Gushi Systems Web Hosting

This is the page where I'll just answer questions that I expect you to have, or that I've personally been asked. For existing clients, there's also my user FAQ.

Current FAQ's:
(Note that the wording here may vary slightly from the actual questions)

  1. Why do these pages look so boring and basic and gray?
  2. What do you offer?
  3. What kinds of sites do you host?
  4. So what's included?
  5. [UPDATED!] And what isn't?
  6. What newfangled whiz-bang technologies does that there web server of yours support?
  7. Do you give out command shells?
  8. If I get a shell can I run a MUD/MUCK/EggDrop/BNC/etc?
  9. What Operating System do you run?
  10. How do you handle my email?
  11. Is there anything you don't allow?
  12. What's wrong with password sharing?
  13. Okay, I get it. What do you charge?
  14. [UPDATED!] Do you have a free hosting plan?
  15. What about a bonus if I refer new customers?
  16. Okay, so if you have a referral bonus, what happens if I've already paid for a year and I bring you a new customer?
  17. [UPDATED!] What forms of payment do you accept?
  18. I want to host the next Yerf!
  19. Can I make a subdomain of my site go to my home computer (I have a cable modem/DSL/building LAN)
  20. Wow! I love you, Gushi. I want you to have my next child but you're male, and already very much in love to a wonderful young lady. So, instead, just tell me how I can sign up.
  21. How do I get in touch with you?

[NEW!] Q: Why does this page look so basic?

A1: Dammit Jim I'm a sysadmin not a graphic artist.
A2: Hey, it looks fine in lynx.
A3: It looks better than this one, and that's the homepage for a website design class at my local college.
A4: Because I recognize that some people may be viewing this over a slow dialup link. (my first modem was a 100 BPS one with a "High Speed" mode of 300BPS, I can sympathize with you guys!).
A5: Hey some of us think Grey is fascinating.

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Q: What do you offer?

A: Web hosting. On a reliable server in a colocation facility. This isn't something I do out of my basement.

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Q: What kinds of sites do you host?

A: I can host anything you like, but I prefer smaller, personal sites. I like giving people a place to express themself. It's the reason I decided to build a server in the first place. I seem to be in the habit of accumulating anime and furry artists, if you're an artist, you're welcome here. No matter what you draw, yes, even "adult" pictures.

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Q: So what's included?

A: You get as much space as you need, up to a gig. I can't understand sites that say "ooh, have ten megs". Hard drives are cheap, and I'm not looking to ream people. You get access to the server via ftp, and I have a web-based editor for those of you that are stuck on the Geocities way of doing things. I give out pretty much unlimited bandwidth as long as there's no open mp3s and no warez (these get the server slammed). I place slight limitations on porn, too, but not the way most sites do. Read here for more details if you need to know.

In other words, show respect for your fellow users and for the bandwidth you all share, and you'll be fine.

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[REVISED!] Q: Okay, what's NOT included?

A: Your domain name isn't. If you're willing to pay me for it, I will register it for you from www.godaddy.com for $10.00. I don't charge anything for this, but because it goes on my card, the domain gets registered to me (GoDaddy is notorious for auto-renewing without their consent). Please note that I will still completely respect the fact that it's your domain, and that you can do what you want to do with it, even move it off of my server if that's what you want. If it makes you feel better to have that in writing, I can give that as well. Haven't needed to yet, though.

The domain also comes back to my PO Box, which is better for people who like their anonymity. (There are a remarkable amount of under-18 female artists on the server, demographically speaking).

Anyway, site design isn't included. And while I will help you set up a script or two if you need it, writing custom code isn't included either.

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Q: What can the webserver do?

A: I support php5, server side includes, and mySQL, as well as giving you your own cgi-bin. Your scripts run as you, so it's nice and secure. I can handle things like phpBB with ease, if that's what you like. If you're willing to get a certificate (or if you can deal with a self-signed one), you can do SSL as well. I support the Microsoft Frontpage Server Extensions, as well, but you don't want them. You really don't.

