First, a few definitions:
"Direct hosting" refers to photographers creating their own domain name and pointing it to our server in DNS.
This is different from "standard hosting" where photographers receive a free web site at http://www.theimagefile.com/web/my_name/.
This is also different from "framed forwarding" where photographers link their own domain name to http://www.theimagefile.com/web/my_name/ using a frame.
Direct hosting is better than framed forwarding (Setting up Framed forwarding of your domain name) because it allows your visitors to more easily bookmark and link to your pages. It will also give you higher rankings in search engines.
Follow these instructions to set up direct hosting.
Switching to direct hosting will impact user accounts that your customers may have created. Customers create user accounts when they view your "Corporate Clients" area and when they purchase stock images from your "Stock Library" area.
Customers who access your images via standard hosting or framed forwarding are connecting directly to theimagefile servers. Their user accounts are created in the core theimagefile user account database. These "core user accounts" have the ability to view Corporate Clients files and purchase stock for any photographer hosted on this server.
With direct hosting, on the other hand, customers connect directly to your site. Their core theimagefile account will not be available. Your customer will need to create a new account in a partitioned user account database which is specific to your company. With this "partitioned user account", your customer may view Corporate Clients files and purchase stock only from you, not from other photographers hosted on this server.
If you use direct hosting with multiple domain names, or if you switch your domain name over time, your customers with partitioned user accounts will still be able to use their accounts to access your files. They will not need to create fresh accounts. Your partitioned user account database is tied to your company, and not to any specific domain name that you were using when it was set up.
If you have used theimagefile for some time without direct hosting, and given customers access to your "Corporate Clients" files, then your existing customers will all have "core user accounts" but they will need "partitioned user accounts" to access your files using your new domain name. You have these options:
Continue to advertise your collections using the http://www.theimagefile.com domain name, rather than your new domain name. Your existing customers can sign in using their existing accounts. Customers will see no change. Customers will not see your new domain name.
Or, you may migrate your existing customer accounts from "core user accounts" into "partitioned user accounts". Then advertise your collections using your new domain name. Your existing customers will need to go to your new site to sign in, but their usernames and passwords and profile information will be the same as before.
Click here to learn more about account migration and to start the migration process.