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Web Hosting - 2 months Free : Free Miva Shopping Cart : Website Design and Promotion : Merchant Accounts : Secure SSL E-Commerce : Dedicated Servers  : Server Co-Location : Fast, Reliable, Affordable : 24/7 Free Support : Reseller Packages :  Free Webmaster Resources : Discount Pricing : Linux and Windows!

Frequently Asked Questions | General Questions


  1. What is a Domain Name?
  2. Why should I register a Domain Name?
  3. What are the currently available Domain Names extensions?
  4. What are the valid characters for a Domain Names?
  5. How much will it cost to register a Domain Name with sidetrips.com?
  6. How do I find out if a Domain Name is available?
  7. What if someone is already using a Domain Name I want?
  8. Can I just register my domain name myself?
  9. What is DNS or Domain Name Service?
  10. How long will it take to process my registration?
  11. I already have a domain name on someone else's server. Can I transfer it?
  12. What if I want to point two domains to the same Website?
  13. Can I use a canonical domain, such as sales.example.com?
  14. I'm not ready for a Web site yet, but I want to reserve my domain name before someone else gets it.
  15. I'd just like to get an email account that will stay with me wherever I go. (something@mydomain.com)
  16. What is Domain Hosting?
  17. Can you host your own domain name and website?
  18. Can I keep my current dial-up provider / ISP?
  19. How do I choose a hosting service for my Website?
  20. What other factors affect Website performance?
  21. You mentioned reliability. Can you expand on that?
  22. What about Microsoft FrontPage?
  23. I've seen hosting advertised at $5/month. What's up with that?
  24. What about "E-Commerce"? What is SSL?
  25. What should I pay for hosting?
  26. Why doesn't Sidetrips offer unlimited disk space?
  27. How can I be sure that Sidetrips is my best choice for hosting my company's Website?
  28. How do we get started?

What is a Domain Name?

    A Domain Name [example.com] is an easy way to find sites on the Internet without having to memorize long strings of characters, complicated names, or IP addresses. Example.com is much easier than 206.114.155.257 or www.yourprovider.com/public/~yourusername/etc...

Why should I register a Domain Name?

    A Domain Name will give you a unique identity on the Internet. Many organizations find it useful to have an e-mail or Web address that is similar to their company name or to their company product(s). Also, a Domain Name that refers to your product or service will assure higher search engine ranking.

    If your organization's name is Example, Inc., you could register the Domain Name EXAMPLE.COM and your e-mail address could be anything@example.com. Your customers would also be able to access your organization's Web site by visiting "www.example.com" or "example.com" with their Web browser.

    Like any trade name, logo, or brand name, your Domain Name represents a part of your business identity - something customers and business associates can recognize, remember, and positively associate with your services or products. Registering your Domain Name will at the very least prevent someone else from using it.

    With your own Domain Name, access on the World Wide Web becomes a simple matter of entering Yourname.com. No one has to write it down, they remember it.

    Similarly, every Email message affirms your name as your address becomes you@yourname.com. - simple, elegant, and effective.

    Also, by doing business under your own Domain Name, a good service provider can offer you multiple Email "aliases," all going to a single or multiple parties. They can even be forwarded to people outside your physical location.

    Finally....ITS PORTABLE! If you've ever had to change your service provider, or even move your physical business address, you know what an incredible hassle it is to notify everyone. Remember, that without your own Domain Name, your Internet address is tied to that of your service provider. Thus, if you want to change providers you also change your Web address and probably Email address as well.

    Consider for a moment: Are your ready to print new cards, brochures, etc., or contact all your clients, suppliers, business associates, etc. and inform them of your new address? Can you even remember them all or reach them if you want to in a timely and cost-effective manner? And, every day you're in business the list gets longer. Your own Domain Name lets you avoid all that, giving you a permanent Internet address. You can change your service providers every month if you want, and your address will always remain yourname.com.

What are the currently available Domain Names extensions?

