsoft SQL Server or VBScript, then Windows hosting would be better.

Linux is generally a more popular option because of its affordability, stability and many features. Linux supports PHP, Perl, mySQL, PostgreSQL and CGI Scripts. 

Both Linux and Windows servers are reliable, stable and secure. Generally, however, more viruses are written to attack Windows servers than Linux servers. If you need to host on a Windows Server ensure that your web hosting company continually upgrades their Windows and Linux servers with the latest fixes and patches available. 

Two points to note: 

First, just because you use Microsoft Windows on your computer does NOT mean that you need to host on a Windows hosting package. Windows for your home computer is completely different from a Windows server. 

Secondly, even if you use Microsoft FrontPage or FrontPage extensions to design your website, you can still use either Linux or Windows hosting as long as your chosen package supports FrontPage. 
 

Does it make a difference what type of computer I use?

No. You can design your website on any type of computer you want. The important thing is what your web hosting account can support. So for example if your computer has Windows you can still host your website on a Linux server. Even websites that are designed using Microsoft FrontPage using FrontPage extensions can be hosted on certain Linux Hosting options.

Will there be advertising such as banner ads or pop-ups on my website?

No. You are paying for your own web space and you are in complete control of what you put on your website. If you want to put ads on your site you can – but it is your choice completely. 

If I have my site designed myself can I still host with you?

Yes - Absolutely. We would love to host your site regardless of who designed it.

Where can I learn about website design?

I want to design my own website but I don’t have any experience. Where can I learn about website design?

1. Our Linux packages from Silver to Platinum offer free site builders which you can use based on a template. Once you (or us) installs the templates; you can then customise the look & feel based on what you desire. More details can also be found on this article

2. You can also use applications such as MS Publisher that have a wizard guiding you step by step.

3. There are many great tutorials on the web which can teach you how to design websites – from basic to advanced. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 

W3Schools Online Web Tutorials - http://www.w3schools.com/

WebReference Articles - http://webreference.com/authoring/design/tutorials.html 

HTML Goodies - http://www.htmlgoodies.com/ 

Web Developers Virtual Library (Advanced) - http://www.wdvl.com/ 

I don't have any website experience - Who can help me create and host my site?

Unfortunately, We don't offer web design.

However; we can refer you to Go Fish Client Catchers (GoFishcc.com).
They would love to design your site for you; with anything from a basic 3 page site to a complex specifically designed database driven site. For a free design quote feel free to contact us or email us directly on sales@gofishcc.com

You can also visit their official Web Design section for more information at http://www.gofishcc.com/internet-marketing-packages.

What are Kilobytes (KB), Megabytes (MB) and Gigabytes (GB)?

Space or file size on anything computer related are measured in Bytes. One single letter is a Byte. One thousand bytes is one kilobyte (KB). One thousand kilobytes is 1 megabyte (MB). 1000 megabytes is 1 gigabyte (GB).

What is web space?

Web or disk space is the size that your website can be. All the pages, words, images, scripts, databases and other files take up space. Your logs (stats) and emails will also take up web space. This space is measured in Bytes, KiloBytes (thousands of bytes) and MegaBytes (millions of bytes).

What is data transfer or bandwidth traffic? How does a traffic limit fit into this?

Data transfer or bandwidth is the amount of information that your visitors download from your site. Each time someone visits your site the information contained on your website is transferred from the web server to your visitors computer over their internet connection. 

For example let’s assume the following: each of your visitors view 4 HTML pages each visit; your HTML pages (including images) average 30 KB each; you get 500 visitors each week. Your site will then transfer 60 000 KB (4 x 30 x 500) each week (i.e. 60 MB per week).

A monthly traffic limit is the amount of data or bandwidth that you are allowed to transfer in any given month. Generally if you reach your traffic limit your site will either become unavailable until the beginning of the next month or you will be charged for each MB of traffic that you move over and above your traffic limit. 

How do I pay for my Web Hosting?

You can choose to pay by any of the following methods:

For all Hosting, MyBackups & dedicated solutions

- Monthly via Debit Order or Credit Card
- Bi-annually {6 months} via Debit Order or Credit Card
- Annually {12 months} via Debit Order or Credit Card

For all ADSL products except Pre-Paid

- Please refer to the ADSL payments section.

What is uptime?

Uptime is the amount of time that your website is available and online throughout the month. Thus if your website has 100% uptime it means that your site was not down for any time throughout the month. If your site was down for a total of 45 minutes in the month then your uptime was approximately 99.9%. 

What are subdomains?

A subdomain is an extension of your domain name. They are treated as separate sites from the main domain site. They will have their own FTP account details. 

So for example: Our domain name is afrihost.com, our web address is www.afrihost.com and a subdomain of ours is support.afrihost.com.

Can I track the number of visitors my site gets?

Yes you can. Your web hosting package has a stats program that will report, amongst other things, the number of hits, impressions and unique visitors. These stats use your log files to generate visitor information. 

You can also use remote tracking solutions (such as TheCounter.com or Sitemeter.com) which entail adding some JavaScript to your site. This JavaScript is then used to track visitor data.

What’s the difference between hits, impressions and unique visitors?

Hits – these are number of objects that have been transferred to your visitor’s web browser. So if your page has 10 images on and it is downloaded once then you will have received 11 hits (1 HTML page + 10 images).

Impressions/Pageviews – the number of pages that were viewed by your visitors. 

Unique Visitors - the number of people that visited your site.

Thus if I visit your site and go to 3 pages, each of which has 5 images on it your stats program will report the following: 18 Hits; 3 Impressions; 1 Unique Visitor. 

Would I be able to run my own software on my site?

