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Got files to store? Don't know what to
do with them? Use a Free Webpage Provider (FWP)! Having a filestore can
often come in handy, e.g. if you want to share programs among multiple
computers, pass apps, pictures, MP3s, etc. to friends, or as a temporary
extension to your puny overstuffed hard drive.
The Basics: Finding free Web servers
The easiest way to find a FWP to use as your storage space is to search on the Internet. Not only will this turn up oodles of providers themselves, but also sites which list 'em by the bundle. You'll find helpful ratings and reviews that will help you pick the best servers for your needs. If all else fails, you can try some of the old file-storage favourites e.g. Tripod (11meg), Geocities (11meg), Angelfire (5meg), Xoom ("unlimited") ... The best server for you personally depends on a number of factors including:
If you intend this account to be "permanent" in that you can give out the address to your friends, people who maintain linklists, etc. and not worry about your URL going dead in event of deletion, get yourself an easy-to-remember redirector URL in case the worst happens. If your stuff does get zapped, just update your forwarding URL on one of these services and you're back in business!
So now you've got an account
or two (or three of four or five) with some free Webspace providers...now
what? If you're thinking, "Upload the filez", please take a moment right
now to pick up a blunt object and hit yourself over the head repeatedly
with it. Unless you only need a few days (minutes) of storage, you're just
asking those administrators to have that wild deleting party and put it
on your tab. The idea is to set it up so those boneheads don't know you're
counterexploiting them for free file storage. Since they're giving you
space in hopes of profiting off of you in one way or another, you have
to make it look like you're just another webpage slave so they'll stay
off your back.
Part One: Ground Cover
Before you even think about dumping files into the account, you will have to set up at least an index.html page so you appear to serve some worthwhile purpose to the FWP, as well as gets rid of the telltale "Directory listing of /" that otherwise showcases all your contraband files. It doesn't have to be anything too elaborate, a simple "newbie page" will suffice for now. Newbie pages are cheap, slapped-together-in-15-minutes homepages typical of new Web writers who haven't fully mastered HTML or decided yet what their site's going to be about. Pictures of your pets, useless personal trivia ("My favorite colour is purple, I have a goldfish named Silver and I like spanish olives..."), "under construction" logos, complex email-me animations (stolen, of course) featuring letters folding themselves into paper airplanes and being swallowed by mailboxes or whatever, a handful of broken/outdated links and a low/broken counter are priceless earmarks of newbie webpages. If you want to keep the account more permanently, consider crafting yourself a small, content-containing website on the subject(s) of your choice ("deformed Alaskan bullfrogs", etc.), of maybe 5 interlinked pages or so, that you can upload as cover for any filez account you create.
Don't know HTML? No problemo!
A number of FWPs have an online pagewizard of some sort, that will let
you create an inane-looking, poorly-coded homepage that just screams
newbie (using the online editor will invariably create for you the perfect
"clueless newbie" look, no matter how much HTML prowess you may have).
Yes, you may want to try the editor even if you're an HTML pro...what FWP
is going to suspect the clueless newbie for account violations?
Part Two: Obfuscation and Camouflage
You're at the point now where
you've got a couple FWP accounts out there in the ether and have plastered
your five-page "Stuffed Talking 'Yo Quiero Taco Bell' Chihuahuas Are Really
Nifty" site into each of them as a diversion from all the files you're
about to dump there. You have a very important task at hand now. This being
to provide full, unrestricted access to yourself and your friends (whomever
you care to share your cyber booty with) while at the same time keeping
nosey websurfing lusers, Community Leaders, the server admin, etc. as far
off the trail as possible. By using the following tricks and tactics, you
can hide your contraband files more-or-less transparently and with little
Basic obfuscation techniques
Finally, we get to the part where you drop off your files! I've been saying throughout this entire document, "Not yet!"...but I mean come on, your files account isn't very useful if there are no files in it. So how do you disguise your files so they don't look like contraband?
