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What do you look for in a free web-host?

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By the end of the month www.icarusindie.com will begin offering space to game developers (artists, musicians, designers, programmers, ect) to showcase their work. What kinds of options would you expect from a free host? What kinds of options would you expect for a fee? I''m looking to offer 150MB of space with FTP access. File size is only limited by the amount of space available to you. Remote linking and an URL in the format username.icarusindie.com I''m thinking for a paying user, I could allow a real dot com. (e.g. www.username.com) I''m working on allowing CGI, PHP and JAVA but it doesn''t look likes it going to happen for security reasons. It''s for showcases only so HTML is all that''s really needed. I''ll have a public message board set up. I can''t think of any other reason CGI, PHP or JAVA would be needed. None of the above can be considered legally binding and is subject to change. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Ben IcarusIndie.com
[The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | Programming | Gang Wars | The Wall]

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Well speaking from experience of being a webmaster for the last 3 years I''ll give you my 2cents worth.

First off if you are offering this for free then I say that whatever you offer is completely adequate. Can''t complain over what you get for free.

150MB is considerably more than most free servers offer. Most offer between 5 and 15MB. FTP access is rare on free servers as well, most require you to upload through their own built in interface.

I don''t understand why you won''t allow CGI scripts, but for what you are offering the service for (showcasing) you are right, it''s not really a necessity. The person can use HTML and java-script for making a pretty "face" on the site and easy to navigate.

One suggestion: For those that DO pay you I think you may wish to reconsider the CGI part because they can get a lot of servers they have to pay for with comparable space very cheaply that offer/allow it.

All and all I think it''s still great what you are offering, and it''s a definite plus to the amateur game development community.

Anaton
Flying Tigers CFSG

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I''m thinking I may break that down to

free:
www.icarusindie.com/username/

$5 per month
username.icarusindie.com

$10 per month
www.yourdomain.com

For the domain name, the user would have to go to register it at Doster.com ($15 a year) or whomever they''d like and then I''d help get it set up for my server which is real easy to do on the user''s side. I use Doster for my domain.

Ben

IcarusIndie.com

[The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | Programming | Gang Wars | The Wall]

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The problem with CGI, PHP and Java is that they don''t have to work with relative directories.

For instance I have a CGI script I use to write pending account files to a directory outside the bounds of the web server. I could just as easily point it to any drive on the server and start messing with things.

I''m sure there''s a way to keep Java, CGI and PHP from being able to read and write from anywhere on my server but I just havn''t succeeded yet in doing it.

Ben

IcarusIndie.com

[The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | Programming | Gang Wars | The Wall]

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Its quite simple really, if you run a Linux server file permissions do this quite well, ok so the can see the directory structure but they cant read or write anywhere but their own space if you set it up right. As for windows, welll your probaly doomed.

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Does your site get alot of traffic? It could be a significant selling point if paying people can have a banner put on your site in a rotation (like the gamespy sites) and a link.

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quote:
Original post by KalvinB
For the domain name, the user would have to go to register it at Doster.com ($15 a year) or whomever they'd like


To make this even more affordable to your users, you could recommend godaddy.com. They only charge $7 to $9 per year (depending on how many years you sign up for). I dont use them personally yet but I do plan to transfer to them soon, and I have friends and know others who use them and they are all very satisfied.


[edited by - LordKronos on May 4, 2002 10:34:21 AM]

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You can check my logs at

http://www.icarusindie.com/logs/

I have around 1GB of bandwidth per day to spare currently. Which means I could serve up my monthly usage (345,789 page views last month) twice. I did 1 million page views in March no problem and still had some bandwidth to spare.

As for reliability, I''m up virtually constantly except when (like I''ll be doing this month) I''m working on the server to add features and even then I have a secondary server to switch to during the process if I need to. The last time I had serious down time was several months ago when Qwest mistakenly cancelled my service.

Ben

IcarusIndie.com

[The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | Programming | Gang Wars | The Wall]

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Just a question I''m curious about... why are you going to offer that webspace by free? Is it supposed to give you extra publicity for your site, or something... or is it just a gift for the dev community?

About what I''d like to see in a free webhosting, is a good stats service. If you are able to give your users the raw logs file, it will be the best you can do in that subject... And you could process those with Analog for those who are too lazy to do it by theirselves.

