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Frequently Asked Questions



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Data Centers
Support Procedures
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Domain Name

Q. How much does it cost to register a domain name?
A. Hilltop is an authorized Network Solutions partner and is able to sell their registraion service at a discount. The regular cost is $20 per year. There are discounts of 10% to 40% for multi-year registration. Contact us at sales@hilltopassociates.com for more information.

Q. How long does it take to be able to access my website using the domain name?
A. After registering a new domain name (or transferring it to our servers), it usually takes 2-3 days to propagate through the Internet. You may be able to access it the very next day, but it takes some ISP's longer to incorporate the change.

Q. Can I access my account before the propagation of the domain name is complete?
A. Yes, each of our accounts receives its own IP Address. You can access your Control Panel, FTP, and your website with your IP Address while you're waiting for the domain name to propagate. This is also helpful if you are transferring your website from another host. You can make sure everything is operating correctly on the new server before transferring the domain and your website will have no lapse in accessibility.

Q. What is a Parked Domain?
A. Parking a domain can mean a couple of things. You may want to purchase a domain to reserve it for later use. Or you may want to have your current website accessible by more than one domain name (the most common use of this is registering .com, .net, & .org variations of the same name). Whatever reason you have, if you have a regular account with us, you can park additional domains for no additional cost (regular domain registration is necessary).

Q. Can I set up third level domains, such as "something.mydomain.com"?
A. Yes, but this would involve creating a new account with its own IP Address. With Plan B and higher accounts, you can simply add a new domain (starting at $5.95 per month). If you have a Plan A account and would like a third level domain, simply email support at support@hilltopassociates.com and we'd be happy to set it up for you at the discounted rate.

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Q. Do I get my own email accounts with your hosting?
A. Yes, depending on the hosting plan, you get between 10 and 250 email accounts using addresses "anything@yourdomain.com".

Q. How do I set up new email accounts?

  1. Go to your Control Panel
  2. Click Mail Manager
  3. On the left side, click New Address
  4. Enter a Username (this will be whatever you want the address to be, as in: username@yourdomain.com)
  5. Enter and Re-enter a password
  6. Click Add
  7. That's it! You can now use that email address, with the username and password you entered.
You can also add, delete or modify email accounts, set up forwarding of email from one account to another (or to an outside email box) and add autoresponders to any email account.

To use the WebMail (web-based email system) with that address, go to Web Mail in your Control Panel (or yourdomain.com/up) and enter the username and password. The next screen requires you to enter an account name for the new address. Then click Save Changes. You'll then be able to check and send email through the Web Mail system.

Q. How do I set up my email program to access my email account?
A. This depends on which email program you use. Send an email to support@hilltopassociates.com and let us know what email program you use (Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape Mail, Eudora, etc.) and we'll be happy to send you instructions on how to set it up.

Q. Do you have SMTP mail servers?
A. Yes. However, you may prefer to use your local ISP as your outgoing SMTP mail server. As a security precaution, you must check your Hilltop Email account within 10 minutes of attempting to send any outgoing mail through our servers. This is common practice to prevent the use of our servers for SPAM (unsolicited Email). When spammers are able to hijack the use of a server, it negatively affects their performance, which could affect your website uptime and Email service.

Email Forms

Q. How do I set up a form that will Email me the results?
A. Your Hilltop Hosting package includes support for CGI scripts. The script "formmail.pl" is included. This script will allow you to create a form that can be completed online by a visitor and automatically send the results to you via Email when the visitor hits "send". To use the Email form:
1. From the Control Panel, click the Formmail icon.
2. Follow the instructions on the screen to edit you HTML file.

Mailing Lists

Q. Do I get a mailing list function with my account?
A. Yes. Each account has a mailing list that can be activated and controlled within the Control Panel's Mail Manager button (you must first activate it using the Mailing List button). Mailing lists can be set up as a newsletter, subscriber-only, or moderated list.

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Q. What is FTP?
A. In the most basic explanation, FTP is a File Transfer Protocol which allows you to connect your computer to the server so you can transfer files (HTML, graphics, etc.) to your web space.

