Frequently Answered Questions

The Questions

  1. What services do you offer?
  2. What do I need?
  3. How do I sign up?
  4. Where did you get the name 'Phoenix Volant'? What does it mean?

The Answers

  1. What services do you offer?

    The basic Phoenix Volant Internet Presence Service includes a private domain name and a complete set of Virtual Hosts offering HTTP (Web Pages), HTTPS (Secure Web Pages), FTP, and IMAP (E-mail mailboxes) servers under your domain.

    For complete details, see our Service Details page.

  2. What do I need?
    Access to the Internet.
    Most of our customers use their personal account with a major Internet Service Provider. But just about any access that allows you to use Web, FTP, and e-mail clients will do. It could be shared with other family members, an account borrowed from a friend or neighbor, or even a public access interface at a library or school. The one that you are using to read this is probably fine.
    A Web browser
    You'll want to check the appearance of your Web pages using your favorite browser. We also provide a variety of pages designed to help our clients administer their Virtual Hosts. These pages are protected by strong encryption and require a client certificate. Since the details of obtaining and installing client certificates vary from browser to browser, we only support a limited number browsers for these administration pages.

    Get Netscape Now These pages are best viewed using Netscape Communicator, US/Canada Edition; and that is the browser that we recommend. Netscape has shown a strong committment to complying with all applicable standards, supporting cross-platform portability, and to making it easy for third parties to add additional capabilities. Communicator includes publishing (upload) capability, IMAP mail support, and HTML editor. The US/Canada edition provides the strong encryption which the US government will not allow to be exported.

    Our second choice would be Netscape Navigator 3.x, US/Canada Gold edition. The Gold edition includes an HTML editor.

    We also support MicroSoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) versions 3 and 4. We do not recommend this browser because it is not portable, does not implement the Java standard, and the built-in editor produces code which cannot be correctly viewed by any other browser, or on machines which are not running a MicroSoft OS. (This means that something over half of the people on the Internet would not be able to correctly visit those pages.)

    An FTP client
    Your Virtual Host includes an FTP server which serves two purposes. First, it provides you with a way to exchange files with your customers using the classic Internet File Transfer Protocol. Second, it provides the mechanism that you will use to publish (upload) your Web pages into your Web server.

    There are a variety of stand-alone FTP clients available; but your browser will probably provide the necessary functionality. Netscape Communicator not only supports the basic FTP uploads and downloads, they have integrated FTP as one of the publication mechanisms in the Composer (HTML Editor).

    An HTML editor
    You will need some way to build the Web pages that will be available on your server. (Unless you are paying someone else to build them for you.)

    An HTML document is basicly a simple text document which has certain character sequences to indicate how the text is to be handled. Software Engineers often prefer to create their HTML documents using their favorite text editor. But most people will find it easier to use any of the many HTML-specific editors now available.

    The Composer that is included in Netscape Communicator is quite suitable.

    We do not recommend using Microsoft FrontPage. The server-side extensions necessary to support it are notorious for creating security holes that crackers can use to invade the system. It is also reported to cause frequent Web server crashes which temporarily render all pages on that server inaccessable. And, finally, it tends to produce Web pages which are only viewable on MS-Windows (or Win95/NT) by MSIE. We will not even consider installing the server-side extensions until the security and reliability issues have been addressed.

    An e-mail client
    Your Virtual Host includes an IMAP mail server so that e-mail may be sent to you at your private domain. We do not limit the number of mailboxes that you may set up, so you can have separate e-mail addresses for as many people and departments as you desire.

    IMAP offers several advantages over POP3 as a client mail access protocol, and is rapidly replacing POP3 as the protocol of choice. IMAP is supported directly by Netscape Communicator and MSIE 4.0. There are also quite a few stand-alone mail readers that support IMAP. For a list, see the IMAP Connection's Inventory of known software supporting IMAP

  3. How do I sign up?

    Send e-mail to sales@Phoenix.Volant.ORG

  4. Where did you get the name 'Phoenix Volant'? What does it mean?

    The imagery of the phoenix arising from its own ashes is well known to our culture. 'Volant' is an heraldic* term meaning 'flying' or 'on the wing'. The phrase came to me when I decided to abandon the security of full-time employment and try the life of the self-employed.

    *Heraldry is the study or art of tracing geneologies, ruling on questions of rank or protocol, and of designing and granting armorial devices. (In the USA armorial devices are commonly, but incorrectly, called coats of arms.) Armorial devices are described in precise, rigidly formalized, language which has not changed in several centuries.