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Hostica Spam Security Procedures
Posted by Frank ., Last modified by Frank . on 09 October 2013 10:51 AM

Spamming Issues or How You May Lose Your Account Due to Spam....

FAQ: Hostica Spam Security Procedures

Current information on Hostica's procedures for spam security, web security, a review of services, information, recommendations, and tips on how to make the best use of your account.

You can manage multiple web sites in one account. Most of these accounts hosted at Hostica.com can contain multiple web sites and domain names. Any number of these web sites can be commercial web sites for companies, for non-profit organizations, or individual web sites for personal use. Hostica is proud to sponsor many non profit sites such as churches in foreign lands and missionaries.

Many sites may include opt-in monthly newsletters for customers where visitors subscribe to the newsletters, but they must contain an unsubscribe at any time option. This area needs special attention as it can often times generate false claims of unsolicited email, also know as "spam". It is our recommendation to avoid bulk email altogether as it causes severe problems with regards to spam complaints. Please refer to some additional information listed at: http://www.hostica.com/legal/spam.html

Any web site that is reported as sending "spam" is typically reported to an anti-spam agency such as Spam Cop, at spamcop.net. Any of these web sites may be shut down by Hostica after a review of the content of the alledged spam complaint. Hostica's support and billing departments contact the web account owner by emails and/or telephone calls within 24 hours of receiving a spam complaint. Finally, if there is no response from the owner, the site is shut down due to spamming.

Hostica has an agreement with Spam Cop to use it's black listing services. Whenever there is a spam reports against a customer, we contact that customer informing them of the spam complaint and send them a copy of the complaint that we receive from Spam Cop In this complaint is the URL link for the customer to review the complaint and make a response directly to Spam Cop Hostica understands that this is a serious matter and must respond to the email warning from Spam Cop On this basis, we have to determine if the account needs to be suspended. Unfortunately, all sites within the account will also be suspended as the nature of the account is to allow the owner to re-enable an individually suspended site.

We examine all the email from Spam Cop sent to Hostica. Any refusal by Hostica to contact Spam Cop would indicate that Hostica is acceptable of spammers and bulk emails who are in violation of our terms of service. Hostica does monitor our email processes and we do distinguish normal usage from spammers. However, a threshold can only be used as a guideline as to what may be unusual activity and spamming. But in a majority of cases, the spamming email is not even originally sent from Hostica mail servers at all, but rather through a third party email company.

We at Hostica use all of our resources to deal with spammers. Basically, we have been taken advantage of by customers who have claimed they are innocent and that they (the customer) didn't understand the problem of spamming., They (the customer) don't have sufficient staff, or knowledge, of bulk email, opt-in lists, mail lists and it's inherent flaws, and they don't have proper procedures to handle spam complaints against their web sites.

Hostica reserves the right to refuse to restore service. We may request that the customer move the web sites to another provider. This cost is solely the responsibility of the customer as they are in breach of our terms of service. Every customer who has an account with Hostica.com must abide by our terms of service. Failure to comply with Hostica's acceptable use policy can result in:

  • Loss of SSL certificates ($/yr for each certificate.)
  • Loss of orders and sales.
  • Loss of email communication.
  • Loss of search engine rankings.

Hostica's Hsphere control panel does not allow for the suspension of an individual web site. It is very powerful at managing accounts, but to shut down a single web site would require the removal of the domain name along with all of the associated web fills and email address. If we were to do that, we would be destroying the trust of our customers to retain their client data. So our policy is to suspend the site and retain all of the data intact for the customer in order to reopen the site, or allow the customer to migrate the site to a new provider. This reflects on how highly we regard our customers and want to retain their trust in us. However, we do understand that to suspend all of the web sites within the global account is inconvenient and frustrating, the consequences of being black listed only results in the entire server being shut down and thereby ALL of the customers are effectively suspended. Companies that had nothing to do with the spam would also be shut down. So it is a case of suspend one account or have all accounts externally suspended by an outside agency.

Hostica's Quality of Service

If you are acused of spamming, Hostica will alert you, notify you by email, and is willing to discuss this with you. If it is a complaint from SpamCop, we will suspend your account, including all web sites in the account! We take pro-active steps to ensure our servers stay up and running 24/7. To simply shut down the site is not what we like to do. However, we maintain a ZERO TOLERANCE policy regarding spam.

Although we monitor our servers 24 hours a day and seven days a week, our customer service department is available by phone Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 3 pm Pacific Standard Time. This is why email notification is sent out immediately when a complaint is received. We request a response either by email or telephone call to Hostica.

