Re: Domain and Server How To

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    [Cross-posting to news:alt.html and news:comp.mail.misc, for
    there're both a few issues with the HTML itself, and with the
    email "server" configuration described.  Excluding news:alt.html
    from Followup-To:, though.]

 > Hi, a brief but straightforward step by step guide to serving your
 > resources to the wider world.  Email, web service and domain setup.


 > Enjoy!

    Three questions regarding the HTML code:

    * did you consider using the <p /> element [1] for the
      paragraphs? despite how it may look, <br /> is /not/ a proper
      element for such;

    * did you consider splitting your document into sections? (using
      <h2 />, and possibly <h3 />, ...);

    * did you consider checking your HTML against the W3C Markup
      Validation Service [2]?


 > Domain and Server How-To

 > The main prerequisite for running a domain with a server on it is a
 > proper cable connection which is DSL rather than ADSL.  The latter is
 > fine for a client network where most traffic flows downstream to you,
 > whereas with a server you need the more symetrically rated
 > bidrectional flow of DSL rather than Asymetric DSL.

    Also, one may consider renting a "virtual" server, which may
    cost some extra 10 USD per month (although there're offerings as
    cheap as 3 USD per month), but will have almost perfect
    connectivity, and only very infrequent downtime.  (Per my
    experience, a virtual server continuously running for a year is
    more of a rule than an exception.)

 > The next step to having a domain is checking it's availability with a
 > search engine.  If your choice of domain name isn't listed then move
 > quickly to park it.  There are a few reputable companies that will do
 > this for you and it's their only role on the internet.  The likes of
 > GoDaddy and Freeparking are known to be good in the UK.

    I don't quite understand what "parking" is (and what it's for),
    but I'd prefer for the domain registrar to support /both/ DNSSEC
    and IPv6.  Which makes the list quite short.  Consider, e. g.:

 > To check your STATIC Ip address and make a note of it on your DSL
 > connection, on which the modem must never be switched off now, click
 > here [3].  This is the Wide Area Network (Internet) side address of your
 > connection that needs registration with DNS (domain parking).

    Note, however, that now that the world is running short of IPv4
    addresses, there're quite a few ISP's that only provide NAT'ed
    Internet access.  (Which means that the IP address obtained via
    [3] may be shared among a number of ISP's clients, and thus
    utterly useless for the purposes described.)

    BTW, [3] doesn't seem to support IPv6.


 > A minimum period for domain parking is usually two years, this is a
 > sensible initial investment.  If you do end up running a successful
 > concern renewal is something that the DNS company will remind you
 > needs attention before your domain name is snatched up by some other
 > DNS company to be auctioned or held to ransom in other words.

    The "absolute" minimum domain registration period is one year,

 > When your domain is up and running with DNS test it with a ping in a
 > DOS Window or at the linux command line on a LAN side PC.  This will
 > tell you soon after DNS registration when your domain name has
 > propagated throughout DNS on the Internet and actually resolves name
 > to Ip address.  This brings us to the subject of setting static
 > addresses on the LAN side of your router for your PCs.  Routers use
 > one of two address ranges to give each client device (such as a PC)
 > an address each with DHCP.  One of these ranges is [10.x.x.x] and the
 > other is [192.168.x.x].

    These are ranges defined in RFC 1918 [4].  And there's actually
    one more of them:  (Or, using "x-notation",


 > To see which range a router is using on your LAN in Windows at the
 > DOS prompt type "winipcfg" or later versions "ipconfig".  In linux
 > that translates to "ifconfig" on the command line.

    Alternatively, one may use $ ip addr list, or just $ ip a, at
    the GNU/Linux command line.  (OTOH, $ ifconfig would probably
    also work on other Unix-like systems, such as, e. g., FreeBSD.)

 > We are now going to set those addresses permanently on your client
 > devices using manual config rather than letting DHCP give varying
 > addresses at switch on of each client.  This enables the server on
 > the LAN to have a permanent LAN address to route it's Internet
 > traffic to.

    There should be some information, or a pointer to such, on how
    one does that.

