Making the Most of FatCow’s Free Resources

By moosnews
November 25, 2014

We here at FatCow pride ourselves on providing incredible services for great prices. If you want a great web host, get in touch. But we’re so much more than that. We also go beyond what you’re paying for to bring you everyone’s favorite kind of stuff: stuff for FREE! The goal is to use the free stuff to make life and business easier for you. That’s why our free resources include web icons, data center photos, WordPress goodies, logos and even a font.

FatCow’s Free Icons

There are so many uses for icons on the web. After all, it’s a visual medium. That’s precisely why we offer no fewer than 3,926 web icons for free. They’re available in 16-pixel and 32-pixel sizes, in color or grayscale, and in .PNG or .ICO format. There are emoticons, airplanes, hats and pizza icons. There are thermometers, checkmarks, clocks and sports icons. There are icons about work, home, travel and social networking. There are just more icons than we can tell you about. But not one of them, not a single one, costs you anything at all. You can also take advantage of our free WordPress Admin icons.

FatCow’s Free Font

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Another great way to stand out from the crowd is to use an unusual typeface. In honor of our mascot Slim the Cow, we suggest you use Slimpact. It’s our very own typeface, designed for minimum non-slimness and maximum impact. You can download it now, for free!

Buying a Domain with FatCow

By moosnews
November 17, 2014

Maybe you had domain when you came to FatCow. Maybe not. It’s convenient to manage all your domains in one place. That’s why we give our customers the ability to buy domains from right inside their account. Here’s a guide for purchasing a domain from FatCow.

Domain-names

Get started by logging into your FatCow Control Panel. Click on Domain Central and select Register New. This is where you’ll enter the name of the domain you want to buy. Be careful here, though. There are restrictions on what you can put in a domain name. For example, you can’t use special characters, spaces, or non-English letters. You can use lower-case letters, numbers, and hyphens. For example, your name with a hyphen between each letter will work, but it’ll look weird. So, maybe don’t do that.

After choosing your domain name you’ll need to select an extension. Most people prefer the .com if it’s available, but we also sell others, such as .net, .org, .biz, .co and more.  If you want to spice things up a bit, take a look at some of the new TLDs to hit the Internet. TLD stands for “top level domain” and these can be used in addition to any .com domains that you may already use. The new TLDs provide a much more interesting and descriptive domain name. And there’s a good chance that you can get the word or phrase that you want. Some examples include: .photography, .university, menu, .fitness, and .dental. When you’ve selected your domain and extension click Register.

Click Add or Add to Cart next to each domain you want to purchase. Note that some domains come with optional domain privacy. Domain privacy will allow you to keep the contact information for each domain private by using FatCow’s information as a proxy for your own. If you have a business address this may not matter much to you, but if you only have a home address to provide, consider taking advantage of the domain privacy offering at FatCow. If Add Domain Privacy is checked when you add a domain to your cart, your purchase will include a domain privacy charge.  Click on Checkout when you’re done adding domains.

The next screen will allow you to decide how long you want your registration to last. You can buy domains for a minimum of one-year terms. You can buy longer terms to decrease the amount of renewals you need to do in the future. If you’re planning on using your domain for a long-term business, it may be worth it to buy a longer term. Then choose Continue, verify your information and choose Continue again. Now you’re on the billing screen, where you’ll enter payment details. Select Checkout and your order will be placed. You’ll be charged immediately and the domains will show up in your account’s Domain Central within minutes. Sometimes it takes up to 48 hours for a domain to fully register onto your account. We don’t like it any more than you do. But we’ll get it ready for you as fast as possible. Enjoy your new domain!

Use Google Apps with FatCow

By Jessica Ann
November 12, 2014

Google Apps for Business is a comprehensive suite of office software, and you can integrate it with your FatCow account. It includes email, calendars, storage and more. Here’s how to get a Google Apps account set up, as well as how to connect it to your FatCow account: You can check out the Google Apps site for more information on how it all works. But the easy way to do this is to create a Google account, with all of the services the company offers to Gmail users. This includes Google Drive, Google Calendar, and more. And you can use your FatCow domain name to do it. That gives you the business benefits of using your own brand name online, and the efficiency of letting Google and FatCow handle much of the administrative heavy lifting.

