Q How do you send email without the addressee finding out your email address and name?
A There are several ways to send anonymous email. One is to use anonymous remail, a system through which you send and receive messages and which doesn't reveal your real name or address. The best known of these is anon.penet.fi, which is based in Finland. You can, at no charge, set up an account with a server, which then assigns you a random user ID. Any message sent to your ID at anon.penet.fi will go to you, and any mail sent from you through the server has no identifying marks. Drop a note to [email protected] for information.
A similar service is alpha.c2.org. It's more secure than anon.penet.fi because your message is encrypted before it leaves your desktop, so even your system administrator can't read it. It's also more complicated to use than anon.penet.fi but for the ultra-paranoid is worth the trouble. Check out the FAQ file at www.well.com/user/abacard/ alpha.html.
Your message will travel to its destination with no hint as to who really sent it.
A good site for information on anonymous remailers is www.stack.urc.tue.nl/ - galactus/re-mailers/index-anon.html.
One final note - if you're planning to use anonymous email to do something foolish like threatening the President, don't. They'll find you. They have ways.
Q How does one connect to the Internet directly - that is, without having to go through an Internet service provider?
A You can't, because in a sense there is no Internet, just a large group of connected computers. To get connected to all of them, you have to be connected to one of them. And the only people who are going to do that for you are the companies specifically set up for the purpose - Internet service providers (ISPs).
The service providers connect to all the other organisations on the Net through giant global networks such as those run by BT, CompuServe, AT&T and IBM. Basically, they are buying an expensive, high-bandwidth Internet connection and reselling it in smaller chunks at a profit. It's a case of wholesale versus retail.
Could you approach one of these giant networking companies? Sure, and you can pay several thousands of pounds to be connected directly to the Net - that is, directly to one of the companies which runs one of the conduits of the Internet. But most of them also have retail outlets where you can buy access at retail prices from one of the communication networks. Regardless, you always have to connect through some kind of service provider.
Q Is there any way I can charge people for the time they're connected to my Web page?
A The short answer is yes and no. There's no way you can log the time someone spends looking at your site but there is a way to record how long it takes for them to download information from it. With HTTP, the browser to server protocol language, there's no concept of "being connected" for any period of time. When you access a page on the Web, you only connect to that page for as long as it takes to download the information you need from that page. As soon as that page has been transmitted the connection is broken. You can then have that page on your screen for however long you want - minutes, hours, even days - without ever being connected to the Web server. And if your Web server has a cache, you can keep accessing as often as you like, regardless of whether or not you have access to that site.
You could use the server log files to bill users for their connection time to your system and even bill them on a per file or per kilobyte basis, as the log will typically provide information about when a user logged on and which files were downloaded.
Q I want to set up a Web server on my system for intranet use and possibly external Internet use but I don't have a DNS (Domain Name Services) entry. Do I need an official name before I can set up my system?
A If you are installing a server on a system which currently does not have a DNS allocated to it, when the server installation process asks you to specify the server's name, just give the server's IP address instead. This will allow you to access the Web site now and won't cause any problems later. To access, the site you need to specify the http address as http://Ip-address/ and the system will work just as if you'd typed in http://www.companyname.co.uk.
Q I'm having problems getting my Web browser to recognise the pages I've set up on my server. Is there any way I can test whether it's working correctly?
A If you have files on your Web server and users are claiming they're typing in the correct uniform resource locators (URLs) but the server is telling them the pages aren't found, the first thing to do is make absolutely sure the users are giving the correct URLs. If, for instance, your server is installed in /usr/homepages, your document root is /usr/homepages/docs and you want to see the page /usr/homepages/docs/~ma/index.html, then the proper URL to that page would be http://servername/~ma/index.html (although you could leave out the index.html).
If you are still certain you're using the correct URL, the next thing to check is the permissions on the page. The file representing that page must be readable by the user who the server is running as. Try logging in as the server user and seeing if you can view that file. If not, there's your problem. A sure-fire way to eliminate this would be to set the file to world-readable. To do this you will need to use the chmod command.
To make something world readable use it like this:
chmod 644 filename
If, however you want to make your file executable - that is, if it's a CGI file - you need to change the command to:
chmod 755 filename.
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