Best regards,


--DK
--H. Hernán Moraldo
http://www.hhm.com.ar/
Sign up to the HHM''s developers'' newsletter.

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Better make sure you come up with an Acceptable Use Policy, and try to cover as many possible situations as you can. If you allow CGI, or any Perl scripts in general, you had best include something about that for the customers. Exploiting of those scripts to forward spam and such has been huge on the Internet and will only grow. To the outside world, it will appear that your server is the responsible one, so you need a way to quickly kill those and inform those customers that you have the right to do that to protect your machine/services/other customers/etc. Offering a service like this without a good "Terms of Service" and "Acceptable Use Policy" document would be a bad move on your behalf, no matter how well intentioned you are.

Aside from that, like others have said, free is free and anything you can get is great. Also, securing the other stuff when using Linux is easy, generally speaking. I only have minor experience running a webserver (only done it on and off again on a company LAN), but that kind of security for Linux is relatively logical and among some of the easiest things you'd ever do when being the admin of that public-facing box.

[edited by - Tekneek on May 10, 2002 6:38:36 AM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
>$5 per month
>username.icarusindie.com

>$10 per month
>www.yourdomain.com

For $30 per YEAR you can get a www.yourdomain.com on NT + CGI (perl/asp/php) + FTP + unlimited space + good bandwidth.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
When you can download files and pictures in a reasonable time.

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"Better make sure you come up with an Acceptable Use Policy"

I yanked the one from GeoCities. It pretty much covers everything from the user having to supply their own computer and internet connection to connect to my server (I find that funny yet sadly companies have probably been sued over it) to not abusing the service in a number of ways.

"Exploiting of those scripts to forward spam and such has been huge on the Internet and will only grow"

I noticed a very large amount of people trying to access formmail.cgi on my server last month trying to send spam. Analog is nice but I can''t modify it when I need to tag certain things like I can with my own. I reported attempts from about 5 ISPs and I have a couple dozen more to go.

"PHP, CGI and SQL is an absolute MUST HAVE!"

Not for a showcase. If you really really need something I have CGI, PHP and mySQL set up for my use so you could e-mail me the file and I could post it for you. I just need to verify it''s safe from intentional or unintential abuse.

The security issue is people trying to write/read/delete outside their home directory which is real easy to do with CGI and PHP since I have a couple of scripts that do it myself.

Linux doesn''t make security any better. I know how to lock down the server.

"For $30 per YEAR you can get a www.yourdomain.com on NT + CGI (perl/asp/php) + FTP + unlimited space + good bandwidth"

Where is this mythical place? You can''t just write up an ad and expect me match it. I''m not competeing with large ISPs that have so much extra resources they can offer that sort of absurd package.

Ben


IcarusIndie.com [ The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | Programming | Gang Wars | The Wall]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
>Just ignore the troll. He''s full of shit. You cannot get that kind of Net hosting for $30/year.

>Where is this mythical place? You can''t just write up an ad and expect me match it. I''m not competeing with large ISPs that have so much extra resources they can offer that sort of absurd package.

...

www.aruba.it
so much extra resources and so much support...

From their site:
"Aruba is one of the biggest italian ISP (Internet Service Provider). At only € 20,66 (approximately U$S 18.60) per year + 20% V.A.T, Aruba offers you: domain name registration and maintenance (.com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .co.uk, .org.uk and .it); unlimited web space and 5 pop3 e-mail accounts relating to the domain. The price includes domain maintenance costs, therefore you will not have to pay any additional cost !"

and more...

The Troll

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"Aruba is one of the biggest italian ISP (Internet Service Provider)."

Figured it was an ISP. I can''t compete with a corporation that''s pulling in money from many different sources. "Unlimited Disk Space" is like "Night and Weekend" minutes. Most people don''t use much space. A typical personal site is less than 1MB. They probably have a very resrictive policy on how large files can be and what can be stored there. With mine you get 50MB for free and your files just have to fit in that space.

"Remote Linking" is banned on some (if not most) hosting sites because people then use that space as storage to hide warez and other illegal content and use a second service as the front end.

I can''t offer unlimited space because I don''t have that kind of money to blow on harddrives and I''m catering to people who have large files they need a home for so they can then use Download.com or whatever to get them out there. I expect that most people who sign up for my service will use a significant portion of the disk space.

Ben


IcarusIndie.com [ The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | Programming | Gang Wars | The Wall]

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