Hosting Environment

Q: If I host with AspDotNetStorefront will I be safe from Denial of Service attack?
A: We can certainly fix up for you to be protected as a preventative measure, but the truth is that we can usually have you back up and running within an hour of an attack - the cost of the recovery is not insignificant, but it is far less prohibitive than the cost of year-round prevention. We pride ourselves in taking diligent care of you and your site(s).
Q: Where is my website or server hosted?
A: AspDotNetStorefront hosts all our production servers in our secure data centers.
Our Seattle hosting facility is ideally located outside the Seattle Fault Zone and liquefaction area, and is designed and constructed to sustain a seismic event while maintaining business functions. Superior network connectivity with Seattle’s robust optic loops keeps latency low. The availability of more than ten internet service providers gives both flexibility and redundancy. 55 MW existing electrical capacity, 45 on site generators with one half million gallons of on-site fuel storage, and a carrier vault system supported by more than fifty miles of embedded, secure conduits, combine with industry-leading hosting services to provide customers with the ultimate in security and reliability.
  • 2000 amps 480v Input Power
  • 4 x 500Kva UPS Battery Backup Units
  • 2000Kw Diesel Generator with On-site Fuel Storage Redundant Liebert 30 Ton HVAC Units
  • Pre-Action Dry Pipe Fire Suppression
  • Proximity Security Badge Access
  • Digital Security Video Surveillance
  • Three 10Gigabit Redundant Fiber connections

Our San Jose hosting facility offers an advanced dual-path network structure, including redundant network interface cards (NICs) in every server, such that customers can select up to 2G of connectivity for any server and configure their networking resources to achieve all-new levels of efficiency.
  • Redundant network infrastructure
  • Fully-automated platform
  • SAS70 Type II compliance
  • Multiple tier 1 carriers
  • Unique pod design concept
Q: What makes AspDotNetStorefront Hosting different?
A: AspDotNetStorefront is all about e-commerce. We offer specialized, secure, and managed hosting solutions for clients that share our passion for online success. Our hosting environment has been customized from the ground-up to provide the most stable, secure and efficient platform specifically for hosting AspDotNetStorefront websites.
  • Specialization: Our servers host only AspDotNetStorefront websites allowing the site code to have exclusive and unrestricted access to the server resources. Only necessary AspDotNetStorefront prerequisites are installed and running to provide better application performance.
  • Security: Our servers are fully firewalled and protected behind network intrusion detection systems. Each site on shared hosting is allocated dedicated memory to prevent other sites on the same shared server from affecting another’s performance. Our database servers are NOT available to the public and Administrator access to our servers is not provided.
  • Management: AspDotNetStorefront provides weekly server security audits, off-server backups, error log notification, web-site monitors, and dedicated staff to provide support and assistance for all our managed hosting plans.
  • Support: AspDotNetStorefront provides development support for AspDotNetStorefront sites. Our staff of on-site developers and off-site development partners can work with your site directly to debug and troubleshoot problems in your code. We also offer a full range of design and custom development to enhance your e-commerce site’s web presence and functionality.
Q: What is the difference between Managed and Unmanaged Hosting?
A: All hosting plans offered by AspDotNetStorefront are managed, meaning they are configured, customized and maintained by our expert staff with no interaction required from the customer. This includes setting up a secure server for your website, maintaining software updates and OS patches, routinely checking error logs for indications of future failures, and full off-server backup. Every server and website on a managed hosting plan is remotely monitored for availability and our on-call technicians are notified 24/7 in the event of any outage. Customers with Managed hosting plans will NOT be provided Administrator access to their server.

Unmanaged hosting plans usually only include support for hardware failures. They do not include any server setup or support beyond the initial provisioning of the operation system. Security configuration, software updates, server maintenance and backups are the sole responsibility of the customer. AspdotNetStorefront does not offer unmanaged hosting plans.
Q: What is the difference between the Shared and Cloud hosting plans?
A: Shared hosting plans tend to be the most economical way for the average customer to get their website online. In a Shared hosting plan, multiple clients are hosting on a single server - the resources of that server are "shared" among the clients who are hosted on that server. This keeps the cost down, since the cost of the server and its resources are spread among all the clients who are hosted on that machine.

