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VIRTUALAVE.NET

Free Site Hosting Service Review
Checked on May 13, 2001
 
http://www.virtualave.net came as a sudden and pleasant surprise to me. Nothing like tracing our readers links back from the old referer logs!

VirtualAve.net offers free hosting to both businesses and individuals, but please be sure to read the service agreement first. There are some (what I consider to be) reasonable exclusions. They provide both yourname.virtualave.net and yourdomain.com free hosting. Of course, if you decided to get your own domain, you are responsible for the $70.00 InterNic Registration Fee.

They promise fast connectivity. As of this writing (November 21, 1998) they sure do! Page retrieval, script execution, and FTP access are quick. In fact, traceroutes from two different servers yielded results under 30ms. Wow! (from Long Island, NY)

Be prepared to be a little self-sufficient. When I setup the test account I could not run scripts due to a configuration error. I wrote support, never heard from them, but it started working by the next day. I do not fault them for this- half my e-mail are questions regarding server configuration on fee based servers I have never seen! Read the FAQs!

After gleaning a couple of tidbits out of the FAQs and the welcome letter, I had the Virtual Card script up and running in less than two minutes- and on the very first try.

To use their service, you have to agree to carry a banner on the top of all pages- including CGI generated pages. In exchange for carrying a standard size banner you get:

  • Real FTP access.
  • Unix Apache Server with everything just where it should be!
  • FAQ's are terse, but readable.
  • 20MB storage space.
  • Full CGI and Perl abilities.
  • Server Side Includes (name your pages with the .shtml extention)
Porting BNB scripts is a snap!
  • The path to your HTML is: /home/login_name/public_html
  • The path to your CGI is: /home/login_name/public_html/cgi-bin
  • Replace any occurrance of "/usr/lib/sendmail -t" with
    "/usr/sbin/sendmail -t"
  • The path to perl 5 (First line in a script) is /usr/local/bin/perl
  • Set your script permissions to 755 (owner-all, group and others read-execute only)
  • Scripts that need to write to files require that the files have their permissions set to 666 (read-write for all). Directories such as cards, must have their permissions set to 777 (read-write-search for all).
  • DO NOT use environment variable such as DOCUMENT_ROOT, they point elsewhere (at least with name.virtualave.net hosting)
Overall Impression: Outstanding service and speed in trade for small real estate. Technical support and the sign-up process can lag, but you get what you pay for!  

 



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