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Part 1 - Getting Started

Note 1: New Clients - Read Here First - This page provides an introduction to your web hosting account(s).

Note 2: Your Web Control Panel also includes an online support and help manual that you may refer to when managing your account(s).

The following topics are discussed further below:

General Account Information

    For our shared hosting accounts, we employ XEON Processors configured with 4 GB RAM and SATA RAID 5 with hot-swap spares. Our systems run the Fedora Core 5 operating system, using the powerful Apache Webserver 1.3.4 and Apache SSL server (for secure transactions). Apache responds to web page requests from remote browsers while Linux is one of several variants of the Unix operating system. Our servers are connected to the Internet over multiple DS3 connections (each with a capacity of 45 Million bits per second) that run into dual OC3 (155 Million Bits per second) backbone connections. Each server is monitored 24 hours per day, 7 days per week with 99.99% uptime. Our advanced system monitors are capable of notifying staff members anytime a problem may arise. Staff members are on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Web directories and home directories are backed up daily while the main system operations are backed up hourly.

    Every customer gets their own password-protected userid under Linux. By logging in with your userid, you gain access to your Web storage space. Every userid "owns" a structure of disk subdirectories in the Linux file system. The "root" of this structure is the "home" directory, found at path "/home/userid." Note that this is somewhat similar to the MS-DOS directory structure, except that there is no drive letter and forward slashes are used instead of backward slashes. The path referred to above, however, is in relation to our own servers. When you FTP to your account using your domain name and userid, you don't need to put in "home/userid." You will automatically be taken there.

    Inside the home directory are many files and other directories. The most important one is named "www." Every customer has their own separate "www" subdirectory. Files placed in the "www" directory are visible to remote browsers over the Internet. This is where you place all the HTML documents, graphics, sounds, etc. that you want people to be able to access from the World Wide Web. For example, when a browser asks for the URL, http://yourdomain.com/page.html, Apache looks for the file: /home/yourdomain.com/www/page.html and sends it out.

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Naming Your Files

    Our operating system (Linux) is case-sensitive. In other words, the filename, index.html, is NOT the same as INDEX.HTML. If your HTML code references faq.html, but the actual filename is in uppercase, this will result in a "404:File Not Found" error. This applies to directory names as well.

    To prevent errors, we suggest naming all files in lowercase. Spaces and special control characters are generally not a good idea. The underscore character ("_") is acceptable. You should avoid special characters (i.e., !@#$%^&*) in filenames. We also suggest that your filenames not exceed eight characters in length because some visitors may be using older computer systems.

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The Index Page

    The filename of your home page should be index.htm or index.html. The Web server will automatically send your visitor to /home/yourdomain.com/www/index.htm when a browser specifies http://www.yourdomain.com. When your account is set up, there will be an index.htm page already installed. This will just tell anyone accessing your domain that your site is under construction and will be available soon. You will replace this file in the www directory with one of your own creation. If you wish to use any of the CGI features we provide that use Server-Side Includes (SSI), you must name your page with the .sht, .shtm, or .shtml extension. You can put an index.htm file in any subdirectory that you wish, and it will be the default page served when you don't want your visitors to have to type a full-page URL reference (i.e., "http://www.yourdomain.com/whatever/" instead of "http://www.yourdomain.com/whatever/index.htm").

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9+ Character Names

    A name of anywhere from 3-16 letters is legal for e-mail accounts, FTP accounts, and Telnet accounts. There is no limitation on length of filenames on the server; however, you may still want to limit your filenames to eight characters because some visitors may be using older computer systems.

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Uploading Your Files (FTP, SSH, Microsoft FrontPage and Web Control Panel)

    The process by which files are transferred to the web server is called File Transfer Protocol (FTP). You have unlimited access via FTP 24 hours a day. As such, you can create and maintain your web pages on your own computer and upload files to your web site at your convenience. The following discusses various methods for uploading your files: via the Web Control Panel and via FTP-specific software programs. (If using Microsoft FrontPage to create and upload your web site, please consult this section on upload procedures: Microsoft FrontPage Setup)

      Uploading Your Files via the Web Control Panel

      The Web Control Panel provides the capability of uploading your files from your web browser. After you login, from the main menu, select Site Manager. The default directory is always "www". Go to the bottom of the page. Click the Browse button to select the file you want to upload. Once the file is selected, you will see it in the Browse box. Now, just press the Upload button. That's it! You will need to repeat the process for your remaining files. More info on the Web Control Panel is here.

