Services Offered By RainDrop Laboratories

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Shell Access

RainDrop Laboratories' primary service offering is Unix shell accounts, where you have access to the full power of FreeBSD and an 850Mhz Pentium III unfettered by the limitations of MS Windows (take the gui off and that's more than enough!). If you already have Internet access, but want a shell account, you can get it here for only $5/month. All accounts include 10Meg of user disk space. Additional disk space may be purchased for a one-time fee of $1/Meg.

Email/FTP

All shell accounts include email automatically; if you need additional email accounts without shell access, they are only $2/month. Also, PGP message encryption and signing is available. If you want to make use of this technology, we'll be happy to help you set it up --- while setup is non-trivial, once setup, it's very easy to use. We're also a Thawte Notary for X509 Email Certificates, a more common (these days) message encryption and signing technology, and can help you get that setup as well.

Mailing Lists

If you want to create a small email discussion or announcement list, with a volume of less than 100 messages/day, we'll set that up for you at no charge. We use the Mailman list processor with a web-based list management interface.

Web Hosting

RainDrop shell accounts (but not the email-only account) also allow a user to have their own personal web space area. For security reasons, this must be created separately, outside your home directory area where some services put it, but all you need to do is ask, and it will be done. Personal web traffic is limited to 5 Megabytes per hour, average peak, at which point, the virtual hosting rates come into effect.

Virtual hosting is where agora's web server serves requests for pages under your own domain name, e.g. http://www.mywisdom4u.com/. Secure web serving is available on request as well, although at an increased rate due to the computational load encryption places on a server. We can work with you to make sure submitted data remains secure after it leaves the web server on its way to you as well. Because this server runs on the public shell access system, it is not recommended for high-security applications such as handling e-commerce transactions. We recommend if you just need a shopping cart, that you use the PayPal shopping cart as we do on our Payments page. This is much safer, as you never handle customer's personal financial information at all. Alternatively, for a full ecommerce site, we recommend our technology partner WebHostWorks for a full service solution.

NOTE: You will need an access account as well, in order to manage the files on your web server. This is separate for technical reasons, and disk space for the web site is associated with this account as well.

Virtual Machines

An exciting new technology we can now offer is an entire virtual machine: with this technology, you appear to have your own co-located machine that you can use for any legitimate purpose with full access (including administrative access). Machines are available with Centos Linux or FreeBSD pre-installed, or you can upload iso images of your installation media and install your own, though we can only provide limited support for this mode. There is a $100 setup fee, and a $25/mo rate, plus standard server traffic rates (typically $10/mo). While they are virtual, they do consume a significant fraction of a real machine...

Server Traffic Rates

Web serving can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Regular user pages with a URL of the form http://www.rdrop.com/users/xyzzy
  2. Virtual server (runs on agora, but looks separate): http://www.your.domain/

Non-web servers (e.g. mud, ftp, irc) must run on a separate virtual machine for security isolation.

All rates are monthly averages of the daily peak rate. That is, every day, add up the total bytes transferred for each hour of the day. The highest hour is the daily peak rate. Average these over the month to determine the rate for the next month.

KB = 1,000 bytes
MB = 1,000,000 bytes

Regular User Pages:   Free up to 5 MB/hr (about 600 hits/hr, assuming a typical average page transfer size of 8KB). Standard Traffic Rate for all traffic exceeding 5 MB/hr.
 
Virtual Servers:   $25 setup fee + Standard Traffic Rate. Setup fee includes domain registration and nameserver configuration. Internic fees are billed directly to the customer by the Internic and RainDrop Laboratories is not involved in that process.

If the Virtual Server requires SSL support, the Standard Traffic Rate is tripled due to substantial increase in processing load SSL incurs (see Web Hosting above for more information on secure servers).

If you expect to host large files (e.g. video files or software distributions), we recommend our technology partner Download Technologies for inexpensive, high-volume, file serving.

 
Standard Traffic Rate:   $10/month for each 5 MB/hr bracket. For example: a monthly average peak rate of 4 MB/hr would be charged $10/month. 7 MB/hr would be charged $20/month.

The Bottom Line

A typical virtual web server hosted on agora will incur the following charges:

Setup Fees:

    $25 setup fee - to RainDrop Laboratories for setting up the domain
	and the server
    $28 first two years domain registration paid to the domain registrar(*)
    ---
    $53 total setup fees

Operational Fees:

    $10/mo server traffic fee paid to RainDrop Laboratories to cover
	   cost of operating the server and the server's share of the
	   Internet connection bandwidth

    $ 5/mo Wader access account to own and manage web server files, as
	   well as receiving server related email.

    $14/yr domain registration fee paid to the domain registrar(*) starting
	   the third year

(*) 123 Cheapdomains has worked pretty well for me; others may charge a different registration fee.

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