F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a shared host?

A shared hosting service simply means that you will be sharing a web server with other customers. This is great because it helps keep costs down for customers, but it can have its downsides. For example, if one of those customers takes up more than his or her fair share of resources then the other web sites on that server will run sluggish. This is why many hosts have put systems in place to remove these trouble makers.

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What is a dedicated host?

A dedicated host is for those people who cannot afford to have their servers performance affected by other people, like in a shared host. With this service you have 100% of the resources of the web server and can be assured that no one but yourself will make your site run slowly.

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What is a VPS host?

A VPS is a virtual dedicated server and is basically a budget dedicated host. Instead of having a whole web server to yourself, the host has actually installed special software that assigns a certain amount of the server resources to each customer. VPS is still in its infant stages and is only recommended for people who fully understand the pros and cons of this service.

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Should I sign up annually or month to month?

There are different benefits and disadvantages for choosing one payment schedule over another. A month to month plan is nice because it allows you to cancel at anytime without forfeiting anything more than a month's worth of hosting. However, there are often high setupfees associated with month to month that can be avoided by signing up with an annual pay schedule. I prefer month to month, but you need to ask yourself which you'd rather want.

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What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be downloaded from your website by your visitors. Each piece of text, picture, video, or song that is downloaded from your site will use up bandwidth. If you run out of bandwidth than a host will either suspend your account until the next month or charge you for the extra bandwidth that you use.

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How do I know a web host company is reliable?

There are many things that a web host can do to make their service more reliable. When choosing a new host you want to check that they at least offer the following: 99.9% uptime guarantee, ability to download backups, 24/7 phone support, 24/7 online support, and onsite backup generators in case of a power outtage. Most of these items will be listed in the about page for the host. If you cannot find one of these items listed, you should email the company and ask them directly.

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How much bandwidth and disk space do I need for my type of site?

This is a very open ended question that I receive often and the answer is: it depends. If you are running a small business website that only receives 1,000 orders a month, then anything over 5GB of bandwidth and 500MB of disk space will be enough. The majority of websites will not come close to even using 5GB of bandwidth. However, if you run a popular video sharing site, then you could use upwards of 5,000GB of bandwidth in a month and need more than 2,000GB of storage. A rule of thumb for deciding how much bandwidth is right for you is to see how big each webpage is and then multiply that by the number of pageviews you would like.

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Should I get shared hosting or dedicated hosting for my popular site?

Firstly, if you are an ecommerce site where an hour of downtime means you are losing $300 in revenue, you need to get dedicated hosting. If you are running a very popular resource intensive site like a forum, video sharing, or picture web page than you will most likely need a dedicated server. If you are running a popular blog or news related site, with the right amount of script optimization a shared hosting account will be just fine.

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If a host has x% of downtime, how much time is that per month?

Most hosts guarantee 99% or 99.9% uptime. If you were to do the math you'd see that 1% of downtime a month is actually 7 and a half hours of downtime. 0.1% of downtime is only 45 minutes of downtime. As you can see those little percentage points can add up quite fast.

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Do you benefit from signups?

If you purchase web hosting by clicking on one of the links on this site we do receive a commision. This is how we are able to pay for costs and grow our business.

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How do I backup my website?

Each host is different, but here's how you would do it if your web host used the popular cPanel. First, login to your cpanel account. Next, click the Backup button. You will then see "Full Backups" and you want to click the "Generate/Download a Full backup" link. You would then click the "Generate Backup" button and wait for confirmation that the download was complete. Depending on how big your web site is, this might take quite a while.

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Should I take a web host up on its free domain offer?

Signing up for a "Free Domain" with the purchase of a hosting account is not recommended. If there are every any payment disputes between you are your web host they can basically take your domain hostage until you pay up. This is why we recommend that you register your domains at a different company then your web host.

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How many databases do I need?

Short answer: 1. Long answer: It depends on how technically savvy you are. There are ways to modify your scripts so that you can run a forum, blog, gallery, etc all on one database simply by adding a custom prefix for each separate application. However, a good number to have for newbies and for people who don't like mucking around in scripts is 10 databases.

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I'm torn between company X and company Y, which one should I choose?

The easiest way to decide between two companies is to visit their website and do two things. First, send them an email and ask what they have to offer over the other web hosting companies. If their response is quick enough and pleasant enough for you, that's a big first step. Second, send them another email in the middle of the night and see how long they take to respond. Eventually, you will have a problem in the wee hours of the night, and you want to be sure that your host will be there for you.

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Does this host make my website look fat?

I've heard this too many times to know nothing good can come from answering this one.

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Need Help?

New to web hosting and need some questions anwered? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section and for those web hosting terms that you don't understand see our Glossary.

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Outstanding support and performance have earned Hostgator.com the highest recommendation, the Golden Bullseye. Keep up the good work Hostgator!

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As you can see from our host comparison, it is now an industry standard to offer more than a Terabyte of bandwidth per hosting plan (1 TB = 1,000 GB). Be sure to check out our recommended hosts and what they specialize in.

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