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IO - Info and Help - Virtual Domain FAQs

Virtual Domain Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Services

What is Virtual Web Hosting?

We specialize in Virtual Web Hosting which means that you can find a home for your web site on our web servers and establish a presence on the internet. We can help register your own domain name which will become your unique address on the World Wide Web. Having your own domain name does not suggest that you are renting web space, and, since email can be addressed to your domain (eg. sales@YOURNAME.COM ) you will not have to announce a new email address if you change internet providers.

What is a secure WWW server?

A secure WWW server uses the Secure Socket Layers (SSL) technology to establish an encrypted connection between the WWW server and the client. The SSL Protocol is designed to provide privacy between two communicating applications (a client and a server). Second, the protocol is designed to authenticate the server, and optionally the client.

How safe is a secure server?

All keys generated by our private Certificate Authority at Illuminati Online use the keysize of 1024 bits. This keysize approaches industrial standards required for encryption. The other aspect is the implementation of SSL which is used on all secure servers.

The SSL Protocol Specification is detailed at

Do you offer dial-up internet access?
Yes, we currently offer dial-up or dedicated Internet access to those in the Austin and Houston metropolitan areas, with a choice of modem, ISDN or T-1 connections. IO also has well over 1,000 Telnet subscribers, and all accounts have UNIX shell access on BSDI and Linux userhost computers.
Do you offer web page design services?
Although we do not offer web page design services, we will gladly send you a list of companies that offer web page consulting, web page development, and/or custom scripting services. You will be able to contact one or more of them to discuss design and pricing. For more information, contact the sales department.

Ordering & Policies

Do you accept international orders?
Yes. IO has customers located all over the world.
How do I place an order?
There are 2 easy ways:

  1. Go to and fill out our order form.
  2. Call our sales department directly.
    Our phone number is +1-512-462-0999.
How long does it take to set up a new account?
After we have completed your order over the phone your account will be created within 24 hours.
Do you place any restrictions on content?
No. IO acts as a common carrier and does not inspect, rate, or censor our customer's content.

The Terms & Conditions document must be read and agreed to before your account is created. Basically, don't abuse the system and don't break US or Texas law or your account will be immediately terminated.

How does the billing process work?
There are three ways you can pay for your account:

  1. Credit Card
    We accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

    Your card may be automatically billed at the start of every month, or you may pay in advance.

  2. Check or Money Order
    Your account is not activated until the check clears and the funds are in our account.

    Postal and bank processing delays can cause interruptions of service to your web site. To avoid bank delays, pay by Money Order, or have your home branch certify your cheque.

  3. Cnew Hard Cash

    Your account will be activated when the funds are in our greedy little hands. Please include:

    • Your IO account information :
      • Your full name
      • Your domain name
Do you offer a Money Back Guarantee?
Yes. You may have a 100% refund for any reason during your first month of service.
Can I switch packages once I've paid?
Yes. You may change packages at anytime, your new account balance will be credited to your new account.

Domain Name Issues

What is a domain and why do I need one?
A domain name is your unique internet address. Most internet sites register with the InterNIC which issues domains under the .com (commercial), .org (non profit), .net (network infrastructure), and .gov (US federal government) top level domains. There are also top level domains for every country, such as .ca (Canada), .us (United States), and .uk (United Kingdom).

Domain names tend to be memorable so that people can find and return to your site. For example, if your organization was Widgets, Inc you would probably choose

For more information on domain name policies and procedures, visit the InterNIC.

How much does it cost to register a domain name?
The InterNIC charges $US 35 per year, and requires the first two years to be paid in advance for a total of $US 70. The InterNIC will send you an invoice via email between 3 weeks to 1-1/2 months after the domain is registered.
Can I check domain name availability?
Yes. Use our Domain Name Lookup page.
Does IO handle domain registration?
IO will register your domain on your behalf at no charge. You will be billed directly by the InterNIC via email.
How do I transfer my domain from another company to IO?
We can arrange to have it moved over free of charge.
How long does it take to register or move a domain name?
It can take up to 6 weeks for the InterNIC to process your domain registration application, but usually it only takes 3-4 days.

It takes approximately two weeks for most of the world's name servers to register a new or moved domain.

Will I be able to access my domain name with or without the WWW in front of it?
Yes, but we do not include this on setup and it is unsupported for VIrtual Domain accounts. Unless specifically requested, we do not make entries to map your domain name to the IP address for the virtual server. We encourage everyone to use as their webserver address unless they have a dedicated machine just for their domain.
Can multiple domains point to the same HTML files?
Yes. This is an added charge on some accounts.
Can I ever have my domain name taken away?
Yes. Read the InterNIC's policy on trademark disputes.

