Frequently Asked Questions
How is Sandvox Hosting different from others?
It is tuned for you, and for Sandvox.
While Sandvox will publish to just about any web host, we’ve found that most hosting providers have complicated, generic setups that are not tuned for Sandvox. By trying to be (nearly) all things to all people, they provide services that require more than a bit of technical knowledge to properly administrate. Why administrate when what you really want to do is publish?
We think it is time for a smoother experience, one with a minimum of hassle. An experience that removes endless settings and complicated control panels from the mix. An experience that lets anyone simply, painlessly, publish Sandvox websites to the web, literally in seconds.
Others offer a lot of options. PHP, MySQL Databases, Subdomains. Wordpress installation. Web-mail. And so forth. All wrapped up in an overwhelming “cPanel” web interface or something even more complex. Really, none of that is what most people need, so we haven’t tuned the Sandvox hosting experience that way.
Where’s the cPanel?
No cPanel! There is no “cPanel” with Sandvox Hosting, no matter which plan you choose. If you are looking for that type of interface, or the options and settings that would go with it, then we suggest A2 Hosting or another “traditional” provider.
Is there a way to try Sandvox Hosting?
YES! We offer a 14-day free trial. It is open to everyone – everyone who uses Sandvox of course. Check it out! You don’t have to change anything about your current hosting to give it a try. Just publish to a Trial Account. We’re excited to offer a free trial signup. We think it is unique, and that it makes a lot of sense. With other hosting companies, you have to pay for at least one month’s worth of hosting to just try them out.
How does your free trial work?
It’ s so easy! From Sandvox (Download a demo), set up hosting of your website. Give us your name and email address — Sandvox will try to fill that in for you automatically — and pick a sitename so that your initial website will be of the form mysite.sandvox.net. (This will need to be unique, so we’ll help you pick one out). Then publish your site! It will be live on the web right away!
Check your email inbox so that you can verify the email address you gave us. Be sure to do this right away so that your content will stay up; if we don’t hear back from you we’ll assume there was a mistake and we’ll take down the website.
Try out your site for up to 14 days. Tell your friends! If you are planning on getting a custom domain name, don’t worry — any links to your pages at mysite.sandvox.net will still work.
At some point before your 14 days are up, upgrade your account to one of our hosting plans so that your site will stay on the web.
Note that the free trial hosting is limited in bandwidth and storage compared to our paid hosting. You can store up to half a gigabyte, and transfer up to one gigabyte during the trial period. Plenty of room to give the hosting a try, but if you are launching a big project, you probably want to upgrade to a paid account right away.
If you don’t sign up for a hosting plan after 14 days, then your website will no longer be available on the web, and we will be sad. Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that!
Where is the sign-up form on your website?
To sign up, you do so directly from Sandvox, not from our website. That way, we know that you have Sandvox and are ready to publish right away! Just sign up for a free trial account, and then as soon as you are ready, then you can sign into our website with the name and password you chose in Sandvox, to set up your plan.
Choosing a Plan
What are your plans and how should I choose?
Starter Hosting is $7.99/month. Your domain will look like mysite.sandvox.net. Pay a month at a time.
Single Hosting is $99/year, and we throw in a custom domain name with privacy protection for free. For a single domain name, with plenty of bandwidth (10 gigabytes transferred per month) and storage (5 gigabytes, enough for an hour of HD video or thousands of photos) for most people’s needs. This plan should satisfy most people, so if you don’t know which one to pick, pick this one. You can always upgrade your plan later if your needs change.
Multi Hosting is the middle ground, $144/year (which works out to $12/month); it also includes a domain name with privacy protection. Much higher bandwidth (45 gigabytes transferred per month) and capacity (10 gigabytes). Plus, you can have up to 10 websites (with their own unique domain names) under the same account, with the combination of all your published sites counting toward your bandwidth/storage limits. Choose this plan if you will be hosting more than one website, or if your business or personal site is too popular to handle the Single plan, or if you need more storage for your photos and videos online.
Mega Hosting is even bigger, for the true professional. $199/year. Triple the bandwidth and storage capacity of our Single Hosting plan (75 gigabytes transferred per month; 15 gigabytes storage), and you can set up an unlimited number of domain names.
Additional domain names (besides the freebie included all yearly hosting plans) are $17.50/year, and include privacy protection.
This is summarized in a handy chart on our Plans & Pricing page.
How do I upgrade from one hosting plan to another?
Just log into your account at sandvoxhosting.com (or use the button in the Host Setup Assistant in Sandvox). From the Account page, select the Hosting Plan tab.
If upgrading from one plan to a higher-level plan, a new billing cycle will go into effect immediately, but you will be credited for the unused portion of your current plan. For example, if you upgrade from a Single plan ($99) eight months into the annual plan, there would be a credit of $33 applied to the new plan’s cost.
If you wish to downgrade from a higher plan to a lower plan, you can only do so if you are not using features not available in the lower plans. If you are using up too much storage or data transfer, or you are using more domain names than the lower plan would allow, then you cannot downgrade to that lower plan. Downgrading will not change the billing cycle of your plan, and you may be eligible for a refund for any unused value.