You have the ability to configure the server yourself through .htaccess files, which includes the ability to turn automatic directory listing on and off, turn script execution on and off, block off certain areas of your site (either by password or by ip address), or even do the Angelfire image protection thing (to keep others from hot-linking to you, but note that hot-linking is allowed by default). It's very flexible, and a little bit daunting, but there are FAQs out there, and I'm always willing to help and provide examples.

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Q: Do I get a shell?

A: If you don't know what one is, a shell is a direct login to the server. For the uninitiated, it looks like a DOS prompt. Except it's on my box not yours. It's useful for power users, and a good way to learn unix. (Jump right in). Yes, I include a shell account with my accounts. However, I generally disallow things like BNCs or Eggdrops (irc stuff), because it puts load on my server that doesn't directly benefit anyone. I routinely kill processes by users that aren't logged in. However, if you feel it's likely that you'll never USE your shell account, please tell me and I'll disable it.

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Q: Can I run this on your machine (where this is some piece of software I'd be running 24/7)...?

A: I have an irc server running locally that I use for doing things like group meetings. It runs the DALnet server (but isn't connected to the DALnet), if you want a chat server you're welcome to use that. If you want to run a MUD/MUSH/MUCK, etc, then please get in touch with me. Those things (specifically the poorly written ones) can get kinda heavy, and while I do occasionally allow it, if you haven't asked me, and I see a rogue process running, I will kill -9 it, and usually, the MUCK database HATES that. This is my way of saying please ask first.

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Q: What OS does your server run.

A: FreeBSD. It's a type of unix-like OS. It's very stable, and often will stay up for 100 days or more until I take it down for minor maintenance. (Maintenance windows usually happen late at night). The webserver is apache 1.3.26, for anyone who cares. I'm reasonably obsessed with staying current and being one-step ahead of the script kiddies, so I will almost always run the latest stable version of things.

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Q: What about email?

A: I give you the whole domain for email. anything@yourdomain.com goes to you. If you want to push it somewhere else, you can upload a file called .forward (that's dot-forward) to your home directory with a single address in it. After that, all mail for your account will go there. I run the very powerful procmail mail handler, which gives you the ability to create a "recipe" file that can selectively forward, fork, and manage your mail, automatically. The headers in the email will tell you what address an email was sent to, but there's ways to make it show up elsewhere. It's left as an exercise for the reader, until someone writes some prime-specific howtos and documentation. As far as how to retrieve your email, I have pop3, imap, and the ever-popular webmail.gushi.org.

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Q: What DON'T you allow?

A: I have a full Acceptable Use Policy, but I'll sum it up here: Don't do things that mess with other people's sites. Don't try to hack or compromise the security of the server. Don't spam. That really pisses me off. Don't give out your password to anyone without letting me know. Not your best friend, not your parents, not your pet gerbil.*

Don't host loads of porn (for the meaning of porn, see this page, it's NOT the usual meaning!) or open mp3s or warez. If you want to upload a song or program that you wrote, that's all well and good, but don't say "look it's 500 megs to dump my music directory to" or "wow, look, the latest copy of Photoshop 8". Use common sense here.

Oh, and if you host things I *really* despise, including the limited subset of:{kiddie porn and depictions of serious cruelty to real animals} (I mean photographs here, you can draw whatever you want), but if I find you've been actually doing this, I reserve the right to turn you, your files, your logs, and your information over to the appropriate authorities.

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Q: What do you have against password sharing?

If you have someone designing your site or working on a script for you, that's fine, just shoot me an email. I have systems in place that detect multiple logins, especially from unusual locations. If you want to sub-host people on a regular/permanent basis, that's fine, and I usually do it for a VERY modest fee (sometimes for free, every case is different.). But if I happen to see your site hosting other people (and especially advertising it), I tend to check logs rather carefully, and I will ask questions. This is the security of MY system you're compromising by sharing that account.

