Getting Started with Web Hosting
This practical guide will help you get familiar with your new web hosting account. It contains information on to how access your account, how to manage your emails, how to publish your web site, and more.
- First Steps
- Setting Up Your Domain Name & DNS
- A First Look At the cPanel
- How to Build Your Web Site
- How To Publish a Web Site...
- Renewing Your Contract
- Getting Additional Help
Welcome to Web Hosting Canada and thank you for trusting us with your hosting needs. You are thus joining a growing community of webmasters, entrepreneurs and web enthusiasts that are actively developing their online presence.
Before starting, make sure you have received the following information from us:
- Your Client Area login information. If you have completed your order online, you should already have your username and password. Your username is your email address and your password is the one you have chosen during the signup process.
- Your cPanel login information. The cPanel is your hosting control panel. This is not the same as your Client Area access (although you will be able to connect to your cPanel from your Client Area as well, and vice versa).
- A confirmation that your domain was registered successfully. This is normally sent within a few hours following the receipt of your payment.
New accounts are normally activated within a few hours following the receipt of your payment. Allow for longer delays for non-automated payments, or payments requiring additional verification from our activation team.
New domain name registrations may take up to 24 hours to propagate through all the networks of the Internet. In the meanwhile, you will be able to use your account with the permanent access links available through the My Services section of your Client Area, or the ones provided in your welcome email. If you have registered your domain name with another provider, please make sure to configure your domain name to use our servers before continuing.
You can verify that your domain name is working correctly by entering it directly in the address bar of your browser (with or without the "www"). If you see a Web Hosting Canada page informing you that your account has been successfully configured, you're ready to move on to the next step. Otherwise, your domain is likely still propagating and you may need to wait a few more hours. If your domain is still not working within 48 hours of placing your order, please contact our support team as it may be an indication that a problem occurred during your account's activation.
Now that your domain is functional, continue on to get a First Look at the cPanel.
Setting Up Your Domain Name and DNS
In order to associate your domain name purchased with another provider (also called a registrar) with a hosting account ordered with us, you need to let your registrar know we are going to host your web site. This is done by changing what is called the DNS (Domain Name System) settings of your domain name to point to our DNS. You can change the DNS of your domain name either by contacting your registrar and requesting this change or by using their online interface (assuming they have one).
Our DNS vary depending on the purchased service.
For Web Hosting Starter, Standard DNS, or addon/parked domains please use:
For the primary domain of a Web Hosting Pro, Web Hosting Enterprise, or Premium DNS, use:
For Reseller Web Hosting (all plans), use:
Please get in touch with your registrar directly if you are experiencing problems while changing your domain's DNS. If your domain is registered with us, you do not need to change your domain's DNS since it is already configured correctly. Allow up to 24 hours for a DNS change to properly propagate across all the networks of the Internet.
A First Look at the cPanel
The cPanel allows you to manage every aspect of your hosting account.
To access the cPanel, click on the cPanel Hosting Console link, available in the My Services section of the Client Area. Alternatively, you can simply point your browser to: http://www.yourdomain.com/cpanel (replace yourdomain.com with your own domain). Your cPanel login information was sent to you in your welcome email, following your account's activation. Keep this information safe!
Still can't connect to the cPanel? Some Internet Service Providers block certain ports used by cPanel. If your connection attempts time out, try using the following URL instead: http://cpanel.yourdomain.com/ (replace yourdomain.com with your own domain).
When prompted, enter your username and password as it was sent to you. Please note: your password is case-sensitive.
[optional step] You can change your cPanel password from the Client Area, under My Services > Change cPanel Password. Please choose a strong password that contains letters and numbers, and is at least 8 characters long. It's each user's responsibility to safeguard their password, and to change it at least once a year in order to minimize security risks.
When logging in for the first time, you will be asked if you'd like a tour of the cPanel's basic features.
The cPanel interface is divided in several sections:
- A search box, allowing you to quickly find the feature or tool you are looking for
- Account information (normally on the left of your screen), including all your account limits and current usage
- Categories and features/tools
Each feature/tool is sorted by category and has its own icon. The icon can be clicked on to obtain additional information and options.
Here are just some of the things you can do with your cPanel:
- Create a new email address
- View your web site's visitors statistics
- Build a new site or update your existing site using the Site Builder
- Install over 200 free applications (including blogs, forums, content management systems and more) in 1 click
- Create a new database and manage its content
- Set up email forwarders
- Create a backup of your site
- Browse your account's file using the File Manager
- Manage your domain redirections
- Password-protect a folder on your web site
- and much, much more!
Complete documentation of all cPanel features and tools can be found on the cPanel web site: http://www.cpanel.net/docs/cpanel/
How to Build Your Web Site
Web Hosting Canada offers various tools to help you create a rich and effective web site:
- The Presence Builder is a powerful tool allowing you to easily create your own web site without any programming knowledge. Simply choose your favorite template from hundreds of available templates, or create your own! You will find the Presence Builder tool in your cPanel, in the Popular Tools category.
- A Content Management System (CMS) such as Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla provides more flexibility and may be a good option for you, especially if you are tech-savvy or are working with a programmer or agency. Need help running and managing the CMS of your choice? Contact our sales teams about our Webmaster service.
- You can choose to purchase commercial web creation software such as Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web 2, or many others.
- If you're serious about building a professional web site then you may want to consider our Web Site Design services. Our experts can create that dream web site for you or your business. Contact our sales teams for details.
How to Publish Your Web Site
Publishing a web site generally consists of transfering your site's files from a private system such as your computer (or any other test environment) to a publicly accessible web server, so that your web site may be viewed on the Internet.
