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IThosts.com FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


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Category: Main -> UNIX Web Hosting


Question
·  What is the File System?
·  How do I FTP?
·  Do you support FrontPage Extensions?
·  Do you support CGI?
·  How can I password protect my directories?
·  Do you support mySQL?
·  Do you support SSL?
·  How do I customize the Error Page?
·  Do you support SSI?
·  URL Submitter.
·  Pre-installed Free CGI Scripts.

Answer
·  What is the File System?

Your UNIX hosting account has a home directory in which you store your site content. When you log into your account using FTP you will be placed within your home directory. You should upload the pages, images and files that make up your site to this directory.

cgi-bin
Within your home directory is a folder called 'cgi-bin'. This folder is used for storing any CGI Scripts you wish to use on your account.

Path To Your Home Directory
You may need to reference the path to your home directory in your scripts. The full path to your home directory is based on the username of the hosting account. The full path to the home directory for a hosting account with the username 'joebloggs' would be:

    /home/j/o/joebloggs/public_html
'joebloggs' being the account username and 'j' and 'o' the first and second characters of the account username. You must substitute 'joebloggs', 'j' and 'o' with the correct values according to the username of the hosting account. Note that when your account is accessed via the SSL secure server, the full path is different, see the SSL page for more information.

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·  How do I FTP?

The process by which files are transferred to the web server is called FTP (File Transport Protocol). You have unlimited access to your web space 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 leisure.

FTP Software
To use FTP you need a piece of software installed on your computer called an FTP client. We recommend WS_FTP which can be downloaded for either the PC or Mac from http://www.wsftp.com/. Many popular web design packages also come with FTP software functionality included.

Microsoft FrontPage Users
Customers wishing to use Microsoft FrontPage to manage their site should install the FrontPage Server Extensions and should use only the publishing feature within FrontPage to transfer files. Using regular FTP can corrupt the extensions, disabling the functionality of the FrontPage web and requiring that the site be deleted to reinstall the extensions.

Configuring Your FTP Software
To connect to your site by FTP, you will need to configure your FTP client with the following information.

Parameter Value
FTP Host
For UNIX Virtual Servers: ftp.ithosts.com
Username The account username
Password Your account password

The initial working directory, port number and all other configuration options should be left at their defaults.

Transferring Your Files
When you connect to the FTP server, you will placed in the home directory for your account. You will see system folders in your home directory as described on the UNIX File System and Windows File System pages. You can transfer files directly to your home directory or create subdirectories within in. As soon as a file is uploaded to the web server, it is available for all to see.

File Names
Our operating system is case sensitive. In other words, the file name 'page.html' is NOT the same as 'Page.html'. If your HTML code references a 'page.html', but the actual file name is in uppercase, this will result in a File Not Found error. This applies to directory names as well. To prevent errors, we suggest naming all files in lowercase. You should not use spaces and punctuation characters although the underscore character ('_') is acceptable.

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·  Do you support FrontPage Extensions?

FrontPage extensions allow you to use the publication feature and dynamic page elements available in Microsoft's FrontPage software. You should only install the server extensions if you intend to use Microsoft's FrontPage software to create and upload your web site. If you install FrontPage extensions you will not be able to upload your files and manage your site using FTP.

Installing FrontPage Extensions
To install FrontPage extensions on your account click the 'Install FrontPage Extensions' link on the FrontPage Extensions page. You will be asked to confirm the action before FrontPage extensions are actually installed on your account.

Reinstalling FrontPage Extensions
In the event that your FrontPage extensions become corrupted and you can no longer use FrontPage to manage your site correctly, you can reinstall the server extensions. Reinstalling the server extensions checks your site configuration for errors and automatically repairs them. Click the 'Reinstall FrontPage Extensions' link on the FrontPage Extensions page. You will be asked to confirm the action before FrontPage extensions are actually reinstalled on your account.

Uninstalling FrontPage Extensions
If FrontPage extensions are no longer required on your account you can uninstall them. Uninstalling the server extensions will restore access to your site by FTP. Click the 'Uninstall FrontPage Extensions' link on the FrontPage Extensions page. You will be asked to confirm the action before FrontPage extensions are actually removed from your account.

Using FrontPage Extensions
To publish your site using Microsoft FrontPage you must first have FrontPage extensions installed on your account, see above. Click the 'Publish Web' option from the 'File' menu in your FrontPage software. Enter 'http://www.yourdomain.com' when asked where you want to publish your site to and click 'Publish'. You will be asked for your account username and password, after which your site will be published to the server. Note that you can only publish your site to an active domain name using FrontPage, you cannot publish your site using FrontPage to the FTP server, to a temporary URL or to a domain name which is not yet fully transferred to our network.

FrontPage Technical Support
Please note that we cannot and will not provide technical support on the use of Microsoft FrontPage, technical support issues relating to the use of Microsoft FrontPage should be referred to Microsoft technical support.