    Domain Names fall into several different categories, otherwise known as top-level Domains [TLDs]. There are several top-level Domains:
  • COM - Business
  • EDU - Educational Institutions
  • GOV - Government agencies
  • MIL - Military Use
  • NET - Network Infrastructure machines
  • ORG - Non-profit Organizations
  • BIZ - Business
  • INFO - Informational Site
  • US - United States locality sites
  • TV - General
  • CC - General

What costs are associated with registering a Domain Name?

    Sidetrips does not charge any processing fees for Registering your new Domain and associating it with our DNS servers until you are ready for the Hosting of your Domain. The fee for purchasing a new Domain Name in .com, .org, and .net is as low as $15/year (US). Click Here for more Information about Domain Registration.

What are the valid characters for a Domain Name and how long can it be?

    The only valid characters for a Domain Name are letters, numbers and a hyphen [-]. Domain names cannot contain spaces or begin or end with a hyphen. Single letter Domain Names are not permitted (x.com). Domain names must begin with a letter.

    A Domain Name can be up to 66 characters long including the 4 characters used to identify the Top Level Domain (.NET, .COM, .ORG, or .EDU).

    The following are valid Examples of Domain Names:

    example.com (11 characters)
    another-example.net (19 characters)
    example-thats-really-longggggggg.com (36 characters)

    Note: The path http://www.example.com is not a Domain Name. It is a uniform resource locator (URL) used by Web browsers to find documents and resources.

How do I find out if a Domain Name is available?

    You can use our convenient Domain Name LookUp form . This form searches the Domain Name database and returns the status of your Domain Name request.

What if someone is already using a Domain Name I want?

    Domain Names are unique. Domains are registered names on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once a Domain Name has been registered by someone, no one else can use it. It is critical you obtain your Domain as quickly as possible .

    If the name you want is already registered, consider registering variations of the name desired. For example, example.com, could be registered as example.net, or examples.com.
    Our FREE search engine allows you to search for Domain Names that you may wish to register. Once you find a suitable Domain Name, you may want to consider registering variants of that Domain Name to prevent someone else from benefiting from a Domain Name similar to your chosen Domain Name. We can direct the additional domains to your primary domain.

Can I just register my domain name myself?

    Good Question. Yes, with a catch. The Domain Name servers operated by Sidetrips (or any other provider) contain directories of all of the Domains that we are responsible for. A Domain Name must be "responsive" to queries by at least 2 Domain Name servers. Sidetrips provides the 2 Domain Name server addresses when registering the domain on your behalf and programs them to respond to Domain Name queries. Domain Names that are not responsive to " DNS " queries, will be deleted. If you have the equipment and DNS address of your own then you can register your domain, but if not Sidetrips will help. Sidetrips takes care of all this for you as part of the registration process.

    Sidetrips will be happy to complete the registration process for you, based on the information you provide on the online signup form . Sidetrips will be the technical/zone contact, and you can choose the administrative and billing contacts. Generally, the administrative contact is the person responsible for day-to day operations of your website, (i.e., your support). The billing contact should be the personal responsible for payables in your organization. Please fill out all information completely. If you do not have a fax, leave this entry blank.

What is DNS or Domain Name Service?

    Computers identify each other with numbers rather than words. Each Domain Name is therefore assigned a numeric equivalent, called an IP (Internet Protocol) address, which might look something like this: 123.12.34.1. DNS (Domain Name System) is a set of distributed databases containing these numeric equivalents and their corresponding Domain Names. DNS has servers located all over the Internet which perform the translation between names and numbers for other computers. This arrangement allows users to invoke an easy-to-remember name (yourname.com) rather than a difficult string of numbers when seeking out a site on the Internet. For more information see this FAQ .

How long will it take to process my registration?

    The process of registering a Domain Name is coordinated through an automated process called an "auto-parser." Once you have submitted a complete and correctly formatted Agreement, your registration request will be processed immediately and you will be notified via e-mail when processing is complete.

    Following the registration, updates to the Internet's root name servers are propagated seven days a week at which time the DNS information for the newly registered name becomes visible to the DNS system. Domain Names processed prior to 5 p.m. Eastern Time should be accessible on the Internet within 2 days.

Once a Domain is registered, who "owns" the Domain Name?

    The individual who is listed as the Organization Contact is the Domain Name owner and controls the movement among different service providers. If you register and pay for a Domain then you own the Domain outright.

