FAQs

Questions answered; links to howtos; generally useful stuff.

Sections

General
Payments
Content Policy
Mail Accounts
Domains
Shared Hosting

General

Q: Where is Lower Ground hosted and operated from?
A: Lower Ground, LLC is a Washington State LLC, in the United States of America. Some of our hosting infrastructure is physically located in Canada, while we live and operate the business and store off-site backups in Seattle, Washington, USA. Future plans include building our own small datacenter, likely to be located within the United States.

Q: What personal information does Lower Ground need for my account?
A: Lower Ground requires that you provide a real name; contact email AND phone number; mailing address; and payment information for recurring billing. Payment info may also require us to collect the billing address associated with your payment method. We recommend the contact email be an alternate that is NOT hosted on our systems, in the event of an issue with your account, payment, or significant outage of our systems.

This information is used only as required to contact you regarding Lower Ground’s services; to provide and provision the services and products you have requested (such as domain registration); to forward information to you as required by domain registrars; or to collect payment.

Domain registration may require us to submit contact information you provide as contact details for any domains you register through us.
Payment processing may require us to submit information to provide us to the payment gateway.

Lower Ground does not itself collect your payment details or store them on our servers; we use third-party payment processors to manage this.

Q: Are you real people?
A: Yes. Or, I am. Lower Ground, at it’s beginning, is just one person’s spare time project. I’m an in-flight connectivity systems integrator in the daytime, and have previously been the lead network and systems engineer for a moderately sized legal services company in Seattle.

Q: Are there official support hours?
A: No, as stated above, this is a side project, and we have day jobs. However, we will attempt to address any problems or outages as swiftly as we can.

Q: Is service provisioned immediately upon ordering?
A: No, while payment is collected when you order, account creation and provisioning does not occur until we accept the order. If your order is rejected for some reason; your payment will be refunded. Hosting services and domain registrations will be processed automatically when your order is accepted.

If there is a long delay between order and acceptance, we will adjust your renewal date forward, as we consider your service to start once we have activated it and sent you activation information, not when you ordered it.

Q: Why is your website a bit ugly and the various panels don’t match in style?
A: Because I’m a network and systems guy, not a web designer. If you’re interested in helping spruce it up in exchange for some hosting space, feel free to throw us an email. Until we’re bigger (and uh… profitable?) we are unlikely to hire someone to make it pretty.

Payments

Q: Do you accept cash or check payments?
A: No, we do not.

Q: I just ordered, but my invoice says UNPAID?!
A: As Lower Ground does not directly process your payments; instead sending you to a payment gateway (such as PayPal); sometimes it takes a few minutes for their system to confirm the payment to ours. This usually occurs within 15 minutes, please do not attempt to pay again or you may be double-charged, and please reach out to us if you think something has gone wrong.

Q: What payment options can I use?
A: Initially we are only integrating with PayPal. You may use any payment method associated with your PayPal account to sign up for a subscription with Lower Ground. If you do not have a PayPal account, you can also check out with a Credit or Debit card, and creating a PayPal account is not required. We plan to add other payment processors in future for redundancy.

Q: I just submitted a payment on PayPal and it immediately brought me back to select payment again?
A: Please do NOT pay a second time, and then contact us. We have observed this glitch from PayPal a few times in testing, if you pay a second time it will create two subscriptions and you will be double-charged. We can correct your invoice and subscription to reflect the first one that went through.

Q: I don’t live in the United States, or the State of Washington, why do you collect sales tax?
A: Washington State Law changed in 2019 and requires that sales or retail tax be collected on all taxable products in Washington, even if the customer is from out of state. Please contact the Washington State Department of Revenue to apply for any refunds you may be eligible for.

We are located in Seattle, WA, USA, and so the total of tax that applies to transactions in that location is what we must add to some products.

Currently, general hosting is not a taxed service in our jurisdiction, but domain registrations are.

Content Policy

Q: Does Lower Ground have any content policies?
A: As a hosting provider, our job is to provide hosting services, while you are responsible for the content of your websites. Lower Ground does not intend to police the content customers post on their own websites or send via email.
That said, we are a private company, not a public utility. If your content is illegal, harmful to others, or disruptive to other customers, the domain in question is subject to suspension. We will attempt to contact you regarding the situation before taking any action, unless required by law. More detail regarding this part of our policy is in the Terms of Service. If your account is terminated, but the content is not known to be unlawful, a snapshot of your data will be made available to you.

Mail Accounts

Q: What domains are available for individual mail accounts?
A: lowerground.me and lowerground.online are available. Usernames are first-come; first-served. Our default will be first.name@domain; but where possible custom mailbox name requests will be honored.