Our Clustered 'Cloud' hosting plans provide you with an environment that is entirely dedicated to running your website. Cloud Hosting uses redundant and expandable hardware to maintain up-time, even during a hardware failure, and can be scaled on demand to maintain performance. Our Cloud hosting plan offers the best performance and scaleability to accommodate any size AspDotNetStorefront site.
Q: When is your maintenance window and how much downtime can we expect on our site?
A: To ensure that the AspDotNetStorefront production servers are secure and running at their optimal capabilities, our engineers perform server maintenance on Wednesdays, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. PST. This maintenance may only impact the availability of a server for a brief period of time and maintenance may not be required for every site or server.
  • Maintenance includes, although is not limited to, such activities as: adding, removing or replacing hardware on servers, bringing new servers online, applying software updates to servers, applying security updates issued by the manufacturer, correcting problems with software, or installing new software on servers.
  • Maintenance windows are generally used to perform non-urgent work. Urgent work will always be scheduled as quickly as possible with as much notification as possible and may be performed outside of the regular Wednesday maintenance window.
Q: On your Shared Hosting plan, what does Memory Allocation mean?
A: Memory Allocation is a private section of server memory in which only your website runs. This prevents other websites on the same shared server from affecting your site’s performance.
Q: How do I contact support and what hours are you available by phone?
A: Help Desk tickets may be submitted 24 hours a day at https://support.aspdotnetstorefront.com. Hours of operation for our hosting support at the Help Desk are Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm PST (excluding U.S. observed holidays).

Emergency support is also available via our Help Desk 24/7. At this time, we do not offer phone support.
Q: Where can I find a copy of your hosting agreement and SLA?
Q: Can I get a custom hosting solution, tailored to my site and business requirements?
A: Yes, please contact us for custom hosting quotes designed around your unique specifications.

Billing and Ordering

Q: How will I be paying for hosting?
A: When registering for hosting you will be asked for credit or debit card information and will authorize AspDotNetStorefront to charge the monthly hosting fee to your card. The fee will be charged in advance of the month of service. Supplemental charges incurred during that month will be invoiced.
Q: Will I get monthly invoices?
A: Yes, the email address used to sign-up with on our website will receive a copy of the invoice monthly.
Q: What happens if I use too much disk space or bandwidth?
A: AspDotNetStorefront will not take down your website, even if you have exceeded the allotted disk space or data transfer for your account. You will receive an overage charge on your next invoice based on the following scale:
  • $5 per 500MB for additional disk space
  • $1.25 per 1000MB for additional bandwidth
  • $25 per 500MB for additional MSSQL database space
  • $50 per CPU Core (Cloud Hosting Only)
  • $50 per 2GB RAM (Cloud Hosting Only)
  • Scheduled Tasks, External Services or random .exes are only available on Cloud Hosting plans
Q: What are your cancellation/termination policies?
A: Our cancellation policy is outlined in our Hosting Agreement and SLA.

Domain

Q: Can AspDotNetStorefront register and administer my domain name?
A: Yes, AspDotNetStorefront is equipped to register and administer your domain name on your behalf. We ensure that your domain’s contact information is kept up to date, and your domain name will never expire without your prior approval. Please contact us to check domain name availability.
Q: What if I already have a domain name?
A: You can still host your website with AspDotNetStorefront and continue to pay your registrar for yearly domain renewals. You can also transfer your domain administration to AspDotNetStorefront, and be invoiced for it alongside your monthly hosting.
Q: What is a domain alias/subdomain and can I use one with my website?
A: Domain aliases are just nicknames for your website. You may own yourdomain.com and .net, .org, .us, etc. Setting these other domains as aliases, allows you to have your primary website respond with these other domain names. Contact us to add domain aliases to your hosting account.
Q: What are domain redirects, also called 301redirects?
A: Domain redirects allow other domains or pages to be redirected to new pages on your website. This allows for higher SEO rankings and the ability to maintain old links on a new website. If you need assistance with setting up redirects for your site, please contact one of our Custom Development Partners for assistance.

Database SQL Server

Q: What is SQL server and why do I need it?
A: Most .NET-based e-commerce solutions, including AspDotNetStorefront, require a Microsoft SQL server database. The database is used to maintain the customer, product, and order information for your website. SQL server allows your site to be more customizable and perform better under heavy user load.
Q: Can I get remote access to my database?
A: Yes, remote access to the database is provided to clients who supply us with a static IP address to add to our firewall. Without a static IP address, clients will be unable to connect directly to their live database. Please contact us to request remote database access.
Q: How can I connect to my database?
A: Any SQL program should allow you to access the database server. We suggest you use Microsoft SQL Management Studio.
Q: What are your Database backup policies?
A: Databases are backed up once a day and stored in an off-server location. Full backups are taken weekly and differential backups are taken each night. AspDotNetStorefront maintains these backups only for disaster recovery. Customers should request a database backup from our Help Desk before making any changes that could result in data loss.
Q: How do I backup my database?
A: Clients do not have access to backup and restore their own databases. You can contact us and a member of our Hosting Help Desk staff will be able to assist you with this.
Q: Do you host any other database software?
A: AspDotNetStorefront also offers MySQL databases for PHP-driven sites like WordPress.

