How many email accounts do I need?

Intro to Web Hosting series

How many email accounts do I need?

That’s really up to you; it depends on how many people you think will be  email on your hosting account.

Most hosting providers allow you to create plenty of email accounts on pretty much any hosting plan. Keep in mind, though, that the mail you send and receive will be counted as part of your disk space quota.

With your hosting account, email can be accessed via webmail or by using a mail client such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook (shown in the background).

What are email forwarders?

Intro to Web Hosting series

What are email forwarders?

Email forwarders allow you to forward a copy of all mail from one address to another. For example, you could set up a forwarder to forward all mail received on info@mysite.com to admin@mysite.com.

info@mysite.com will still keep the original version of all messages it receives, and admin@mysite.com gets forwarded a copy.

It’s worth noting that this relationship doesn’t work in two directions. Mail received by admin will not go to info.

Another type of forwarding is a domain forwarder. This will forward all mail received on a specific domain to another domain. If we forwarded mysite.com to demosite.com, admin@mysite.com and info@mysite.com would be forwarded to admin@demosite.com and info@demosite.com, respectively.

The last kind of forwarder we’ll mention is a “catch-all” or default email address. With this kind of forwarder, mail sent to an email address that doesn’t exist will be forwarded to the email address you specify.

What is an email auto-responder?

Intro to Web Hosting series

What is an email auto-responder?

An email auto-responder is exactly what you’d expect based on the name.

Inside most control panels and webmail programs, you can configure an email address to automatically respond to any emails it gets with a default reply you specify. Then, it will discard the message, keep it in the inbox for that email account, or forward it on to another email address, depending on your settings.

Email auto-responders can be used to send a standard “message received” response on a support address, or if you’re going to be away for an extended period and want to let people know you’re not ignoring their emails.

What is Spam?

Intro to Web Hosting series

What is Spam?

Spam refers to junk email that’s sent out in mass quantities. On average, three-fourths of the email that’s sent every day is spam.

Spammers find email addresses in a variety of ways, most commonly by searching for email addresses listed on websites and by means of computer viruses and hacking.

They can then sell the lists of addresses to other spammers, and continue to pester people with an endless amount of unwanted emails.

A lot of spam is harmless, but some can contain viruses and links to scam websites. Whenever you recognize an email as spam, you should just delete it.

You should also be wary of any emails that try to imitate legitimate companies; they’ll try to steal your passwords and personal information. They may ask you to respond with it, or they may try to trick you into going to a website that isn’t real. This is known as phishing, and is perhaps the most dangerous type of spam.

Whenever you encounter phishing emails, you should try to forward the email to the company they’re imitating, if possible. They’ll definitely want to know if someone is trying to steal information in their name.

If you find yourself unable to cope with the amount of spam you’re getting, you may want to let your hosting provider know; they may be able to adjust the spam filter settings for your server.

You may also be able to configure a spam filter in your control panel account, or in your email or webmail client.

This completes the tutorial. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what spam is, and how to combat it.

Should I be taking backups of my account? If so, how often?

Intro to Web Hosting series

Should I be taking backups of my account? If so, how often?

Backups are crucial to the smooth operation of any website, no matter how important, how visitors you have, or how frequently the site content changes.

The frequency at which you should take backups does depend on those factors, as well as exactly what kind of sites and software you have on your account.

If you have any web software installed that depends on a database to function, then you should take backups of all your databases at least once a day. The databases are usually the most frequently changing part of your hosting account. Some web software programs have a backup system built in.

If the other files on your hosting account are likely to change often, you should also back them up every day. Otherwise, once a week or once a month, even once every few months should be sufficient. Just make sure you keep the backups in a safe place, preferably on some sort of disc, like a CD or DVD, or an external hard drive.

Even though you may think nothing is going to happen to your information, you shouldn’t assume that everything will be okay. Hard drives fail more frequently than most people would think.

Almost every control panel has some sort of backup system in place. Some will let you set up automatic backups, and most will allow you to take a backup manually. If there is no sort of backup mechanism, you can always take a backup manually via FTP.

Many web hosts will take frequent backups of all the accounts on their servers, but you shouldn’t count on that. The more backups you or anyone else takes of your account, the less likely you are to lose important data.