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Frequently asked questions:

Domains:

Q: Why would I want my own domain?

Having your own domain is useful if you move ISPs as your e-mail address does not have to change.  Also, it gives you a personalised or professional address for your e-mail and website which, if you are a business, is essential.

Q: What is a domain, and how does it work?

The Internet consists of a large number of inter-connected machines.  Each of these machines can have a name, or many names.  A full Internet name is called a 'canonical name' and is essentially a hierarchical addressing system, starting from the right.  Thus, the domain name webshire.net denotes a subdomain of the .net top level domain, called 'webshire'.  webshire.co.uk denotes a subdomain of the domain '.co.uk', which itself can be split into a subdomain 'co' (which represents companies) of the top level '.uk' domain.

Thus, when you have a domain, you can create as many subdomains as you like.  Each subdomain can be used to address e-mail to, by prefixing with a mailbox name and the '@' sign, or it may be used as a URL (Universal Resource Locator) to point to a service, such as a web page.

What a domain essentially does is provide a nice, friendly name for a machines IP address (e.g. 123.24.53.23).  When a domain is used, by a web browser for example, it is looked up in DNS (Domain Name Service) and the machine IP address associated with the domain is returned, so that the web browser can make a connection directly to that machine.  By using different sub domains, you can have multiple websites under one domain, as each sub domain can be made to point to a different address.

E-mail works in a slightly different way;  when you attempt to send an e-mail to fred@webshire.net, your e-mail client (or server) attempts to look up a special record for webshire.net called its MX (Mail eXchanger) record, which holds a list of the mail servers that serve the webshire.net domain.  It will then send the message to the first machine on this list, if that fails it will try the second etc.  The destination mail server then determines where to deliver the mail according to the mailbox name (the part in front of the @).

DNS is crucial for flexible use of domains.  We can configure the DNS for your domain in any way you choose, free of charge.

Q: Is it my domain for ever?

A domain is like a Post Office box - it's yours as long as you rent it.  This means that you must pay a renewal fee every year.

Q: What happens if I forget to renew?

You can let us renew it automatically for you.  If your domain really does expire, there is a 30 day period when it can't be taken over by anyone; after that the domain is free to be rented by anyone.

Q: Can I transfer my domain to another provider?

Yes.  We do not charge for you to transfer your domain away from us.  Your new provider should be able to initiate the transfer for you.  Note that domains cannot be moved in the first 60 days after creation.

Q: Can I transfer my domain to you from another provider?

Of course.  Simply let us know.  We will charge you a transfer fee of 1 years rental (which gives you one years rental - so a transfer is free!).  We will initiate the transfer for you. Note that domains cannot be moved in the first 60 days after creation.

Q: How do domain transfers work?

Your domain details are held with a 'Registrar'.  There are many registrars and each registrar can have many partners (we are a partner of a number of registrars).  When you obtain a domain, you pay rental on that domain to the partner, who in turn pays the registrar.  The domain record contains details of both you, the domain owner, and the partner.  In addition, the domain record details which DNS servers serve the domain.  When a domain is transferred, the new registrar contacts the owner of the domain (you) and asks your permission to initiate a transfer to their system.  When you have given permission, your existing registrar will ask permission to complete the transfer.  When that permission is given, the domain records will be moved to the new registrar.

Virus Checking:

Q: What Virus checker do you use?

We use Sophos

Q: How often do you update the Virus checker?

We update the Virus information twice a day, and the Virus checking engine every time there is an update from Sophos, which is normally every month.

Q: Why do I need a Virus checker on my e-mails when I have one on my PC already?

There are a number of reasons:

  • How often do you update your virus checker?  If it's less than we do, you could be vulnerable
  • Do you use a different one from us?  If so, then its always nice to have belt and braces - there is a possibility that ours might detect a virus that yours misses and vice versa
  • If you were to get sent a lot of viruses all at once, or over a period of time, we would block them all, so you wouldn't need to download them, and then check them
  • Our checker not only blocks viruses, but messages with proscribed attachment types
  • Its free!

Q:  Why do I need a Virus checker on my PC, when you have one?

Well, we are only checking your inbound mail, not what you download from the Internet, or what you load from CDs or floppies.  Unless you have a mailbox with us, we will not be checking your outbound mail either.  So its better to be safe than sorry.