      Uploading Your Files via FTP Software

      Online services that offer an Internet gateway, such as AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy, may have a built-in FTP interface. Otherwise, you need an FTP program. For example, WS_FTP is available for Microsoft Windows users, and Fetch is available for Macintosh users. Detailed instructions on each of these programs are given below; but also refer to the instructions that come with your latest version of the FTP software.

      Another good FTP program is FTP Commander, a freeware version of which is available from Tucows.

      SECURITY RECOMMENDATION

      For added security when transferring files between your PC and the web server, we recommend that you use the following secure FTP program: WinSCP.

      Note for Microsoft FrontPage Users:

      If you are using Microsoft FrontPage, you must create your new Web on the "localhost" system. This is accomplished by selecting "Create New Web" and then entering "localhost" in the line where the Web location is requested. Once you have completed your Web on your computer, you can select the "Publish Web" option from the file menu in FrontPage Explorer. You will be prompted for your IP address and Web name, and then it will be sent to our servers. Please note that you will be prompted for a username and password, and depending on your system configuration, it may be the one that we issued you or the one that you entered when you first installed FrontPage. If one does not work, then simply try the other. If you have forgotten what that password was, then you will need to reinstall FrontPage and select a new one.

      You should NOT use regular FTP to upload your files if you are using Microsoft FrontPage's "Publish Web" feature. This may damage the extensions. Stick with one or the other at all times.

      PC Users

      The following information is contained within your account activation notice (the "Welcome" e-mail) and is needed to connect to your Web site via FTP:

        USERID
        PASSWORD
        HOST NAME/ADDRESS

      Each time you run WS_FTP, the Session Profile window will be displayed. A profile contains the information needed to connect to your Web site. Creating a profile initially will eliminate the need for you to configure the software each time you wish to connect to the Web server via FTP. To create a profile, click the "New" button and enter a generic profile name at the top of the Session Profile window, such as "MYACCOUNT." Next, enter your Host Name/Address (yourdomain.com), User ID (yourdomain), and Password for your Web site as illustrated in Figure 1A.

      WS_FTP

      Figure 1A

      Next you need to click "OK" to continue. This will connect you to the Web server, where you will connect directly to the root (home) directory of your account. WS_FTP will display a split screen where files on the left-hand side are within your own computer. You will see several folders on the right-hand side, such as www, and infobots which are landmarks signifying a successful connection to your Web site, as illustrated in Figure 1B.

      WS_FTP

      Figure 1B

      You need to double-click on www to get to your Web directory. This is where all your files will be uploaded, and/or you will create subdirectories. (The only system directory that you may need to use is cgi-bin; this directory is reserved for custom scripts.) To make your home page load automatically, name the HTML document "index.htm" in lowercase and upload it to the www directory of your account. To upload a file or files, simply highlight the file(s) on the left and click the right arrow button (->) in the center of the window. Be sure to upload HTML documents and scripts in ASCII mode and images in binary mode. To transfer a file to a subdirectory, double-click the appropriate subdirectory to open it before transferring the desired file(s). To create a new directory, click on the MkDir button when you are inside the www directory or subdirectory.

      As soon as a file is uploaded to the Web server, it is available for all to see. If, after uploading a file, you are still unable to see the updated file via Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer, try hitting the "Reload" or "Refresh" button. If that fails, you need to clear both disk and browser cache. Remember that you must first be connected to the Internet through your local Internet service provider in order to connect to the Web server.

      Macintosh Users

      The following information is contained within your account activation notice and is needed to connect to your Web site via FTP:

        USERID
        PASSWORD
        HOST

      The host name tells your FTP software to connect to the Web server upon which your Web site resides.

      Each time you run Fetch, the New Connection... window will be displayed. A profile contains the information needed to connect to your Web site. Creating a profile now will eliminate the need for you to configure the software each time you wish to connect to the Web server via FTP. To create a new profile, select "New Connection..." from the File menu. Next, enter the Host (yourdomain.com), User ID (yourdomain), and Password for your Web site as illustrated in Figure 2A.

      Fetch

      Figure 2A

      Don't worry about the Directory option right now. When you have your Host, User ID, and Password entered, click on the OK button.

      The next window that will pop-up looks like Figure 2B below, except that your domain will be in the pop-up window.

