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Multisite web hosting FAQ

  knowledgebase  :: network status

Q: What is multisite webhosting?
A: Multisite hosting lets you serve multiple websites from a single hosting account. Each website has its own set of files in its own directory, and different domainnames point to each directory. Multisite hosting means you don't need a separate hosting account for each website you host.

Q: What are the benefits of a multisite account, over single-site accounts?
A: In general, multisite hosting let you do more, with less. In particular:

  • cost savings - it's cheaper to buy a single 3-site account, than it is to buy 3 single-site accounts
  • more power - the multisite accounts feature free spam and virus filtering, and with the exception of the zinc account, more diskspace and POP3 accounts
  • consolidate resources - diskspace and POP3 accounts
  • increase efficiency - use a single logon to access the control panel for each site
  • increase efficiency - use a single logon for FTP access to each site
  • increase efficiency - single invoice, reminders, payment etc

Q: How can I use a multisite account to consolidate resources?
A: Imagine you had three sites, two of which used a small amount of diskspace, while the other was constantly running out of diskspace. If you put these three sites onto a multisite account, you could use the spare diskspace from the first two sites, for the third site. The same is true for POP3 accounts.

Q: Which multisite hosting account is best for me?
A: The zinc account provides multisite capability, including free spam and virus filtering, but has limited resources, so choose this if you have a few small sites. The silver, gold and platinum accounts allow you to host more sites, with average cost per site decreasing as the accounts get larger. This means you can make savings by buying a larger account, but only if you use the extra capacity you have purchased.

Q: Can multisite accounts be upsized?
A: Yes, all our hosting packages, except the largest, can be upsized - this means that if you purchase a package and later, find you need more diskspace or POP3 mailboxes, you can upgrade your package to one with enough of the resource you need. If you upgrade, you only pay the difference between the price of the two packages, not the full price for the new package, and there are no other fees to pay. Upsizing from a single-site account to a multisite account is also possible.

Q: Do I need to adjust my site, so that it works with a multisite account?
A: No, most websites will need no changes. However, if your site has code which specifies the name of the root folder (which is usually /htdocs/), and you store the site in a directory with a different name (such as /website1/) you'll need to change that code, so that it points at the name of the directory you have chosen (such as /website1/).

Q: Will visitors to my site notice anything different?
A: No, the multisite capability is completely transparent to them.

Q: Will the multisite account confuse Googlebot, affect my search ranking, or otherwise, degrade my site?
A: No - no paths change, no redirection occurs, and there's no framing or anything similar - all that's happening is the "document root" is being switched, depending on which domainname is used, and this process is completely transparent to all visitors, including bots.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to multisite hosting?
A: As one password can be used to access every site on a multisite account, you'll need to be extra-careful with it. However, you should already be extra-careful with your hosting passwords, so there's not much extra to do here. If one of your websites was cracked, due to insecure code you installed, it MIGHT be possible for the attackers to access the files of your other sites. The best defence here is to ensure that if you have sensitive data (such as database passwords or encryption keys) on one or more sites, that you install only secure, audited code on the other sites that share that hosting account. However, you should not be storing sensitive data on shared servers, even on single-site hosting accounts, in any case - you should be using a dedicated server if you need to do this.

Q: Can dedicated SSL certificates be used with multisite hosting?
A: Yes, as can all the other ecommerce features of our hosting accounts (such as OSCommerce).

Q: Are the logfiles kept separately?
A: Yes, each site on a multisite account generates its own separate logfile (in the logs directory, as usual).

Q: What is the difference between domain mapping and multisite hosting?
A: Domain mapping lets you point different domainnames to a single directory - the /htdocs/ directory. Multisite hosting lets you point different domainnames to different directories (such as /website1/, /website2/ etc). This means a different website can be served from each directory. With domain mapping, no matter what domainname is used, the same website appears.

Q: I have a hosting question not answered here, where can I look now?
A: Our hosting FAQ may well have the answer - this FAQ is to outline the workings of the multisite accounts, and does not seek to answer general hosting queries.

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