the fast, reliable localhost tunneling solution


Frequently Asked Questions (with Answers)

2013-11-29, 18:13

PageKite Basics

Open Source & Technical Questions

Prices, Billing, Quotas, ...

If none of these are what you are looking for, perhaps you would like some help?


PageKite Basics

How does it work?

PageKite creates a connection between your localhost server and the public Internet. Your local server gets a public name (something.pagekite.me) which anyone can connect to using a normal web browser.

To use PageKite, you sign up for an account and run software on your computer (pagekite.py or some other back-end connector). This software works its magic and makes your local server publicly visible (see the QuickStart guide for more).

How PageKite can be useful and how it works are discussed in more detail in our service overview and features list.

Wait, magic? What magic?

It's a bit complicated - but in short, the PageKite back-end configures DNS for your server and establishes communication with our global pool of front-end relays. These relays have public IP addresses and are visible on the global Internet, which makes it possible for them to accept incoming requests on your server's behalf. These requests get forwarded (proxied) over the tunnel to your server, and any replies travel back the same way.

In technical terms, we call it a dynamic, tunneled reverse proxy.

All the gory details, including the source code, can be found on our Open Source pages.

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How do I ... ?

Most "How To" type questions are answered with recipies in the HowTo section of our Wiki.

If you have a question not answered there, you might want to ask in our forum or chat with us online.

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Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting also has a Wiki page of its own.

Again, your question is not answered there, you might want to ask in our forum or chat with us online.

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What about security?

Unfortunately, one cannot run a server on the public Internet without giving some thought to security. As this is a large and complicated topic, we have dedicated a separate page to discussing PageKite and security in more detail.

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Open Source & Technical Questions

Why can't I type my password? (Windows)

The pagekite.py signup process requests a password using Python's standard getpass() routine.

Unlike most Windows software which works with passwords, this routine does not give any visual feedback as the password is typed in. This is somewhat confusing, but it does work. Just blindly type your password and press ENTER when you are done.

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Is my computer/network too slow?

Probably not, but it depends on what you are doing.

Even a lowly 486 PC is fast enough to host a simple website - in fact, these days your cell-phone may be as well!

Whether your network connection is fast enough, well that depends. Your home connection is certainly too slow to host a high volume site like Youtube or CNN. But for a personal site with a blog, maybe some photos, a typical broadband connection of 512Kb/s or more is usually plenty. Modest sites usually have modest traffic.

Also keep in mind that what we consider "slow" today, is still blazingly fast by the standards of just 10-15 years ago - and there was lots of worthwhile stuff on the World Wide Web even then.

For a simple text-based website, even 3G is probably "fast enough".

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Where is my configuration file?

The location of your configuration file depends on your operating system and how you are using PageKite:

Windows

The pagekite.py program will create a configuration file named pagekite.cfg in your home folder.

Mac, Linux, ...

On any unix-based system (including the Mac and all Linux distributions), your configuration file will be created in your home directory and named .pagekite.rc (note the leading dot).

.deb and .rpm

People using the Debian or RPM packages to integrated pagekite.py into their operating system (so it starts up on boot) can find the system-wide configuration in the folder /etc/pagekite.d/.

Note that the configuration in this case is broken up into multiple files, each ending in .rc (files with other endings are ignored).

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Where is the source?

The PageKite Open Source home-page is here: http://pagekite.org/

Our primary source repository is on GitHub, however the code there may at times be unstable if we are in the middle of making important changes.

If you are interested in the source-code for a particular release, we archive the source code for each major release here: https://pagekite.net/pk/src/

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Is the "server" open source too?

Yes.

The pagekite.py program is both: a client and a server. It just depends on how you run it. Note that to avoid confusion we don't usually talk about clients and servers in the context of PageKite, rather we refer to the front-end and back-end.

Running pagekite.py as a front-end relay can be done like so:

$ pagekite.py --clean --isfrontend \
     --ports=12345 --protos=http,https \
     --domain=http,https:YOURDOMAIN.COM:SECRET

Connecting to that can be done like so:

$ pagekite.py --clean \
     --frontend=YOURDOMAIN.COM:12345 \
     --service_on=http:YOURDOMAIN.COM:localhost:80:SECRET

Your localhost:80 server should now be visible at http://yourdomain.com:12345/.

