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FAQ: General Information  (8 questions)
For general information regarding this site.
  1. What is the SemoTech Customer Center?
  2. Getting Started (Domain, DNS, Website & Email)
  3. What is Web Hosting?
  4. Bandwidth Or Data Transfer Which is Which?
  5. Domain Registration - Public or Private?
  6. What is the cPanel and how can I manage my account with it?
  7. How to add a RapidSSL Site Seal to your Website
  8. How to configure Automatic Atomic Clock Time Sync
FAQ

FAQ Answers: General Information
  1. What is the SemoTech Customer Center?
    This interactive system, available 24hours a day, allows SemoTech customers to check their account, make payments towards the hosting of their website, request support by submitting a trouble ticket,etc...

    This is also where you'll find information about services being offered, pricing as well as links to our portfolio and demonstration web sites.

    Please check here often as this system is in constant development and will continue to offer new functionality.

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  2. Getting Started (Domain, DNS, Website & Email)
    Here are step-by-step instructions that will help you quickly get your website up and running.

    1. Just signed up?

    After placing your order, we will send you a confirmation email. This email contains all the information you'll need to access your website, perform maintenance, add features and options, etc...

    2. Domain Names - New or Transferred.

    New Domain name: If you brought a new domain name through SemoTech, we will register the domain name on your behalf the very same day. Your domain name will be fully active within 24-48 hours after registration. Once it is active, you will be able to access your website by going to http://www.yourdomain.com on your browser. In the mean time, you can access your website with the temporary URL. You can find the temporary URL in the email we will send you.

    Transfered Domain Name: If you already have a domain name and are transferring your website or are setting up a website/email with SemoTech, only the DNS servers need to be changed to point to us. This process can only be done by the domain owner and can take up to several days depending on your domain registrar. (see propagation below)

    3) DNS Propagation of your Domain Name (new customers)

    Before you can utilize all of SemoTech's services and features (Email, FrontPage, Website, Stats, CGI Scripts, etc..), your domain name must be pointed to our DNS numbers and propagated. Propagation is the time it takes for all the internet service providers around the world to update their information internally. This process is very simple and involves accessing your domain name account, held at your current registrar and changing the primary and secondary domain names to "NS1.SemoTech.com" and "NS2.SemoTech.com". Once you make the change it will take about 24-48 hours for all the name serves on the internet to updated themselves with the new information so be patient during this propagation phase.

    Here is a simple way to find out if DNS propagation is complete:

    If you put your domain name in your browser (http://www.yourdomain.com) and see a "coming soon" page, then your domain name has been propagated, is fully active, and ready for you to publish your website to or use it's email services.

    4. Now you're all ready!

    Now you can upload your website There are two different ways of uploading your files. First, you can use FTP to upload your files to the server. If you have FrontPage or Dreamweaver, you can publish your website with them. For detailed publishing instructions look HERE

    5. Setup Email

    By default, your master Email account is automatically setup. Your Email service will only work once your domain name is propagated. You can check your Email using either a simple web browser or through POP3 and a client like Outlook. The key info you'll need in either case is listed in the email we will send you. For email setup & access instructions look HERE

    6. Customize email and website

    Once you're up and running and your domain had propagated and is now pointing to your new website on our servers you can access your personal control panel and add additional email accounts, setup forwarders, blockers, etc...

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  3. What is Web Hosting?
    If you want to take part in the internet as a business, information resource, directory, or as a hobbyist wanting to share data, information and knowledge with the many people and communities on the internet, you have to contain this in a central spot on the internet. You have to own a piece of space in cyberspace.

    Web hosting empowers you and anyone with a computer and internet connection to own a piece of cyberspace. In your space, you can have news, bulletins, documents, data, files (your web site) and your own post office (mail server) to accept mail, all in the context of you or your business. This is your space and to get this space you either have to own a piece of the physical internet with a network connection to the internet backbone and computer(s) operating as server(s) offering access to your files and post office, for people on the internet to view your web site or send and receive email with you.

    The cost of owning a direct connection to the backbone and a server dedicated to a web site and email is out of reach for the average business and especially general members of the internet. Even running a web site and mail server on your own computer when it is connected to the internet requires a lot of technical ability and knowledge. The internet itself has to be your business for either of these options to be viable.

