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Manual: Unix-Based Web Hosting

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  • The Basics


    General Account Information

    We offer storage space for web pages with global public access to those pages over the Internet. We also offer a limited form of program execution known as "cgi-bin." Our computers are Pentium II Dual Pro 400 mhz machines running Apache 1.2 over Red Hat Linux 4.2. Apache responds to web page fetch requests from remote browsers while Linux is one of several variants of the Unix operating system. Our servers are connected to the Internet backbone over 1 DS3 lines to NAP, 1 DS3 line to UUNET, each having a capacity of 45 Mbps (Million bits per second). We have 7 backup T1 lines to UUNET as well.

    Every customer gets his own password protected userid under Linux. By logging in with his userid, the customer gains access to his 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. Also note that your path might be "/home2/userid" depending on which of our servers your domain resides on.

    Inside the home directory are many files and other directories. The most important one is named "www". Every customer has his own separate "www" subdirectory. Files placed in the "www" directory are visible to remote browsers over the Internet, so this is where you want to place all your html documents, graphics, sounds, files, etc. which you want people to be able to access from the world wide web. For example, when a browser asks for 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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  • The Index Page

    The filename of your home page should be index.htm or index.html. The webserver will automatically send the file at path /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 just tells 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 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, for example, http://www.yourdomain.com/whatever instead of http://www.yourdomain.com/whatever/page.htm, or http://www.yourdomain.com/whatever.htm.

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  • FTP Access

    Now that we know where the files have to be located in order to be visible from the Internet, just how do we put the files there? There are several ways, depending on your computer system. For the Macintosh, a program called "Fetch" is used. Microsoft Windows systems use "WS_FTP." Look further in this manual for detailed instructions on each of these programs.

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  • Telnet Access

    A telnet account is just another name for Unix/Linux userid. When you sign up with us, you get a userid and password. You may ask for more than one such userid. See the Fee Schedule for pricing. Each telnet account for your domain has its own separate home directory, but shares the same www and FTP directories.

    You need a telnet program to access your telnet account. Simply put in yourdomain.com as the host, and connect to the server. When you are connected, you will be prompted for your userid and password.

    Some of the programs available at the shell prompt are:

    • mail - a primitive email program
    • pine - a more powerful email program
    • ftp - to FTP onto other sites
    • telnet - to telnet to other sites
    • pico - an easy to use text editor
    • pico - another easy to use text editor
    • vi - a not so easy to use (but standard) text editor
    • lynx - a text-based world wide web browser.

    In general, it's a pretty complete POSIX environment. You access these programs by typing in their names and then following commands relevant to each program. If you need help with any of the programs, at the shell prompt, type man and the name of the program to get instructions for that program online. If your problem is not knowing the name of the program, try apropos subject (i.e. apropos mail). It is important to remember that Unix is case-sensitive, and that "Index.htm" is not the same as "index.htm".

    Note: If you experience problems with your telnet program when accessing the above programs you will need to make a entry in your login directories .bash_profile file. Just add the following to the last line export TERM=vt100. This will allow you to access all shell programs properly.

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  • 9+ Character Names

    A name of anywhere from 3-16 letters is legal for email accounts, FTP accounts, and telnet accounts and may include upper and lower-case letters, numbers and hyphens. There is no limitation for file names on the server but spaces are not normally used on Unix systems and may cause problems.

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  • Wusage and Access Logs

    To count accesses, there is a directory called wusage in your www directory. To access it, just log on the Internet and with your web browser, go to:


    You will see a webpage with statistics for your domain for the previous week. If you are a brand new domain, you won't see any statistics there yet. If you go to the link from that page leading to Weekly Reports, you will see a much more detailed report, including pie charts, graphs, etc. These reports are automatically generated for you once each week, and are stored in one place so you can compare weekly statistics easily.

    If you would like to see domain names in your stats rather than just IP numbers, put an empy file in your wusage directory called dns (no extensions). This will act as a switch and reverse authentication will be activated for the domain.

    In your home directory, you will see a file called access-log. You can download this file and open it in any word processor to see exactly what files were accessed, what domain the visitor came from, the dates and times of each visit, etc.