It's just as if you were renting an apartment in a building where I was the landlord. I'd appreciate a line that says "Hey, I'm giving my decorator a housekey for the next few days" or "Hey, I have some permanent guests who I'd like to give their own key". But most apartment buildings also require a key to get into the building, and by letting someone else in, you're that much closer to allowing them to break in to one of the other apartments. And as a landlord, I might feel like charging something small once for copying the building key and for the extra wear and tear on the cheesy 70's building carpets. It's common courtesy.

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Q: Okay, I get it. So? What do you charge?

A: My basic rate is $6 a month. Sure, there are people out there cheaper, but I think I'm pretty competitive. If you refer a customer to me, I'll give you a free month. If you pay six months in advance you get one free. (So six months is $30). I do this (rather than only giving people a break on a year) because I know some people may not be able to lump it all at once, but still want to get some sort of break for paying six months up front later on.

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[UPDATED!] Q: Did you say I can get hosting for Free?

There are currently a few things you can do in exchange for hosting if you're really strapped for cash. I've detailed them here.

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Q: What if I refer a customer to you?

A: I give out a free month for every referral, but unless you come to me with a new customer in tow when you sign up, it's going to cost you something. Usually referrals come in the form of an IM like "Hey, I have a friend who needs some space, wanna talk to them", rather than a field on my signup page. But if you're coming here at someone's request, make sure you tell me who sent you. If you followed a banner on furbid to get here, well, I'm tracking those. There are several, done by the various users on the system, and I plan on rewarding those who get results.

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Q: What if I've already paid you the year and I refer someone to you.

A: You get a biscuit. Good user! In all seriousness, I dunno. Refunds are a pain in the ass, especially on an amount like six bucks, but perchance we can work something else out. I'll buy you dinner at a con or something like that. You won't be forgotten.

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[UPDATED!] Q: How do I pay you? Do you take Visa?

A: Paypal to paypal@gushi.org. Ecount to ecount@gushi.org. If you have a credit card, get an account through them. I've also set up a convenient payment page. Check or Money can be sent to:

Dan Mahoney
PO Box 173
Selden, NY 11784

No, I don't take credit cards directly, but can do so through my job in a situation where there's no alternative. (So far this has only been needed with a user I have in Kuwait).

I've recently been asked about accepting cash. I have no problem with people stuffing bills in an envelope and mailing them to me. It's happened before, since many of my users are under-18, with parents that don't understand why they'd want a website. So they eliminate the middle man and just send. Two things about this:

1) The post office has some regulations that restrict how money can be legally sent. In general those regulations apply to LARGE amounts of cash, but it's kind of a blanket policy. In general, it means if your money for hosting or your birthday card for your nephew you stuck the $20 in gets lost, they're not responsible.

2) When sending cash, you have no guarantee that it won't be gotten by unauthorized parties, and no way to track it if it is. A money order solves both these problems, and if it's a postal money order, it's only 85 cents, and I can cash it as soon as I get it, which makes me happy.

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Q: I have this huge project I want to do and it requires scads of disk/processor/memory/bandwidth...

A: I can drop another server, or we can work out some sort of deal where you give me hardware for the server. You never know. I'm MUCH more flexible than most corporations are.

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Q: What if I want a part of my site to go to my home machine?

A: I support dymanic dns, whereby a little program on your home computer can update my DNS and point home.yourdomain.com (or whatever) to whatever your IP address is at the time. What this means is that if you have something that needs the bandwidth of your home connection, (to keep it sane and legal I'll say a games server), then you can still host it with your domain name.

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Q: Holy crap this is unbelievable, how do I sign up.

A: Walk this way...

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Q: How do I get in touch with you.

A: A couple ways...

AIM: LarpGM, I'm ALWAYS "online", not always logged there (my AIM runs from the server) There's an AIM widget at the bottom of every page that will contact me if you have a question.
ICQ: 13735144 (Ditto about being always "online")
Email:hosting@gushi.org

I also give out my pager/cell phone email address to my clients for those emergencies but since I pay per-use I don't publish it here because spambots and such WILL pick it up and I can't change it as easily as I can change others.

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