If I get an annual plan, do I need to set up a custom domain name right away?
No, your account will have a credit good for one domain name (with privacy protection) that is good for the year. You can set up your custom domain name later.
What kinds of top level domains can I purchase with Sandvox Hosting?
Currently, we offer .com, .org, and .net domains for purchase (or included with a year’s hosting). We are looking into offering other top level domain types (.biz, .io, .co.uk, etc.) at a future date.
What if I want more than one domain name, each going to a different website?
Just get (or upgrade to) our Multi Hosting plan if you need more than one domain name.
What if I want more than one domain name, but really the other names are just aliases for my main domain name?
This can be useful for handling common misspellings of your organization’s name, providing a “.com” equivalent even though your main domain is a “.org”, and so forth. This can be done with any annual plan. Just buy additional domains, and designate which domain name is the main domain for your website. A visitor using the other domain names will have their browser automatically redirected to the main domain name. Furthermore, search engines will only index the content on your main domain name.
Can I do subdomains, like family.johnsmith.com and resume.johnsmith.com?
Currently no, but we are looking into adding this ability in the future.
Do I need my own domain name?
No, you can always use your mysite.sandvox.net URL. You can always buy or set up a custom domain name later, and your mysite.sandvox.net pages will automatically be redirected to your new custom domain.
What if I have a domain name already?
You have two choices. One, transfer your domain to Sandvox.net hosting. You’ll need to do a slightly complicated “dance” of getting authorization codes from your current name registrar, but we’ll try to make it easy for you. The second choice is that you just login and let us know about your existing domain name(s), and we’ll give you the DNS information to point from your registrar to our servers.
To get started, go to the Domain Name Purchase or Setup (by clicking “Add a new site”from the Sites page). Choose ”I have the domain name already” then make your choice of either “I want to transfer domain name here” or ”I’ll leave the domain registered elsewhere”. Enter your domain name and proceed from there.
How long will it take for a domain name to start showing my website’s contents?
If you purchase a previously unused domain from us, it should start working in about five minutes. For transferring a domain name, it could take 48 hours, as name servers around the world update to your new information. Please be patient if transferring an existing domain to us or pointing an existing domain to our servers.
Usage and Bandwidth
Some other hosting companies offer “unlimited” hosting. Why not you?
It seems that these so-called “unlimited” plans have a lot of exceptions attached to them, such as file-sharing websites where such high bandwidth can be a problem. And if your account starts to make high storage or bandwidth demands, you will generally be asked to upgrade to a more expensive plan or take your business elsewhere. We decided to be more up-front with what we are offering, and provide plenty of space and bandwidth for most everybody’s needs, but clearly state what those limits are.
How is my usage monitored?
Bandwidth (amount of data transferred) is allocated monthly, and checked on a periodic basis. You can check the status on your account at any time.
For those hosting multiple websites, bandwidth and storage usage are calculated at the account level, not per-website or per-domain. The storage and bandwidth of all your websites are combined and checked against the limits for your account. You can visit the “Sites” tab of your account page to see how much each site is contributing to the storage and bandwidth used.
What happens if my website gets mentioned by BoingBoing or Gawker and its bandwidth goes through the roof?
We certainly hope your website gets a lot of visitors! But If your website should get so many visitors that it looks like you might run out of bandwidth, we’ll send you an email to let you know that there’s been an increase in activity, and you’re near the limit of your month’s worth of bandwidth.
If you reach your limit, we won’t take a site offline or charge your credit card without notice — nobody wants those kinds of surprises! Instead, we’ll email you to let you know in advance, and we’ll be here to help with any questions you might have about options for your particular setup. This will give you the chance to decide what you’d like to do from the options that are available at that time.
How do I set up to publish my website?
Just log into your account from Sandvox’s Host Setup Assistant. If you have more than one site, just choose which site you are publishing to. That’s it — no FTP nonsense to worry about, at all.
What if I delete pages and files from my website? How do I get them un-published?
Just publish your website with Sandvox. Sandvox will delete any files that are no longer needed from the server. (No need to manually remove them using an FTP client.)
Can I use an FTP program to manage the files published on my website?
No need to. Sandvox connects directly to the Sandvox Hosting server and manages the files for you.
Can I set up some Sandvox documents to work with sandvox.net hosting, and other documents to work with other hosting providers?
Yes. Just set up each Sandvox document differently using the Host Setup Assistant.
Can I receive email at my custom domain name?
Yes, though we don’t manage email ourselves. You can set up one or more email addresses that automatically forward to the email provider of your choice (gmail, iCloud, and so forth). Set these up from the Mail tab of your account.
Can I change my sitename at sandvox.net?
No. Once you sign up for a sitename, that is your sitename. So choose well! If you are planning on using a custom domain name, your sitename will just be temporary anyhow. (The sitename will redirect to your custom domain name automatically.) If you won’t be getting a custom domain name, just pick a sitename you like and stick with it.
How does your web hosting work?