Notes On UNIX FrontPage Extensions
FrontPage 2000 extensions are installed on our UNIX servers, we are aware that this is not the latest version of the server extensions, however the 2002 extensions are not compatible with our server operating system. Please note therefore that some of the newer features included in the FrontPage XP client software will not work and that due to the shared environment, the subwebs, usage analysis and user management features are disabled. Note also that you cannot use FrontPage extensions when you have password protected directories on your account. You must remove password protection from all directories before installing FrontPage extensions.

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·  Do you support CGI?

Our UNIX servers have the capability to run CGI scripts written in Perl. There are a number of free scripts which you can install automatically using the CGI Scripts page, alternatively you can use your own custom scripts.

Using Custom CGI Scripts
If you have a custom CGI script that you need use use, simply upload it using FTP to the 'cgi-bin' directory. All CGI scripts must be placed in the cgi-bin directory and must have an extension of .cgi or .pl. Ensure that your FTP program uploads the file in ASCII mode and be sure to set the correct file permissions using the 'chmod' command from within your FTP client.

System Information
The following parameters may be required when configuring CGI scripts to run on our servers. If you require any more information regarding the configuration of our servers please contact us.

Parameter Value
Path To Perl /usr/bin/perl
Perl Version 5
Path To Sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail
Path To PGP /usr/local/bin/pgp
PGP Version 5
Path To Date /bin/date
Path To Your Webspace The path to the web space for an account is dependant on the account username, for an account with the username 'joebloggs' the path to it's web space would be:
    /home/j/o/joebloggs/public_html
'j' and 'o' being the first and second characters of the username 'joebloggs'.
Note that the path to your home directory is different when you call a CGI script from the SSL secure server.

Perl Modules
All modules included in the standard perl distribution and DBI drivers for mySQL are installed on our servers.

Debugging CGI Scripts
If you see a '500 Internal Server Error' page when you attempt to run your CGI script, you have an error with your code or a misconfiguration. The information in your site Error Log may help you solve the problem.

Technical Support On CGI Scripts
Please note that we cannot provide technical support on third party CGI scripts, problems with a third party CGI script should be referred to the script vendor.

<%end if%>

Notes on CGI Scripts
Please note that chat/IRC, web proxy and mailing list scripts are not allowed on our network under any circumstances. See our Acceptable Use Policy for more information.

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·  How can I password protect my directories?

Password protected directories require authentication using a username and password before files from them can be downloaded via the web.

Protect A Directory
To protect a directory click 'New Password Protected Directory'. A list of the directories in your web site is shown. Select the directory you wish to protect and click 'Set-up Password Protection'. Note that you must create a directory in your web space using FTP before you can protect it.

Passwords
Click the corresponding 'Passwords' link to view a list of users currently granted access to the directory. To add a new user to the directory click 'Add User'. To change the password for an existing user, click 'Change Password'. To delete a user from the directory click 'Delete'.

Remove Protection
To remove password protection from a directory, click the corresponding 'Remove' link. You will be asked to confirm the action before protection is removed. On confirmation of the action, protection is removed from the directory and all user privileges revoked.

Password protection is recursive meaning that protecting a directory also protects any directories within it. Password protection is not available when FrontPage extensions are installed, in this case you should use the password protection facilities included with your FrontPage software.

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·  Do you support mySQL?

mySQL is a powerful database engine which can be integrated into your web site using a programming language such as PHP or Perl. To find out whether mySQL is available on your account type please see the mySQL page.

Installing mySQL
mySQL can be installed using the mySQL page, click 'Install mySQL'. You will be asked to confirm the action before mySQL is actually installed onto your account. On confirmation a mySQL database will be created and access permissions to it granted for your account.

Uninstalling mySQL
If you have installed mySQL and no longer need it, it can be uninstalled using the mySQL page, click 'Uninstall mySQL'. You will be asked to confirm the action before mySQL is actually removed your account. On confirmation your mySQL database including all its contents will be erased.

mySQL Administrator
When mySQL is installed on your account, the mySQL Administrator can be accessed via the mySQL page, click 'mySQL Administrator'. This web based interface enables you to manage your database from your browser.

Accessing mySQL
To access mySQL via your web pages, connect to the mySQL server using the following credentials.

Parameter Value
Username The account's username
Password The account's main password
Database The account's username
Server localhost

Notes On mySQL
Note that to connect to your mySQL database from the SSL secure server you must use a different server host name, see the SSL page for more information.

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·  Do you support SSL?

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) allows a secure communication channel to be set up between the server and your customer's browser. Once this connection has been made, information, like credit card numbers, can be exchanged with no chance of a third party intercepting the data.

Installing SSL
To install SSL on your account click the 'Install SSL' link on the SSL page. You will be asked to confirm the action before SSL is actually installed on your account.

Using SSL
To view your pages securely, see the SSL page to determine your SSL site address. This site address functions just like any domain name that is mapped to your account, being mapped to the root directory of your web space. This means that there is no need for you to upload your pages separately to a secure server.

Removing SSL
To remove SSL from your account click the 'Remove SSL' link on the SSL page. You will be asked to confirm the action before SSL is actually removed from your account.

