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Online Operating Manual

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Welcome to the Online Operating Manual

The AZ Hosting Online operating manual will assist in making you familiar with the many features we have to offer. Whether you're looking for a quick start to uploading your files, or would like to familiarize yourself with our many advanced features, this manual provides easy to follow step-by-step instructions on just about everything you'll need to know. New users are encouraged to print this manual and read it over at their leisure.

Assuming you've just signed up with AZ Hosting, you're probably wondering how to test out a few of the features and begin populating your web site with files. You're only a couple steps from doing just that, but first things first. Your welcoming email contains the basic information you'll need to access your account and get things underway. Print it out, or open it up in a separate window, as you'll need to refer to it during these tutorials.


Table Of Contents:

Account Basics:

Where to Upload Your Files:

Configuring Your FTP Clients:

Understanding the Web Site File System:

Using CGI Programs:

The Ins and Outs of DNS and How It Affects Your Domain:

Setting Up and Managing Subdomains:

Configuring Email for Your Domain:

Using Microsoft FrontPage:

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Account Basics:

Username and Password

These are stated in the first paragraph of the welcoming email. Until you change them, they're needed to authenticate everything including FTP, email access, Control Panel, and MS FrontPage if you're using it. In short, use this Username and Password for any access you're attempting to your account.

NOTE: When submitting a tech support issue to the help desk, you'll be asked for a separate username and password. DO NOT use your 'main account' username and password for the login!

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Accessing your account via its URL or associated IP number

If you've just signed up to AZ Hosting, chances are you've begun the process of transferring a domain to our servers. In all likelihood it will take from 48 to 96 hours for all worldwide DNS records to report your domain name as residing on our servers. While our welcoming email refers to the domain name you signed up with, we recommend that you use the accompanying "IP" number until you can verify your domain name is actually resolving to your new account on the AZ Hosting servers.

The IP we've provided you will soon be registered to your domain name. Until such time as your domain is officially answering to our servers, you can use your new IP to access and set up your web site. For example, if your assigned IP was, your welcoming email would provide the URL as an option for accessing your new account. Again, it's a great way to test features and make sure everything is functioning smoothly before launching your web site to the world.

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Accessing "IP-less" accounts

Account packages are "IP-less" accounts. This means the IP is shared with several domains as opposed to being dedicated to one. There are a few small differences regarding how you access these accounts and most notably how you access them before your domain name is officially pointing to our servers. Instead of accessing the account with a plain IP number, you access it with an IP and your associated Username. Both of these were sent to you in your welcoming email. Let's try an example:

Your username is tom
Your IP is

To reach your account via the web, you would access this site as: Don't forget the ~ before your name! Also remember that the IP we're using in this case is an example. Check your welcoming email for the IP number and Username that was assigned to your account. Once again, when your new DNS settings have propagated across the world's DNS servers, you'll be able to access your domain by referring to it in the standard way, which is

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Accessing your account via FTP

IP-less accounts are accessed by FTP in generally the same way as a dedicated IP account would be. Again, if your domain name is not officially pointing to our servers yet, use the IP and Username that were sent to you in your welcoming email. If you have additional questions regarding the ins and outs of FTP, please see our FTP support section, which covers it in broad detail.

Accessing your Control Panel

To access your Control Panel account manager, point your web browser to:    (For name based accounts)
(For IP-less accounts, but change the IP number to the one we sent you)

Again, if your domain name is not pointing to our servers yet, referring to it with your IP will enable you to access your account.

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Where to Upload Your Files:

The Home directory

Your HTML files and/or the files you want to make accessible to the World Wide Web must be uploaded to your account. When you first FTP into your account you'll be taken to your "Home" directory. Don't confuse this with your "web directory". The home directory is not accessible to the World Wide Web; it's a private directory where critical system files reside. DO NOT delete files that have been created by the system, otherwise your web site may disappear into cyber oblivion!

The public_html and www directories (where web accessible files are placed)

These are the two directories where files you want accessed from the web must be placed. Open the folder "public_html" , which is your "web accessible directory". The folder named "www" is actually a shortcut to public_html (both of them take you to your web directory). Upload the files you want accessible to your visitors and feel free to make the appropriate sub-directories you'll require.

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Configuring FTP Clients:

Configuring Cute FTP (based on version 4.2)

Cute FTP

Please note that there are a number of versions of Cute FTP floating around. The instructions provided here cannot possibly reflect all the versions that have been released in the past 5 years. Don't worry: the only small differences you may encounter are the locations of some options. Let's get started:

1. Open Cute FTP
2. Select "File"
3. Select "Site Manager"
4. Select "New"

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Options you'll see


- Label for site: Enter a name for this account. For example, "My Root Account."
- FTP Host Address:
- FTP Site Username: Your main system login name
- FTP Site Password: Your main system password
- FTP Site Connection: Port: 21
- Login Type: Normal

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Notes About Cute FTP

There are a few advanced features you may want to be aware of. These features may need to be enabled if you're having problems accessing your site via an FTP client. The following will explain:

Trouble accessing your site via FTP:

This can sometimes occur if you are accessing the Internet from behind a firewall, personal router, or using an Internet connection sharing system such as a NAT (Network Address Translation). This is a classic scenario in a home or small office where several computers are being shared by one Internet connection. Symptoms include difficulty logging in via FTP and/or maintaining a reliable upload or download session.

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Use Passive Mode instead

From your FTP main interface, select:

1. Edit
(from the main drop-down menu)
2. Settings

A dialog box called "Settings" now appears. Select:
3. Connections
4. Firewall

This opens the Connection/Firewall dialog box:
5. Check the box that says "PASV mode."
6. Click OK
Don't touch any of the other settings
cuteftp-firewall.gif (19541 bytes)
Ignore all other settings you see here except for the "PASV_mode" setting!

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Give it a try and see how it works. If you're still having problems, you should contact your ISP to see if they can make the necessary changes required for you to access your site via FTP. There are a vast number of network configurations ISPs sometimes use, some of which can cause problems for users wanting to access the web without a browser.

How to view all files in your account (For Advanced Users).

Advanced users may want ability to view all "hidden" files in their directories. While most of these are critical system files, there are a few which can be manually edited by advanced users. Viewing these is done by inserting an entry into the "File Masking" feature in the client.