I already have a domain name on someone else's server. Can I transfer it to Sidetrips?

    Yes. You must be the administrative contact in order to do this. Shortly after you fill in the online signup form , you will need to contact your current Domain Registrar to update your DNS or Nameserver Information. Look here for additional instructions on how to do this.

What if I want to point two domains to the same Website?

    We can do this for you. There is a one time setup charge for each, with no monthly recurring costs. Email is also included with these additional domains, if desired.

Can I use a canonical domain, such as sales.example.com?

    Yes. You can use as many canonical domains as you like. There is a one time setup charge for each, and we'll point the domain to any directory of your choosing within your Web space. (i.e., /htdocs/sales/)

I'm not ready for a Web site yet, but I want to reserve my domain name before someone else gets it.

    It's a very good idea to reserve now, because InterNIC registers over 100,000 domain names each and every month.

What is Hosting?

    Hosting is a term that describes the service of making a web site [Domain Name and webpages] available through the Internet. This allows your site to be viewed by millions of people around the world, 24 hours a day, 7 day a week!

Can I host my own Domain Name and web site myself?

    You can if you have a full-time connection to the Internet and dedicated staff members to maintain the server that hosts your site. This could cost thousands of dollars monthly. It is much easier and cheaper to have a professional hosting service such as Sidetrips Internet Services keep your site running in perfect condition.

Can I keep my current dial-up provider (ISP)?

    Of course. You do not have to change your dial-up provider. We simply keep your Domain Name on the Internet where it is available for the world to see.

How do I choose a hosting service for my Website?

    Many factors must be considered. Two of the most important factors are speed (bandwidth) and reliability.

    Bandwidth is the size of the "pipe" your hosting partner has to the internet. For, example, your dialup connection to the internet is probably communicating at 56,000 bits per second (56kbs)

    Our hosting and colocation solutions provide high-speed, high-bandwidth connectivity to the UUNET global network. We have the most rigorously engineered, reliable TCP/IP network backbone. UUNET's fully meshed multimegabit backbone has been expanded to include OC-12 (644 MBps) and OC-48 (2.45 GBps) links, enabling us to offer some of the fastest speeds available today.

    A couple of years ago, a common bandwidth for internet hosts was T1 (1.5 MBps). As the internet's popularity grows, the once standard T1 has become the "snail" in terms of hosting connections. More and more providers have so-called 'fast' T3 connections (45 MBps), which provides a "pipe" 27 times faster than a T1. UUNET's OC-12 connections are 14 times faster than a T3 connection and OC-48 is 54 times faster than the same T3 connection used by 'average' hosting companies. At Sidetrips, we recognize that while this faster connectivity is probably sufficient for now, with the internet's rapid growth, in a very short time, this just will not be enough. That's why we use state of the art connections made directly to the backbone of the Internet so speed is no longer an issue. Sidetrips can deliver your site with blazing speed and reliability.

    For maximum reliability, our network links are fully redundant to eliminate single points of failure. Plus, we use high-capacity fiber to build our network over an existing infrastructure and support it with diverse fiber paths and uninterruptable power supplies at every node.

    What's more, our average peak bandwidth utilization is very low. We have lots of available bandwidth for your Web site.

What other factors affect Website performance?

    Plenty. Some hosting companies are primarily internet service providers (ISPs). This means that they offer dialup access to the internet. If 1,000 dialup customers are busy surfing the Web, they are competing with your site for bandwidth. At Sidetrips, we offer no dialup connections.

    Another factor to consider is the equipment used to host the sites. Operating System software, processor speed, server memory, and the number of sites placed on each server are all important factors. At Sidetrips we use Dell Servers with maximum RAM and fast Pentium processors. We run RedHat Linux 7.0 and Windows NT/2000 Operating Systems. And to guarantee optimal performance, we limit the number of accounts on each box.

    One final note about performance. Each hosting provider has an internal network, which your website is connected to. Your pages must make a trip through that internal network before they are sent out to the internet and ultimately to your customers. The speed of this internal network is a critical factor, and ours is a 100 Megabit/second etherswitched network. Most others that you'll find are operating at just one-tenth that speed.

