Hosting service ideas
I've been running a Debian
GNU/Linux system since 1996
and have been fiddling and experimenting ever since. I've also been
lucky enough to hold some pretty high-flyin' sysadmin positions at
big globally sprawling companies. These two things have given me
the opportunity to use, administer, configure &
seriously tweak a huge variety of different services and features
running on a unix system.
Here are some ideas for services aimed at power users and developers
that are almost impossible to find amongst the usual offerings of
traditional hosting companies,
- Secure SMTP -- send your email from your email
program using SSL. Most email programs actually support this but almost
no-one knows about it. If you send email from work and aren't otherwise
encrypting it your boss/admin could be reading it. (Think about that
next time you send out résumés on the clock...)
- SMTP AUTH -- send your email from anywhere. Most
SMTP servers & ISPs require you to send email from their machines
which usually means one of their email addresses, not from the cool
domain you own. This system of authenticated SMTP allows you to
associate a username/password with the outgoing SMTP so you could send
email from anywhere, using whatever email address you liked.
- Secure HTTPS proxy -- browse the web using SSL.
Prevent sniffing and having someone profile your browsing
habits (that's right, your company knows you're reading that porn!)
- rsync -- rsync (rsync home page) is an efficient,
compressible file replication system. Uses are numerous: from backups to
mail synchronization to distributing source code. One idea could be to
edit your website locally on your machine and then rsync it with a
hosted site here. This is, once set up, vastly less hassle,
time- & bandwidth-consuming than FTP
which just doesn't support file synchronization, but is about the only
way to get your stuff onto a site with 99.999% of ISPs.
- LDAP -- maintain your address books online with a
Web form and LDAP server. Bingo, roaming profile: have your address
book and contacts everywhere you go, accessible from any machine. Pretty
much all email clients support LDAP and make good use of it (fuzzy
matching, search etc).
- Apache -- need your own custom authentication
scheme for? Custom content handler? You will not find a commercial ISP
anywhere who would let you install your own module to futz with
Apache's request cycle without operating your own machine (at least,
I've never heard of it). Most of them are pretty restrictive about even
installing CGI scripts!
- Oracle, Dynamo, etc -- development versions (i.e.
full versions but don't use them commercially) of major software
products to play with.
- You name it -- if you have an idea, let's talk!