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Unmasking Hidden Files

1. Open Cute FTP
2. Go to the site manager
3. Select your account
4. Select "Edit"
mask1.gif (7973 bytes)

A dialog box opens called "Site Properties":
1. Check the "Enable Filter" box
2. Click the "Filter" button
3. Check the "Enable Remote Filters (Server Applied Filer)" box
4. In the "Remote Filter" window, type this command -a
5. Click ok
That's it!

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mask2.gif (8617 bytes)

The -a command will unmask "all" files in your web account.

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Final Note

NEVER REMOVE OR ALTER FILES THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED BY THE SERVER or Control Panel!! Unless you're an advanced user, please leave all files that have been created by the system alone! Doing otherwise could cause serious problems with your account and in some cases take it offline completely. When in doubt ASK, do not delete!

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Configuring WSFTP


Please note that there are a number of versions of WSFTP floating around. The instructions provided here cannot possibly reflect all the versions that have been released in the past 5 years. Don't worry: the only small differences you may encounter are the locations of some options. Let's get started:

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Setting up WSFTP

1. Open your WSFTP client
2. The dialog box "WS_FTP" Sites should display. If not, click the "Connect" button.
3. Select "New"

You should see this dialog box
wfstp-configured-sites.gif (7841 bytes)

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You'll be taken through these options

1. New Site/Folder: Choose a name for this account

new-site.gif (4165 bytes)

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2. Host Name or IP address:

wsftp-host-name.gif (2993 bytes)

3. User ID: Main System Login

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4. User Password: Main System Password
5. Select "Save Password."

wsftp-login-information.gif (3880 bytes)

6. Select "Finish."
Done! You can now FTP into your site

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Notes About WSFTP:

Main Username and Password

The main Username and Password was sent to you in your welcoming email and are also the same ones used to access your Control Panel. If you've changed your main Username and Password before setting this up, then use the new ones instead.

Trouble accessing your site via FTP

This can sometimes occur if you are accessing the Internet from behind a firewall, personal router, or using an Internet connection sharing system such as a NAT (Network Address Translation). This is a classic scenario in a home or small office where several computers are being shared by one Internet connection. Symptoms include, difficulty logging in via FTP and/or maintaining a reliable upload or download session. If this is the case, try "Passive Mode."

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Setting Passive Mode

1. Open the WSFTP account manager

2. Highlight your account

wfstp-configured-sites.gif (7841 bytes)

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Select "Properties"
4. Select the "Advanced" tab

wsftp-site2.gif (5432 bytes)

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5. Check the box called "Passive Transfers."
6. Click "OK"

wsftp-advanced.gif (8206 bytes)

Select passive mode, click "OK", and try it again.

How to view all files in your account (for advanced users)

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Advanced users may want to view all "hidden" files in their directory. While most of these are critical system files, there are a few which can be manually edited by Advanced Users. Viewing these files is done by inserting an entry into the "File Masking" feature in the client.

Unmasking Hidden Files:
1. Open the WSFTP account manager
2. Highlight your account
3. Select "Properties"
4. Select the "Startup" tab
5. In the "Remote File Mask" window, enter

wsftp-mask.gif (6569 bytes)

The -a command will unmask all files in your web account.

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Final Note

NEVER REMOVE OR ALTER FILES THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED BY THE SERVER or Control Panel!! Unless you're an advanced user, please leave all files that have been created by the system alone! Doing otherwise could cause serious problems with your account and in some cases take it offline completely. When in doubt ASK, do not delete!

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Understanding the Web site File System:

index.html and why you should use it

This is where a number of newer webmasters become stumped. They upload all their files and directories and then want to access them with their browser, but they forget to name their welcoming page index.html. Here's what happens: They access their site as (or using the associated IP number, for example, and they see their entire file directory structure! Yikes! It looks just like exploring the C: drive on your computer! You don't want visitors seeing that, do you?

When you access your site by calling it as or the assigned IP (for example),, the web server looks for the "index.html" file as the default file to be sent to visitors. This is why by itself will automatically display the home or welcoming page. Again, the server automatically looks for index.html whenever a domain or directory is called without a filename appended to it such as

If the server can't find index.html it will simply list your entire web site directory to everyone that accesses it, which is a MAJOR security risk! ALWAYS, use an "index.html" file in any directory you create, including your "root" web directory. In general, it's always a good idea to use "index.html" as your main page in all sub-directories of your account. Forgetting to place an index.html in your root or any subdirectory of your web site will effectively leave all of its contents viewable to the world.

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Understanding case sensitivity

Another small detail that can throw many newer users into a tailspin is case sensitivity. Unlike your local PC, the Unix file system (which is used on the web server) is very particular about "uppercase" and "lowercase" file names. Therefore, if you were to install a script, (let's say the wwwboard discussion forum, for example), the name of this script would be If you name a picture file me.jpg on the web server, then this is what you must call it in your HTML as well. Another file named me.JPG (note the uppercase) is treated as a totally different file.

Unix file servers are exceptionally fussy on this issue, so make sure you pay close attention to "case" when uploading files or installing and configuring CGI-based scripts. The same rule applies for all files including your .html pages. Again, the server treats .html and .HTML as two entirely different file extensions. Want to keep it simple? Try to stick with lowercase letters in all file names and extensions.

Uploading your files in the correct mode (ASCII or Binary)

Uploading in the wrong format for images or binary files will result in a strange mess appearing in your web browser instead of the file. For CGI scripts, this mistake is one of the most common causes of annoying errors. While there are many various programming errors, the most common among new users is uploading scripts in the WRONG format. Your CGI scripts MUST always be uploaded in ASCII mode. Alternatively, if you upload an image or .exe file, it must be done in "BINARY" mode.

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The difference between ASCII and BINARY

In short, html or text files are supposed to be transferred in ASCII mode. Uploading them in Binary mode will append ^M's to the end of every line. In most cases, this is OK with html files because your browser will ignore them. BUT, with other text files such as CGI scripts, uploading them in binary will damage them, thus causing a "server 500 error". This is because binary mode has added ^M's to the end of every line, which are not supposed to be in the program. This, of course, is what causes the additional message, "Malformed Headers", which often displays at the bottom of the "Server 500" message when a CGI script has crashed.