There is of course lots more to it, if you want to provide the same level of service as we offer at pagekite.net. You'll need to enable SSL encryption, run multiple front-ends, configure dynamic DNS...

Please consult the manual for more details or if you really mean business, get in touch to negotiate a development partnership.

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What is your license?

The pagekite.py program and most of our other software releases are distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License, version 3 or later.

Note that this license is one of the strictest of the Free Software licenses, and that is a deliberate choice on our part. We are happy to share our work and give back to the Free Software community, but people who wish to use our code in closed-source software products will need to get in touch and negotiate alternate license terms. Our prices are quite reasonable.

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Prices, billing, quotas, ...

What do you charge for?

Access to the PageKite service is sold on a monthly basis.

All accounts get:

In order to prevent abuse we keep track of how much data is transferred over our network (Quota), how many active Connections each user has at any given time and how many domain names (Kites) each user has registered.

As a general rule, all accounts have enough resources to be very useful, but people who pay more will be granted higher limits.

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What does it cost?

The first month is free.

After that, we kindly request that individuals pay at least $3/month. However, the service can be used for free indefinitely, as non-commercial users can extend their access to the service by filling out a form once a month, telling us how they use the software. We trust our users to pay what they feel is fair.

Business users (anyone using PageKite as part of their work) must pay $3/month or sign up for a monthly subscription plan.

We also offer sponsored accounts to Free Software projects which fulfill certain criteria.

For a complete overview over PageKite pricing, consult our official price list.

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Will my account or quota expire?

If you never pay for service and do not use your account for over 3 months, we reserve the right to disable the account and reclaim any allocated .pagekite.me names.

If you are a paying customer, we will never disable your account, unless it is in violation of our Terms of Service.

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I don't need lots of quota, can I have a discount?

Sorry, but no.

Our prices are already quite low, and they are only very indirectly related to how much data is transferred over our network. Bandwidth and computing power are relatively cheap, but the work involved in running the service and maintaining and improving the software are not.

Maybe this will change if we ever have millions of users and economies of scale start to kick in, but we're a young company and we're just not there yet.

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Who is your payment processor?

Our secure payment processor is DalPay Retail, generally referred to as DalPay.is.

They are an Icelandic company with an excellent track-record for providing prompt, personal service.

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What payment options are available?

We can accept the following credit- and debit cards:

We can also accept Bitcoin and direct bank transfers. Within Iceland we are capable of sending electronic invoices.

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Why not PayPal? Flattr?

The main reason is we simply haven't had the time to add support for these payment options yet. Supporting these payment options is more problematic for various reasons, including:

Hopefully the above limitations will be addressed over time. If you strongly feel that not offering these, or other, payment options is a major drawback, please let us know. We maybe able to work something out.

Update: As of March 2013, we support PayPal as a last resort. But DalPay remains our preferred payment processor. In November 2013 we began accepting Bitcoin.

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Do you give refunds?

No. All PageKite services are pre-paid and non-refundable.

Subscribers may cancel their subscriptions at any time and continue using their accumulated quota until it runs out (see below for details).

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How can I cancel my subscription or account?

Simply click the Unsubscribe button on your account page.

You will be provided with the option of:

Freezing or deleting your account will also cancel all related subscriptions. Unused subscription time or quota are not refundable.

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Why isn't the PageKite Service free?

The PageKite service costs time and money to run, and we need to eat!

We do not add advertisements to our customer's websites or place any artificial restrictions on how they use the service, so we have "no choice" but to charge for the resources consumed.

We strive to provide excellent service for a fair price. Please let us know if you think we could do better!

We also spend a significant amount of time writing software which we give away for free and by purchasing access to the PageKite you are supporting these efforts.

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If you would just like to donate to support our development of Free Software, we encourage you to either purchase service which you don't necessarily intend to use, or send Bitcoins to our donation address: 1P28Ke4FPrumagwDu6VLb7FibjQJ7UtV6f.

Thanks in advance for your support!

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Support

Links