Q. Do I need a special program to use FTP?
A. Yes, you need an FTP program. You can find several options in our Webmaster Resources directory.

Q. Can I have multiple user FTP access?
A. Generally no, we only allow one user access for each account. However, we have been known to bend this rule and add one more if asked nicely (not that our customers would ask any other way).

Q. Is there any other way to transfer files to my account?
A. Yes, you can transfer files through the "File Manager" in your Control Panel.

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Q. Do you allow Telnet access?
A. For security reasons, we only allow SSH access.

Q. How do I get SSH enabled for my account?
A. Again, for security reasons we are rather strict about this. We ask that you fax us a copy of a picture ID and request SSH through the Email Support button in your Control Panel. After enabled, you'll be able to set up your SSH through your Control Panel.

Q. Do I need special software for SSH?
A. Yes. We use SecureCRT, which is generally thought of as being the most stable. However, you may be able to find a cheaper or free program by searching in your favorite search directory.

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Website Statistics

Q. How do I check my website statistics?
A. From your Control Panel, click on the "Site Statistics" button. You'll be able to check your statistics for hits, page views, user sessions, etc. by day, month, or hour. You can also view which pages are most popular, where your visitors are coming from, what browser they are using, and more!

Q. What is the difference between "hits", "page views", and "user session"?
A. This is an area of great misunderstanding. Many people boast that they are getting "x" number of hits each day, and without specifying what they mean by "hits", it can be very misleading. "Hits" are counting every file that is downloaded from the server when a visitor visits a web page. So, for example, if your main page contains 10 graphic images, each time a visitor views the page 11 hits are counted (one for each graphic image and one for the HTML file). As you can see, hits can tally up very quickly, even if only a few people visit your site. "Page views" refer to the actual HTML pages being viewed. This is more meaningful than "hits", but still doesn't give you a very good feel for your site popularity (one person can still account for many page views). "User Sessions" are probably the most meaningful. They count each unique visitor to your site, and only count the same visitors once per day. So you know that if you have 100 User Sessions, you had 100 unique visitors.

Q. Do I have access to my raw log files?
A. Yes. If you choose to analyze your statistics with another program (such as WebTrends), you do have access to your raw log files. They are in the directory "yourdomain-logs".

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Secure Server

Q. What is a SSL secure server?
A. In the most basic sense, a SSL secure server allows you to accept visitor information in a secure manner. The information is encrypted went sent to your server. This is what is needed for e-commerce (taking credit card information, etc.).

Q. Do you offer a "shared" secure server or do I need my own SSL certificate?
A. We do not offer a "shared" SSL certificate, if using a secure server you will need to obtain a certificate for your domain. These start at $125 (for the first year) from Thawte. The main reason for getting a SSL certificate is to ensure to your visitor that they are submitting their information to who they think they are. If you have a "shared" secure server, when the visitor clicks on the lock in the browser, they will be given information that does not match your company, which does not do well to build trust and make the visitor feel comfortable in submitting their information. We have automated the process of setting up your certificate as much as possible and are able to help you through the process.

Q. How do I obtain a SSL certificate?
A. When you are ready, just let us know and we will help you through the whole process.

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Q. What is PGP?
A. PGP® or Pretty Good Privacy® is a powerful cryptographic product family that enables people to securely exchange messages, and to secure files, disk volumes and network connections with both privacy and strong authentication. For complete information and to obtain the PGP free software, visit the MIT Distribution Center for PGP.

Q. What is PGPMail?
A. PGPMail is like FormMail in that it sends information that the visitor submits via a form, but PGPMail encrypts the information and sends using PGP.

Q. How do I use PGP and PGPMail?
A. First, obtain the software from the MIT link above. Within the software, follow the directions to create your keys. Then from your Control Panel, enter the information as asked for from the "PGP" button. After setting up PGP, you can also use the PGPMail. PGPMail can be used in conjunction with the SSL secure server for a great way of securely accepting information from your visitors.

