music, marketing, media, management, magic
fivetrees domain hosting services: user notes
The following is a collection of notes intended to assist our domain hosting clients.
For hosting details please contact us.
Updated July 27, 2001: Steve Fairhead (hugely out of date - will sort soon - apologies)
Web site construction
This is a Unix (OpenBSD, actually) system.
Unix is case-sensitive; fred, Fred, and FRED are all different files.
Therefore a reference to fred.jpg will fail if the file is actually called
fred.JPG. Tip: use lower-case for both filenames and references; or at least
try to adopt a consistent style.
Avoid using spaces in filenames; they will cause you pain. Use e.g.
Avoid punctuation in filenames (exceptions: underscore, hyphen,
period are all ok).
In designing websites generally try to be aware of industry standards,
as distinct from proprietary (e.g. Microsoft) derivations.
A useful (if a little old) HTML primer can be found at
A more up-to-date primer is Dave Raggett's Guide to HTML at
For the adventurous, complete HTML specs can be found on the W3C home site at
Note that these standards are evolving fast; we currently recommend the
use of HTML 4.01.
The industry-standard extension for a web page is ".html";
the ".htm" custom is a Microsoft derivation due to the old DOS
8.3 filenaming limitation. Our server does handle both. Whichever you
choose, be consistent. Remember that if you have two files of the same
name but differing only by their extension, the .html file will override the
.htm file. (This is in fact a useful trick for "hiding" a
page you want to test before making it public.)
Avoid Microsoft Extensions. They are inherently proprietary i.e.
The root page of a site is the index.html (or, if it doesn't exist,
the index.htm) page. A link to your website with no page specified will
yield this page.
Use some structure to help you organise your website; use
subdirectories to store different kinds of objects. A typical site might
/ (root): html files
/images: all jpegs and .gifs etc
/sounds: all MP3s etc
/binary: any binary downloads
Be aware that the directory delimiter within websites is the forward
slash ('/'), not the backslash ('\') used in Microsoft products.
Don't forget to set the title of each web page - your readers will
need these for bookmarking. Keep the title brief and descriptive.
Try to keep page names stable. If a user bookmarks a page on your
site, and comes back later and finds it missing, s/he may be confused, give
up and go away. This will happen if the page is deleted or simply renamed.
(It might be a good idea to replace any such pages with a bare page pointing
back to the root of the site or to the replacement page.)
Graphics file formats: be aware that the .gif file format is
problematic, and should ideally be avoided. Unisys holds the patent on the
format and has stated that websites containing gif files could be subject
to a $5000 license fee; for more data on this issue see the
"Burn all Gifs" site,
amongst others. Using an alternative format, e.g. jpeg or png, might
be prudent. (Don't use .bmp files on a website; they're too
inefficient for anything other than trivial use.)
Sound file formats: preferred sound file formats are MPEG 1 layer 3
(.mp3) and Real Audio downloadable (.rm). Raw PCM wave files (.wav) are not
recommended as they are simply too big. We do not (yet) support
General file formats: remember that the person viewing your site
might be using a completely different operating system to you. Therefore
avoid e.g. Windows-specific file formats - Word files will be unreadable to
a Unix user. Stay with the industry-standard MIME formats (if you don't
know what this means, don't worry, but be guided by your HTML editor).
Character sets: similarly be aware that certain characters (e.g.
£, ©, &) must be specially defined in HTML, and not left
to the operating system defaults; for instance the character used by
Microsoft Windows for the £ sign will only show correctly on a
Windows machine. Always use the HTML definitions: a useful list can be
found on "Dave Raggett's Advanced HTML" page at
Web page editors: there are dozens, if not hundreds, to choose from.
Some we can recommend include:
- WebExpress from MicroVision Development
- Microsoft FrontPage & FrontPage Express (albeit again avoiding Microsoft Extensions)
It's often informative (although sometimes a little bewildering!) to run a
website through an HTML validation service e.g.:
FTP access details
The settings for publishing your site via ftp are as follows:
- host: ftp.fivetrees.com
- port: 21
- server type: Unix or auto
- remote directory: none (leave blank)
- login/password: as issued when account setup
If you need help with ftp, or recommendations for an ftp client, please
yell. Note that a website
publishing facility may be included within your HTML editor (e.g.
WebExpress), and/or within your operating system (e.g. Windows 98 Web
Publishing Wizard, Web Folders).
We do not support customer-uploaded CGI scripts in general as these pose a
significant security risk; we take server security extremely seriously. Any
required CGI scripts must be approved and installed by fivetrees.
We support scripts written in Perl using the industry-standard Perl library
(cgi.pm). Exceptionally, we will consider scripts written in C if a port
already exists for Unix in general, and OpenBSD in particular.
Contact us for details.
Microsoft-oriented .exe and .asp scripts are not and will not be supported.
Standard CGI services currently offered include:
Hit counters: a variety of counter and digit styles are supported. Note
that counters are allocated on demand.
Form mail: via the industry-standard Matt's Script Archive "formmail.cgi" script
Form mail: via the WebExpress "mvforms.cgi" script
Note: CGI scripts are effectively programs run on the server, and as
such are a) public and b) a use of a centralised public resource. In contrast
transparent to the server.
Section under construction. Please come back soon!