start off with, you need to know a little about file extensions. (Unless
you're a complete newbie luser you should know this, but file extensions
are the .xyz or whatever at the end of a filename that tell the computer
what kind of file it is.) Common extensions on the internet are .htm/.html
(webpages), .gif (compressed images), .jpg (high-colour compressed images),
.wav (audio), .bmp (big fat uncompressed pain-in-the-ass-to-download images)...you
get the idea. Some of the files you'll probably want to store include .exe
(runnable programs), .zip (compressed archive files), and of course .mp3's
(if you don't know what these are by now, I'm not gonna tell you). Unfortunately,
these are among the "raciest" of files, the kind that make server admins'
blood boil when they find a bunch of 'em being stored in the webspace account
that is supposed to be making them all sorts of free money. When a server
admin sees .exe or .zip, a lightbulb comes on over their heads and they
say "Yep, warez!". When they find a directoryfull of MP3 files, they assume
"Illegal, Pirated, Bandwidth Hogs!"...even if they're recordings of your own
band, doesn't matter. But regardless of the il/legality of
your files, to the FWP administrator, they're just pretty much sitting
there like lumps of lead and not making the FWP any money. It can be safely
assumed that any type of file that sits there and doesn't make the FWP
any money is bound to make the administrator very, very unhappy.
So what do we do? We trick that pesky administrator. We all know that a bunch of humungous .zip files collecting dust in a hidden directory are going to wind up collecting dust in the dustbin...but what if he thinks the files are there to attract eyeballs to advertisements? See, you have to think like a greedy FWP. Take those huge .zip files, rename them all to .wav, for example, and throw them in there. Next, make a page to fit in with that little phony site you whipped together...if you use the "deformed Alaskan bullfrogs" example above, make a page of "Click on these files to hear genuine bullfrog mating calls!"...then a bunch of links to your (teehee) .WAV files which you have of course given innocous names like long_northern_male_ribbit.wav, etc. Now whenever you want your files, go to your Mating Call Sounds page, save those (snicker) .WAV's to disk, and change the extension back to what it was! Anyone else surfing onto your pages will see an innocent-looking page of (yawn) bullfrog mating calls...in the unlikely event that your hapless surfer actually wants to hear (yawn) bullfrog mating calls, they'll click on one of your ".wav"s and get some kind of "file is corrupt" error. Not exactly pretty, but on the other hand, do you really suppose Geocities et al will kick you out for having dead links?
Avoiding those "risky" file extensions is not only to fool the dumbass administrators, though. It's also to dupe any nosey bots, spiders, scripts, whatever you want to call them that search thru members' accounts for these types of naughty files (usually MP3s, but porno graphics and large video files may also be targeted) and report back to said dumbass with their findings. If you're paranoid about "spyders" flagging your files or some luser complaining that your .wav's don't work, it isn't too difficult to come up with your own (bogus) filetypes and extensions--be creative!. Say I want to leave myself some files....
These are hilarious audio files for WebbPlayer
Another goodie to have is a domain-banning CGI script to keep unwanted eyes out of your account. "Unwanted eyes", of course, refers to your friendly FWP admins and narcs. A domain-banning script looks and sees where every visitor's connection is from, and kicks them out if they are on the list of people you don't want prying in your files, e.g. if you have your naughty account on tripod.com, it kicks out any unprivileged Tripod employees/narcs (anyone viewing from tripod.com) or hides all your naughtybits from them. Domain-banners are also useful for ejecting known censors from controversial pages you may post, or keeping enemies/competitors/harassors at bay.
NB: Naturally, if you store
files on a machine, the people who have physical access to the box can
access your files locally, and your CGI won't even see them! You'll have
to be content with booting out lower-level or "unpriveleged" folk (narcs
often fall into this category) who must access over a network connection.
More Advanced (31337) File Obfuscation and Camouflage
Going beyond the basics and even beyond some of the more advanced file-hiding methods, this stuff is reserved for the truly dedicated leech. Some of this stuff will be beyond the scope of the everyday FWP counterexploiter...but for those who need the best protection intelligence can buy, delve into...