This would depend on the software itself and the package that you choose. On the Linux options you will be able to run scripts written in PHP or Perl. You will also be able to have your own CGI scripts in your CGI bin. You will also be able to run “cron” jobs which enable you to automatically execute programs or scripts at specific times and dates. 

There are standard software .dll’s which can be run on the Windows servers. However customised .dll’s are not allowed to ensure overall stability of the Window’s servers. 

All scripts and software run will be monitored and any found to be too processor intensive will be disallowed. 

In order to get a full control over all aspects of your server, you will need a dedicated or co-located server instead of a shared plan.

Should I simply choose the cheapest web hosting company?

This question is a good one and we'd love to answer it - Hopefully to your satisfaction!

We do not believe that you should simply go for the cheapest web hosting offered. The simple fact is that a web hosting company needs to make enough money to provide a decent level of technical support and service. If a web hosting package seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Our aim is simply to deliver the best web hosting ever that will delight all of our clients. This obviously entails many aspects, many of which cost money. 

The Dedication issues:

1. We are 100% committed to delivering the best service. We are passionate about this. Of course everybody says this so these words probably sound hollow.

2. We will happily deal with any problems that you have until you are fully satisfied. We will not spare any time or effort to help you until your problem is 100% solved.

3. We aim to be your internet partners as opposed to simply your internet providers. We are continually working at improving all facets of our service and our offerings.

The Bandwidth issues:

1. Providing local bandwidth is a major cost due to the unfortunate Telkom monopoly. 

2. We make use of the fastest and best (and most unfortunately most expensive) local Tier one backbone from Internet Solutions to provide the fastest local download possible. 

3. We also host all of our client websites on the best and latest servers ensuring that your sites are as stable and reliable as possible. 

The Support issues:

1. We employ dedicated Client Services consultants to ensure the best local telephonic support possible. 

2. We have monitoring systems to ensure that if our servers crash we will know about it instantly. 

3. We have remote reboot devices to ensure that if our servers crash we will be able to get them up and running asap.

We simply do not compete on price for the service we offer. We know that there are many many cheaper options available. We do believe that the Web Hosting we provide is not a commodity and is good value at the price we charge.

The simple truth is that if we could offer our hosting services at much cheaper prices but we would then have to cut back on many of our support, bandwidth and server offerings. We could not then ensure top notch service and reliability. And these are non-negotiables for us.

Are there any extra costs involved in hosting a secure site (i.e. having a SSL certificate)?

Yes, you'll need to get a digital certificate from a Certificate Authority such as VeriSign or Thawte. This will be an additional cost over and above your hosting fee. Please contact us if you need to set up your SSL certificate.

I want 100% uptime. I don’t want my site to be down. Ever. IS this possible and if so who should I host with?

Unfortunately no hosting company can provide 100% uptime. Even the biggest and best multi-million rand and dollar sites go down from time to time due to various unforeseen circumstances. You need to make sure that your web hosting company has done the best they can to ensure the least downtime possible. Make sure that they have systems in place to continually monitor all of the websites they host so that they know if there is a problem as soon as possible. Ask them the 25 questions to ensure that they are reliable and will provide the best web hosting and uptime possible.

What is web hosting? The Full Monty answer!

Here are some points to help you understand just what web hosting is and how it works: 

1. The reason to sign up for Web Hosting is to give your website a place to live for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Your website has to be housed on a computer somewhere that is always connected to the Internet. This computer on which your website will live is called a Web Server and is owned by your web hosting company.

2. Web hosting is in essence a subscription service. 

In order to continually make sure that your website has a place to live you will have to pay recurring amounts: either monthly or yearly.

3. Some big websites -- such as Google and Ebay -- do their own web hosting. This is the exception rather than the rule.

It is usually the best bet to let another organisation do the hosting for your site. Here are some of the reasons why: 

» Uptime. If your website goes down in the middle of the night for any reason someone else takes care of the problem for you. Generally you won't even know that the site was down. With most web hosting companies your site will have at least 98% or better uptime. 

» Salary Expense. In order to make sure that the computer your site is on is running smoothly at all times you will have to hire a full time employee called a Systems Administrator. When you use a web hosting company then the cost of the skills are spread across all their clients. 

» Security. There are hackers out there who enjoy causing havoc. A web hosting company will generally have experience in ensuring their client's websites are as secure as possible. 

4. The specific computer on which your website lives is called a web server. 

Generally speaking, if the web server that your website is hosted on goes down, your website goes down. 

5. A web server typically hosts many websites.

Just because your website is stored on a computer does not mean it is the only one on the web server. Generally there are many websites on one web server to produce economies of scale which enable you to get affordable web hosting.

6. An established web hosting company will generally own many web servers which in turn host many websites. 

Each web server the hosting company owns will typically host hundreds of individual websites and domain names. 

7. Across the world there are many more websites than there are web servers because it is possible to host thousands of small websites on one web server. 

8. If you sign up with a web hosting company, your website will be assigned to one of their web servers.

9. Your domain name will be assigned to one of their name servers. 

A name server is a computer which will connect your domain name (http://www.YourDomain.co.za) to the web server where your website lives. 

10. Your name server and a web server work together to get visitors from all over the world to your website. 

This is how it works: 

Your visitor types your domain name in his browser. Based on information provided by your hosting company's name server, your website is found to live on the specific web server where it was originally assigned to by your web hosting company. 

A single page of your website is sent to the visitor's browser by the web server. 

The process repeats when your visitor goes to the next page of your website. 

How long before my website is ready?

Our estimated turn around time for registrations is 5 minutes, however it can take between 24 and 48hrs. Delays can sometimes occur, but we do all we can to speed up the process.