Once again, BINARY mode is used for transferring executable programs, compressed files and all image/picture files. If you try to upload an image in ASCII mode, you will see a strange mess appearing on the page where the image is suppose to appear. ASCII mode in this case, has corrupted the binary coding in the jpeg or gif image. If this happens, just re-upload it in the Binary format.

Setting your FTP client to automatically detect ASCII and Binary file transfers

Most FTP programs have an "AUTO" mode, which will tells the FTP client to automatically detect the file type you're transferring and select the appropriate mode. By default, most FTP programs will attempt to transfer everything in binary mode, but when "Automatic" is selected, the FTP client will check a list of known ASCII extensions (for example, .pl, .cgi, .txt). If it detects one of these extensions, the client automatically switches to ASCII mode.

By Default, most of the well-known files that need to be uploaded in ASCII mode are already entered, however you can manually add additional extensions that you would like to transfer in ASCII mode by selecting the feature called "Extensions". Here, you can enter any additional extensions that you want to cause the FTP client to toggle to ASCII mode automatically. Remember, you must set your transfer mode to "Automatic" for this to work.

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File types and what they represent

Various file types can affect both the behaviour of your files as well as how the server treats them. While there are numerous file extensions that represent a host of various file types, we'll stick to the basic ones in this quick overview:

The .html file

This is one is the most commonly used and the one most people are familiar with. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. Essentially, it tells the server, as well as the client's browser, to process and display the .html coding in a way that is meaningful to the end-user through a browser.

The .htm file

Many of you have probably noticed this newer extension appearing in place of the traditional .html one. In short, .htm is most often created and/or generated from the Microsoft FrontPage web editor. The two are essentially the same and provide the same basic purpose. Unless you're using FrontPage, you will probably use the .html extension at the end of your web pages.

The .gif and .jpg file

These are image files, most commonly on web sites used because of their good compression. Generally, .gif files are the fastest loading, as they remove a lot of information that is not required to maintain image integrity, but only to a certain point. .jpg will allow more flexibility in compression and quality settings, however it can also result in larger files.

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The .cgi and the .pl file

.cgi and .pl are most often used for Perl scripts. Perl scripts are small text based programs that are executed on the server end, and will perform a host of interactive functions for a web site. In short, when a .pl or .cgi file is called it tells the server to process it using the "Perl interpreter". The Perl interpreter understands the programming within the script and will perform the set of subroutines that will yield your desired effect. This desired effect could be anything from a simple web page counter to more complex programs such as discussion forums, e-commerce applications, to online auctions. In many cases, you can download these "ready to go" scripts for free, and in others you may have to purchase them.

FrontPage and FTP (what you should know)

If you're planning to use Microsoft FrontPage to manage your web site, there are a couple of issues you may want to keep in mind:

There are two worlds: The General Unix hosting world and the Microsoft world. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, Microsoft has indeed decided to play by its own rules. As a result, FrontPage does not always conform to the rules of Unix, so you should be extremely careful when accessing a FrontPage web via FTP. It's easy to damage the FrontPage web, as well as its associated server extensions and if it happens you may loose the ability to administer it from your FrontPage Explorer. To avoid problems like this:

  • Do not alter or delete files that are part of a FrontPage web
  • Do not delete, move or alter directories ending in _vtf. These are the FrontPage extensions

The ultimate solution:

If possible, try to create your FrontPage webs in sub-directories of your root. For example, This way, you can safely FTP into your root account to perform other tasks, while avoiding the FrontPage webs, which are safely out of the way in their own separate homes. Remember! DO NOT delete any folders, which end in _vtf! This will kill your FrontPage web, and we'll have to reinstall the extensions for you.

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Using CGI Programs:

Where to place your CGI scripts

Although there is nothing dangerous about placing CGI scripts in random directories throughout your site, it's best if you keep them in their own home known as the cgi-bin. This minimizes security risks and allows you to maintain your CGI programs from one directory.

The path to Perl

One of the first things you must do when configuring a script is set the correct path to the Perl interpreter, which is the engine responsible for processing the script. The path to Perl on our servers is: #!/usr/bin/perl

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The path to Sendmail

Some programs, such as ones that send email, will need to know where the Sendmail program resides on the server. The script will typically have a setting like this: $mailprog = '/usr/sbin/sendmail'; and will want you to set it appropriately. Sendmail on our servers can be found here: /usr/sbin/sendmail or /usr/lib/sendmail.

Setting directories within your CGI scripts

When you configure a CGI script for any server, it may ask you to set variables such as the base, relative, and CGI directory/url settings. Here's an "example" using Matt Wright's script. Obviously, each script may vary, but this should provide you with some basic idea:

$basedir = "/home/yourlogin/public_html/wwwboard";
$baseurl = "";
$cgi_url = "";

Most scripts come with documentation on how to set these directories. Please make sure you read and understand it before configuring the script. New to CGI? Here is a page with answers to numerous questions concerning the ins and outs of using CGI scripts: Another excellent site that provides step-by-step chapters is:

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Understanding file permissions

There are a number of file permissions that can be used for a variety of different purposes, however we'll limit this tutorial to the ones most commonly used. To begin with, it's important you understand the three categories of permissions, which are:

Owner Permissions:

The owner is you. In most cases, this is not much of a concern, as you can only obtain owner permissions in one of two ways: 1. FTP into your account using your Username and Password; 2. Login via Telnet with the same information.

Group Permissions:

This represents a group of users who have access to a particular directory. For example, a password protected directory where only members can access it upon providing the correct Username and Password. In this case, any permissions you assign to "Group" would be applicable to users with access to that particular directory.

Public Permissions:

This is the most important one of all. Public permissions determine what your worldwide visitors can and cannot do with your files. ALWAYS make sure you understand what a particular permission does before assigning it to a file. If not, you may find your web site demolished by some clown who was snooping about and gained access to your files.

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Setting file permissions

chmod-interface.gif (7809 bytes)

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To set file permissions

1. Log in with your FTP client
2. Open the directory where the file you wish to set permissions on resides
3. Right click on the file and select CHMOD
A box similar to the one above will appear

Note that you can "select" the individual permissions you want, or simply enter the 3 digit number if you know what it is. Most instructions included with downloaded scripts will indicate this.