      Fetch

      Figure 2B

      You should take the time, now that you have established your connection, to make it easier for yourself to get here next time. Under the Customize menu, select New Shortcut. A window will pop-up called Bookmark Editor, as shown in Figure 2C. It will already have your Name, Host, and User ID filled in. Under Type, choose File from the pop-up menu. If you would like Fetch to remember your Password so you won't have to type it in each time, type in your password in the Password field. Now, under the same Customize menu, choose Preferences, and under the General tab, make sure the connection you just entered is selected as the default shortcut. Next time you open up Fetch, your shortcut will be opened automatically and all you'll have to do is click the OK button!

      Fetch

      Figure 2C

      To transfer files (refer to Figure 2B), you need to double-click on www to get to your Web directory. This is where all your files will be downloaded and/or you will create subdirectories. (The only system directory that you may need to use is cgi-bin; this directory is reserved for custom scripts.) To make your home page load automatically, name the HTML document "index.htm" in lowercase and upload it to the www directory of your account. To upload a file or files, simply drag them from your hard drive onto the Fetch window when you are in the appropriate directory or subdirectory. Be sure to upload HTML documents and scripts in Text mode and images in Binary mode. Or, to make life easier, click on the Automatic button as shown in Figure 2B, and Fetch will decide the proper format. To transfer a file to a subdirectory, double-click the appropriate subdirectory to open it before transferring the desired file(s).

      To ensure that the Automatic selection works properly, make sure the selections under the Upload tab in the Preferences window look the same as Figure 2D below.

      Fetch

      Figure 2D

      As soon as a file is uploaded to the Web server, it is available for all to see. If, after uploading a file, you are still unable to see the updated file via Netscape, you need to hit the Reload button in the Netscape button bar. Remember that you must first be connected to the Internet through your local Internet service provider in order to connect to the Web server.

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SSH / Telnet Access

    NOTE: Telnet has been replaced by Secure Shell Access (SSH) for all accounts. Basically, the same features available with Telnet are available with SSH, but in a manner more secure.

    Telnet is a very powerful tool for logging directly into a server to perform advanced (and some basic) features like editing a file, compiling a program, archiving files, etc. Some features (like CHMOD, which is used to change file permissions) can be done through an FTP program. There are some operations you may want to perform that require Telnet, such as checking your server space and changing your log-in password. Detailed instructions for these functions are found in this online manual as well as the online manual built-in to your Web Control Panel.

    Each Telnet account for your domain has its own separate home directory, but shares the same www and ftp directories.

    You can perform basic Unix commands from your Web browser by using the Web Control Panel. To access it, go to http://www.yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/plusmail.

    You can also use a Telnet program to access your Telnet account. If you have Windows 3.x/95/98/2000/ME, you already have a Telnet program installed, Windows Telnet. To access Windows Telnet in Windows 95/98, press the Start button on the menu bar of the desktop; select Run. Type "telnet" in the text box and press OK. If you are using Windows 3.x, double-click on the file "telnet.exe". Windows Telnet will appear as a plain white window. Select Connect, put in yourdomain.com (or peoplesware.com for third-level domain accounts) as the Host, and press Connect. (Do this for any of the Telnet programs). When you are connected, you will be prompted for your User ID and Password.

    Some of the programs available at the Telnet (shell) prompt are:

    • mail—a primitive e-mail program
    • pine—a more powerful e-mail program
    • ftp—to FTP onto other sites
    • telnet—to Telnet to other sites
    • pico—an easy-to-use text editor
    • vi —a not-so-easy-to-use (but standard) text editor
    • Joe—another easy-to-use text editor
    • lynx—a text-based World Wide Web browser

    To access any of the above programs, type the program name and the command relevant to that program at the shell prompt. If you do not know the commands relevant to a particular program, use the "man" command described below for program instructions/options.

    Below is a short list of common Telnet commands:

    Command Action
    lsThis command will list all the files and subdirectories within the current directory.
    cd <directory>This command will change your current directory to the directory you specify. For example, "cd www" will make your www directory current.
    chmod xxx <filename or directory>This command will set the permissions on a file or directory. The "xxx" refers to the permission number, such as 755. If you wanted to set the permissions for your links.pl file in your cgi-bin directory to 755, you will need to make your cgi-bin directory current, and then type "chmod 755 links.pl" at the prompt.
    man <command or program>This command will provide on-line instructions/options for a particular command or program. For example, if you wanted to know what options you have with the ls command, you would type "man ls" at the prompt.
    apropos <subject>This command will provide a list of commands/programs associated with a particular subject. For example, if you wanted to know the program for mail, you would type "apropos mail" at the prompt.
    traceroute <domain>Use this command if you are experiencing slow system performance. It will identify where the delays are occurring. If you wanted to run a traceroute on Yahoo, you would type "traceroute yahoo.com" at the prompt.