You mentioned reliability. Can you expand on that?

    A website is useless if none of your customers can get to it. Computers fail, hard drives fail, connections fail. We realize that even by using the most reliable equipment we can buy, equipment can and does fail. At our network operations center, our engineers monitor the equipment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.. Tape backups are made daily on Linux and Windows NT/NT boxes, and should a hard drive fail, it can be replaced, data restored, and your site back up and running quickly. We do, however, recommend that you also keep backups of your website, for important off-site storage.

    As hardware can fail, so can connections. We peer with all major backbone providers so that if one should fail, we can quickly switch to another. We can do this in a matter of seconds. We use state of the art BGP ( Border Gateway Protocol ) multihoming to ensure the reliability of your connection to the internet.

    The power can go out, too. We use UPS backup power, so that voltage fluctuations, brownouts, and blackouts will not affect your site's operation. And for prolonged outages, if one should occur, we have generator power on standby.

What about Microsoft FrontPage?

    Microsoft FrontPage is more than just a web-design program, it's a complete Web solution. If you design your own pages, you'll appreciate the way FrontPage manages your site -- if you move a page to a different folder, for example, all bookmarks to that page on your site are updated automatically. Plus the new FrontPage provides improved performance with tables, frames, and forms and new features including themes. Sidetrips is pleased to offer this functionality on our Windows NT/NT servers.

What about "E-Commerce"? What is SSL?

    An internet presence provider should be able to offer you and your customers the ability to do business on the net, including secure credit card transactions. We know that credit cards offer convenience for your customers and easier accounting for you. But in order to accept credit cards on the net, your customers will want to know that your server issecureand that no one will be able to steal their credit card numbers while in transit.

    Sidetrips offers the ability to provide ultra-secure, 128-bit (high-grade) digital security using ordinary Web browsers to customers in the United States and Canada. Many other ISPs offer only medium-grade 40-bit security, and many, many more offer no security at all. Using SSL (Secure Socket Layers) and digital certification, you can be confident that your secure transactions will be authentic and private. What's more, this service is available to you absolutely free with your own certificate.

I've seen hosting advertised at $5/month and you're charging $20 - $30. What's up with that?

    We've seen those ads, too. And we've wondered the same thing, because we know what the costs are to provide full-service quality hosting, and it's a lot more than $5. So we looked around, and found that you do not get very much for your $5 once you read the fine print.

    For example, we followed one banner and found that for $5 you don't even get domain registration, you're allowed only 1 MB disk space, and your site has only a slow T1 access. We added up what it would cost to bring this $5 Web site up to Sidetrips's $30 Web site using the provider's own a-la-carte pricing. We added the things we include as standard, such as SSL and FrontPage. Their total was $65/month!

What should I pay for hosting?

    You should not pay $5 (see the question above). And you shouldn't consider hosting companies that charge $100. Quality hosting should never cost more than $50 or so.

    Always read the "fine print" very carefully. In many cases, what seems like a good price really isn't. Many hosting providers charge extra for SSL, FrontPage, email, and so on. In many cases, once you've added up all the "extras", you'll be paying two to three times the "advertised" price.

    At Sidetrips, you pay one price. No gimmicks, no games, no surprises.

Some hosting providers are advertising unlimited disk space. Why does Sidetrips only offer up to 1000 Mb?

    In most cases, Web sites use much less than 5 MB. And that's what these companies are banking on - that you'll switch to them for the disk space and then never use it. After all, it's mathematically impossible to offer an unlimited amount of a limited resource.

    We do not play games with your resources. When we offer you 50MB of disk space, we give it to you -- whether you use it or not, it's there, you've paid for it, it's always available, it's yours. We do not oversell disk space, or bandwidth, or any other resources.

    Of course, should you need extra disc space you can always add extra space to your existing account.

How can I be sure that Sidetrips is my best choice for hosting my company's Website?

    We offer the industry's most attractive guarantee. If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with our service in the first 30 days, just tell us and we'll refund your unused payment and setup fees). It's totally unconditional. If we do not live up to your standards, we cut you a check. We could not do that unless we knew that you'd be absolutely delighted with our service.

Great. How do we get started?






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