Q: Can I use my Lower Ground email with {random_email_client}?
A: Yes! Set your mail client to use mail.lowerground.net for the IMAP/POP/SMTP servers. The username is your full email address, ie greatmail@lowerground.me.
You can additionally log into https://panel.lowerground.net/ with your Lower Ground email address and password to access settings for your mailbox and setup guides for email.

Q: How do I change my email password?
A: Log in to https://panel.lowerground.net/ with your Lower Ground email address and password, here you can update your password and enable/disable spam filtering.

Q: Does Lower Ground filter incoming email?
A: Currently we are running SpamAssassin; which you can disable per-mailbox. Beyond this; we reject messages where SPF resolves to ‘fail’. There is currently no other mail processing or filtering, but we may upgrade this in the future to include more antivirus/antimalware scanning.
Messages marked as spam will still be delivered to you, but the message subject will be tagged *****LWR-SPAM*****.

Domains

Q: Customer Panel is showing me Registrar Data Error or something like that?
A: If you just registered or transferred in a domain; it seems to take some time for eNom’s system to start sending the right data back to our end; this usually happens within 12 hours or so.

Q: I’m getting emails from “eNom” or “WHMCS” regarding my domains?!
A: For some domains, there are requirements that a WHOIS contact email be confirmed; or that information sharing consent be given or withheld. These systems are not controlled or hosted by Lower Ground, but are a required bit of domain ownership. The ICANN-required email confirmations are particularly important, if not completed your domain will be suspended by the upstream registrar.

Q: The TLD I want isn’t available via Lower Ground.
A: We’ve enabled a small set initially, but have over 500 TLDs available to us through eNom, please shoot us an email with suggestions on additional TLDs you’d like to register with us, and we’ll turn them on.

Shared Hosting

Q: How do I use the Lower Ground hosting platform to manage my domain(s)?
A: We currently use Plesk to manage our shared hosting server. Please see Plesk’s own Customer’s Guide for more information on how to use the hosting panel. To mange your domain registration; use our Customer Panel.
You can access the Plesk panel for your domain from the Customer Panel at https://cs.lowerground.net/clientarea.php or directly log in to Plesk at https://panel.lowerground.net.

NOTE: Your username/password for the Plesk panel is separate from the Customer Panel; the Plesk login details were emailed to you when you signed up for service.

Q: What kind of stuff can I host on Lower Ground’s Shared Hosting?
A: Just about anything! Anything that calls for a LAMP stack should work. Plain HTML, various scripting languages are also usable via FastCGI, and PHP 7.x is supported. If WordPress is your thing; Plesk’s WordPress modules are enabled by default to make installing and updating it easy; and a number of other items are available via the Plesk panel’s Applications section for you to browse and install.

Please note, the application installers provided by Plesk are not specifically reviewed or managed by Lower Ground, they’re just a handy feature of the hosting panel we make available to you. You are still responsible for properly managing the security and configuration of the websites you host.

Q: What is the ‘real’ path to my website; the software I’m trying to use requires it!
A: Due to our use of a chroot environment to separate your data from that of other customers; it does mask the true file path; while the webserver itself knows this.
In general; the real path to your ‘root’ directory is your system user home directory; which will be /home/vhosts/{SUBSCRIPTION_NAME}/ where {SUBSCRIPTION_NAME} is usually the domain name of your subscription’s initial domain.

Q: I don’t need web/DNS/email hosting all in one, I just want to host my domain’s web/DNS/email here, will that work?
A: Yes! Most users should have access to their ‘Hosting Settings’; where they can set their domain to several modes. If you use the email-only option; and your website and DNS are hosted elsewhere; you will need to make the appropriate changes to point your domain at our servers.
The IP to reach your services should be shown in the hosting panel. If you host DNS and email here; you’ll need to update your DNS information to point to where your website is hosted.
If you only host web here; DNS and email will be enabled; but you can ignore them. You’ll need to update your DNS where it is hosted to point to the webserver on our system.
At this time, we are not offering plans for individual mail/DNS/web hosting, but may consider this in future to offer a lower-cost option for customers who only wish to host a portion of their domain’s services with Lower Ground.

Q: I’m trying to use the SSH shell access; but I need a program available in the chroot.
A: Please submit a support request through the customer panel, and if the requested application is available and low-risk; we’ll happily make it available in the chroot environment.

Q: I need a different version of PHP, for REASONS!
A: If that version is still available with security updates in Debian; please send us an email at support@lowerground.net and we’ll consider your request.
NOTE: Only the latest version (currently 7.4) will be available in the SSH chroot.

Q: Do you offer domain registration service? I’d really like an all-in-one shop.
A: Yes! We’re offering domain registration through eNom, integrated into our customer portal. If you find a .TLD isn’t available that you’d like, let us know and we’ll see if we can enable through eNom, or another registrar, eNom has over 500 TLDs available, we just haven’t enabled them all yet.