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Buy Google Apps for Your FatCow Account

Log in to your FatCow Control Panel and then head over to Mail Central. Next click on New Mailbox. You’ll have three options, Standard Email, Forward to Another Mailbox, and Google Apps. Click that last one. You’ll see a big blue button that says “Add License,” and that’s what you’re going to select. Google bills for Apps accounts annually. That means if you purchase more than one Google Apps account, they’ll all be billed on the same date each year. Licenses you’ve purchased since the last billing period will be pro-rated so you only pay for the time since you actually bought the license.

Verify Your Google Apps Domain

Your first Google Apps account will be your Google Apps Admin account. Fans of Lord of the Rings can think of this as One Apps Account to Rule Them All. It’s the one you use to manage all of the settings for any other Apps accounts. Verification is part of the setup process, and the domain you choose for your first Google Apps license will be verified by the time you’re done. When prompted, choose the FatCow domain you want to use with Google Apps. Then provide the requested contact information. Your domain will be automatically configured to work with Google Apps. That’s handy, because some hosting companies make customers do a lot of fiddling with settings to get that stuff working. We wouldn’t do that to you, though.

Upgrade an Existing Mailbox to Google Apps

You can bestow all of the magical powers of Google Apps on a pre-existing mailbox under your FatCow account. Just head back to the all-powerful Control Panel and click your way into Mail Central. Now choose the email account you want to upgrade. You’ll see several tabs, including Basic Info, Server Setup, Mail Delivery, Autoresponder, Upgrades and Special. We trust you know which one to choose. Once you’re in the Upgrades tab, click the big blue Upgrade button. Assuming you already purchased an Apps license and verified your domain, you’ll have to add a password, a first and last name, and click Create Account. Wait a moment and then click Continue. When Mail Central refreshes, your email account will have been turned into a Google Apps account. Log in to that email address to accept the Terms of Service and activate your account.

Going on Vacation? Create an Email Autoresponder

By Jessica Ann
October 28, 2014

Email is a major part of any productive workflow. That’s why we proudly provide a robust email interface at MailCentral in your FatCow Control Panel. But productive people need to have a handle on how to stay productive, and that often means scheduling some downtime. Some people prefer to keep receiving and responding to their email even when they’re on vacation. That doesn’t sound very relaxing though. You can take a break from email without vanishing from the grid. You just have to set up a way of notifying your colleagues and clients about your temporary absence. That’s where autoresponders come in.

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How to Activate and Deactivate Autoresponders

Autoresponders automatically reply to incoming email messages with a preset response. They can be edited and turned on or off from MailCentral. Here’s how to create one: Log into your Control Panel and click on MailCentral. Next, choose the email address you want to send automatic responses from and click Autoresponder. Type in your message and click Save. Your autoresponder is active. Now a software robot living inside a FatCow email server will reply to all of your email for you. If software robots freak you out, just picture our own FatCow mascot, Slim. He’s a smiling, friendly cow. You can turn off any autoresponder any time by logging back into Control Panel, heading to MailCentral, clicking Autoresponder and selecting Disable next to the one you want to turn off.

How to Craft an Effective Autoresponse Email

You’re choosing one email that your account will send in response to any incoming emails you receive for a certain period of time. That means it requires a bit of forethought. It needs to be friendly, professional and informative – all in one. That sounds exhausting to some people, but it’s how we do things here at FatCow. We’re hoping we come across friendly, professional and informative. If not, send us a note. Your greeting shouldn’t be time-based, like “Good morning” but also shouldn’t be too casual, so no “Hey there.” Something as simple as “Hello” is probably a good choice. Next, you want to get right to the point by opening with the fact that you’re not checking email until the date you plan to return to work. Tell them the date, of course, but also give them an alternative to waiting for you. Choose a trusted colleague and, with their permission, include their name, title and email address in your autoresponse. Include a caveat, though, that only urgent matters should be referred to them. Reassure senders that you will get back to them promptly when you return.

