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FAQ - frequently asked questions

In the 12 years since we last wrote a site FAQ, the world now understands a lot more about the ways of the Internet. It is not an idle boast for us to say that USP has direct access to a range of wizened experts who know more the technical, tactical, legal and practical aspects of the internet than anyone else in the UK. However, this page is not intended as a comprehensive primer, but  a few basics to get you going. 

Why do I want my own domain name?

The overriding reason is that if you establish an online identity with a domain that is outside your control (eg btinternet.com, aol.com, virgin.net etc) then should you wish to leave that provider, you cannot take the address with you. It may be possible to arrange for basic mail redirection (at a fee), but it is not possible to simply re-assignable like a phone number. You are in effect, handcuffed to that service provider.

But if you own - and USP manages - your own domain name, your identity is transportable and all your internet services can be provided by anyone, anywhere.

Please note that a lot of hosting companies will try and kid you that they need to control every aspect of your domain name - they don't - this is a simple trick to have you put all your eggs in their basket, and make it more difficult to quit their services. The resilience of the internet exists because of its ability to distribute different services onto different servers in different countries, as necessary. 

What is 'E-mail'?

There are still plenty of private messaging and mail systems that operate within companies and some "walled garden" services, but "e-mail" is the generic term for electronic mail messages sent across the pubic internet using the addressing systems adopted by the world-wide industry.

Thanks to the vision of early "internauts", even an address like a@usp.net contains enough information for it to be uniquely identified and the destination mailbox found to and from anywhere on the face of the planet. (Postcodes are pathetic in comparison!)

E-mail remains the most popular and productive use of the internet, despite being compromised by spam viruses. USP continually reviews all types of server solutions that purport to offer cures for SPAM and viruses in attachments - but we have yet to find the perfect system that doesn't also interfere with legitimate email. And we have yet to find a virus solution that is 100% reliable - but a false sense of security can arise if users believe that someone else is doing the virus scanning job for them. In these circumstances we strongly recommend that users should make their own judgements on solutions and install them on their client computers (or LAN mail servers).

Currently the best of the mail client SPAM solutions is provided by Cloudmark via their SpamNet scheme where subscribers literally vote spam into the bin. Claims of 95% effectiveness do not seem to be exaggerated and the writer has not yet found a non-spam message accidentally diverted to spam bin from more than 100,000 messages tested. There are numerous virus solutions, and none are 100% guaranteed - but anything is better than nothing.

We offer general mail scanning which is free with all mail boxes where suspect messages will be flagged (and explanations appended to headers), but a more advanced scheme with web-interface interface, quarantine and whitelist is available at £25 pa per mailbox on request.

What is 'dial-up modem access'?

Before Broadband, communication across voice phone lines used modems that squawked frantically as each end of the connection (think fax machine noises). Our domain customers also get access to an olde worlde dial up modem connection service - which can still be useful as an emergency fall back at 56k bps. This will still work from many laptops when the mains power fails, so don't lose the phone socket lead. Dial 0845 6040104 (8p a minute)

What is a 'Domain Name' and an IP address?

Most computers connected to the Internet are identified by a unique number called an IP (internet protocol) address (for instance, 81.31.115.90). IP addresses do not necessarily correspond to a specific geographical location nor are they easy to remember. Also, IP addresses associated with web sites are fixed

If you change web hosting companies you'll need to get a new IP address for your web site and mail service.

Domain names offer a more intuitive way to name and find a website; and DNS (domain name servers) automatically convert the various aspects of a domain name ("zone and host records") into the corresponding an IP address(es).

What is a POP3 Email Box?

A POP3 email box is a complete mailbox on our server. To read and send your email from anywhere in the world you just visit a specific URL and enter your username and password.

What is 'Cybersquatting'?

The days of grabbing names that are registered trademarks of other companies or organisations are largely past, and many national legal systems are now dealing with disputes and issues on the basis of existing local patent and copyright legislation. Although with trademarks listed in some 25 categories, it's not an easy way out.

Nevertheless, there are sufficient "neutral" names available that cannot be described as cybersquatting, that there is a thriving business in trading "previously enjoyed" domain names - especially for those creative enough to think up complete "brand image" packages. "Full sets" of snappy domain names are considerably more valuable than singletons - for example, the "big three" for any UK project would be:-

  • mailscape.com
  • mailscape.net
  • mailscape.co.uk

Opinions differ about the value of .org and the fast growing number of other "top level domain" addresses are clearly only making .com ever more valuable and exclusive - but every business with only a country-code (CC) domain name will sooner or later wish that they also hold the equivalent domain in .com and probably also .net. Failing to pick a domain with a .com suffix is the first thing that any business growing beyond its country boundaries will regret - especially since the cost of traditional forms of re-branding will always be vast in comparison to the low cost of sorting domain identity at the outset.

Soundalike domains are much more contentious. As advised on the matter of aliasing it's possible to point multiple domain names to a single page. Although mikrosoft or microsopht might be regarded as "different enough" to be acceptable as a trademark, using them for domain names would probably invoke an expensive legal process. And once the lawyers appear, we know who the only winners are going to be, don't we? The cheapest way to head off all forms of dispute is to think up your own identity and then "fence" it with every conceivable phonetic spelling and common mistyping of the domain.

How can I have you host my .co.uk domain name?

To move a .co.uk domain name between service providers, you need to ask your current ISP to change your domain TAG to USP and contact us either by email to doms2012@usp.net or call   (0)1245 348000 and let us know you wish to transfer your domain to us.

How can I have you host my .com / .net / .org domain name?

Please email the name of the domain you wish to transfer to doms20126@usp.net and we will do the rest.

What makes you different from other Web hosting companies including the mega providers?

The same thing that makes big hardware outlets different to your local hardware store; knowledge, experience and above all service. When you ring our phone lines a real person answers it, your email queries are answered on the same day, not the same week or month.

What happens when it's time to renew my URL and/or hosting?

We're flexible; we'll send you a reminder for the renewal fee 4-6 weeks before it expires. You can pay online at https://secure1.usp2.net/ - by BACS (details at http://info.usp.net) or over the phone with your credit card.

Can I have my email to my personal domain forwarded to my Hotmail, AOL, etc account?

Yes, you now have a full user control panel for managing your domain mailboxes - or we can does this via admin if required.