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What is Instant Activation Hosting?

When you need to get your website online as fast as possible, instant activation hosting is the way to go. When sifting through the laundry list of features offered by Web hosts, it’s particularly important to consider how long activation is going to take.

Buried within your terms of service might be a promise to get your server set up within a few days, but what if you needed your website up yesterday?

Many basic shared hosting accounts are activated instantly, but if you’re going with a more advanced or feature-rich hosting plan, you could find yourself waiting a while before you can start working on your website.

When it comes to dedicated server hosting, it’s tough to find a hosting company that offers instant activation because they need time to set up a server for you. Standard setup time for a dedicated server can be from 24 hours up to days.

Same with managed hosting: oftentimes it takes a day or so to allocate resources for your account, even if it’s VPS or shared hosting. And if you’re getting a reseller hosting account set up, you may not be able to start activating your own clients’ accounts right away.

Some hosts will even wait to verify all new customers via phone before they open your account. While that policy protects you from fraud and identity theft, it also prevents you from setting up your website quickly.

Enter "instant activation": a valuable feature offered by some web hosts that will get your site up and running as soon as you complete your purchase.

How Does it Work?

The process of instant activation is automated, so as soon as you make your purchase, your hosting account will automatically be live. No matter what time of day, even on holidays, you’ll be able to log into your account and set up a site quickly.

Hosting plans with instant activation will often provide other features to make setting up your website quick and easy, such as one-click software installations, simple site builders, and free themes and templates to choose from.

Ensure Your Domain Is Ready to Go

Even if your chosen host provides instant activation, transferring your domain can be a bit of a hassle. Per the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy, you have to wait 60 days after purchasing a domain before you can transfer it to another registrar. Then, once the 60 days are up, it takes a bit of back-and-forth between registrars changing settings and approving each step in the process before the transfer can be completed.

The easiest way (though admittedly not always possible) is to register your new domain at the same time you’re purchasing hosting. Luckily, domain registration is frequently offered during the checkout process when purchasing website hosting.

If you haven’t already purchased your desired domain, check the domain availability first and be sure the domain you purchase is also instantly registered at the same time you buy hosting. By doing so, you’ll avoid any delays in pointing your new domain to your new site.

Is Instant Activation Right For You?

Whether switching hosts for an existing site, or launching a new one, webmasters who must put a site up quickly will benefit from choosing a host who offers instant activation.

But it may not be the best option for everyone, since it often doesn’t include technical support with setup. If you’re not sure how to set up your website on your own, make sure your hosting plan also comes with technical support, or provides a service to set up your website for you.

Instant Activation Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is instant activation hosting?

    Instant activation simply means that your web hosting account will be immediately available upon purchase. As soon as your payment goes through, no matter what time of day it is and even on holidays, your hosting account will be immediately set up automatically, with no human input necessary, and ready for you to create or transfer your website.

  • What are the benefits of instant activation?

    Instant activation of your web hosting account means that you can get started creating your website as soon as you purchase your hosting account, instead of waiting around for your account to be set up and configured for you.

  • Are there any downsides to instant activation?

    Instant activation is usually limited to basic hosting accounts, especially shared hosting, that can be set up automatically and don’t require any advanced configuration. If you need advanced features, a customized set up, or a dedicated server, those will usually require an employee of the web hosting company to set up and configure them manually before you can use them.

  • What kinds of hosting plans usually come with instant activation?

    Most shared hosting plans from bigger web hosting companies are immediately activated upon purchase so you can start creating your website right away. Nowadays, instant activation is often a given for shared hosting, and web hosts won’t even advertise the fact.

  • What hosting plans take longer to be activated?

    Instant activation is common for basic shared hosting plans, but plans that have more features and resources may not be automatically activated right away. Often, VPS (virtual private server) and dedicated server plans by nature take some time for your web hosting company to set up and aren’t immediately available to use when you purchase them.

  • Why aren’t all hosting plans activated instantly?

    VPS hosting and dedicated servers often need to be set up and configured manually before they’re available for use. Another reason you may need to wait to set up your website is if you’re transferring a domain you recently purchased at another registrar, since you must wait 60 days after purchase to transfer domains in order to prevent fraud, according to the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy. Another reason some hosts don’t offer instant activation is for security reasons: Some hosts require phone confirmation of your identity before they approve your account in order to protect you from fraud and identity theft.

  • Does instant activation usually cost extra?

    Instant activation is usually a basic feature provided with a hosting plan package, and not a premium feature you need to pay an extra fee for. However, some web hosting companies do charge an extra one time fee for instant activation. Usually, free web hosting plans will charge extra for instant activation as an optional premium feature.

  • How long does it usually take to set up a dedicated server?

    This depends on the web hosting company, and usually they’ll state the time period on their website. Unless the web hosting company is a large company with the resources to enable them to have multiple servers set up and ready to go at a moment’s notice, it will take them some time to set up your server for you. Typically, it can take about 24 to 48 hours to set up a dedicated server, although some hosts will be faster and other could take longer. An activation time of less than 24 hours is generally considered to be expedited. If the host’s website doesn’t specify, be sure to contact them to find out how long it will take to set up your server.

  • How long does it take to activate VPS hosting?

    VPS hosting often takes a few hours to be set up, though this will depend on the specific hosting company and the plan that you choose. For basic VPS plans, it could take around 2-4 hours to set up. If you choose a managed hosting plan, or a plan with more advanced features, it could take longer if you server needs to be configured manually. If their website doesn’t mention instant activation or give any waiting period times, be sure to contact them before you purchase to find out how long it will take for your new VPS hosting account to be set up.

  • Why do I have to wait 60 days to transfer a new domain to a different registrar?

    This limit is imposed by the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy, which sets forth the standard procedure for transferring domains names from one registrar to another in a secure manner, preventing fraud and identity theft while still encouraging competition in the domain name space.

  • Why do some web hosts require phone verification?

    Some web hosting companies require phone verification of all their new customers in order to prevent identity theft and fraud. Others have software that automatically evaluates all new customers and picks out those that seem high risk to be subject to phone verification. Usually, these web hosts will provide you with a phone number to call to verify your account within a certain time period. They will usually ask you for specific information such as the last four digits of your credit card number, or a Paypal invoice number. If you don’t call them, your order will be cancelled and you won’t be billed. Some web hosting companies allow you to email your verification instead of calling, but will require you to send verifying information such as scanning the front and back of the credit card you used to make your initial payment.

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