Bonus Tip: The Extra Day

Here’s a useful tip for minimizing the workload that awaits you upon your return from a vacation. Set your autoresponder to notify people that you’ll be back one day later than you’ll actually be back. That gives you a whole day to catch up on email when you get back. People will be impressed that you are back in the swing of things early. Those you don’t get to won’t think twice about it, because they didn’t expect any contact that day. Pretty clever, aren’t we?

How FatCow Does Dedicated Servers

By Jessica Ann
September 22, 2014

Three types of hosting exist: Shared hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated servers. They each provide increasing levels of independence and customization. But first…what are servers? Servers are powerful computers where websites live.

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Are you still awake? Yeah, we realize that thinking of it this way can seem boring. The good thing is, the FatCow team is highly allergic to boredom. And we don’t want to break out in hives…so we’ll try to make servers interesting (or as interesting as humanly possible).

Keep these things in mind when you’re choosing the level of hosting:

  • What you want to do with your website

  • How much you want to spend on hosting, and

  • The level of control you want over their server

Ready? Now let’s dig in.

How Different Hosting Options Work

Shared Hosting-

Many people prefer to use a shared hosting plan, which places your website on a server with other websites. Shared hosting is cost effective when your site isn’t very large. Or isn’t very popular (yet)! It’s the starter kit of web hosting choices.

Think of shared hosting like an apartment building. Every website lives with every other website in the server. They all use the same plumbing, electrical wiring and ventilation systems.

Virtual Private Servers-

The next step up is the Virtual Private Server (VPS), which lives on a computer with other customers’ websites. But it’s nested inside its own virtual machine. “Virtual machine” is just a nerdy way of saying that each VPS is basically a program that acts like its own fully functional computer. Each is given its own resource limits so it can’t steal resources from the others.

Think of virtual private servers like a group of restaurants on the same street. The websites are all located on the same FatCow computer. But each one is given its own systems and functions independently within those systems. The plumbing, electrical and ventilation in one restaurant won’t affect the others.

Dedicated Servers-

Dedicated Servers give you your very own server. This means that there’s a computer with your stuff in it – and only your stuff. You don’t share with anyone, and you have every last drop of computing power in that server all to yourself. It’s a mansion. There, we said it. Dedicated hosting is a big, glorious mansion with more than enough room for all of your stuff. Visitors bask in the sunlit glow of your well-appointed new digs, with more guest rooms than you can count. And a never-ending buffet with all of your favorite foods.

Okay, maybe it’s not quite that extreme. We got a little carried away. But still, it doesn’t get better than dedicated server hosting. Or does it? Spoiler alert: it does.

How FatCow Makes Dedicated Hosting Even Better

You can get dedicated server hosting at almost any web host. That’s why we decided to take our version even further. We started with what everyone else gives you – and built up from there.

We build each dedicated server with the best features of our virtual private servers, as well. This is going to require translating some geek-speak. But we’ll walk you through it…

We prepare every dedicated server for your use by “imaging” it, which is geek-speak for “installing all the stuff you need.” Our dedicated servers get the same “Open-stack/KVM technology” we use in virtual servers, which is geek-speak for “operating system optimized for running a bunch of smaller servers inside a big one.” See, geek-speak can be fun.

What it all means is that you (or your geek-in-residence) can fine-tune how your server uses its resources. You can also set up multiple redundant versions of your website inside one computer to minimize the strain when your awesome product takes off.

And finally, our combination of dedicated and virtual server tools lets you easily migrate your site to a larger or smaller server when your site needs change.

So, when are you moving into your new mansion?