    In our modern society, for every person in business or with a career in most industries today, it is imperative to have a place in cyberspace, not just to be competitive but to survive. Web hosting companies were born out of this great need to provide an environment for the masses to own a piece of cyberspace, to offer an environment where people could have their piece of cyberspace on the internet 24/7 without the great cost. Web hosting companies developed a model where they could split up areas on the servers connected to the backbone and rent this space, cutting the costs across many people sharing the server and backbone connection to the internet.

    In a web-hosting environment, you are offered a web site to place your files, data, documents, and bulletins for people to access with their web browser and an email server for you to send and receive email messages. The web host will also provide you a means to get an address for people to get to your web site with a web browser and post email to you.

    To obtain space in a web hosting environment you become a member and agree to terms and conditions of renting the space just as if you were to rent a house or commercial premises for your business. Once you agree and become a member, you are given an access code, a key, to your piece of cyberspace. This key, in the form of a login and password, allows you to connect to the web hosting server and up-load (transfer to) your web site so it can be accessed on the internet. Your login and password is also used to connect to a mail server to create and administer mailboxes to send and receive email for you, your staff, or family members.

    Just like when you rent a house or commercial premises for your business, you have so many rooms, bathrooms, and floor space to use. In a web-hosting environment, your area is defined as disk space and network transfer.

    Disk space is measured in Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Megabyte roughly means 1,024,000 characters and Gigabyte roughly means 1,024 Million characters. Imagine a character as one key on your key board. These amounts determine how many files, documents, or data you can have on your web site.

    Network Transfer also referred to as Bandwidth is also measured in Megabytes or gigabytes which determines how much data (how many of your files, documents or data) can be downloaded (transferred to) people accessing your web site. The more people, or the more data each person accesses on your web site the more data is transferred on the network.

    The more disk space and network transfer you use the greater percentage of the web-hosting environment you are using therefore the higher the rent.

    Just as no office building and home is the same, neither is every web-hosting environment. Some offices have stairs, others have elevators, some houses have ensuites, swimming pools, and gardens, and others do not. Web-hosting environments are much the same, some offer bare structures to do just the basics and others offer an array of features and facilities to help you do just about everything you could ever need or want. Some of the features and facilities likely to be offered are ranges of software to use, components, databases, and server side script processing. You always get what you pay for.

    The similarity of renting an office or home to renting space in a web-hosting environment is even more similar. With some buildings a gardener and/or a guard is available to look after the gardening or provide security. In a web-hosting environment, you have support people to help you do what you need to do on your web site to make it grow and there are server administrators to protect and secure your web-hosting space.

    When you rent a building there are key parts needed to work or live in the space, like rooms, offices, kitchens, toilets, and bathrooms. In your web-hosting environment, you will find equally important components that are required to make the space workable. The core components in a web-hosting environment are:

    Web Server

    The web server is a relatively simple piece of software that accepts requests over HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and delivers HTML pages and Image files. SemoTech uses the "Apache" web server running under Linux.

    FTP Server

    FTP is the means of which a web master can transfer files to and from the server. To put your HTML and image files on a server you will generally use FTP to upload (transfer to) your files to the server running the web server.

    Mail Server

    The mail server consists of two parts POP (Post Office Protocol) and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). POP is where email is received into your mailbox and SMTP is what is used to send and receive email between mail servers.

    Database Server

    If you are using server side scripting on your web server (you use something like Microsoft Internet Information Server) then instead of providing ?static? data only on web pages you can provide data from a database allowing your users to search and view the data in different and dynamic way. Also, a Database server is used to gather data from visitors to your site; orders, feedback, discussions and the like.

    Each one of the above components are software programs running on servers in the web-hosting environment. You can interact with each of these with special software programs you use on your computer. The main ones being:

    Web Browser

    When viewing the web you use a web browser like Internet Explorer. Our web hosting company provides a Control Panel to administer your web host account, which you use with your web browser. This will allow you to configure most aspects of your account using a simple web browser.