Rather than go with the traditional approach to web hosting by serving your website on one of many machines into a single room, we decided to take a modern cloud-based approach to hosting. Using load balancers and multiple service machines, we make sure that there is as much computing power as is needed, and if there is a problem with one server, another server automatically takes the job.
How reliable is your hosting?
We think it’s pretty reliable. (We’ve been down the road of having our own website offline for hours, even days at a time, so we know how frustrating it can be to have a web host that doesn’t stay up.) We use Amazon S3 as our main storage, considered to be the most reliable storage in the world. Your data is extremely safe. First, there is the copy of your Sandvox document that you can re-upload at any time. Your data stored with Amazon S3 is stored in three separate locations; we also back up your website on Amazon’s Glacier service in case of a catastrophic data loss.
How and why do I confirm my email address?
When you first sign up for a Sandvox Hosting account from within Sandvox, you provide your name and email address, and you can publish your website right away.
However, we need to make sure that we have a working email address for you. So at the same time you sign up, we will send a brief message to the address you specified, asking you to click on a link to confirm to our system that you received the email message.
Please click on the confirmation link as soon as possible. If you don’t find the email message we sent you, check any spam-catching traps you may have in place. If you still can’t find the email, you can request that the confirmation email be sent to you again.
I forgot my password!
If you can’t log into your account, either from Sandvox’s Host Setup Assistant or the website, you can request a reset to your password.
Just fill in the email address you used to sign up for Sandvox Hosting, and we will email you a link that will take you to a page that allows you to pick a new password.
After changing to a new password, we suggest you log into your account both from this website and from within Sandvox’s Host Setup Assistant, to help keep your password stored in your system keychain and any other password management utilities you may be using.
I try to sign in and it says my account is locked.
Usually this is because somebody has unsuccessfully tried to sign in numerous times with an incorrect password. This may be due to somebody trying to break into your account. You can request unlocking instructions to be emailed to you to resolve this situation. If your account is locked for other reasons, you will need to contact us to resolve the situation.
What is a DMCA notice and how do I deal with it?
DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If we are contacted by the holder of copyrighted information found on your website, we are required to suspend the website until the issue is resolved. If your website’s content is replaced with a DMCA Takedown notice, please contact us for help in getting the issue resolved. If you are the owner of content that you believe is being published in violation of the DCMA, please contact us so we can work with you to resolve the issue.
What does it mean if my website says “Exciting things are in the works. This address has been reserved for a new website built with Sandvox”?
This means that you have signed up for a new account with Sandvox, or perhaps a new domain name once your account is established, but you have not yet published your website. Just go to Sandvox, open up the Host Setup Assistant, and make sure you are set up to publish to this website. Then, publish it. Your content should be available on the web right away.
If I’m Not Satisfied
What if I’m not satisfied?
First, we hope you’ll contact us to let us know what’s wrong so we can try to fix whatever’s making you sad.
If you’re still not satisfied, you can always cancel your hosting service and we’ll return the unused part of the year’s hosting fees to you. Unfortunately we cannot refund domain name registrations since those are registered on an annual basis. If you are canceling your service, you will need to transfer your domain name registration elsewhere (or let the domain name expire).
Even after you have cancelled your service, you will still be able to log into your account and transfer any domain names you have to a new system.
Can I continue using your hosting even if I want to stop using Sandvox as my website builder?
Not realistically, since your website is managed by Sandvox and uploaded directly to our servers. There’s no general-purpose access to our servers outside of Sandvox, so you wouldn’t have a way to update your website if you stopped using Sandvox.
If I stop using Sandvox Hosting, can I get my data off of the server?
No need to do that, since all the data on the server is what is in your Sandvox document. Just use the Host Setup Assitant to change your publishing settings to your new hosting provider and publish away.
Privacy and Security
Can I password-protect my site, or parts of it?
Currently, no. We are planning on launching a solution for this later. We’ll let all our members know when it’s ready to to add onto your service.
I want my website to have an SSL certificate, in other words, be reachable with an https:// URL.
We will be offering this later for Multi Hosting. We’ll let all our members know when it’s ready to add onto your service.
Do your domain name registrations include privacy protection?
Yes! We hate spam as much as you do. Maybe even more! So we’re not going to charge you for hiding your name, email address, address, and phone numbers from the spammers. In fact, we include this service as part of all our domain registrations. (Most companies charge an additional fee for this.)
How do I keep hackers and crackers from hacking and cracking into my website?
Protecting your website is a matter of good password security, which you should use for all your online accounts (email, social media, Apple ID, and so forth). Here is a summary of some practices which we suggest you follow:
- Do not use the same passwords on different systems. That way, if one account’s password is compromised for any reason, your other accounts will be safe.
- Your password should really be more than just one word. Several words, or a mix of letters and characters, is much better.
- Your password shouldn’t be a name that somebody could find out about you, like your dog’s name or your birthdate.
- Use a password manager, like your Mac’s keychain. That makes it easy to store unique, unguessable passwords. Sandvox will suggest a strong and unique password for you that it will add to your Keychain.