Monetize Your Website with FatCow’s Affiliate Program

By Jessica Ann
September 15, 2014

Affiliate programs are not the most exciting topic in the world. That’s why we tried to lighten things up by naming ours the “Moo Money Affiliate Program.” That may not be enough to make the sign-up process fun. But keep in mind these programs are meant to help you make some extra money. And that’s always fun. This article explains how to sign up for the program, how to create affiliate ad units, how to track statistics, and (most importantly!) how to get paid. There are a few options so read closely and decide how best to handle any affiliate income. You should only have to set it up once, so doing it right the first time means simply collecting (and spending!) the proceeds.

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How to Sign Up for FatCow’s Moo Money Affiliate Program

Those of you who are already happy FatCow customers can start by logging into your FatCow account. Head to the Affiliate Profile page (http://www.fatcow.com/controlpanel/affiliateprogram/profile.bml). All you need to do is fill out the form, double-check that the information you entered is accurate, and click Update Profile. If you’re not a FatCow customer, shame on you! Kidding. But really we hope you consider becoming customer. We’re super-nice and help our customers do some cool things, like making money with affiliate programs. Of course, the good news is you don’t have to be a FatCow customer already to get started in the affiliate program. Use the Sign-up Page (http://www.fatcow.com/affiliate/signup.bml) to register and you’ll get a confirmation email within 10 minutes explaining how to get started with the program.

How to Select Payment Preference

Now that you have an affiliate program profile with us, we have to talk about the money, your money. You can choose to be paid by check, PayPal or via a hosting credit added to your FatCow account. Just to be clear (in support of our claim earlier that we’re super nice), the hosting credit option is our way of helping you use our services at a discount or even for free based on how much affiliate income you generate. Told you, super-nice. Anyway, from the Affiliate Profile page, select Update Profile and choose your desired payment method from the Desired Payout menu. Keep in mind that if you want to be paid via PayPal, we’ll need you to fill out an electronic W-9 form on our site, including your Social Security Number. You’ll also need a mailing address in North or South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand or Asia. Click Update Profile and your changes will be saved, ensuring you get paid.

How to Create Banners and Text Links for Affiliate Ads

This is the part where you create ads. We know that sounds boring. But the ads are the most important part – the part that generates the commission we eventually pay out to you. So pay close attention. First, select Banners & Links. You’ll have several options, including Text or HTML Link, Banner Images, Videos & Tutorials and Hosted By banner. Follow the instructions provided for the option you choose to generate some code (it’s pretty simple. But you may want to consult your geek friend for this). You’ll need to paste the code into your website wherever you want the affiliate ad to appear.

How to Keep Track of Commissions and Statistics

You can track how many times your ads are viewed and how much they’re making for you in the Moo Money Affiliate Console (http://www.fatcow.com/controlpanel/affiliateprogram/index.bml). Log in and click Campaign Statistics. Check the box marked Notify if you want us to email you when you’re report is ready to view. Enter the date range you want information on and click Get Reports. Refresh the page if the results don’t appear after a few minutes. You can export to CSV (for use in a spreadsheet program) or PDF, or look at the report right on our website. If you’ve made a little money (or a lot!) smile wide, and with pride. Now go spend your hard-earned affiliate dollars well.

How to Build a Site with Weebly

By Jessica Ann
September 9, 2014

You may understand the gist of WordPress. But it admittedly crosses the nerd line for some folks. After all, it’s a full-fledged content management system, which means databases, plugins and even some coding. Weebly is a great alternative when you don’t need a ton of bells and whistles.

This doesn’t mean Weebly isn’t powerful. This article will show you how to get started with Weebly and build an elegant website – without breaking a sweat. Unless you’re reading this at a treadmill desk, in which case you’ll probably break a sweat anyway.

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Creating Your Weebly Site

You’re probably a FatCow expert by now, but humor us and log into your account. Scroll down to the section labeled Website and look for Weebly Drag and Drop Builder. Click that to open your Weebly dashboard.

If this is your first Weebly site, you’ll need to click the big Add Website button. Select the domain you want to use with Weebly and click Add Website (yes, same label, smaller font). Finally, click Edit Website to open the main Weebly site editing panel.

