pre-sales questions

What do you do?

zimfest offers shared hosting space for your website. Your website will reside on a fast server with multiple, fast internet connections. We offer a wide variety of hosting tools, such as email servers, webstats, MySQL databases, bulletin boards, chatrooms, shopping carts, etc. to help you make the most out of your site.

What don't you do?

We don't create content for clients. You're on your own for that. We also don't register domain names, you may use any of the tens of thousands of companies which offer that service.

What sort of equipment do you have?

zimfest does not use its own equipment, we lease the space, bandwidth and services. Your site will be running on equipment located in Texas. A full accounting of the equipment and internet connections can be found here.

Is this shared hosting?

Yes, your site will reside on a server with other sites. zimfest does not offer dedicated hosting.

Will you place ads on my site?

No, aside from the link we place on the default splash page created when your site is ordered. That link is in the index.shtml file of your www directory, if you wish to edit it. We recommend putting up your own splash page ASAP.

Can I upgrade at any time?

Yes. To upgrade your account, simply . It is free to upgrade and the only charge would be the price difference in the plan you upgrade to.

Do you allow sites to advertise for money?

Yes, we allow sites to have commercial advertisements.

What forms of payment do you accept?

At this time, we accept payment through Paypal.

What operating system runs on the servers?

Linux CentOS 4.4

Do you allow adult sites?

Yes, but be sure to read the Terms of Service.

Is tax included with my plan payment?


What control panel do you use and do you have a demo?

The control panel we use is called cPanel. A demo of cPanel can be found here. Log in with the username demo and the password demo.

Can I pay monthly?

Yes, you may pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Never a contract!

How long does it take to set up my account?

Your account will be set up automatically, usually within an hour. Sometimes, Paypal takes up to ten hours to clear payment. If you have not received a confirmation email after ten hours, please .

Are there any hidden costs or setup fees?


How much is extra bandwidth and space?

If you need more bandwidth or disk space, to upgrade you to a higher plan. If you need more bandwidth or space then our highest plan offers, then email us to arrange for special account add-ons.

Do you offer telnet or shell access?

No, due to security reasons. You are still able to unzip files on the server using our file manager as well as the ability to set up cron jobs.

Can I password protect directories?

Yes. You can password protect directories within cPanel.

What happens after I sign up?

You'll be sent emails with all your configuration and login information. For an overview of what you'll need to do to start working on your site, please read our getting started page.


How long does it take to get my domain working?

It usually takes 24-48 hours for a domain to fully propagate.

How do I change my DNS?

You must go to the website of your registrar and make the change there. Your DNS values will be found in one of the emails sent to you when you opened your hosting account at zimfest.

Can I view my site even though my domain's name servers haven't propagated yet?

Yes. Go to: http://youriphere/~yourusernamehere/

control panel (cPanel)

What is the control panel?

The control panel (cPanel) is where you go to do all your administration, including setting up email accounts, checking your webstats, using FileManager to manage the files on your site, setting up databases, turning on Fantastico scripts, etc.

Do you have a manual for the control panel?

Go to http://www.cpanel.net/docs/cpanel/

Where do I go to log in to my control panel?


Where do I go to log in to my control panel before my domain name has resolved to the new server?


What's my username and password?

You can find these in your confirmation e-mails.


Where can I download a free ftp program?

For Windows, we recommend downloading WS FTP from here. For MacOSX, we recommend Fetch.

It's not letting me upload my files.

Make sure you are uploading to the right web directory, which is the public_html folder.

Why doesn't my ftp password change when I change my cPanel password?

Please allow 24 hours for your FTP password to sync with your cPanel password.


How do I create email accounts?

Log in to your cPanel, click the Mail icon, and click 'Add/Remove Accounts'.

What values do I need for Outlook, Mail.app, etc?

The exact values can be found in your setup email. In general, your pop3 server will be mail.yourdomain.ext. Your smtp server has the same value, though you may find it useful to use that of your ISP (e.g. smtpauth.earthlink.net, mail.rcn.com). Your login will be mailusername+yourdomain.ext, your password will be whatever you set up in the cPanel when you created the email address.

Why can't I send email?

If you can receive but not send email, that most likely means your ISP's smtp server is not a "pass-through" server. That is, it won't allow you to send an email through any other smtp server. You will need to change the smtp value in your email program (Outlook, Mail.app, etc.) to whatever your ISP recommends. For example, if your ISP is Mindspring, use smtp.mindspring.com. Contact your ISP for the correct smtp value.

Why can't I receive email?

There could be several reasons. First, you should check to see if you can see your website. If you cannot, the problem is with the DNS; perhaps the DNS change hasn't yet propogated.

If you can see your website, then check the following:

Where do I go to check my emails using my browser?


Which webmail program will I use?

You have your choice of Horde, Neomail or Squirrel Mail. Don't forget to log in with your full email address (e.g. tim@happyfunland.com)

How can I set up webmail to go directly to the webmail program of my choice?

Log in to the one you prefer. After doing so, copy the entire url from your address bar. Log in to your cPanel and create a subdomain to go to the address you just copied.