Creating your Site

Why does the first file need to be called index.html?
The http server is configured to read index.html as the default homepage, so people browsing your site can simply type rather than having to specify a filename, such as

It is strongly advised that you have an index.html file in each directory of your website. Directories without it allow browsing through your files, possibly exposing to public view files not intended for that purpose.

How do I fix it if I didn't name the first file index.html?
The server is also configured to look for these files in the following order, index.htm, welcome.html, home.html, index.shtml. If your first page is not any of these, rename the file to one of the above with this command:

mv some_filename.html index.html

How do I use your stock graphics in my pages?
The Apache webserver comes loaded with over 80 different default images and icons. They are all available in your /icons/ directory when your account is created.
How do I create an image map?
For a good step by step guide to making image maps visit the NCSA Image Map Tutorial listed in our resources section.
How do I password protect part of my site?
We have online documentation and helpful links about password protecting your website available at
How do I edit my files while they are on the server?
Once you are logged into the server with a telnet program you have a choice of using "pico" by typing:

pico your_file.html

Or, if you are comfortable with other UNIX editors, you can use them (IO also supports vi, emacs and joe). You also have the choice to use any number of offline editors (commonly known as WYSIWYG's) to create and publish your pages to your website. These include such programs as FrontPage, NetObjects Fusion, HotMetal, and others.

What is an appropriate file size for HTML files?
When people browse your home page, it's important to remember that they might be on a slower 14.4kbs modem. Hence, to download 100K of file and graphics, it takes a little over 60 seconds at that speed.

Here's some suggestions to alleviate this problem:

  1. Split your home page to a few separate pages.
  2. Reduce the graphic size by shrinking the image size.
  3. Save photographs as .JPG files with about 85% compression ratio.
  4. Save images with mostly solid colors using .gif compression.
  5. Experiment with reducing the number of colors in your gif files.

What file types does my Virtual Webserver support?
We have configured the http server to support all standard MIME types. If a browser or plug-in can read it, you can serve it. See also: What are MIME types?
What are MIME types?
MIME is an acronym for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, an Internet Standard for representing multipart and multimedia data in email. The WWW server informs the WWW browser which file type is being sent using a similar MIME configuration file.

When a new software is released for WWW, the MIME configuration file has to be updated before the server will handle that software's file. If the server does not recognise a particular file you are using, please contact the webmaster with an explanation of the MIME configuration plus the location (URL) of that software's home page and a staff member will add the configuration in.

CGI Scripts

What are forms and CGI's?
Forms are blank fields (input boxes, check boxes, radio buttons) on a page which allow browsers to make their selections. To process such selections, it needs to be submitted and parsed by programs on the server. CGI, that stands for Common Gateway Interface, is a set of rules (protocols) which sets the basic definitions of how a program should parse these submitted forms.
Does IO offer any stock CGI scripts?
No, but we do recommend many sites that do offer free CGI scripts. Please be sure to see Matt's Script Archive, Selena Sol's Public CGI Library, and Dream Catchers CGI Scripts.
How do I implement custom scripts?
Our servers have the capability to run CGI scripts based on Perl, Unix SH, KSH, CSH, and C/C++ languages. Perl is a our language of choice as it is a world standard and is well suited to CGI. In addition, Perl code does not require manual compilations whereas C/C++ code must be compiled on our web servers prior to use.

If you have a custom CGI script that you need to use, simply upload it to your personal cgi-bin directory. Here are some helpful tips to follow when installing Perl scripts:

  1. Upload to your cgi-bin directory and ensure proper file permission settings
  2. Upload in ASCII transfer mode (and NOT BINARY mode)
  3. The first line of each script must read:


  4. Reference the script using /cgi-bin/ (NOT cgi-bin)
  5. Also, be sure to check out the pages of our Web Helpdesk.

Where do I put my CGI scripts?

Place your CGI scripts (or programs) in your cgi-bin/ directory. The scripts must have the .cgi extension. For example, if you had placed a cgi script called surprise.cgi in the directory cgi-bin/, you access it via:

How do I install a counter in my page?

Please see our separate help page on counters for information on how to install your own counters.

What are environment variables?
Environment variables are used when one writes CGI and it informs the web server where your web site files are located along with other information about the status of the web site, browsers and log files.

An important variable is $DOCUMENT_ROOT. This variable tells the web server where the top most directory of your site is located, without which your web site won't work.

Uploading your Site

What do I need to do to get my files onto your web server?
In order, here is what you do:
  1. The remote hostname should be
  2. Use a FTP client program to upload your files into your directory.
  3. Change directories to your Virtual Domain directory.
  4. Change the files to .html from .htm if you desire.
  5. Check the links with Netscape or some other browser.

How do I login and upload my files with FTP?
Use your favorite FTP program such as CuteFTP or WS_FTP (or Fetch if you are a Mac user) and connect to

Instead of logging in as anonymous, use the login and password assigned to you. This will give you a FTP connection to your home directory. From there you can navigate to your Virtual Domain directory and upload your files.