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Name Servers

Q. When I register my domain or transfer from another host, what name servers do I use for Hilltop Hosting?

Primary Name Server: NS.hilltopassociates.com
Primary IP Address:
Secondary Name Server: NS2.hilltopassociates.com
Secondary IP Address:
If you need help with the registration or transfer process, just let us know, we'll be happy to guide you through it.

Q. Can I set up my own Virtual Name Server to use for my and my clients' domain registrations?
A. Yes, if you have a Plan B or higher account. Set up your name servers in your Control Panel with the "Virtual Name Server" button. You will also need to create the name servers for your domain through your domain registration service.

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Data Transfer/Bandwidth Allotments

Q. Why don't you offer unlimited data transfer like many other hosts do?
A. Because there really is no such thing as unlimited data transfer. Bandwidth costs money. There is no getting around that. So, you really can't have an unlimited amount for $10 per month, $1000 per month, or even $10,000 per month. We believe that any host who promises unlimited data transfer is not being honest with you. You better check the fine print in their Terms of Service.

Q. What if I need more data transfer than my account allows?
A. We have found that the vast majority of websites use far less than the allotments we have set up for each account. However, if you do need more, you can automatically add more from your Control Panel using the "Upgrade CP" button. Additional data transfer can be purchased in blocks of 1 GIG for $10 per month.

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Acceptable Use Policy

Q. What is your Acceptable Use Policy and Service Guidelines?
A. You can view our Terms of Service here: Acceptable Use Policy

Q. Do you host Adult Content Sites?
A. NO.

Q. Do you allow SPAM from your servers?
A. NO.

Q. Do you allow IRC to be operated on your servers?
A. NO.

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Payment Policies

Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. Payment can be made by check or money order. All payments will be in U.S. dollars.

Q. Do I have to pay for a year in advance or be locked into a long contract?
A. No, you may pay monthly, quarterly, or annually.

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Q. What is a CGI-BIN and do I get one?
A. A CGI-BIN allows you to add a variety of your own CGI programs to your website. Each account has its own CGI-BIN directory and includes a CGI script for Email forms.

Q. Where can I find CGI programs?
A. The source we use most often is The CGI Resource Index.

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Data Centers

Q. Where is your data center?
A.We lease our server space from the 2 most reliable data centers in the continential U.S. We maintain nearly identical server configurations with The Planet in Dallas, TX and Liquid Web in Lansing, MI.

Q. Why should I use your services rather than from a company that operates its own servers on-site?
A. Our arrangement allows Hilltop to provide the very best server reliability and speed for a great price, while focusing our own efforts on customer service. Our Data Center partners provide us with the very best Internet connection, reliability, speed, Control Panel automation, monitoring, and security -- all on a 24/7 basis and at a price that no other host could match. This efficiency is passed on to you in our pricing structure. While we could certainly invest in hardware, obtain T1 or OC3 connections, maintain our own servers, and staff the facility around the clock, the quality, reliability and speed of the service would not likely improve, yet the cost would probably certainly increase. For a very impressive description of how our servers are maintained click here. We think you'll agree that it would be difficult to find a better server solution than this, and next to impossible for us (or anyone) to offer this same level of quality, reliability, connection speed, and Control Panel automation at the same affordable prices.

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Support Procedures

Q. How do I request support?
A. When support is needed, simply email us at support@hilltopassociates.com or use the Email form below.

Q. Is telephone support available?
A. Telephone support is available, but we request that you reserve that for only true emergencies (such as your website is not accessible). Our focus on customer support allows us to respond to your email support requests in a timely manner, so you will not need to call us due to a lack of response to emails (something you may have experienced before).

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Custom error page

Q. Can I set up my own custom error pages?
A. Yes. Just click the Error Pages icon on your Control Panel to quickly create a custom page for any of the following situations:

  • 400  Bad Request
  • 401  Required Authorization
  • 403  Forbidden Directory
  • 404  Page Not Found
  • 500  Internal Server Error


Q. Can I access my website both with or without "www."?
A. Yes

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