Hosting Setup & Installation

Q: What is included with my free hosting setup?
A: As part of your free hosting setup, AspDotNetStorefront will create your hosting account on our production servers and provide you with the following:
  • FTP access – To upload site files to your website
  • SQL Access – To run queries on your database
  • Dedicated IP – To change your DNS records
  • SQL information – To use in your web.config
Q: If I chose the installation option with hosting, what is included with my free setup?
A: As part of your free installation setup AspDotNetStorefront will install the version you have purchased on our production servers according to our setup document here.. We will also create a Super Admin user account on your new site using the email address listed on your order. We suggest you review our GoLive checklist and our security best practices before starting to take orders on your site. AspDotNetStorefront will perform any of the security related tasks on your site at no charge upon request. Please submit a Help Desk ticket to get further assistance with the security setup on your site.
Q: What is NOT included in the setup of Hosting or Installation?
A: Hosting setup & software installation does not include:
  • Migration of an existing site from another host
  • Software upgrade from a previous version
  • Application configuration (product/category setup, payment gateway/shipping configuration, SMTP/Email Settings etc.)
Q: How do I transfer my AspDotNetStorefront site to a new hosting provider?
A: We recommend the following steps be taken to transfer the hosting of an AspDotNetStorefront site (steps may vary for your particular situation):
  1. Make sure that your web.config is NOT encrypted.
    • If it is encrypted, you will be unable to make the necessary database connection changes when the site is transferred to the new server. You may need to have the current site host allow Read/Write/Modify permissions on your {root} folder for the .NET user account before you can decrypt the web.config file.
  2. Set up a maintenance page on the current server.
    • This prevents any changes from occurring while the site is being transferred: details here
  3. Backup the website files, database, SSL, and 3rd party components.
    • Copy the website files, backup the database, export the SSL certificate, and backup other necessary 3rd party components from the current hosting account. You should end up with all the files from the /wwwroot (or your home directory), a database backup, an SSL export, and your 3rd party components.
  4. Import the backups onto the new server.
    • Follow the new installation instructions to install your new site, but use the website files and the database backup from your old server instead of the AspDotNetStorefront intaller. Import your SSL certificate and install any additional 3rd party components.
  5. Configure your website on the new server.
    • This may involve changing the web.config to point at the new database location, updating your email settings, setting up permissions, etc.
  6. Point the DNS records to the dedicated IP address for your site on the new server.
    • Once the DNS has propagated, your site should be running live on the new server.
    Additional steps may apply if you have multiple services with your existing hosting company, or if you have additional hosting needs.
Q: Can AspDotNetStorefront assist me with transferring my website to one of your hosting plans?
A: If you would like to do the transfer yourself, once the AspDotNetStorefront hosting plan has been purchased from our website, we will send you a Welcome Email with the details about your new account including:
  1. The FTP information that you can use to upload your backups.
  2. The dedicated IP address information needed to update your DNS.
Simply upload your backups using the FTP information and open a Hosting Help Desk ticket to have the backups imported and your site setup on the new hosting account. Once it is running on the new account, you can update the DNS “A” records with the new dedicated IP address to take the site live on our servers. We would be happy to provide additional assistance for transferring your SSL certificate and DNS records if these are currently controlled by the hosting company you are leaving.

We also offer a Managed Hosting Transfer service that is billable by the hour. We will evaluate your specific hosting situation and perform the transfer of your existing site with minimal downtime and no loss of data. A typical hosting transfer can take between 2-4 hours per site, depending on the size of the site files and database, and other components. Please contact us to schedule your Managed Hosting Transfer or if you have any questions regarding the process.

Backup

Q: How long do you keep backups?
A: Archives are generated monthly, quarterly, and annually. More details can be found in our hosting agreement.
Q: What are your backup policies?
A: All site files and databases are backed up once a day and stored in an off-server location. Full backups are taken weekly and differential backups are taken each night. AspDotNetStorefront maintains these backups only for disaster recovery. Customers should request a backup from our Help Desk before making any changes that could result in data loss.
Q: Is my website safe with AspDotNetStorefront?
A: Yes. We have years of experience developing, deploying and hosting ASP.NET e-commerce websites. You can rest assured that your website is in the hands of experts with your security and online success as our primary goal.
Q: Can I backup my own site and database?
A: You can backup all your site files using the provided FTP access, but clients are unable to backup their own databases. Please contact us to request a database backup.

