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Pre-Sales Questions

Below is an example of a pre-sales email you may may use as a guide for writing your own. It includes just a sampling of some of the questions you may need answers to before choosing a host.

When you write your email MAKE SURE you do NOT ask questions that are already answered on the hosts web site! This can immediately make a host fear you will not read directions and become a tech support 'nightmare' To verify info posted on their site, state the question as such... "I see on your site it says... Is this still accurate?" The majority of hosts appreciate a domain owner that will try to find the answers themselves before taxing tech support. Remember the following are not questions to be asked but rather they are answers to be found. Also note the time you send the email and the time it is responded to.

Dear [Host Name],

I am investigating virtual web hosting solutions for a [insert description of organization or site here]. I imagine [or I have] a site that would require [insert short list of site details here. Example: heavy cgi or PHP number of emails etc, if you have an existing site insert URL]. I believe your [name] Package will work for our site and would like to ask a few questions just to be sure.

Noting the package I am considering:

Do you have an nonprofit or charitable price?

Is there a discount if I pre-pay for a number of months in advance? If so what is it?

What payment methods are available? How many months in advance am I required to pay? Is there a setup fee?

Is there a trial period or money-back guarantee?

Do you have a bandwidth/transfer/hits limit? If so, what is it and is it monthly or daily? If unlimited, is it really unlimited? What restrictions are in place? Do you have this information posted?

May I visit other sites hosted by you? I would like to see the websites and email the owners.

How long will it take, from the time I submit my order, for me to have access to the site and begin developing?

May I use my own domain name? and if so, what seems to be the current average time it takes to [transfer or register] a domain name with Internic so that everyone will be able to view it? Will my domain name work with or without the http://www. part attached to it?

If you register my domain name, I require that the name belong to me, and that I be free to host it somewhere else if that is unfortunately my decision in the future. Is this the case for your service?

Will I have my own IP number or is it shared?

Is there any requirement to place anything at all on my pages, other than my own material? If so, what is it?

What type of support do you offer? Email? Phone? Public? Hours? Limit? Average Response Time?

Out of the space provided, how much is used by the base installation of the server?

What is the OS and version of the server?

What are the hardware specs of the server?

How many sites are currently running on the server? How many more sites do you think you will put on it before it is full? How do you decide what constitutes a full server?

Do you host adult sites? [if you are not planning to have an adult site hosted it's best to be on a server that does not allow them because they use a great amount of resources and tend to slow down servers]

Is there any way for us to set up a mailing list for announcements? If so, how many addresses are allowed per list and how many lists are allowed?

Is there any way for us to set up a mailing list for announcements? If so, how many addresses are allowed per list and how many lists are allowed?

Will I have 24 hour FTP and Telnet access? Will I have anonymous FTP?

I notice this package offers [number of] email accounts. With these email accounts, can I send and receive email from and to them? Will I be able to use my own domain name as their SMTP server? Is there a 'catch all' account so that anything@mydomain.com will come to it?

Can I setup, change, and delete the email accounts by myself or do I need to ask you to do it for me?

Can I change my account password at any time? Do I need your assistance to do this?

Do you provide a full, free CGI dir? Can I run CGI scripts outside of the CGI directory?

Is there a limit to how many scripts I can install?

Do you provide full shell access? For example, could I tar/gzip files up, or run a perl script to edit all the files or create some pages from data, while on the server?

Can I debug a problematic CGI script on the server?

What version of Perl do you use? Does it contain a full set of modules?

Do you offer a stats package? If so, which one? May I view an example? Will I also have access to the raw log files? Does the space used by the stats/logs count against my allotted disk space?


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