Building Your Weebly Home Page

Now that you have created your Weebly site and opened the site editing panel, you’ll see two basic sections. The left side lists all of the things you can include in a Weebly page, and the right side shows you what your Weebly page looks like. There are four tabs at the top of the Weebly editing interface, including Build, Design, Pages and Settings.

You can drag stuff from the left section into the right section to add it to the current page. Try dragging a text box, labeled with a big T, onto the main page section on the right. Type a quick introductory paragraph. Click the icon on the left that looks like a picture and drag it underneath the text you just added.

Add an image. And just like that you have a home page! The best part is that you didn’t even have to mess with any code. Well, the best part is that you still haven’t broken a sweat (treadmill desk-walkers excluded, of course).

Customize the Design of Your Weebly Site

The Build tab lets you master your site’s layout, but the Design tab is where you choose color themes, fonts and whether to include social media icons and a contact phone number. You can choose from among a variety of themes provided by Weebly. You can also set unique fonts for your site title, paragraph titles, paragraph body and links.

These settings are laid out simply. But they are surprisingly powerful. There are so many combinations you can be sure you’ll find a unique look and feel for your Weebly site. Use the time that you’re not editing code to carefully choose your design styles.

Adding Pages and Adjusting Your Weebly Settings

The Pages tab makes it easy to add new pages. In fact, it’s so easy we’re not even going to write down how to do it. Go have a look and you’ll know what we mean. Experiment with page layouts to find the best one for your purposes.

Finally, the Settings tab is where you can change basic information – like your site’s title and how your site describes itself to search engines. You can also use the password feature to make private sites for events, projects or just for development before your big launch.

This is just the beginning of what Weebly can do. It is as simple or as powerful as you need it to be. With integrated image galleries, blogs and even Google Maps, you can do amazing things with FatCow and Weebly.

 

How to Set Up WordPress

By Jessica Ann
August 30, 2014

The ease of use and incredible power, enhanced by a wide variety of plugins, make WordPress a popular choice for all kinds of sites. Whether you’re running a business or just a blog, WordPress has the tools you need. We have a lot of information about how to use WordPress with FatCow. And setting it up is actually pretty easy. At first glance, it may look like a task best left to your nerd friends, and that may be true for the more advanced WordPress stuff. But anyone who can open a FatCow account can channel enough inner nerd to set up WordPress. So, let’s get started.

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Prepare for the Installation

You want to make sure your account settings are optimized for installing WordPress before you actually get started. “What the bleep do you mean, optimized?!” you may say. That’s just geek-speak for deciding ahead of time which folder in your FatCow account you want to use with WordPress.

Now, this isn’t really fair, but there are two important things to have a look at before we move forward with installing WordPress. If you want to install on a domain hosted with FatCow, read about Domain Pointers before continuing with the installation. It’s important to make sure you install into the right domain. Also, if you want to install WordPress in a subfolder, read about the File Manager. This will allow you to put WordPress at www.yourdomain.com/blog instead of just www.yourdomain.com.

Just Tell Me How to Install WordPress Already!

Okay, okay, enough with the preliminary matters. Let’s get on with the installation. The first thing you need to do is log into your FatCow Control Panel.

We started with that easy bit to boost your confidence. Look for WP Essential in the top menu and give it a click. Now you have to choose your Admin Email, Username, Password and WordPress Location. Leave the directory box blank to install WordPress on a domain, or type the name of an existing folder to install it to that subdirectory.

We recommend steering clear of Google Apps email addresses when it comes to your Admin Email. If your Google Apps account has issues, you may be unable to get important messages related to maintaining your WordPress site. Use a Gmail, Yahoo or other account on a third-party domain to avoid headaches in the future.

Consider using the Generate button to create a secure password, but remember to write it down somewhere. In fact, make sure you take note of all the credentials you use here. You’ll need them whenever you want to log into WordPress.