Email

Q: Does AspDotNetStorefront host email?
A: No, AspDotNetStorefront does not host email on our servers. You will need to have your own email provider in order to send email from your AspDotNetStorefront hosted website. We recommend that you research a number of third-party email hosting providers in order to determine the appropriate email solution for your website/company.
Q: What third-party email hosting providers would you suggest?
A: For clients that need a few email accounts to send and receive order notifications, customer requests, and inter-company email, we would highly recommend Google Apps. It's simple to setup yourself, but there are a number of Google Partners that can assist with the migration process. Clients that more specific email requirements should consider Exchange Online from Microsoft or a larger email provider that can tailor their services to meet your specific needs like Google or Office365.

DNS

Q: Does AspDotNetStorefront provide DNS hosting?
A: AspDotNetStorefront does not provide DNS hosting. We recommend that you maintain your own DNS records using the Name Servers provided by your Domain Registrar. This provides you with much more flexibly and better security for your domain name services.
Q: What is DNS propagation?
A: When changes are made to DNS, the changes are “refreshed” out to the rest of the internet. Depending on the setup of your ISP, domain registrar, or local network, these changes can take anywhere from 12-24 hours.

FTP

Q: How will I be able to access my website to make changes and updates?
A: All hosting clients will be provided with FTP access to their website files. Any changes can be made using this protocol. When you log into the FTP, you will see a directory with your website name (/domain.com). Inside this folder are three additional folders:
  • /data - This is a temporary directory for storing database backups or other data that should not be made available to the public. (Files in this folder will be purged every month)
  • /logs - This is where the raw http logs are located for your website. This directory is locked but we can make copies of these logs available to you upon request.
  • /wwwroot - This is the Public folder (or Root folder). Anything in this folder will be accessible on your website. You should see the typical directory structure for AspDotNetStorefront (/Admin, /skins, /images), and any changes to the AspDotNetStorefront files should be uploaded to the appropriate sub-folders within /wwwroot.
Q: Can I use Front Page to edit my site?
A: No, we don’t support Front Page Extensions on our hosted servers. We suggest you make changes to your website on a development machine before pushing the changes to the live server via FTP.
Q: What application do I use to update/access my website via FTP?
A: There are many available FTP applications available. Some of our favorites are:
Q: What if I lose FTP my username or password?
A: Please contact us for assistance.

Security

Q: What are your security policies?
A: AspDotNetStorefront takes security very seriously. Our clients are running e-commerce sites that accept credit cards and hold personal customer data. AspDotNetStorefront restricts access to our database servers and all network traffic is monitored by intrusion detection systems. We routinely audit our server security and many of our hosted websites pass third-party PCI compliance scans daily. We maintain a list of authorized contacts for each client, and will only provide them with information related to your account.
Q: Does it cost extra to have a secure site?
A: No, but in order to accept credit card payments online and to secure your customer’s data, all e-commerce sites must be secured using an SSL certificate. This not only encrypts the personal information, but provides assurance to your customers that their information is safe. See the next section for more information on SSL certificates.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

Q: What is an SSL certificate and why do I need one?
A: An SSL certificate encrypts the personal customer data and credit cards on your website. All e-commerce sites are required to have an SSL certificate if they are accepting credit cards.
Q: How do I purchase and install an SSL certificate?
A: AspDotNetStorefront can purchase an SSL certificate on your behalf, or install one you already own. If you decide to purchase your own SSL certificate, our Network Services team will work with you to get it installed properly on your site.
Q: Can you transfer my existing SSL certificates?
A: In many cases, yes, we can transfer your existing SSL certificate. Please contact us directly to discuss transferring your existing SSL certificate.
Q: Who is responsible for renewing the SSL certificate?
A: If AspDotNetStorefront purchased the SSL key on your behalf then we will automatically renew it, provided your account is in good standing. If you purchased your own SSL certificate or we transferred the certificate from another host, then you will be responsible for keeping it renewed.
Q: What happens to my site if the certificate expires?
A: A warning message will be displayed whenever a customer tries to purchase anything or login to your website. The connection will still be secure, but most customers will see the warning and just leave the site without buying.