By default, all files uploaded to the server automatically have permissions set to 644. The setting 644 is relatively safe, as it provides "Read" and "Write" access to the owner, while limiting the rest of the public to "Read Only" access.

When setting permissions for CGI scripts, the most common permissions setting is 755. 755 allows the owner "Read and Write" access, while allowing the Group and Public "Read and Execute" permission. So what are we actually saying? In short, when users access your CGI script, the server has been instructed to grant them permission to "Read and Execute" it. Sound scary? It's not actually…

Remember that a script is a program that must be processed by the server. As long as the script is written properly, you can safely allow users to execute it, and thus produce the desired results. For example, if they wanted to post a message to your wwwboard discussion forum, then they would need these permissions to execute, which would write their new message to an HTML file, which is displayed on the main forum. The new message would reside in a directory on your site so other users could view it. Most
CGI, Perl and other scripts you'll be installing come complete with instructions telling you which permissions you'll need to set.

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WARNINGS and security issues

Setting permissions on files is a relatively simple task, however MAKE SURE you fully understand what it is you're allowing the public to do with your files. For example, some less experienced users often make the fatal mistake of simply setting ALL of their files to 777. While 777 will automatically allow executing privileges, it also allows full "READ, WRITE, and EXECUTION" ability to the entire world!!!!

This is how web sites get hacked! While most visitors have good intentions, all it takes is one person who snoops about your files seeking an open "back door" to gain full access to your directories, which means they can do anything, from deleting your entire site, to defacing it with obscenities.

New to
CGI? Here is a page with answers to numerous questions revolving around the ins and outs of using CGI within your scripts:

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Using Server Side Includes (SSI) and .shtml

SSI works in conjunction with a web page usually with the .shtml extension. The .shtml extension tells the server to do something different with the web page. When you append the .html or .htm extension to a file name, it tells the server to "read" the page only. The .shtml extension tells the server to "Execute" the page, in addition to just reading it.

So, why would you want to execute a page? There are various commands you can program into a web page that the server will look for and parse when a .shtml file is called. In many cases, this mode is used in conjunction with Server Side Include (SSI) tags to call a CGI script. For example, imagine you have a visitor counter script, called count.cgi. Every time someone visits your web site, you want the script to be called so that it logs the visitor into a file.

To do this, you would place an SSI tag in your web page. The tag in this case would look something like:

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/count.cgi" -->

This small tag, which is hidden in the html coding of your page, is telling the server to:

1. Go to the cgi-bin directory
2. Execute count.cgi

That's it! The information has been captured and processed by the count.cgi script. Of course, that's the short version of what happens. The long version would no doubt would take us far beyond the scope of this document.

PLEASE do not use the .shtml extension on "all" of your web pages unless it's absolutely necessary. With a busy web site this would mean that every page must be executed as opposed to just read. This, as you can appreciate, can add considerable memory and CPU load to the system. As always, read the instructions that came with your script carefully. They should provide specific instructions on how to configure the script, as well as the SSI tag.

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The Ins and Outs of DNS and How It Affects Your Domain:

Understanding DNS and Name Servers

This is an area that causes a great deal of confusion among both webmasters and end-users. Before we go any further, let's look at this quick analogy: DNS is similar to a phone book. When you move from one location to another, your name stays the same but your phone number may change. In order to point your name to the new phone number, you must contact the telephone service provider, which will assign you a new phone number. In addition, they will update the phone book information to reflect this new phone number.

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What is DNS?

DNS stands for "Domain Name Server". The domain name server acts like a large telephone directory in that it's the master database that associates a domain name such as with the equivalent IP number. Consider the IP number like a phone number: When you call, your ISP consults the DNS server, and asks, "how do I contact" The DNS server responds, "it can be found at:" This can be considered the "phone number" for the server that houses the web site.

Where are all the DNS records kept?

This is slightly more complicated, but for the purpose of this overview, we'll try to keep it as general as possible. There are 2 main places DNS records reside:

  1. International Root name servers (13 exist throughout the world)
  2. Your domain registrar, where your current DNS settings reside

When you register/purchase a domain name with a registrar, your DNS settings are kept on their server. In most cases these settings are the names and/or IP addresses of the Name Servers of your web hosting provider. These Name Servers are where the IP number currently associated with your domain name is listed.

The entire hierarchy is somewhat involved but, in short, the world Root Name Servers can be considered the master listing of all DNS records and there are currently 13 of them in the world. These name servers are where all the master DNS records are kept. The DNS server of your ISP will typically query the Root Name Servers once every 24-hours. This is how they update all of their DNS tables, which in turn, resolve WWW requests to the IP number of the server they reside on.

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Changing your Name Server settings so your domain points to your AZ Hosting account

Your "Name Server Settings" must be updated to point to your account with AZ Hosting. You originally purchased your domain name from a registrar, and this registrar is where your current DNS settings reside. That is, unless you transferred your domain name to an alternate registrar, in which case, you would control your DNS settings from there.

The registrar your domain resides on communicates your current DNS settings with the International Root name servers, which is turn share this information with ISP's, routers, and cache engines around the world. In essence, it's like a worldwide directory that other computers can refer to when they want to match a domain name with its associated IP number. This IP number is how the particular server your website resides on is located.

Accessing your domain manager

Simply go to your domain registrar's web site and look around for links like "domain manager", "manage domain", or something of that administrative nature. In your welcoming email you were sent DNS settings similar to this example:

Most of the newer registrars such as the OPEN SRS based entities have turned updating this information into a 5-minute process. You simply log in to the registrar, select "manage domain" and you'll be presented with an option to update your DNS numbers. Contrary to popular belief, Network Solutions "now" also provides an online interface to change these settings, so this process with them is no longer as complicated as it was previously, however it's still not as simple as the OPEN SRS based systems. If your particular registrar does not provide a domain manager of some type, then you'll need to send them a message requesting a change of DNS. This is an unlikely scenario, as most registrars now allow you to manage your own domain settings from a web-based interface.

Once you've accessed the "management interface" for your domain name, look for a setting that says "change or manage DNS settings". In most cases, you can simply cut and paste the DNS settings we've sent you directly into the appropriate entry fields. Remember, the DNS settings we're displaying here are an example and may not be accurate. Check your welcoming email.

