Domain name & DNS

You have invested in a high-end web presence with Underdog (or somebody else) and now you need to host it on the Internet. To do this you need a domain name, if you don’t already have one. A domain name is the “” or “” part of the deal that is yours and should be seen as an extension to your own brand. It should stay yours for life… or as long as that brand is in business. Underdog can arrange this for you, reserve the domain and take care of the DNS entries required. DNS is a the kind of on-line telephone directory, which matches this name to a server IP address for where you host your site etc. DNS is very important and you don’t want to land up with a Miki-Mouse DNS service, which goes off line. If no one can find your entries in the DNS for your domain when looking for you (i.e. when somebody types in a browser) you will appear “unreachable.” As such a reliable DNS service is even more important that reliable hosting! Let Underdog handle this with a première global DNS server that has never gone offline - it’s worth the once off fee, trust us!


Where to host?

Underdog provides clients with web site hosting on our own hosting servers. This is essential if a client opts for one of our Content Management systems (CMS), but optional if a client has a basic HTML or Flash site, without database requirements.

When our customized Content Management System is used for a web site, it includes a database-hosting requirement. Given the fact that our programmers work predominantly with PHP and PostgreSQL as a database on the Linux Platform (FreeBSD), we strongly recommend that our clients' sites be hosted on our servers. Our custom written software, programmes and the logistics of managing this process on an alien server are costly. It also becomes impossible for our company to guarantee a certain level of website uptime if the website is not hosted on our own servers. Our code, used in developed system, is not compatible with a Microsoft/ASP based system, but should a migration be required at a later date then this can be done at the applicable costs. Please note that these costs may be quite substantial as the migrations from one system to another are complex


Linux / Windows and developed on a Mac?

We have chosen the Linux platform, PHP and PostgreSQ for their legendary enterprise reliability and up time, not because it’s easier for us to use, or because Linux programmers are cheaper. In fact Microsoft’s ASP programmers are plentiful and they are generally cheaper than the PHP programmers… but for good reason – it’s easier to implement but also “nastier” and less reliable…. It’s Microsoft! Think how often you reboot your Windows machines and then think about the fact that most serious web sites host on Linux based platforms for a reason.

We also develop and design all our web sites on Mac’s because we are more efficient that way and because it just works!

Either way Underdog’s hosting offers a superior service under one roof and with one bill from the same company you trust to build your online presence.


Why host with Underdog and why the USA?

Underdog has chosen to have its managed servers directly on one of the biggest internet backbones in the USA, with the servers being located physically on one of the United State’s biggest peering points - just off the east cost in Sterling, Virginia. From here we enjoy excellent global connectivity via the nearby New York international T1 landing points (to Europe and Africa) as well as across the USA, up to Canada and then west to Japan and Asia. Our clients enjoy the benefits of 24 hour service, seven days a week, 365 days a year – something you won’t find when hosting in South Africa.

Underdog is Solutions Partner to massive USA hosting company - NTT/ViaVerio and so are able to offer our clients not only the highest level of global connectivity for their sites, but also legendary service and reliability. This, in addition to redundant links and uninterruptible power to our servers, means that our clients’ sites will almost never go down. Our USA based servers provide an unparalleled uptime, guaranteed at 99.9%. There is a separate SLA available with a procedure for refund and the percentages are paid back for certain downtimes, which we pass on to our clients in the unlikely event of any unscheduled downtime.

USA links from anywhere in SA are the best available and will get better as more global links go live from South Africa to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, for those of your target audience based in South Africa, the experience may be a bit slower than hosting locally but we have found the difference to be minor, while an international and in fact African audience will enjoy a significantly faster experience than if the server were hosted in South Africa.


Is my web site and data safe from disasters?

Our servers are not only configured on RAID-5 drive arrays, protecting your data at all times from drive failure, but all data is also backed up daily to additional drives and then archived to tape for a certain period. If you have database configured hosting with us (PostgreSQL with PHP and Java based interfaces), we further backup up your database every day, as an extra protection for any recently updated data to your database.

Environmental management and fire suppression systems at our Data Centre facility in Sterling, Virginia ensure that Underdog clients' information on our servers is safe from hazard, triply backed up and protected by an advanced software firewall. All major software is regularly updated to the latest stable versions both by Underdog and our managed hosting partner.


What’s included in the deal?

Advanced UPS and generator support, 24-hour monitoring, re-mailer forms with image capture protection, live and on-line statistics tools such as URCHIN to allow you to analyse traffic to your site are all standard services offered in our hosting agreements. In addition (and perhaps most importantly) because the USA does not suffer from a monopoly in terms of telecommunications networks, we are able to offer hosting based on MB physically on the server, rather than traffic served (within a very reasonable “soft limit”), like all other ISP’s in South Africa. This is IDEAL for high traffic sites since you will not be paying for bandwidth to South Africa and you won’t get any nasty surprises at the end of the month!

Software included in our agreement includes:

  • CPX Control Panel for advanced host control (if required)
  • Urchin web traffic statistical application (for near live log analysis)
  • PostgreSQL database applications
  • Shared Secure Socket Layer (SSL) (certificate if required)
  • Certain E-commerce applications and services (if required)
  • PHP 5.x
  • Blogging software and podcasting support (if required)
  • Other multimedia applications

Hosting for a static HTML or Flash based site allows 80MB of storage space on our server. While a back-ended database served site allows up to 150MB of storage on the server, which is more than enough for most sites. If extra space is required, it can be arranged at a small fee.


E-Mail and Internet Access – does Underdog offer?

No, we do not offer Internet access or e-mail services. There is a good reason for this… we are not an ISP and we don’t deal with local ISP’s. However this tends to present a problem… how do you get mail at your own domain if we registered that and look after your DNS?

Easy! You chat to your local ISP, the one you trust in terms of your Internet connection and where you are perhaps already picking up your e-mail. Ask them what they would charge to set up mail for your domain. Advise them that another company handles your domain and DNS; ask them to accept mail for that domain and provide you the necessary MX record details for us to configure that ALL mail for your domain is directed to their server.

An MX record is basically a division in the DNS (the on-line phone book described above) that sends any mail for your domain to a different place to where the web traffic goes to. This means all we do is set up the “entry in the phone book” and once it’s there all mail goes to your ISP. Your local ISP are essentially the networks handling your mail so call them with any mail problems. If your web site is also down… it MAY be the DNS, but that’s if DNS goes down and ours has never done that in the 10 years we have been using it!

You may also get an IT specialist to help setup Google Mail so that it receives all mail for your domain. Again, the IT specialist can call us with the DNS details and we will configure it for you.

Either way, we don’t get involved in your e-mail, but can find various solutions for you to have a good e-mail service at your own domain.

kennel talk | about us | our work | our clients | contact us | legal policies