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  • Checking Server Space Usage

    You can find out how much space is in use by the www files for your domain by using Telnet to log into your account and then from the Unix prompt, typing the following:

    du -s /www/htdocs/yourdomain

    This will give you a report back of the number of kilobytes (k) all files in your www directory add up to.

    If you have an anonymous FTP area, also check:

    du -s ~ftp/yourdomain.com

    To check how much space is being used by files in your home directory, type:

    du -s $HOME

    Adding up the results from all three of these commands will give you the total amount of space you are using, but a simpler way of checking all three directories is to type:

    du * www/* anonftp/* -c

    You will then see a space report for each directory (-a to see for each file) and at the end, a total.

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  • Changing Your Password

    To change your password, Telnet to your account. After logging in with your username and password, at the Unix prompt, type: passwd

    A script will ask you to type in your old password, then the password you want it changed to will be asked for twice to verify. This will not work for POP-only accounts. There is no way you can change the password for those accounts - they must be changed by sending us email and we will take care of it.

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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. 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 or unzip by itself will give you a usage summary, showing nearly all the options available.

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  • Accessing Your Email

    We recommend using Eudora as your email client. This is a mail program that runs under MS Windows and Macintosh OS. Eudora connects to the mail server over the Winsock or Macintosh TCP/IP. Mail may be composed and read offline, but make sure that Winsock or TCP/IP is running before attempting to send or receive email. Although your account exists on our server, you won't be able to receive email at yourname@yourdomain.com until InterNIC has activated you in the domain name servers.

    After Eudora has been installed, it must be configured to point to your server. To do this, start Eudora and select "Settings" from the menu bar. Most of the options are self explanatory. Here are the steps you need to perform to set up Eudora:

    1) Install and start up the Eudora program

    2) Select "Settings" from the "Special" menu

    3) Select the "Getting Started" tab, then under Real Name, enter your Real Name

    4) Under "POP Account" put yourdomain.com

    5) Leave Return Address blank unless you want people to send return email to you at a different email account

    6) If you use the Macintosh version, the radio button for TCP/IP connection should be highlighted

    7) Click the "Personal Information" tab (also only for the Macintosh version)

    8) Under POP account put yourdomain.com again

    9) Fill out the "Real Name" and "Return Address" as you did before

    10) Under "Dialup User Name" enter yourdomain (do not enter .com or .net here)

    11) Click the "Hosts" tab then enter yourdomain.com again under POP Account, and put yourdomain.com under SMTP Server.

    12) Go to the "Checking Mail" tab and make sure "Save Password" is checked.

    That's pretty much all the configuration Eudora needs. Many of the configuration areas will be filled in when you go to them, for instance it will usually fill in the POP account info where ever it needs it after you enter it the first time. Now, when you select "Check Mail" under the File menu, a window will pop up asking for your password. Enter in your password then click on the proceed button and Eudora will check to see if you have email. You can now send a test email message to yourself and then check to see if it gets returned to you. If you checked "Save Password" as in step 12, Eudora will not prompt you again for your password after the first time. If multiple users have access to your computer, and you don't want them to have access to your email account, make sure "Save Password" is unchecked.

    Your default email address is yourdomain@yourdomain.com, and that's where all your email will be sent to, unless other configurations take priority (such as autoresponders and redirects mentioned later).

    If you would like additional POP email accounts above what comes with your package, ask us and we'll set it up for you. Remember there are additional charges for each additional POP account after what is included with you account. To check numerous POP accounts, read the manual or help files that come with Eudora or your email client software for configuration.

    The sample assumes a domain name of fred.com

    Microsoft internet mail

    • Full name = fred
    • Email = fred@fred.com
    • Internet Mail server = fred.com
    • Account = fred
    • Pass = xxxxxx
    • Smtp = fred.com
    • From = anything@fred.com


    • Your Name = fred
    • Email Address = fred@fred.com
    • Reply to = anything@fred.com
    • Mail Server user name = fred
    • outgoing Smtp = fred.com
    • Incoming = fred.com

    If you are familiar with the shell (Unix) programs, "pine" and "mail", you can use either of these to check and send email as well.

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