How often is my site backed up?

Your site is backed up once a week.

How much does it cost to restore my site from backup?


How do I do my own backups?

You can back up your databases and home directory through the Backup portion of cpanel. If you're running a database-driven site, like Joomla or Wordpress, and you and your users are making frequent updates, you may wish to back up your database nightly.

For your Home Directory, back up as often as you make file updates, such as installing a new version of Wordpress or updating Community Builder in Joomla.

Cpanel / Backup also allows you to back up your email Filters and Forwards.

It is not recommended that you use the Full Backup. This is a resource hog and generates a backup that you cannot restore.


How can I update my billing info?

Log in at paypal.com and click "profile" to make your changes.

How do I make a payment?

All online payments are recurring. Your payment will automatically be deducted. For all other billing questions, concerns, invoice requests, cancellation requests, account upgrade requests, etc., .


What is the path to my web files?


What is the local path to perl?


What is the path to curl?


What is the path to ImageMagick?


What is the path to convert for ImageMagick?

Try the following paths till one works:

  1. /usr/bin/
  2. /usr/local/bin/convert
  3. /usr/bin/X11/

What is the path to sendmail?



Does your server run phpsuexec?

Not yet. But the server does run both php4 and php5. You can use php5 -- which runs php processes under your username -- by adding this to your .htaccess file (without the quotes): "AddType application/x-httpd-php5 .php"

Why would I want to run php5?

It's more secure than php4. Actively developed systems like Joomla and Wordpress are already compatible with php5. If you are running such a system, you are encouraged to run them against php5.

None of my cgi scripts are working on the server. How do I get them to work?

Ensure that they are chmod'ed to 755. Use File Manager to do that.

I'm having problems with JSP.

Read the JSP FAQ.

How do I create databases and manage them?

Log in to your cPanel and click MySQL Databases. After your database is created, you can manage it from phpmyadmin. This can be found at the very bottom of the MySQL page.

CMSs, blogs and other software

Should I use Fantastico to install Joomla?

Not necessarily. Though Fantastico is handy for installation, and trying out different solutions, it tends to lag behind the newer versions. In order to stay on top of security, it's recommended to manually install software that Fantastico doesn't have up to date. Additionally, you'll learn more about the software solution that way.

Can I run a CMS not offered by Fantastico, like Drupal?

Yes. Software released by groups and individuals that are meant for the casual website owner usually come with detailed instructions on how to install and configure the software -- Fantastico is not needed.

Can I run Wordpress?

Absolutely! zimfest hosts a number of Wordpress blogs.

How about Ruby on Rails?

The ability to run Ruby on Rails, Plone and some other non-php software packages is not offered at this time.

I'm running Mac OSX and I can't get Joomla to install the zipfiles I made.

If you've downloaded a Joomla module, component or mambot to make changes to, then used the Finder to Create an Archive of that folder, Joomla will indeed reject that zipfile when you try to install it. This is because Create Archive adds some hidden folders that cause the Joomla installers to choke.

The solution is to create the zipfile using Dropstuff from Stuffit. They offer a trial version of their software. This zipfile will be free of the hidden directories causing Joomla to choke.


What is a subdomain?

www.foo.com is a domain name. A subdomain is anything that replaces the www in a domain name. bar.foo.com is a subdomain. www.bar.foo.com is not a subdomain. Some clients like to set up subdomains such as:

How do I set up a subdomain?

Use the Sub Domains icon in your cPanel.

Are there any naming restrictions?

The name cannot be the same as a folder in your home directory. Also, don't call it "www".

about zimfest.net

What is your mission statement?

zimfest is pretty low ceremony, so terms like "mission statement" and "quarterly financial reports" don't mean much around here. All we're trying to do is give people a place to put up their site without a lot of hassle and without costing an arm and a leg. As long as we can cover costs and buy a CD now and then, we're happy.

How long have you been around?

zimfest started hosting its first site in August 2004. But two of us have been using the internet (nee arpanet), sending email and doing unix-y things since the mid-80s.

Why can I only contact you by email?

We like to keep overhead low, so we don't have an 800 number, nor do we offer 24/7 support. However, emails are often answered within an hour (or sooner) and rarely take more than eight hours. We appreciate your patience.

Other places offer 24-hour support.

Indeed. Most of them cost more than zimfest. Many people come to zimfest for hosting because of unsatisfactory support elsewhere. What we do offer is a high degree of reading comprehension (yes, it can be rare) and a commitment to resolving whatever issue your site may be having.

Why doesn't your site look like any other of the hosting sites?

If you look at a lot of different hosting sites, you'll see a number that look basically the same. That's because there are a number of pre-fab look 'n' feel templates for website hosting. We certainly could have grabbed one for "instant professionalism," but we prefer our own unique look. And in the end, it's really the nuts and bolts that matter. If you'd like to see what the site could look like if we chose to be, errr, lazy, take a look at fancy zimfest.

So how did you do the look and feel?

Aside from the Sign Up pages, the entire site was designed, by hand, using CSS.

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