Finally Pulling the WordPress Installation Trigger

This is the big finish. Once you have filled in the fields discussed above, click Continue. The WordPress software will finally start downloading and installing into your site. When it’s all finished, click the Let’s Get Started button.

Click Launch WordPress on the next screen and use your username and password to log into your shiny new WordPress installation. Pat your inner nerd on the back. You just equipped your site with the most popular and well-supported content management system available. Now all you need is some creative, engaging content to make your site truly come alive.

How do I update my billing information?

By Jessica Ann
August 22, 2014

Credit and debit cards expire. You change banks. You move from one city to another. There are many reasons why you may have to update your billing information. None of them are “You know what sounds like fun? Updating my billing information!” We’ll do our best in this article to turn down the boring and turn up the fun on how to update your billing information.

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Update Your Billing Address

You’re going to start at your [Control Panel](http://www.fatcow.com/controlpanel/beta/), and if you haven’t logged in yet you’ll need to log in. Look for the Account Information section. Click Change Account Information to view your current account information, including name, address and contact info.

If there is anything you don’t recognize, either you’ve mysteriously morphed into a different person (which is far less boring than updating billing information) or you should give us a call at 888-278-9780 so we can make sure your account is secure. If you just need to update an address, click the Edit button at the bottom of the account information box. Make the necessary changes and click Update to complete the process.

Update Your Credit Card Information

While we, too, look forward to a post-money utopia where we all bask in the glory of success without the need to make money to survive, it’s not here yet. That’s why we need accurate and current credit card information on file. Luckily, it’s easy to check and update the information for your FatCow account.

Log into your Control Panel again and head back to the Account Information section, as we did earlier. This time, select Update Billing Information. Now click the Credit Card tab to take a look at what we have on file for you. Click Edit next to any field that needs to be updated and when you’re done making changes, click Submit Credit Card Update.

Get Invoices or Receipts

Okay, you’ve looked at your billing address and your credit card information. By now all of the information we need to keep you up and running should be double-checked and updated. It wasn’t an edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride or anything, but the extra piece is worth it.

Sometimes we need records of billing or receipts of payment, and FatCow has you covered there, as well. In your Control Panel, under that now-familiar Account Information section, find the BillingCentral button and give it a click. At the bottom of a list of recent transactions you’ll see a Show payment activity widget.

Enter the date range for which you need records, click Get Payment History, and we’ll generate an invoice and the associated receipts. The results will display based on the due date of each payment. You can click Invoice or Receipt to get a printable version of each document.

Requesting a Due Date Extension

We know that while cash flow can be a fickle beast, you always want your website up and running. After all, for many people it’s a great generator of business leads. That’s why we offer a due date extension.

Head back to BillingCentral and if you’re account is past due you’ll see a Need more time? link at the top of the page. Click it and then click Notify FatCow and we’ll give you a two-week extension on your due date, no questions asked.

FatCow Is Proud To Be Green!

By Jessica Ann
August 14, 2014

Here at FatCow we realize how important it is to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, which is why all websites hosted with us are completely powered by wind energy. In fact, for each kWh of energy used to power your website,  FatCow buys twice that amount in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), offsetting your site’s energy usage by 200%!

Globe Goes Green Icon Final

What are RECs, you might ask?
Although we can’t produce wind energy onsite, we’re able to purchase RECs to compensate for our energy use. Each REC we purchase represents 1,000 kWh of energy produced naturally, thus reducing the amount of fossil fuels  circulating throughout the energy grid.

With your help, FatCow’s commitment to the environment will prevent 999 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere this year alone! That’s equivalent to planting 213 acres of trees or taking 196 cars off the road.

Be Loud and Proud About Your Green Site!

You have a choice where to host your website, and with FatCow your choosing to host in an environmentally friendly data center. Make it known by adding a green badge to your website — it will increase your appeal to eco-conscious customers visiting your site and it will help to build your reputation as environmentally responsible.

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To learn more about your eco-friendly hosting plan, make sure to visit FatCow’s feature pages for Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Server Hosting.