SPAM Checking:

Q: What SPAM checker do you use?

We use SPAM Assassin

Q: Do you delete SPAM messages?  Will I lose real messages?

SPAM Assassin marks each message with a 'SPAM score'.  If the score is high enough, the message is definitely SPAM, and not a real one.  We only delete messages with a very high SPAM score.  The rest, we mark as SPAM and send to you.

Q: If you send SPAM messages to me, what's the point of the service?

The purpose of our SPAM filter is to inform you of SPAM, not eliminate it.  However, your e-mail client can be configured to delete all messages that we mark as SPAM before you see them, or move them to a folder.  This puts you in control of how much SPAM you see, and how much you don't.  No us.

Also, if you have a mailbox with us, you can redirect all SPAM messages to a folder within your mailbox, meaning that they are not placed in your inbox at all, so if you only ever download your inbox, you won't see them.

Q: If I get a lot of SPAM from a particular source, can you block them for me?

If you have a mailbox with us, then you can set up a rule for yourself.  If you don't, then yes, we can block mail from particular addresses for you.

E-mail mailboxes:

Q: How can I access my mail in a mailbox on your server?

Via POP3, IMAP4, Webmail or Mobile e-mail

Q: Can I send mail using your server?

Yes, but you must have an e-mail client that supports SMTP authentication. (Most good clients do).

Q: Is there a limit on how much mail I can store on your server?

Yes.  The normal limit is 300MB.  If your mailbox size exceeds 70% of the limit, you will get sent a warning message, and when the mailbox reaches the limit, people will be unable to send messages to your mailbox until you reduce the size of your mailbox.

Mobile e-mail:

Q: I have an e-mail client on my phone/PDA, why would I want to use this?

Our mobile client is designed to be as efficient as possible.  It will only show you the first few hundred characters of a message but when used over GPRS is typically 90% cheaper than either WAP e-mail clients or other POP/IMAP clients on PDAs.  As an example, downloading only the headers of 30 messages using an IMAP client would take about 30KB.  Our client can get the from address, subject and first 500 characters of each message in less that 4KB. 

Q: How do I use it with my existing mailbox?

Please contact us to get a mobile account.  Then, you can simply configure the account to point it at your existing POP3 or IMAP4 mailbox.  The account requires your POP3/IMAP4 username, password and server name.  All this information is held encrypted on one of our servers.

DNS management:

Q: I have a domain with you, why would I want DNS management.

If you have a domain, we will set-up your domain to forward all e-mail to an address of your choice, and forward www.yourdomain to a website of your choice.  In addition, we can set-up other DNS records for you.  This we will do for free, but if you have extensive needs and wish to change DNS records frequently, or do advanced DNS functions, then you need to contact us.

Q: What can you do with DNS?

Anything you want within the scope of DNS.

Domain routing/forwarding:

Q: I have a domain with you, and I now want to forward all e-mail to another domain

No problem, there will be a small annual charge for this service (as we assume you using the domain for multiple users) just contact us, and we'll set up the forwarding.  Even with forwarding, we can virus and spam check all incoming messages to your domain.

Q: I have a domain with you, and I now want to route all e-mail to my own mail server

We can do this in two ways.  First, we simply put your e-mail server as the primary MX for the domain, and thus all mail is sent to your server directly. It is advisable to have a secondary MX server, in case your machine is down.  Second, we accept mail into our mail server, then route it directly to yours.  This has the advantage of going through our virus and spam checker, and uses our MX servers.

Secondary MX:

Q: What is an MX server and why do I need a second one?

When mail is sent to a domain, it is sent directly to the mail server that serves as primary Mail eXchanger for the domain (according to DNS).  If the mail server is unavailable, the secondary MX server will be used.  If the domain has no secondary MX server, the mail will be queued by the sending server until it decided to retry or reject the message.  By using a secondary MX server, you mail is held on your secondary server until your main server is available again.  This means that your mail is not held on the senders server, and processed by their rules, but held on our server and processed by our rules.

It is advisable to have a secondary MX whatever, however, it is essential if your mail server is sometimes off line, or connected to the Internet via a non-permanent connection.