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Thread: Creating a webhost like freewebs

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    Lightbulb Creating a webhost like freewebs

    Hey there I am helping out a friend and I am not quite sure to go about it. The issue is that we want to host pages for other people so that they can access and modify through their account. Kind of like how FreeWebs or any other website host would do it
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    Setting up a webhost is a complicated project! Have you thought this through and do you really want to do it? Doing it right (for example, as complicated as freewebs) would be a big project!

    Allowing users to contribute content, however, is not so difficult. For example, a forum allows users to add posts, so you could just change the layout so instead of topics you get "webpages". Roughly that idea would be very possible.

    What I'd recommend actually is Beverleyh's "Fast Edit"-- this would allow you a very easy way to do something like this. You'd have to work out exactly how to do registration and multiple accounts and permissions, but it would be a great starting point. See her signature--
    http://www.dynamicdrive.com/forums/m...1699-Beverleyh
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    Yes, feel free to use Fast Edit for that purpose - I setup a similar thing for members of the dolls-collectors community that I'm part of

    Some useful features of this CMS are an upload quota (with customisable allowed file types) and page quota so you can limit users to how much stuff they can upload or how many pages they can have on their website. More details can be found here: http://fast-edit.co.uk/features.php

    It also has a simple template manager, which is just an editable stylesheet, so you could for example pre-populate that with the base background colour, main page colour and menu bar colours and then the end-users can edit/customise the colours to their liking. You could also do something similar with a background image for the banner so they can upload one of their own designs and then edit the CSS in the template manager reference their new banner.

    The download pack comes with a very simple template so feel free to stick with that or design one of your own.

    As far as offering a signup option, you could just provide a registration form (with PayPal payment/donate button if it suits you), and on receipt, you just create a new sub-domain and upload Fast Edit. Then email the end-user with their login details and a link to the admin backend. Of course this isn't an automated service (unless you can devise something that would do an install automatically) so include a disclaimer that says "allows up to 12 hours for account/website setup". If its a community venture and you can chat to your users informally, a small delay is usually very reasonable in return for the friendly, cost effective service you're providing
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    I'm not really sure what you're saying.

    As far as Fast Edit is concerned, this is a flat file CMS that doesn't use databases so it doesn't suffer any large database lags.

    As for shared web hosting, it depends on the web host. Yes, some services squeeze as many accounts/websites onto a shared server as possible, and this causes more frequent downtime and speed problems. Other shared hosting services (higher in price but still cost effective for starter businesses) split there accounts and services more evenly so there tends to be less problems. A potential customer should always do research and read customer reviews before choosing a suitable host.

    Of course of a website needs extra services or becomes so popular that it begins to consume too many resources on a shared server, a semi-dedicated hosting solution or VPS would be the next logical step. FrickenTrevor will need to assess this over time as his service gains momentum. I'm sure he can discuss any concerns with his preferred web host though and they will be able to advise.
    Focus on Function Web Design | Latest News RSS | Facebook | Twitter |
    Fast Edit (A flat file, PHP web page editor & CMS. Small, FREE, no database!) | Fast Edit BE (Snippet Manager) (Web content editor for multiple editable regions!) | Fast Apps |
    The only limit to creativity is imagination: JemCon.org

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    (unless you can devise something that would do an install automatically)
    Yes, that's what I was referring to. It's certainly possible to do this with fastedit and adding some permissions on top of it. But as you said, it may not be needed if this is for a small group. If this is for a large group, then automation would be helpful.
    Adding in a user accounts system would be an interesting next step for FastEdit if you have the time to develop it. I'd be happy to help out along the way if questions come up. I've worked with forums enough to know more or less what's required for permissions. It's not too hard, but just adds one more level of abstraction on all instances of the login/permission functions. It would be pretty easy to do this where it's allowed for separate sections for each user; it would be a little more complicated (though still possible) to allow for levels of permission (eg, "moderator") and perhaps shared websites.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    Hmmm, a user accounts system - would that be like having a certain page(s) that can only be edited by certain users?
    Focus on Function Web Design | Latest News RSS | Facebook | Twitter |
    Fast Edit (A flat file, PHP web page editor & CMS. Small, FREE, no database!) | Fast Edit BE (Snippet Manager) (Web content editor for multiple editable regions!) | Fast Apps |
    The only limit to creativity is imagination: JemCon.org

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    Yes, something along those lines. A simple version could be one page per user (with a URL based on that). A more complicated version could be a subdirectory for each user (what you described above) with only a single installation of FastEdit. (That might require some URL remapping with .htaccess or some other way of making all the directories dynamic-- or just using dynamic URLs like ?user=X&page=Y like the blog system on this forum.)
    Last edited by djr33; 12-29-2013 at 09:05 PM.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by djr33 View Post
    Have you thought this through and do you really want to do it? Doing it right (for example, as complicated as freewebs) would be a big project!
    Yes, yes, and yes. I understand how much of a project this will be and it has been thought through. I fully understand the risks and everything else.
    An inline div is a freak of the web and should be beaten until it becomes a span

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    Ok, sounds fine

    Then you just need to decide what features you want. For example, if you require FTP access for each user, you'll certainly be setting up a real webhost. If you could use something like FastEdit, this would be much easier. Some further directions to consider are looking at CMS and blog software that would allow something like FastEdit with some different features. If none of that works, you'll basically need to set up a full webhost. Or you can consider writing something yourself, but I'm not sure I see the point in that given that you will still be limited (eg, no FTP access) and the existing options are pretty good.

    I hope that at least gets you started.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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