How Can I Tell If This Bill For Hosting Should Be Paid?
by Jo Shaer, on July 14, 2014
One of our clients has received an invoice from a previous hosting supplier but doesn't know if they should pay it or not.
It is for hosting their website... but we are hosting their website!
It may be a scam or it may be an honest mistake - whatever, the client does not want to be paying for a service they are not actually receiving.
How does it work when you set up a website then?
First you have to rent a domain for a period of time - normally one year but discounts are usually available if you want to rent it for a longer period. You rent your domain from a registrar.
Then you have to purchase some hosting - that's some space in the cloud where you can hang your website so other people can see it. Hosting packages cover different sizes of space and are for a period of one year. Most registrars also offer hosting.
Then you get a website designer/developer to build your website on that piece of hosting space that you have purchased.
You don't have to buy a new domain every time you want to change the design of your website. It is much better to retain the existing one - unless you are going to be doing a completely different business.
How can I tell who is hosting my website?
In most cases, if you check your domain through domaintools.com, you can see who is hosting your website.
Look at the section which tells you where your nameservers are being pointed.
For example, if you are using TSO Host, you will see ns1.tsohost.com and ns2.tsohost.com listed as your nameservers.
That's who you should be paying for hosting your website.
What's the deal if the nameservers don't match who is hosting my website?
Checking domaintools.com, I can see that this client's nameservers are pointing at their registrar - the company they pay to rent their domain name from and through whose dashboard their emails are being run.
That is what happens when one company is hosting the website but another controls the email addresses.
In this case, the client has a system where their website is hosted by tsohost but their emails and inter-personnel communications devices are controlled through a separate dedicated provider.
The invoice the client is querying is from another provider altogether who looked after their emails previously.
So, we've checked to see who is handling the emails and it's the registrar.
And we've checked the client's website - this is showing the information that we have built and are hosting.
There is no obvious involvement of the third party at all.
I think it is safe to say that the client should be asking the third party exactly what their invoice is actually for.