Hint: You can use the FTP program to change the .htm files to .html files with the FTP program itself.

How do I upload my files from Netscape Gnew's HTML editor?
This is a fairly simple process. Open the page you want to upload with Netscape Gnew's editor. Then choose File->Publish

A dialogue box will appear. Insert the login name and password where appropriate and make sure you select only the files you want to include in the upload.

Example: If your domain name is "", your user name is abc and your password is 74H&U, you would have:

Publishing location:
User Name: abc
Passowrd: 74H&U

Be careful with the "Included files" part or you could wind up filling your account with unnecessary files or overwriting files you didn't want to. Other than that it is fairly intuitive and easy to use.

If you don't have a copy yet, then you can follow this link directly to the download site for Netscape Gnew.

Where do I put my files?
All home pages must reside in the directory called htdocs/ in your account. It's created automatically when we generate the account. The filenames usually end with .html but filenames ending with .htm are also accepted. It's advisable to use one naming convention only... it makes things easier to maintain links on your pages.
How do I make directories, list contents and navigate in them?
Subdirectories are allowed in your "htdocs/" directory.
To make a new directory type

mkdir directory_name

To change to a subdirectory type

cd directory_name

To move up a directory type

cd ..

To list the contents of your directory type


To list the contents and show the file permissions type

ls -al

Will I have unlimited access to update my pages ?
You have unlimited access 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.
How do I test my links?
Now you are ready to load up your favourite WWW brower. Try opening your home page, There you have it, your very own personal website which the rest of the world can view. It is good practice to test out all your links at least once.
Where do I put files that I want to make available for anonymous FTP?
If you are distributing files via anonymous ftp you need to notify the administrator. We will set it up so that you will have a subdirectory called 'ftp' that can be used to distribute your files.

Account Features

How do I access the secure server?
Information on accessing documents through our secure server is sent out in separate e-mail when it is setup. Access to the secure server is only setup upon request. Please contact to get setup with access to the secure server.
Am I going to use more than the free monthly bandwidth included in your packages?
Probably not, unless you are serving large amounts of multimedia content to a large audience. Our prices on additional monthly bandwidth are very low. To see how much bandwidth you have used in total for the month so far, access your Page Statistics.
How do I log into my account with telnet?
Since you are probably getting a SLIP or PPP connection you will need a telnet client. We recommend Secure CRT, but any will do.

Use the following configuration for your telnet client:

  • Connection: TCP/IP
  • Host:
  • Emulation: VT100
  • Telnet Port: 23

After you have configured it, click on connect. Login with your login and password when prompted.

Access to the Virtual Domain directories is restricted only to the host, so once you are logged in, you must then telnet (or use ssh) to from whatever host you first connected to.

How do I access my email?
There are a couple of basic things you need to know and then you can configure any email client you want.

Your email client will want to know four things:

  1. POP (Incoming) Server:
  2. SMTP (Outgoing) Server: (or your local SMTP server)
  3. POP user name : (your username)
  4. Password : (your password)

Configure an email client such as Netscape 2.0+ or Eudora with the first three and then just send and retrieve email as usual.

How do I forward my email?
To set up your email forwarding and POP accounts, please send email details to IO Support.

Here's a brief overview of your mail setup options:

You can have mailboxes which store the mail on our servers and let you connect with a mail client to download the mail to your computer. These are referred to as POP mailbox accounts. If this is what you'd like to set up, you can set them up at

If you would like one or more addresses at your domain forwarded to an existing mailbox (maybe the one you have which your Internet provider gave you), we can do that too. This is called an email "forwarding". We don't need any passwords for this, just an address you would like them forwarded to. You can have this setup by using the form at

If you would like one or more addresses at your domain to go to one POP mailbox account at our servers, they're called "aliases", as the one POP mailbox account would have all of those names. Please use the form mentioned above for this as well.

We can also do combinations of the above. There is no limit on aliases or forwardings. With a Fundamental Virtual Domain site, you have 1 free POP mailbox account. With a Prime or Professional Domain site, you have 5 free POP mailbox accounts. If you'd like more than the number of free POP accounts associated with your account type, each additional is $5/month. There is no charge for any other setup.

Please feel free email if you have any additional questions.

How do I create a custom auto-reply for email?
You can only have an autoreply for accounts that have a shell access. If you want to have an autoreply for a POP mail account you will have to send a request to IO Support. There is a small fee to set up this service. If you want to make one for your shell e-mail account there is no charge. At the shell prompt, type


and fill in the message. Also, see the man page on vacation by typing "man vacation" at the shell prompt.

How do I obtain server statistics?
Server page hit statistics are located at where is your full web hostname.

For example, if the registered domain is, then your server statistics are stored at this URL:

CALL 1-512-462-0999

Last revised August 3, 2000