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The 2 to 4 day propagation period and understanding what happens during this time frame

Patience is a virtue. Remember what we talked about earlier in this chapter regarding the size and scope of the world's DNS system? In short, when you change your DNS settings, these new settings must propagate throughout the world's DNS servers. This means that every ISP (Internet Service Provider) must update their DNS records to reflect these new changes, which in most cases is done automatically every 24 hours. But not always...

Where do the Root Name Servers receive their information from?

The Root Name Servers will query "domain registrars" several times a day. Domain Registrars are companies such as Network Solutions and the newer OPEN SRS based systems. The Root Name Servers will gather this information from the many registrars now in existence and update their master records accordingly. Now your ISP must access the Root Name Servers and update its DNS records, which reside on their 'local' DNS server. This process is fully automated and most ISP's will check the Root Name Servers for updates every 24-hours. Be aware however, that some lame ISP's will delay this process for as much as 2 to 4 days. If this happens with your ISP it will no doubt cause confusion as everyone will be reaching your new account on our servers except you. This is because your ISP has not updated their DNS records and/or have not cleared their DNS cache, which means they'll still be pointing your domain name to your old server. If it's a new domain name you've registered then you'll receive a blank "Site Not Found" Page.

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DNS Cache and your ISP

There is also the issue of DNS cache, which is something we won't go into great detail about here, but here's the short version: Every time you access a site from your ISP they cache the URL as well as its associated IP number. If their network is properly set up, these DNS cache records should "expire" at least every 24 hours. If they are not properly set up (which is often the case) and you're trying to see your new site hosted on our servers, you may experience this: You enter
an URL such as and you see your old account instead of your new one.

In a large number of cases this is the result of an ISP who did not configure their servers to "expire" the DNS cache records at appropriate intervals. Unfortunately, this adds additional confusion to their clients, especially those who are trying to point their domain name to a new server. Yes, it will make you want to scream sometimes, however if you understand who is actually at fault, then you'll know who to scream at. :)

The DNS propagation process is not limited to ISPs!

HA -- just when you thought you had it all figured out! Unfortunately, there's more folks. The Internet itself must update/clear its DNS cache as well. When we say "the Internet", we mean the numerous intermediate "points of access" you're routed through before reaching your final destination. For the most part, these intermediate points of access consist of "Internet Routers" and "Internet Caching Engines". These too maintain their own DNS caches, which assist them in routing traffic/resolving URL's to the correct destination IP's. Don't worry though as Internet routers are usually faster at clearing their DNS cache than ISP's are.

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What to expect during this 2 to 4 day propagation period

In most cases, the propagation process will take at least 48 hours to complete. The first thing that happens is the "World Root Name Servers" will check all the various Domain Registrars for updates. Ok, so now the Root Name Servers have done their job. The rest is up to the many ISP providers who should be updating their DNS records (at least every 24 hours) -- but a number of them will not.

Side effects that can be expected during the propagation time frame

It's perfectly normal for strange things to happen within the 48-hour propagation period (sometimes longer). While we could provide a full list of all the anomalies that can occur during the DNS propagation period, we'll stick to some of the most common scenarios that people experience:

HELP! My friend can reach my new site, but I'm still being directed to the OLD ONE!

This is a classic case of your friend's ISP updating their DNS records while yours, unfortunately, did not. As a result, your ISP is still pointing your domain name to the old IP address, which is your old hosting account. Wait a couple more days and if it appears that everyone but you still can access your new account then contact your ISP and tell them to expire their old DNS cache records.

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WOW! was taking me to my new AZ Hosting account just a minute ago, but when I try it now, I'm being taken back to my old hosting account - what's up with this?

In all likelihood, your ISP may be in the process of clearing their DNS cache and/or updating their local DNS server records. During this small interval, it's normal to fluctuate between the new and old web site as the old DNS records may not have completely expired from their cache yet. Give it another several hours and it should be fine.

HEY! My new site comes up for me, but my friends are being directed to my old one!

Break out the coffee and cakes and consider yourself lucky. Your ISP is on the ball and updates DNS records and clears its DNS cache in short, regular intervals. Your friends may be using an ISP that is not as fast and/or efficient at doing so. The only remedy for this is time. Eventually the other ISP's DNS cache will expire and be replaced with the updated DNS records.

What's going on with my email? When I try to access it, I receive a "host does not exist" or a "cannot authenticate" error message.

This can happen for a number of reasons but in most cases it's because your new DNS records have not fully completed the propagation process. Consequently, you may be trying to access your old email account on your old server, which you may have already cancelled or which may be in a state of DNS flux (which means it points to the new server one moment, and the next, points back to the old server).

Give it some more time and it will eventually settle down. In the meantime, consider accessing email from your account using the WebMail based reader provided by AZ Hosting. If your domain has not propagated as of yet, you can access your email account via WebMail with your IP number. Example: http://yourIPnumber/neomail/ (make sure you have the trailing slash intact) This will allow you to access your default mailbox on your account. Replace "yourIPnumber" with the one we sent you.

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Microsoft FrontPage will not accept a Username and Password or displays the error message "FrontPage Extensions Are Not Installed".

While you should be able to access FrontPage with your associated IP number (until your domain is resolving to our servers), this is not always the case. FrontPage can behave in a number of different ways depending on which direction the wind is blowing. In some cases it will allow you to initiate an upload session, but upon asking for your Username and Password will not recognize them. If this happens, the best thing to do is wait until your domain name is resolving to our servers. One thing we know for sure is that FrontPage will work without much of a problem if you're using the full URL to manage your site. Feel free to try it with your IP number, but we cannot guarantee it will work.

It's been over a week. Everybody else can access my new site except me!

Was your domain originally hosted by your ISP? If so, they may not have deleted your entry from their DNS records. This results in you and/or anyone else accessing the 'net from this particular ISP being directed to your old web site on their servers. A number of ISP's forget this small detail, which can result in weeks of utter confusion and frustration. If this is happening to you, contact your ISP and make sure they've made the necessary changes to their DNS records.

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Checking your DNS update status (outside of your ISP)

In the event you're becoming impatient and/or are wondering if the rest of the world outside of your ISP can access your new site, you can proxy yourself to another network and test it there. In many cases, you'll be surprised to see your site responding perfectly, yet when you attempt to view it directly from your ISP's servers, it does not exist.