Important information about the files in your hosting account:
- A new hosting account will come pre-loaded with several files and folders. Please do not alter or delete these files unless you know exactly what you're doing, as they are needed for the proper functioning of your account.
- Any files that you want to make viewable on the Internet must be placed in the public_html directory. This is also called www or web root in the File Manager. If you are using the Site Builder, your site will automatically be published in the proper location.
- The first page of your web site (often called the home page) should be contained within a file named index.html, index.htm or index.php. These are the files (in that order) that the web server will look for in your public_html folder in order to first display it to new visitors accessing your domain.
To Publish Your Site With the Presence Builder (previously called Site Builder)
Note: Only web sites created with the Presence Builder can be published ths way.
Click on the Presence Builder icon from the My Services from the cPanel, and follow the on-screen instructions to create your site. Once you have finished building your web site publish it clicking on the Publish button. Your web site will be published to your account and become available instantly.
To Publish Your Site by FTP
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) connexions allow you to transfer files to and from the web server. To connect by FTP, it is best to use specialized FTP software. A good free choice is FileZilla. Once your FTP software is launched, you can connect to your account using the following information:
- Host address: ftp.mydomain.com (replace mydomain.com with your own domain name)
- Username: your username (it's the same as your cPanel username)
- Password: your password (it's the same as your cPanel password)
- Port: 21 (default)
Once connected, you must upload all your web site's file in the public_html folder. You should name your home page index.html, index.htm, or index.php in order for it to be shown automatically as soon as someone accesses your domain. If there is already a default index file in your public_html folder, you may overwrite it with your own.
To Publish Your Site With the File Manager
The File Manager is available in your cPanel, in the Popular Tools category. It provides a handy way to view and manage files on your hosting account. When prompted, we recommend you choose to open the File Manager in the Web Root folder, which is the main public folder of your account.
The File Manager also allows you to modify HTML files directly on the server (HTML Editor button), change file permissions (Change Permissions button), move files, and delete unwanted files.
One drawback with the File Manager is that it only allows you to upload a limited number of files onto your hosting account at a given time, and is unsuitable for file uploads exceeding 20 MB. This makes it inefficient if you are transferring your entire site on our servers. You may instead want to opt for an FTP transfer, or compress your files in a single ZIP or TAR archive and then use the Extract feature available, after having uploaded the archive on the server.
Each hosting package allows you to create personalized email addresses.
Email Account Creation and Management
To create a new email account:
- Connect to your cPanel
- Under Popular Tools, click on E-mail accounts
- Under Add a New Email Account, fill out the requested information and click Create
- If you would like to integrate this new account with your personal email software such as Outlook or Apple Mail, follow the on-screen instructions
- You may now access your new email account online by entering this address into your web browser: www.yourdomain.com/webmail (replace yourdomain.com with your real domain name). Please use your full email address as your username and the password you chose during the creation of this account.
- If manually adding your new email account to Outlook (or any other mail program), use incoming and outgoing mail servers: mail.yourdomain.com (replace yourdomain.com with your real domain name).
Before being able to use Webmail, make sure you have already created an email account by following the steps described above.
To read/send emails with Webmail:
- Access Webmail from the My Services section of your Client Area, or from the Webmail section of your cPanel. Alternatively, you can also enter the following address (URL) in your web browser's address bar: www.yourdomain.com/webmail (replace yourdomain.com with your real domain name)
- Enter your full email address as your username
- Enter the password you chose when creating your email account
- Once connected, you will be given the choice between 3 different webmail programs. While all 3 essentially accomplish the same tasks, you are encouraged to try all 3 and choose the one you like best. We recommend RoundCube for the most streamlined interface.
How to Configure Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and iPhones with Your Email Account
To use your email software with your Web Hosting Canada email account, open your software's Accounts options/preferences, and create a new account with the following information:
- POP 3 or IMAP Server (Incoming Mail Server): mail.[yourdomain.com] (replace [yourdomain.com] with your domain name)
- SMTP Server (Outgoing Mail Server): mail.[yourdomain.com] (replace [yourdomain.com] wth your domain name)
- SMTP Port (Outgoing mail port): 587
Note: this setting is often found in the advanced settings, and normally defaults to 25.
- Username : Your full email address
Note: do NOT use your cPanel username here
- Password: the one you used when creating your email account
Note: do NOT use your cPanel password here.
- Authentication: Enable authentication on your email account, using the same username and password as above.
Note: this setting is often found in the outgoing server settings
- Encryption/SSL: Set to None if you are using the information above. If you wish to use SSL-secured connections (recommended), you will find your account-specific server information in your cPanel, once you've created your email account.
You can now start sending and receiving emails using your email client. If you are getting errors with either the sending or receiving of emails, carefully note the full error message being displayed and contact our Support team.
Renewing Your Services
We will attempt to renew your services automatically at the end of your current billing period. We'll send you a renewal invoice by email 45 days prior to your renewal date (or 15 days prior if you're on a monthly billing cycle). If you have previously paid by credit card and have a valid credit card on file, we'll try to charge it automatically. Otherwise, you'll need to ensure your payments are submitted on time in order to avoid any unexpected downtime of your website.
Please remember to keep your profile information up-to-date in your Client Area. It is crucial that the email address you have on file with us is accurate at all times, otherwise you will likely miss out on important announcements and notices.
Getting Additional Help
Help is only a click away in our Help Center. Consult these resources first whenever you encounter a problem or difficulty. You can also submit a Support Ticket with a detailed description of your problem and we will deploy our best efforts to assist you.
Phone support is also available during our regular office hours, at +1.514.504.2113.
For emergency support outside our office hours, please open a Support Ticket or use our Online Chat available 24/7.
If you require expert assistance with your web site or other aspects of your online business, contact us and we'll be happy to discuss your specific needs. Our experts are here to help!