ISP Business looking to do Web Hosting

By acidosmosis
Jul 22, 2003
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  1. I work for an ISP. It's old news. Anyway the owner wants me to look into "web hosting software". I told him that we could use IIS (Internet Information Server) to setup the FTP accounts for customers.

    The objectives are to provide customers with FTP access so that they can host a website on our server. We would provide them with FTP access, an address such as, limit the space the customer can use, and bandwidth.

    Our main problem would be how we do the billing for the customers that have FTP accounts to use space on our server.

    So we need some sort of software that can setup these FTP accounts with space/bandwidth restrictions and also maintain billing for those FTP customers.

    I've seen lots of software to do this, but almost all of it costs a great deal of money. Such as a one-time fee of $1799 (unlimited customer licenses), or $4.50/per customer license fees.

    The owner has told me that he has found numerous software applications that do these things for $50-$100 (one time fee). I immediately told him the software would be no count if it cost $50 or even $100. I am almost 100% sure (using my common sense) that what he has supposedly seen online charges license fees even though he apparently doesn't seem to think so.

    Since I told him that a $50-$100 webhosting program would be no count, he tells me I basically think I know everything and have a know it all attitude (just because I know what I am talking about). His excuses are things like "your just a little kid, your not a professional, how do you know, you dont have a degree". Well first off degrees mean diddly squat, second I am 20 years old and have been doing this since I was practically in diapers and know more about what I am talking about than most people that have been doing this for 25 years.

    He has told me today after this discussion that I must do research and provide a research paper about webhosting software on the Internet and "why a $50 webhosting software would be no count", also providing a comparison of it with a $150 webhosting software and a $250 webhosting software. Everyone reading this obviously knows it is insane.

    So, I need some help here. Lots of you are professionals. What kind of software could we use for this kind of job (if any)? And, tell me if I am insane but I STRONGLY believe you can NOT get software that costs $50 to do this without lots of license fees (in turn meaning the program would obviously NOT be $50). Especially software that is of high enough quality that it should be ran on an ISP server (which Im sure it should not if it cost $50).

    ANY information will be helpful so that I can prove what I have said to the owner and rebunk his theory of getting some software for $50 to do what we need.
  2. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    You probably can get software for 50 bucks that gets the job done, really. Those other expensive ones are more of a loaded with unnecessary features, as Windows is compared to Linux.

    If he want's something simple for bandwidth tracking, space allocation, and FTP accounts, it shouldn't be that expensive.
  3. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Yes but I need facts, not an opinion. No offence.

    The fact also is that a $50 peice of software isn't of high enough quality to be used in a professional business environment. Instead it would be used on a personal basis, not business. Though if someone can prove me wrong and show me that some software exists to do this job and is sufficient for a professional business then thats the kind of information I need ASAP. (Professional business as in an ISP, not exactly a professional webhosting company -- webhosting is something we just intend to provide free with our service plus some stand-alone webhosting accounts for paying webhosting customers).
  4. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Couldn't you use Linux and Apache, which would cost nothing? I am not an Apache expert, but you could browse to the Apache site and check it out. Apache is one of the most popular webservers around and its free, just like Linux. Apache should also run under Windows, I think.
  5. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Well Linux isn't an option for us at the current time. The owner and I spoke about it once but the main argument I had was this --I may know how to use Linux, but what if I quit the job tomorrow or 6 months down the road? You can't teach someone to use Linux (I sure as hell am not trying) and also it is required that you have a Linux professional working for you in case of problems.

    If downtime occured due to problems, the downtime would not be minimal due to not having someone around that knows Linux, and also it would be hard not to mention expensive to bring a Linux professional in. Linux professionals also aren't cheap employees to hire as far as hourly rates. You can't really teach regular employees to use it, it's almost impossible to do (other than teaching them to use a single program to do small tasks). I feel that if you aren't very experienced in computers you have no business even touching Linux, and definately can't be taught Linux easily. I think it would also be a task in itself to find someone that knows Linux well.

    I will look into Apache. If I am correct it is open source, therefore free. One obstacle I am worried about is that Apache may be much like Linux. It would be easy for me to learn, but to teach regular employees to use in case I leave the job might be very difficult.

    Thanks for the idea though. That is what I need. If anyone has anymore, fire away, I need every idea I can get.

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