There are several services that allow anonymous surfing across the 'net. While this is not the intent here, they can be used for troubleshooting domain resolution problems. How? Because they proxy you through their network, which means your URL requests are controlled by their DNS cache records. These services update/expire their DNS cache far more often than most ISP's, which makes them well suited for testing your domain name through another network.

To try this, you can access your site through this service:

The site will allow you to enter a URL and proxy your request through its servers. If your site is accessible from this server, then chances are your ISP has yet to expire its old DNS cache records.

Working on your account during the DNS propagation period

You can still work on your new account until your domain name finds its way to our servers using your IP Number, which was included in your welcoming email. Your IP number is how your new domain will be identified on our servers. Using it at this point will provide a means for you to access your account as well as test your new site, by using something like (obviously you'd replace it with the IP number we sent you).

One easy way to check to see if your domain name is resolving to our servers yet is to create a file called test.html and place it in your web directory. Keep checking the URL
and see if the page appears. When it does, you'll know your domain name is pointing to your account on our servers and has been officially transferred.

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Setting up your own Name Server (for advanced webmasters)

Personalized Name Servers are generally used by webmasters who will be reselling web hosting accounts and want to add a professional look to their DNS. Why? If you're reselling accounts under your own entity you could use our name servers, which would appear as:

Not bad, but what if you want your DNS settings to appear as a part of your company? Let's say your company is If you desire, you could set up your own custom branded DNS, which could display as:

This provides a somewhat more professional look to your customers when sending out your DNS settings in a welcoming email. In addition, if someone does a WHOIS lookup on your domain name, the Name Server entries appear as your personal DNS, as opposed to the company you're reselling for. Not really a big deal, but some webmasters do not want to advertise the host they're reselling for as they feel it does not portray a professional and independent look.

Personal name servers are offered to clients who are a part of our reseller program. If you're not a reseller, please use the standard DNS settings we provided you. There is no advantage to having your own name server unless you're a reseller and/or a web designer who is also planning to host the websites you build.

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Setting Up and Managing Subdomains

What are subdomains and how do they work?

A subdomain is a domain that resides under your top-level domain name, but in many ways behaves as a totally independent domain. You'll note that many of the larger corporations use these as they're somewhat more professional looking and do a better job of creating an independent presence for service or product lines, which appear as separate web entities.

Example: You're GM with a site such as You sell everything from Pontiacs to Cadillacs. To better organize your online presence you could create subdomains for your various automotive lines. These would appear as or Also note that in most cases, the domain need not be called with the http:// prefix. can be accessed exactly as it appears here.

Setting up a subdomain:

Subdomain Setup

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Thanks to our Control Panel this task has been made easier than ever and can be accomplished as follows:

1. Log in to the Control Panel
2. Select "Subdomains"
3. Enter the name of your new subdomain
4. Hit "Add"

That's it! Your new subdomain is now ready for use. To find it, log in to your main web directory through the Control Panel by selecting "File Manager" or simply use your favourite FTP client. You'll see that your subdomain now exists as a new directory, located in your www or public_html directory. For example, if you created a subdomain called, then a directory named pontiac is what you'll be looking for. Upload your files to this directory just as you would any other.

Independent cgi-bin

All new subdomains are created with their own independent cgi-bin. This means your new subdomain operates independently of everything else and is almost like a whole new domain. Feel free to configure cgi scripts that are pertinent to the functioning of this subdomain. This is a nice feature as it saves your main cgi-bin from becoming cluttered and somewhat disorganized, especially if you utilize a lot of CGI programs.

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Subdomains and email

In the "Default Address" page of the Control Panel, you will observe duplicates of all configured POP email accounts listed beside the subdomains you've created. I know you'll be tempted to use (what appear to be) perfectly good email addresses BUT please don't! This is a feature that is in final development. While it may look somewhat confusing at first glance, it's really not. In the near future, you'll be able to configure these email accounts for use with your subdomains. For example, if you configured, then you'll be able to use an address such as

For the time being, please configure email addresses that correspond to your main domain and just ignore the subdomain duplicates. ALSO: Any duplicate subdomain email addresses you see in your POP email setup configuration DO NOT count towards your allocated number of POP mail boxes.

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Configuring Email for Your Domain:

POP Email Accounts

There are two kinds of email addresses you can use, "catch all" addresses and private POP email addresses.

The "catch all" method:

With the catch all method you don't have to worry about setting up individual POP email accounts. Simply set your email client to your "default" email address (displayed in your Control Panel on the "Default Address" page), and all email sent to any name will land in this mailbox.

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In your Email client, feel free to configure multiple outgoing accounts using It really doesn't matter what you use since will land in the default account. Therefore, you would configure all your email accounts to receive mail with the same Username and Password as your default email account.

EXAMPLE: Let's say you want to receive mail from and The only thing that changes is the address -- the Username and Password are always the same.

The POP email account method:

In this case you configure a "private" POP email account for each user that will be receiving and sending email from your domain. Once an email address is configured as a POP email account, it operates privately and independently from your main/default mailbox. Any mail sent to a private POP mail account can only be received by logging into that account with the separate Username and Password you have assigned it.

Your default "catch all" account will not intercept any mail being sent to a POP mail account, which is what makes it private. POP accounts are useful if there are a number of people (for example, employees) who each need a private email account. This way everyone at your company can utilize private email.

The default email address plays a slightly different role in this case: If a sender uses the wrong email name then that message would bounce to your default "catch all" account and hopefully you can figure out who the sender was trying to contact. They must, of course, at least send it to your correct domain name (i.e. -- his would end up in your default mailbox).

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Setting up and configuring POP email accounts

Configuring a Pop Email Account

1. Log in to your Control Panel
2. Select "POP Email Accounts"
3. Look for the "Add POP email account" area
4. Enter a name in the "Email:" field (just enter a name -- the @yourdomain part is added automatically)
5. Enter a password in the "Password:" field
6. Click the "Add" button

That's it, done! Your private POP email account is now ready for use. If you're a little lost on how to manually configure an email account in your mail reader, please see the detailed tutorials on how to configure Outlook and Netscape mail readers.