Hostica does offer it's telephone numbers to all of our customers in the email that we send and in every invoice that is emailed. If ever our phones are busy or you reach the voice mail system, be sure to leave all of the requested information to ensure a prompt same day or next business day response.

Unfortunately, shutting down spammers isn't a unique event for Hostica. It occurs all too frequently because of the nature of the email community and it's distaste for spam and bulk email. Therefore, it is highly recommended that each bulk email, news letter, and every unsolicited email conforms to the industry anti spam policies to reduce the risk of being interpreted as spam. Yet customer still don't know how to deal with this. They are unaware of the rules and don't have a procedure, notification, review, or investigation. It is our recommendation to avoid bulk email altogether as it causes severe problems with regards to spam complaints. And it is also our experience that most bulk email lists, no matter how they are advertised, are not worth the risk.

Security Procedures

Hostica takes an extremely serious security position. There is no possibility of a single email complaint, that hackers can shut down a company's web sites and have all the files deleted. Hostica does not delete any files until an account is closed by it's customer! Hostica WILL suspend an account for spam complaints that are legitimate.

  • It is easy to use Google to find companies that are hosted at Hostica. Hackers could visit those web sites, sign up for newsletters, and then begin complaining that they are being spammed. However, they would need an account with Spam Cop and Spam Cop has very strict policy against false accusations and does not tolerate parties who make false claims. So it would be be very unlikely that a hacker could cause problems for a legitimate site as they are more likely to be caught and prosecuted for attempting to defraud Spam Cop and a legitimate web site. Hostica will review every legitimate Spam Cop complaint, make a reply, and possibly suspend the companies web site, saving their files and emails, until the matter is resolved and if the need arises, call those companies involved.
  • Even though Hostica suspends web sites on the basis of a legitimate report, it would be very difficult for hackers to submit spam reports. If a web site sends out a single normal email, Hostica will not suspend the web site Hackers can not get Hostica to suspend legitimate companies.
  • Hackers can send out emails that spoof a company's address. However, Spam Cop and Hostica can determine if this is legitimate through email headers and other information. It is very unlikely that one hacker would send out this email to several friends, who then complain to Hostica. Hostica would then review the complaint with the customer to determine legitimacy and in no case would Hostica immediately delete any of the files.
  • A number of computer viruses work by copying address books and sending out virus to other users. If a virus enters a computer and sends out for example, 50 copies, the recipients could complain to Hostica. However, Spam Cop and Hostica have methods to determine if this is the case. Virus emails are not regarded as spam and are not treated as a legitimate complaint! This would not cause a suspension of the web site and files are never deleted until an account is closed by the customer.

Hostica has several ways to deal with any of these situations. We either ignore an illegitimate complaint, suspend the web sites without deleting the files, and contact the customer for a response.

Recommendations

If you host your web site at Hostica:

  • Monitor your web site frequently. Keep your contact information up to date, especially email and phone numbers. Hostica will notify you in the event of a problem.
  • Keep a complete copy of your web site on your personal computer. This cannot be stressed highly enough. It is always best practice to always have a copy of your web site. Please have a backup policy. Included for your convenience is the one step backup feature in the control panel to make a very easy one file backup of you entire web site! Hostica will NOT delete any web site without warning as a course of business unless you have requested the account terminated. Sites WILL be suspended for spam complaints. However, in the case of a major computer failure: see above backup note). We are happy to give you FTP access so you can recover your files upon request.
  • Make regular backups of records from your web site Please have a backup policy. Included for your convenience is the one step backup feature in the control panel to make a very easy one file backup of you entire web site! Also have your backup include orders, newsletter subscriptions, database, and so on. These may not all be included in the one step backup. Please verify that your backup strategy works! You must copy these files onto your computer every day. This is always best practice. Hostica will not be responsible for lost or deleted files by it's customers or in the event of a hardware failure!.
  • Try to use global accounts at Hostica. Each web site may have its own separate space inside of an account. You can take advantage of huge savings by combining all of your company's web site within an account that includes other companies. This allows for single login maintenance of all those companies from one control panel. This a great convenience a major time saver.
  • If you insist on bulk email for any reason, please do not use Hostica.com in any way as our experience shows that it leads to spam complaints and thus jepordizes your web stie, your business, and your reputation. Bulk email is very much not tolerated on the internet and in most cases causes major problems for you the web site owner.

At Hostica our motto is: A good name is rather to be had than great riches.. Proverb. 22:1.


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