 > To route traffic from the Internet incoming direction needs bit of
 > setup at the router.  This is variously known as port-forwarding or
 > NATting (Network Address Translation).  The webserver port is HTTP
 > which is port 80 usually.  You should know your router (gateway)
 > address from "ipconfig" on a linux client

    "ipconfig" is an obvious typo here.

 > or "ipconfig" in Windows.  Enter your router address into a client
 > machine browser and look for the port-forwarding or NAT feature and
 > route Internet side HTTP or port 80 to the server address on the LAN
 > port 80.  You could be running Apache in linux on your server or
 > perhaps IIS or Aprelium Abyss in Windows.

    Or Lighttpd, or Nginx, or...  There're a lot of HTTP servers to
    choose from, and most of the free software ones are
    cross-platform, and available for almost whatever "general
    purpose" system one may find running at one's home.

 > These HTTP server softwares are documented elsewhere.  I would say
 > that if you are using Windows 7/8 Pro or such that you need to turn
 > IIS on in Windows Features (Control Panel/Programs and Features).
 > All webservers require at least an index page in the wwwroot
 > directory to start a site with.

    ... And at least Apache comes with a "default" page.

 > The rest is web coding work beyond the scope of this article.
 > Described next is setting up Google Webmasters and Analytics
 > accounts.  Your webserver possibly hosts more than one site.  All
 > your sites need to be listed in the root directory of the server in a
 > sitemap for Google.  This is a plain text file called "sitemap.txt"
 > with a list of the urls for each site.  As follows:-

    I don't quite understand it.  What if my HTTP server hosts and /; do I need to
    mention all of the virtual hosts in a single sitemap?


 > This next section deals with mail server setup using the Exim 4 SMTP
 > and Dovecot POP3

    Note that Dovecot also supports IMAP4, which is a much more
    featureful protocol to access one's mailbox.  Personally, I've
    scrapped the last POP3 server I've had under my control
    something like a decade ago.

 > softwares and applies only to linux systems.  The type of mail server
 > described here will service a LAN subnet and send and recieve mail
 > for the domain to other mail servers on the Internet.

    Please note that this may not be possible while using a "general
    purpose" ISP, as their customers' address ranges are typically
    blacklisted at major email "hubs" (such as, e. g., Google Mail.)
    For this, one'd almost certainly need a "virtual" (or perhaps a
    collocated real one, for those having money for such) server.

 > If using a debian or ubuntu OS the server softwares should be
 > installed with Synaptic or "apt-get", that's Exim and Dovecot.  Exim
 > is the SMTP server which is the actual Mail Transfer Agent accepting
 > incoming mail from both LAN and Internet via SMTP and sending
 > outgoing mail using the same protocol.  Mail client software on LAN
 > workstations needs to collect incoming mail from the server with Post
 > Office Protocol 3 (POP3) and Dovecot serves this protocol to clients
 > from the server.  For Exim configuration see here [5] but where the
 > article specifies the listen on "" address (localhost) use
 > the LAN Ip address of the server, in other words the server's
 > interface Ip address.

    To quote [5]:

 > if you want to allow remote connections then specify, then
 > a semi-colon and then the IP address of the server itself.

    thus, both 127.x.x.x /and/ the server's LAN IP address(es)
    should be entered there.


 > For "machines to relay mail for" addresses enter your LAN series of
 > addresses.  All that remains for SMTP incoming and outoimng mail
 > transmission from the server to the wide area network is the NATting
 > (port-forwarding) of port 25 to the server machine at the router.

    My long-time recommendation would be to also configure SSL/TLS
    at both the MTA and the mailbox server; and the latter to /only/
    accept secure connections.

    Sure, it's possible to use a self-signed server X.509
    certificate here (and even some bigger folks use that; consider,
    e. g., some of the Debian MX'es), but it seems much better to
    use one that's properly signed by a "trusted party."  Such as /.

 > The domain should now accept and be able to service SMTP connections.
 > POP3 server software Dovecot should be configured as here with
 > "mail_location" usually taking the "mbox" option with default
 > settings used in Exim 4 configuration.

    Depending on how the mailboxes are to be actually used, using
    Maildir may be a considerably better solution.

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