    Web site/page editor

    Today many web servers allow editing of WebPages over HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) based on Microsoft FrontPage technology. These special editors allow you to essentially look at your web site as if you were using a web browser and edit the pages directly as you see them using WYSWIG (What you see if what you get) technology. Our web hosting environment supports this, and if you are starting out, make sure to ask us to make it available on your account at no extra charge.

    FTP Client

    This is a very simple piece of software that allows you to view the server folders and files in your web host account as if they were files and folders on your own computer. You can then drag and drop files between you computer and your web host account.

    Email Client

    If you are on the internet you would already be using an email client to send and receive your email. The most common are Outlook Express, Eudora and Web based mail clients like Hotmail. Semotech gives you the ability to use them all at your discretion.

    Database Administration Client

    The most common databases used with web servers are Microsoft SQL Server (available only on Windows) and MySQL (commonly found on Linux and UNIX but also available on Windows). SQL Server comes with it's own administration client where you can view your databases, edit them, backup data and do all the administration functions you need. MySQL has an active online community where there is a range of administration clients available.

    Choosing a web host is, again, similar to choosing a house to live in or commercial premises to do business. You need to define what it is you require: how much space you need and what features and facilities you need.

    If you have been reading this article because this is new to you, then it is likely at this stage you only need minimal space and basic facilities. Once you have worked with the basic facilities you will learn more and become aware of greater facilities and features and then you can simple move from one web ?hosting environment to another ? paying more or paying less. Moving in cyberspace is much easier, faster, and more seamless than physically moving house or commercial premises.

    Initially you may use the web-hosting environment offered by your ISP (internet Service provider), the company you use to connect to the internet. But remember these companies main business is connecting many thousands of people to the internet not manage web hosting environments. You will generally find they offer less than basic facilities, space and minimal support with long wait times on hold.

    If you have a web designer or technical person to help you, you only need to consider how much space you really need. With this simple idea in mind, when you are just starting out, owning your piece of cyberspace will not cost anymore than $9.95 per month. Some web-hosting companies will offer what you need for as little as $3 per month (usually paid yearly) but beware of the level or service, availability and support they offer.

    If you are going alone and doing it all yourself you may want to consider an account with a web hosting company that offers and prides itself on it's support and customer service, 24/7 support access and the experience, knowledge and skill of it's server administrators, like SemoTech. Remember, these are the gardeners and the guards who take care of your environment.

    Web hosting is very simple and straightforward an once you obtain your space in cyberspace you will never want to let it go and you can easily move it where you want as a turtle carries it's shell on it's back. Always remember you are not stuck in the first web-hoisting environment you choose.

    Web hosting isyour space in cyberspace and it is imperative to have a place in cyberspace in our modern society, just as it is to have an office to do business.

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  4. Bandwidth Or Data Transfer Which is Which?
    Too often web hosts talk about bandwidth and data transfer in the same breath but truth be known they are different although very closely related. Bandwidth is how much data can be transferred at a time and data transfer is how much data is being transferred. Think of it this way. If bandwidth were a bridge, then the bigger the bridge is the more vehicles can pass through it. While data transfer is the number of vehicles allowed on the bridge in say a month. In essence, data transfer is the consumption of bandwidth.

    How It Affects Your Site

    The less bandwidth you have, the slower your site takes to load regardless of the visitor’s connection type. If you have more visitors, some of them will have to wait their turn. The least data transfer you have, the more often you’ll find your site unavailable because you’re reached the maximum allowed until a new month rolls by or you upgrade your account.

    Determining Your Requirements

    Usually when a host talks about bandwidth, they are referring to your transfer. So you need to figure out what is sufficient for your site to function. You’ll need to gather some information; fairly easy if you already have a site. Most of this information is available from your traffic history. If you don’t have an existing site, provide an optimistic estimate if you intend to heavily promote the site. Then get ready for some math. Find out the daily averages of:

    # Number of visitors / expected number of visitors
    # Page size including the graphics of the page
    # Page views / expected pages viewed by each visitor

    Then, multiply them as follows: Visitors x Page size x Page views x 30 days = Monthly Website Transfer

    You should also throw in a small margin or error there to take into account email traffic and your own uploads to the server. If you offer downloads, then you should add the following:

