Does CalWeb support Unix shell access?
YES! By default, shell access is disabled by default for all accounts, but can be activated by request for most accounts with the exception of the Basic Personal Access Account ($9.95 per month) and e-mail only accounts. To activate a shell account, please contact one of CalWeb's support representatives.
Why would I need shell access?
Unix is simply another way of accessing the Internet using a text based interface. You should have a rudimentary knowledge of Unix and its associated commands. If you don’t know what a shell is, what joe or vi does, or worked with a command-line interface (CLI) instead of a graphical user interface (like Windows or Macintosh), you probably don’t need shell access.
What types of shells are supported at CalWeb?
The shells that we have available are:

By default, if no specific shell is requested, tcsh is installed on a user's account. Please note that technical support is NOT available for shell users.

How do I log in?
We recommend connecting using a PPP session, then telnet in using a telnet/ssh client connect to shell.calweb.com (or web1.calweb.com). You can also dial-in directly to CalWeb using one of our Sacramento numbers that does not end in -1855.
Can I get a Unix shell-only account without dial-up access?
Yes. It is available for $5 per month, and includes 10 MB of disk space and one mail account. You will need to telnet to calweb.com. You can access the mail account by specifying pop.calweb.com as the incoming mail server. To send out mail, we recommend that you use your provider's outgoing mail server or use smtp.calweb.com and setting up your e-mail program to authenticate using your user name and password. To access news, use newsreader.calweb.com and authenticate using your CalWeb login and password.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While you can dial into a shell account, there is a $1 per hour charge while logged in. There is no hourly charge for telnet-ing into a shell account.

Where can I get a Telnet program?
While Windows comes with a telnet client, there are better ones out there. Some good freeware Windows Telnet clients include:

Does CalWeb support SSH connections?
Yes, CalWeb's shell machine will support SSHv2 connections on port 22 as well as regular telnet sessions on port 23.
What are CalWeb’s policies in regards to shell access?
Shell access is a privilege. Please observe the following in additional to our normal Acceptable Use Policies:
  • No detached screen sessions or unattended sessions.
  • No bots, especially IRC bots.
  • Shell accounts may not be used to hack into other systems.
  • Technical support is NOT available for shell users.

Do you support procmail filters?
Yes. The procmail program is constantly running, so all you need to do is insert the rules into .procmailrc file in your UNIX home directory. Some excellent resources for procmail include:

Can I implement Spam Assassin into my procmail filter?
Yes. Put the following line at the beginning of your .procmailrc file:


Then, to check for mail marked by Spam Assassin as spam, put in the following rule:

:0 c
* ^X-Spam-Flag: YES
(Action to be performed by procmail)

What kind of assistance is there for shell accounts?
If you have a shell access, it is assumed that you have some knowledge of Unix or it’s variants. Telephone technical support is not available for Unix accounts. However, many of the commands have help pages available-just type man commandname. Also, you may want to check out the following web sites for assistance:

A web search will also turn up many Unix reference sites and resources also.

What happened to the shared mounts?
CalWeb is one of only a few ISPs to allow users to have Unix shell access to the Internet. Due to increased security concerns and to avoid possible hacking, CalWeb shell customers can no longer directly access the mail, www, and ftp directories from the shell accounts. However, you can access those directories through other methods.

For the web and ftp directories, you can ftp to ftp.calweb.com . An excellent shell-based FTP program is ncftp2, which will allow you to transfer files between your Unix home directory and your web directory. Once logged in, go the following directories:

  • Personal Web Directory: /www/home/users/(first character of login name)/(login name)
  • Business Web Directory: /www/home/business/(first character of domain name)/(domain name)
  • FTP Directory: /ftp/users/(first character of login name)/(login name)

In addition, the e-mail directories are no longer be directly accessible as well. In order to access your mail directories, you will need to use one of the following methods:

  • POP3 Access (recommended) - Setting up a mail client to download the messages from the mail server to your home computer. If you have shell access just to check the e-mail and deleting unwanted messages, you may want to check out some of the mail checking programs or CalWeb's Web Mail.
  • IMAP Access - This will allow you to manage and keep e-mail messages on CalWeb's server through a mail client. Be sure to check your mail settings, as some of the mail clients will simply marked the message as deleted, but it will not be removed from the server until the folder is purged. This can be traffic intensive as well. E-mail stored on CalWeb's servers is considered part of your disk space usage. To avoid additional mail charges, be sure to purge the deleted messages from your mailbox. Also, for some e-mail programs, the mail rules only apply to POP3 accounts, and will not filter messages on IMAP accounts, so you will need to set up some procmail rules for filtering.
  • Webmail Access - You can use our web interface to view your messages through CalWeb's Web Mail.
  • Shell Mail Client - In most cases, the system-wide defaults will allow you to transition easily to CalWeb's mail server.