If you've enabled subdomains, you'll observe duplicate email accounts appearing on the "Default Address" page, which correspond to each subdomain you've added. Please ignore these duplicate addresses for the time being. This is a new feature under development which will soon provide the ability to configure email accounts for your subdomains. For example, if you created, then you'll be able to use the address

For the time being, please configure email addresses that correspond to your "regular" domain only and just ignore the subdomain duplicates. ALSO: Any duplicate subdomain email addresses you see in your POP email setup configuration DO NOT count towards your allocated number of POP email boxes. In short, just ignore them for now. :-)

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Default email address: setting up your catch-all and avoiding spam

This is quite simple but please read through this documentation, as this feature controls much more than you'd expect. As mentioned in the previous chapter, your "default email address" is the one that can be used to "catch all mail" that is addressed to any name Using a catch all can be a blessing and sometimes a curse.

The "catch all" is excellent if you have a high frequency of people who mistype your email address as these addresses (even though mistyped) will simply be bounced to your "catch all" or "default" email account. That is, providing they at least managed to spell your domain name properly. :)

If you're not planning to use multiple private email boxes then you can keep life very simple -- just configure the default email address in your mail reader and leave it at that. This way, you'll receive everything sent to your domain. There are pros and cons to this method, which will be discussed in this tutorial.

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Setting your default/catch all email account:

Note: By default, or until you change it, the default email address will be the same as your login name.

1. Log in to your Control Panel
2. Click "Default Address"
3. In the "Modify default address:" entry field, enter the desired default email address
4. Click the "Submit" button
Note: Just enter a name (the part is added automatically)

You will see a confirmation box that displays your new default email address. That's it -- you're done!

Remember: In order to actually read mail that finds its way into your default mailbox you must configure the default address in your mail reader. If you don't, then all mail that bounces to this address will sit on the server unread. This is easy to do in Outlook Express since it allows you to configure and monitor multiple email accounts. Email readers such as Netscape on the other hand, are limited to one email account. Actually, you could re-configure your mail reader to check your default email box every few days, but who wants to be bothered with that trouble? We suggest using an email reader that allows you to configure multiple email accounts.

The Webmail Alternative: You can also check your default email account by logging into it through the "Webmail" interface. Simply select the "Read Your Email" link in the Control Panel and log in using your Username and Password. This will allow you to check your default email box without having to configure it in your mail reader.

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The downside of enabling "Catch All"

Problems can sometimes arise when spammers or junk mailers use this feature as a means to pump their trash into your mailbox. As long as a "catch all" address is enabled then all they need to do is send to email to and it will reach you.

On the other hand, if you're using only private POP email accounts you could opt to disable the "catch all", which would mean that only people who know a valid email address at your domain can send you email.

In this case, email to every address that you have not configured as a POP email account is bounced back to the sender. We suggest leaving your "catch all" enabled for the time being. If spammers begin sending random junk messages using then you can disable your "catch all" feature.

Disabling your "Catch All Feature":

Instead of entering a real account name, use the special account name ":fail:" to disable your email "catch all". As before, simply go to the "Default Address" link in your Control Panel, enter ":fail:" (without the quotation marks) as the default name and click the "Submit" button.

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What happens now?

When "Jimmy junk mailer" attempts to use a random email address to spam you, it will be bounced back to him. (That is, unless he happens to get one of your legitimate POP email account names, in which case you'd have a different problem on your hands.) Here is what a sender using would receive now (please note that a classic, but annoying junk mail example is being used here):

  This message was created automatically by mail delivery software (Exim).

  A message that you sent has not yet been delivered to one or more of its
  recipients after more than 24 hours on the queue on

  The message identifier is: 14m7gv-0007gl-00
  The date of the message is: Mon, 04 June 2001 01:23:02 -0400
  The subject of the message is: MAKE MILLIONS FAST!

  The address to which the message has not yet been delivered is:
  Delay reason: error in alias file /etc/valiases/
  missing or malformed local part (expected word or "<") in "******>>>" (Bad email syntax)

  No action is required on your part. Delivery attempts will continue for
  some time, and this warning may be repeated at intervals if the message
  remains undelivered. Eventually the mail delivery software will give up,
  and when that happens, the message will be returned to you.

So what actually happened here?

When the mail server processed an incoming message sent to, it attempted to forward it to the "catch all/Default" email address, freaked out, and said, "forget it!" The default email address was set to ******>>> in this case, which is an email address using "illegal characters", so the delivery process was aborted. Therefore, the mail system bounced back the above error message to the sender. There are numerous tricks and special recipes you can "manually" write into the Unix email system for doing essentially the same thing, however through Control Panel, this would be the easiest way of accomplishing this task.

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Configuring email autoresponders

What is an email autoresponder?

Email autoresponders automatically send customized responses (that you compose) to any visitor who emails an address. Automated responses are sometimes used to send additional information about your service or product when people send messages to a specific email address. In other cases they are used to send a :courtesy reply" to anyone that sends a query to your company's main email address. When visitors email this address they may receive a response such as: Thanks for contacting our company! Someone will be returning a response to your question soon. If you require immediate assistance, please call 000-000-0000. Thanks! And so forth.

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There are two types of autoresponders:

1. The silent autoresponder

In this case you configure the responder to send certain information when someone sends email to it, however you do not receive copies of the inquiries that people originally sent. This method is typically used if you have a product and want people to email an address for additional information on it. You simply tell them to email and they receive a pre-canned message. Again, you will not receive copies of the messages sent to the autoresponder. If you want to do this, please read the next paragraph.

2. The autoresponder that sends you the original inquiry

In this case the autoresponder is set up to work with a currently configured POP email account. Now the sender receives your automated response and you receive their original inquiry.

How to setup an autoresponder:

1. Log in to your Control Panel
2. Select "Autoresponders"
3. In the "Add autoresponder" section:
 3.1. Enter the email address that the autoresponse should come from
 3.2. Enter a "From" name (for example, my company)
 3.3. Enter a "Subject" (for example, thank you)
 3.4. Enter your message in the "Body" area
4. Click the "Add" button

That's it! Your autoresponder is now online. To test it, email its address and see if you receive the autoresponse. If you've entered an existing POP email account, you should receive 2 messages: the first, which is your inquiry that you just sent to yourself, and the second, which will be the automated response.