    NOTE: It is important to remember that Unix is case-sensitive, and that "Index.htm" is not the same as "index.htm." If you experience problems with your Telnet program when accessing the above commands/programs, you will need to make an entry in your log-in directory's ".bash_profile" file. Just add the following to the last line: "export TERM=vt100". This will allow you to access all shell commands/programs properly.

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Anonymous FTP Setup

    NOTE: Anonymous FTP is no longer supported on the shared web hosting accounts for security issues. However, it is available for dedicated server accounts.

    Your anonymous FTP site is completely different from your web site. When people FTP to your domain anonymously, they will see the following directories:

      bin
      dev
      etc
      incoming
      lib
      pub

    "Pub" is where you should put all your anonymously accessible files. "Incoming" is where the anonymous users may upload any files. You are responsible for any "pirated" software uploaded by the anonymous users. The anonymous FTP sites will be periodically monitored for any abuses. You may ignore the other directories (bin, dev, etc and lib).

    For security reasons, the following applies:

    • Only the incoming directory can be written to anonymously.
    • Subdirectories are not creatable.
    • The incoming directory is not readable by people dropping files there.

    You may tell your visitors that they can visit your anonymous FTP site by typing "yourdomain.com" as the hostname, "anonymous" as the username, and their complete e-mail address as the password.

    To access the anonymous FTP site via the Web, use the following address:

      ftp://yourdomain.com/pub/

    To add a hyperlink to your downloadable file (for this example, the downloadable filename is "cyberport.exe") on your HTML page, use the following address:

      <a href="ftp://yourdomain.com/pub/cyberport.exe">Download CyberPort Now</a>

    You should tell your visitors that they need to right-click on the link if they are PC users, or if they use a Macintosh, they need to hold down the mouse button on the link then select the appropriate option from the Pop-up menu.

    NOTE: It's possible during peak hours to receive a "too many anonymous users error." We must restrict the number of simultaneous anonymous users to keep the web server and FTP performance within normal limits. If you receive this error often, you may want to put your downloadable files in your main web directory and link to them with an http call. An example would be http://yourdomain.com/files.zip (this assumes the zip files are in the main web directory).

    If your visitor experiences slow download performance, chances are it's a problem on the Internet. We maintain a large margin of available bandwidth, so bottlenecks never occur within our network. Please feel free to send an inquiry to be sure all the servers are operating properly. If you include your visitor's Internet service provider's IP address, we will run traceroutes to see where the delays may be occurring.

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Server-Side Includes (SSI)

    Your domain is capable of supporting the use of SSI. In order for the system to process the include, you must save the page with a .sht, .shtm, or .shtml extension rather than a .htm or .html extension. A sample SSI would be:

      <!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/count.cgi"-->

    NOTE: As shown in the example above, the URL must be relative and not a full call. The following would not work:

      <!--#exec cgi="http://yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/count.cgi"-->

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Custom "404:File Not Found" Error Page

    A file already exists in the www directory of your server called missing.html. You can edit it to your liking, or create your own. As long as it's called missing.html and is in your root www directory, the server will display it whenever someone tries to access a page on your domain that does not exist.

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Password-Protected Directories

    To password-protect any of your directories, login to your Web Control Panel (http://www.yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/plusmail), click on Site Manager, select the folder you wish to protect, and follow the instructions provided.

    NOTE: On some older accounts, when setting up the password-protected directory, you may be prompted for the "AUTHNAME." This is the name that will appear in the dialog box. Please do NOT include any spaces or characters in the name; this will cause a server error when trying to access that directory.

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Zip/Unzip Files

    This Unix program is compatible with the zip program for DOS and Windows. To zip files, first have the files uploaded to your server, then log into your account with Telnet (SSH, Protocol Version 2). Navigate to the directory where the files are that you want to zip (for instance by typing cd www then cd sounds). Then type:

      zip myzip file1 file2 file3

    This puts the files "file1", "file2", and "file3" into a new zip archive called "myzip.zip". On the other hand, if you had the archive "myzip.zip" and wanted to get back the files, you would type:

      unzip myzip

    Typing "zip" (without the quotes) or "unzip" (without the quotes) by itself will give you a usage summary, showing nearly all the options available.

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