    Average/Expected downloads x File Size x 30 days = Monthly Download Transfer

    Unlimited Plans

    Bandwidth is very expensive. All hosts are limited by their own allocations. Thinking back to the bridge. What happens is each visitor to your site will be given a smaller lane to transfer the data, creating many tiny lanes therefore “unlimited”. The more visitors you have the smaller each lane will be, which makes each visitor wait for the page to load. More often than not there is little choice over your bandwidth as your host controls this. Some hosts may limit the number of simultaneous connections so in affect slowing down your site and refusing some visitors. This is called throttling. If you’re concerned about this, you should ask the host how they control bandwidth usage or purchase a package with more data transfer.

    Reducing Transfers

    On the other hand, you can reduce your transfer amount by building simpler, more efficient websites and optimizing your graphics. Refrain from fancy flash presentations or streaming audio. Use CSS, call JavaScript externally instead of embedding in every page. Remove unwanted tags, white space and comments. Limit your META tags to those absolutely necessary. Having too many keywords is not search engine friendly. Besides many search engines will only review the first few and ignore the rest. Another good idea is to cache your website but you might want to set an expiry date in the HTTP headers so the browser will refresh the content after a certain time. Use mod-gzip. It could save you as much as 40% of your bandwidth. Out of control robots can also consume your bandwidth at an enormous rate. So use robots.txt to keep spiders in check.

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  5. Domain Registration - Public or Private?

    There is growing concern these days about privacy and who has access to your information, even information that you thought is harmless and can be of no use to anyone. However identity theft and both junk postal and email are escalating into a daily nightmare.

    When registering a domain name, valid and proper information needs to be used in order for you to claim the name as your property. However, this information is easily visible to anyone that looks up your domain name, as originally the entire domain name system was designed to be public. This can lead to unsolicited faxes, postal mail, spam and even the dreaded identity theft.

    There is a solution and it is called Private Domain Registration. This secure means of registering a domain keeps all your personal information hidden and inaccessible to prying eyes. Only the company that actually holds the domain records, and the Registrar themselves have access to your information, just in case there is a claim of ownership.

    For a mere $20/year, your domain can be registered or converted (if you already have one) to be private. Simply ask us about private registrations, or choose PRIVATE DOMAIN when ordering a domain name on this site.

    Remember, securing your privacy is not something to be taken lightly.

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  6. What is the cPanel and how can I manage my account with it?
    The cPanel is a web-based administrative system that empowers our clients to manage virtually any aspect of their account from any computer, using only their account username and pasword.

    Since the cPanel system is very powerfull, great care must be taken not to alow access to it from unauthorized personel. Please refrain from ever sharing your cPanel account login information with anyone!

    Below is a link to download a comprehensive manual in PDF format that explains in detail all the great functionaly cPanel has to offer. Please obtain a password from SemoTech in order to be able to sucessfully download this document and also please ensure you have the free Adobe PDF reader version 7.0 or newer installed.

    cPanel User Guide * cPanel User Guide ( 2.3MB PDF 7.0 - password needed)

    REMEMBER: To succesfully read and print this document you must Get Acrobat® Reader® 7.0

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  7. How to add a RapidSSL Site Seal to your Website
    If you have purchased a RapidSSL certificate form SemoTech or through a 3rd party, you will wish to inform your site visitors that they can trust your website. As such displaying a site seal is invaluable.

    To add a RapidSSL site seal to your website simply add the following line of code into your web site at your location of choice:



    The result will look like this:

    Order SSL Certificate

    To order your own SSL Certificate from SemoTech and save 10% of the retail price, click HERE

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  8. How to configure Automatic Atomic Clock Time Sync
    In order to keep the computer clock up to date and ensure it is automatically updated at regular intervals, run this at a command prompt on any PC (while logged in as Administrator) or on a PDC if using a domain:

    net time /setsntp:"0.us.pool.ntp.org 1.us.pool.ntp.org 2.us.pool.ntp.org 0.north-america.pool.ntp.org 1.north-america.pool.ntp.org 2.north-america.pool.ntp.org 3.north-america.pool.ntp.org"

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