Remember, if you want to receive the incoming inquiries in addition to sending the automated response, then us an email address that is already configured as a POP email account. If you do not wish to receive the original incoming inquiry, then simply enter a name that is not configured as one of your existing POP mail accounts.

If, at any time, you want to update, edit, or delete an autoresponse, simply go back to the "Autoresponders" page and you'll see the current responders configured as well as options to change or delete each of them.

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Blocking unwanted email messages

From time to time, you may experience either a junk mailer or some other menacing individual who keeps sending you annoying email messages. Control Panel has a built in feature that allows you to block these email messages in many different ways. You can block them by:

- Sender
- Subject
- Message Header
- Message Body

Of course, if all you want to do is block one specific email address, then you don't have to worry about getting fancy with it - just enter the email address to be blocked, and that's it, done!

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How to use the block email function:
Mail Filter

1. Log in to your Control Panel
2. Select "Spam Filters"
3. In the "Add spam filter" area, select from the first and second drop-down lists and enter the appropriate information in the entry field
4. Click the "Add" button

For example, if all you want to do is block a single email address, then select "From", "equals" and enter the address in the entry field and that's it -- done!

When you log in to this feature again you'll see the list of email addresses and/or expressions you've blocked. Beside each one of them will be a "Delete" option so that you can remove the block at a future time. NOTE: When you block an email address or some other keyword, this filtering will be enabled on ALL email accounts within your domain.

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Advanced Blocking:

For those who experience frequent problems with junk email messages, you'll be pleased to see this feature provides a broad range of blocking options. Instead of having us try to explain every last one of them here, you'll really want to experiment.
Doing so, will allow you to become familiar with the ways that email can be blocked and will also help you with customizing a recipe that works best for your domain. Play around with the settings and try to block words or phrases based on the From Name, Subject, or Message Body Text. Now, send an email to your account and see if the terms and criteria you selected are providing the filtering you want. It may take a little time to master, but it's fun, and a great way to broaden your abilities on web site administration.

FINAL NOTE: If you're totally new to email blocking and wish to explore its full potential we highly suggest you test it before launching your site. This way, you don't have to worry about accidentally disrupting email for your entire domain.

Hint: Unless you're 100% sure of what a setting will do, always delete it when you're finished testing or until you have time to run a series of tests on it. You want to ensure it's blocking what it's supposed to, and not legitimate email messages!

A big junk mail problem:

If you're experiencing a high volume of junk mail then there's a good possibility spammers are taking advantage of your "catch all" option. To disable this, please see our tutorial on "Default Email Address".

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Setting up and configuring email forwarding

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"Email forwarding" forwards an email sent to your domain to another email address. The second address can be another email address within your domain or an "external" email address (for example, your home ISP email account). There are two types of email forwarding:

1. Forward silently to another address:

In this case, the email address from your domain (set up for forwarding) will divert all messages to the forwarding address you've specified and not send a copy of the original message to the original address. For example, could automatically forward all messages to Pretty straightforward (no pun intended).

2. Forward to another address, but also deliver the original inquiry to you:

This is the method most commonly used. For example, you have two other partners who wish to receive all incoming inquiries to the company. Perhaps you're the one who responds to them but your counterparts would like copies of the incoming activity as well. The method for accomplishing this is much the same as above, except in this case you would configure forwarding for one of your existing POP email accounts, as that is how you'd receive a copy of the original incoming message.

Example: When (your company's main address) is mailed, you would typically be the only one to receive the response. However if you've configured forwarding for your two counterparts (Bob and Mary), then and could also receive a copy of the incoming messages.

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How to set up a mail forward:

forward-interface.gif (15072 bytes)

1. Log in to your Control Panel
2. Select "Forwarders"
3. In the first entry field, enter a configured POP email account name if you want to receive original inquiries. Enter a non-configured email address if you do not.
4. Enter the email address you want copies of the message sent to
5. Click the "Add" button

Need to Forward to more than one person?

Simply repeat the above process using the same address in the first entry field and the additional recipient's address in the second entry field. You can also delete forwards when you no longer require them.

Testing your forward.

If you want to test your new mail forward, it's recommended that the email account you're testing from is not one of the accounts you're using in conjunction with the forwarder you've just set up. For example, if you've configured to forward copies to and, then send a test message from an email address other than one of the addresses above. Otherwise it can be somewhat confusing figuring out which message is coming from the actual forward and which was the original sent from you.

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Accessing your email through the web-based interface

The Control Panel extends the versatility of the email system by allowing you to access any of your email accounts through a "WebMail" interface. Gone are the days of needing to create several email accounts on various free HTML-based mail systems as now you have your own HTML-based mail system that operates from your account.

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Accessing your mail through the webmail interface

1. Log in to your Control Panel
2. Select "POP Email Accounts"

Click the round green button with a white arrow beside the email account you wish to access. A username and password prompt will appear. These are the email address and password you chose when you created that particular account. NOTE: Remember to use the full email address for the account you're accessing as the account login name. You will see a screen allowing you to choose from either NeoMail or Uebimiau, two web-based email systems. The differences are mostly cosmetic so feel free to play with them both and choose which you like best. In this tutorial we will assume you are using NeoMail but the instructions are similar for Uebimiau.

The first screen you'll see

If this is the first time you're accessing this email account through WebMail, a setup screen appears. This screen allows you to specify how you'll be identifying yourself in email messages. The options here are similar to those you set up with your original POP email account. However, check closely to make sure everything appears as you want it.

Does everything look correct?

If so, then click "Save" and a dialog box pops up that confirms your settings as being saved successfully. Click "Continue" and you'll be taken to your WebMail inbox. To the top left of the screen, you'll observe the following icons. Clicking on any one of them will do the following:

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compose.gif (1048 bytes) Compose a new message
refresh.gif (547 bytes) Refresh the screen (checks for new messages)
prefs.gif (204 bytes) View and set user preferences
addresses.gif (681 bytes) Open address book
folder.gif (594 bytes) View or add new folders
trash.gif (616 bytes) Empty your trash folder
logout.gif (174 bytes) Log out from the NeoMail WebMail system

To delete or move a message, click the small box beside it, select where you wish to place it using the drop down menu (top right of screen), then click "Move".

The address book allows you to add and edit email addresses. You can also export your Outlook or Netscape Address Book, which equips your account with all the email addresses you currently use.

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