Information Provider Haven

PPP Access
Offline Viewing of Web Pages


          As most CCN users already know, you cannot use browsers such as Netscape or Internet Explorer with the Chebucto Community Net. We simply do not have the necessary PPP (Point to Point Protocol) connections in place that these programs use to connect to the internet.

          Part of the reason why CCN does not offer widespread PPP access is a legacy from the time of its creation, a time when internet connections were harder to come by and system resources were costly. Also the philosophy of CCN is that we are here to provide net access to anyone with the ability to connect to us, which means we support terminal emulations and slow modem speeds run on computers which could not connect to the internet in any other way on any other provider. This will not be changing in the future.

          However, as CCN Board Chair Peter Morgan has commented, "if Chebucto were to be started up today, we would be a PPP system". There is a move afoot to bring PPP to Chebucto. You would be able to use any application you can use with any other Internet Service Provider (ISP); Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers, FTP programs, the whole gamut of internet software.

          Of course there are limits to this. We are not a commercial ISP and lack the resources and the desire to compete with them. We are a volunteer-run organization with limited funds and the equipment necessary to support PPP access is costly. Phone lines would need to be added, a more expensive type of faster output modem purchased for each user connection and money would have to be found to pay for all this. As a result the CCN Board has decided that the first PPP modems will be for CCN Information Provider use.

          Currently there are four modems dedicated to PPP on a test basis with the potential to have another twenty with the current PortMaster Communications Server. Download speeds rival those of the commercial ISPs. A committee has been struck to determine how PPP will be administered and their tentative conclusion is that CCN IPs will be divided into five new categories. Please note that no final decisions have been made on anything yet so these categories are not set in stone. No dollar figures have been finalized so amounts are not listed here.


Category I: Basic IP level

          Cost: contribution to CCN at a level affordable to the organization.

          Service: as now provided with volunteer training and support, 2 mailing lists but with a limit (to be determined) on disk space.


Category II: IP Member

          Cost: $xxx (to be determined)

          Service: as above with no limit on disk space. PPP access.


Category III: IP Member with virtual domain

          Cost: $xxx+

          Service: as above with a virtual domain provided and an "organizational" email address. PPP access.


Category IV: IP Member with basic package

          Cost: $xxx++

          Service: as above with 10 email addresses, minimum level of "contracted" or "staff" support provided to organization; organization is responsible for all usage (content, email and lists). PPP access.


Category V: IP Member with network package

          Cost: $xxxx

          Service: as above with 20 email addresses, 4 mailing lists, higher level of "staff" or "contracted" support provided to organization; organization is responsible for all usage (content, email and lists). PPP access.


          Once again, these categories have not been finalized and are subject to change.

          In the meanwhile, one of the most common reasons given for IPs wanting PPP access is so that they might check out how their pages look on a graphic browser. It is also possible to do this on your own home computer. Both Netscape and Internet Explorer will view HTML files right on your own hard drive. Simply type in the location as: DRIVELETTER:/DIRECTORYNAME/FILENAME.HTM and your web page will be displayed. Let's say you have have a directory on your C:\ drive called CCN where you keep your web pages. In it you have a page called MAINPAGE.HTM. You would type this in the location window to see the page: C:/CCN/MAINPAGE.HTM

          If you have made links to other web pages in the same directory and your links are "local" links rather than "full" links, then these links will still work on your hard drive. A "local" link is one that looks like this:

          <a href="EXAMPLE.HTML"> Go to this example page </a>

while a "full" link is one like this:

          <a href=""> Go to this example page </a>

          Of course links referring to pages on other sites will not work when the page is being read offline on your hard drive, but these links may be tested online on CCN with the Lynx text-only browser to ensure they work.

          Remember when you are referring to files in links that filenames on servers like CCN are name and case sensitive. "Example.html" and "Example.htm" are the same thing to Netscape reading a "local" link on your hard drive but will be two different files online so a link referring to "example.htm" will not take you to the file "example.html" online. Online on CCN "Example.html", "example.html", "Example.htm" and "example.htm" will be four different files so remember to have your links refer to the exact filename.

          The same thing applies to your web page graphics - "local" links will work and your graphics will show up on the page as they would online. Just remember to keep the name exact - same extension, same case.

          A "local" graphic can be in a different directory, too (as can a "local" web page link).

          Example 1: Graphic is in a subdirectory called "pix"

          <img src="pix/example.jpg">

          Example 2: Graphic is in the next higher level directory

          <img src="../example.jpg">

          Example 3: Graphic is in a different directory called "pix" but this directory is on the same level as the web page's "home" directory

          <img src="../pix/example.jpg">

          By using "local" references to your web page's graphics and the links to the other pages on your site, you can navigate within your site offline using a graphical browser reading the pages off your hard drive and they will appear just as they would online.


You may direct comments or suggestions about this column to:

Andrew D. Wright,


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