Path To Your Web Space
When your site is accessed via SSL, the full system path to your web space changes. It is based on your account username and the number of the web server your account is hosted on which you can get from the Hosting Accounts page. For an account with the username 'joebloggs', hosted on Server No. 4, the path to it's web space when accessed over SSL would be:

    /fs/home/4/j/o/joebloggs/public_html
You must substitute '4', 'j', 'o' and 'joebloggs' with your server number, the first and second letters of your account username, and your account username respectively.

Using mySQL with SSL
If you wish your secure pages to be able to access your mySQL database, you must use the data base server host name 'serverX' in your secure pages. Where X is the number of the web server your acccount is hosted on, you can get this information from the Hosting Accounts page. Using this hostname means that mySQL database connections will be made across the network rather than through a local socket. Since local sockets are much quicker and efficient, this special host name should only be used in secure pages.

Notes On SSL
Please note that SSL does not include software to process credit card transactions. Although you can securely receive credit card information through SSL, actual processing of the credit card will require a 'Merchant account' from an accredited financial institution.

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·  How do I customize the Error Page?

By default, when a visitor to your web site requests a file on your site which does not exist, our standard page is displayed to the user. This page is generally uninformative and will often result in the user leaving your site. You can create a custom page of your own to be displayed in the event of an error.

Creating An Error Page
Your page should be an ordinary HTML document although it should only use global URLs, relative URLs will not work. You can upload your cutomised page using the Error Page page. Enter or paste the entire code for your customised error page into the text area and click 'Modify Error Page'. The page will be displayed to users of your web site whenever a 404 (Page Not Found) error occurs. If you leave the text area empty, the standard web server error page will be shown on your site.

Notes On Error Pages
Your error page must have correct HTML syntax and must have at least 512 characters in the HTML code for many modern browsers to display it rather than their own internal one. You may also need to turn off your browser's internal error handling to be able to see your error page.

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·  Do you support SSI?

Server Side Include (SSI) commands are executed by the server as it parses your HTML file. Server side includes have a variety of uses including displaying the date and time and adding a common signature to each of your web pages.

HTML files containing SSI must be named with the extension .shtml. SSI commands are easy to add to your HTML, but you must follow the syntax exactly:

A summary of the most popular SSI commands available on our servers are listed below. Please note that whilst it is possible to execute a CGI program from a server side include, this feature is disabled on our systems due to the security issues it presents.

The Echo Command
The echo command can be used to display the content of the server side environment variables listed below.

Variable Description
Date_Local Current date and time
Document_Name File name of the main document
Document_URI Path and file name of the main document
Last_Modified Date and time the main document was last modifie

For example, to include the current date and time you would place the following code into your HTML document:

The Fsize Command
The fsize command includes the size of a file, this might be helpful if you were to include a thumbnail image and want to display the actual file size of the original image.

The Include Command
This command can be used to include a signature file or company logo within an HTML document. The added document or image will appear as if it were part of the original document.

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·  URL Submitter.

The URL Submitter allows you to submit your page to the major search engines enabling people to find your site.

To use the URL Submitter, enter the web address of the page you wish to submit in the 'URL' field. This will normally be your main domain name, you only need submit your homepage as the search engines will follow links from it to find your other pages. Some engines require an email address with submissions which you should enter in the 'Email' field, you can also select which search engines you wish to submit your URL to. Click 'Submit URL' to start the submission process.

Please note that it can take months for your site to appear in the search engine listings following submission. We make no guarantee that the search engines will accept your URL for inclusion in their indexes.

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·  Pre-installed Free CGI Scripts.

There are a number of CGI scripts offered free of charge which you can install automatically using the CGI Scripts page. Scripts currently available are listed below along with links to documentation regarding their use. We are constantly seeking to make new scripts available, if you have any suggestions or contributions for new scripts we would be delighted to hear from you.

Script Description
Counter Displays a count of the number or visitors to your site
Mailform Processes forms and sends results in an email
Whois Check the availability of domain names
Redirect Redirect users to pages using HTML forms
Guest Book Visitors can leave their comments on your site
Bulletin Board Threaded discussion forum on your web site

Installing Scripts
To install a script select the appropriate script from the CGI Scripts page and click 'Install Script' on the following page. You will be asked to confirm the action before the script is actually installed onto your account. On confirmation the script will be installed to your account along with all related files and the correct permissions set. See the appropriate documentation for help on using your script.

Reinstalling Scripts
If a script becomes corrupted you can reinstall the script via the CGI Scripts page. Note that whilst this will correct any errors, it will also erase any data related to the script. This should only be considered as a last option. To reinstall a script select the appropriate script from the CGI Scripts page and click 'Reinstall Script' on the following page. You will be asked to confirm the action before the script is actually reinstalled onto your account. On confirmation the script will be reinstalled to your account along with all related files and the correct permissions set. See the appropriate documentation for help on using your script.

Uninstalling Scripts
If a script is no longer needed you can uninstall it via the CGI Scripts page. Note that this will also erase any data related to the script. To uninstall a script select the appropriate script from the CGI Scripts page and click 'Uninstall Script' on the following page. You will be asked to confirm the action before the script is actually removed from your account. On confirmation the script will be removed from your account along with all related files.

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