What do I need to do to use the shell mail programs?
The shell mail programs have been configured for accessing the CalWeb mail server. Since these e-mail programs treat the CalWeb server as a remote server, you will need to enter your password every time you start up the program. There are ways to save the password automatically, however, they require placing your CalWeb password in a plain-text format in a configuration on your shell machine which would pose a security risk. The e-mail programs configured for shell usage are:

pine - (Recommended) When you run this program, you may encounter a message along the lines of "Mailbox vulnerable - directory /var/mail/j must have 1777 protection". You can safely ignore this message. If you are having problems sending and receiving mail, then check for the following in the configuration menu:

smtp-server = smtp.calweb.com
inbox-path  = {pop.calweb.com}INBOX

mutt - (Recommended) No special configuration needed. By default, mutt will use your IMAP folders, which are located in the ~/mail directory. If you want to use your older folders, then put unset folder in your .muttrc file. If you are having problems, check for a line that says set spoolfile in your .muttrc file and remove it.

elm - (Not recommended) If you are running elm for the first time, you will need to run elm once in order to set up your configuration file. Click on o for options, then > to save the configuration file, then i to go back to the mail index window, then q to quit. If you have been using elm for a while already, then you may just need to type elm -w at the command line to upgrade your elm configuration file.

You will need to edit the elm configuration file. Open the .elm/elmrc with a text editor and search for the phrase incoming-mailbox. Change that line to read (and, if necessary, remove the leading ###):

incoming-mailbox = userid@pop.calweb.com

Where userid is your CalWeb login name. (i.e. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Then save the file. elm should now download the mail from CalWeb's mail server.

Other shell mail clients - If possible, configure the mail client to use IMAP server (preferred) or POP3 server (alternate) and use the server pop.calweb.com. If, however, the shell mail client relies entirely on a local mail file, then you will need to configure fetchmail to download your mail from CalWeb's servers. However, by using this method, you will no longer be able to manage your CalWeb mailbox, as all the messages will be downloaded to a local mailbox.

First, create the file .fetchmailrc in your home directory with the following line:

poll pop.calweb.com protocol pop3 username "userid" pass "password" mda "/usr/local/bin/procmail -d %T"

Where userid is your CalWeb login name (i.e.joeuser) and password is your CalWeb password. Once you save the file, you will need to type chmod 600 .fetchmailrc so that fetchmail can properly download the mail. Once fetchmail has been configured, use one of the following commands:

fetchmail - Downloads mail from the mail server and exits.
fetchmail -d 900 - Runs in the background and checks the mail server every 900 seconds (15 minutes). You can also set this in the .fetchmailrc file by putting in the line set daemon 900.

When the fetchmail program is run, it will download all the messages from the mail server and put then in the local directory of /var/mail/userid. You can then read the mail file using the shell mail program such as mail.

Where are the IMAP folders stored in my UNIX directory?
The IMAP folders are stored in the mail directory of your UNIX home directory. If you plan on using a IMAP-based mail client as well as the shell mail programs, then you may have to change the received mail folder from Mail to mail. Check the shell mail program instructions.
Can I read news through the UNIX shell?
Yes. You will need to configure the programs to use the news server of news.calweb.com .

slrn - You will need to set the environment variable of NNTPSERVER to reference news.calweb.com . Depending on which shell you are using, you will need to edit the login files and add the following lines:

.cshrc (Used with csh and tcsh)
setenv NNTPSERVER news.calweb.com

NNTPSERVER='news.calweb.com' && export NNTPSERVER

Once this is set up, slrn will use CalWeb's news servers. For more information, see SLRN Newsreader site.

tin - Tin can be started by using the command tin -r . You should set up an alias so that typing tin will automatically process tin -r. To set this up, add the following line to your .cshrc file:

alias tin 'tin -r'

For more information, see the Tin Homepage.

How can I transfer files from my shell directory to my computer?
There are two methods where you can transfer files from your shell account to your computer.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - Using a ftp client installed on your computer, log into the server ftp.calweb.com with your username and password. Leave the directory blank. By default, FTP goes to your Unix home directory.

File Transfer Programs - If you are dialing in directly to CalWeb's shell machine using a terminal program, you can use Zmodem, Xmodem, and Ymodem to transfer files. To send a file from CalWeb to your computer, use lsz, and to send a file to CalWeb from your computer, use lrz. For details on these commands, type lsz --help, lrz --help, man  lsz, or man lrz. These commands replace sz and rz that were previously on CalWeb's shell machine.

Programs installed on CalWeb's Shell accounts
Some of the programs installed on the UNIX shell include the following categories:




Mail Clients and Utilities




Chat Clients

File Compression
and bunzip2
and gunzip
and unzip

Other Programs
– Text-based web browser

ispell –Spell-checking program
– More powerful version of more
– gruff mm macros
– Excellent ftp client
– Pretty Good Privacy encryption program
– Allows you to run multiple sessions from a single login. (No detached screens)

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