DVFilm does digital post-production and creates software for filmmakers and video professionals. We have 20 years experience in digital film making with over 50 films to our credit, including film festival winners and Academy Award nominees. We have eight software products for both Windows and MacOSX and have been selling them since 2001 all over the world.
We are a Better Business Bureau (BBB) company with an A+ rating.
About the Owner
Marcus van Bavel, BSEE UT Austin
Consulting services for web-based businesses
- We can create your website with amazing visual design that runs equally well on desktop or mobile platforms
- We will install and run it on Amazon AWS, the lowest cost and best-run computing service in the world
- Joomla-based website served by Apache2 using the Bitnami LAMP stack (Debian 10), high security and zero monthly fees
- secure SQL database with customer login and customized content using a client-server architecture
- Mail server using Postfix, Dovecot (IMAP server), spam and virus filtering with Amazon SES plus Spam Assassin
- The Amazon SES email front-end protects and defends against phishing attacks, spam and capable of handling huge amounts of email
- Web-based mail client Roundcube (desktop) and Apple Mail using secure SMTP
- Secure Sockets Layer with 2048 bit encryption for all email and website data, automatic certificate renewal with no monthly costs
- Secure online store hosted by Verizon Small Business Essentials with shopping cart, credit card/paypal acceptance for physical products or downloads
- 24/7 tech support by email, text and phone
- no monthly charges just reasonable hourly rate with no minimum
Jan 2022 - I chose Amazon AWS for web hosting because I already had a Windows server running there for development and they offer a license-free build of various Linux platforms such as Debian, which I was already familiar with since we use Debian in our scientific data acquisition systems designed for Dynamax, Inc.
Amazon AWS is as secure and stable as the Amazon Store and offers easy scalable architecture where your server can be run with dozens of parallel processors or even parallel servers with load balancing, so capable of scaling up to any sized business and bandwidth needs. (Note: I don't work for Amazon).
AWS has a pretty high learning curve. A lot of their concepts employ "big data" engineering but they have receptive and responsive online technical asisstance. There is also a ton of documentation online.
My first Linux server was created today using Amazon light sail and the Bitnami Debian 10 LAMP stack. It has Apache 2, MySQL and PHP 7 built-in.
I ported over my Joomla website for DVFilm and cloned the old SQL database. This involved creating a new MySQL database to run the Joomla articles. Some setting changes were required in Joomla to make it work with the new database. Joomla is a database-controlled website interface. It allows you to customize the look feel of the website, choose color schemes, color gradients, graphics, etc. and requires very little programming. The website can run the same source files on both mobile and desktop interfaces, which is a requirement now for Google search engine (because they don't want to index two different websites for every company). The flow of text is dymanically created based on the size and shape of the screen but otherwise looks and works the same. Also you can update the website content through an administrator login and built-in hypertext editor, which is helpfull in content development as you can see the results as you compose.
Amazon has pretty tight security, you cannot log in to the Linux server without Amazon-provided credentials and the server uses SSL encryption so it's pretty hard to spoof. Nevertheless as soon as I opened ports for the Apache server and the mail server, there was immediate traffic from spammers, hackers and viruses. They are rejected since they don't have the credentials but nevertheless the server has a load on it (below 1%) just ignoring this online noise.
I am considering running the server on IPV6 to avoid some of this. IPV6 is used by large sites like apple and facebook to help keep them above the fray. More info later.
Amazon Simple Email Service is not simple. Here's how it works. You desgnate the SES server to handle email going to your domain. Then rules are set up in SES to process, store (in Amazon S3 storage) and forward the email. The rules make sure the email is designated for your confirmed domains and the actual forwarding is done by a small Python script running on Amazon Lambda, a serverless computing facility. Also Amazon "Route 53" is your nameserver. Thus there are six different AWS services we are using: Lightsail, SES, Route 53, S3, and Lamda. Confusing, but that's why you need a consultant.
Lambda (where do they get these names) determines which emails are forwarded with a Python script you have to write. Amazon inserts tags for emails they consider Spam or Viruses and you read those tags. Also the script looks at the To: header and filters out nonsense email addresses because hackers often send phishing attacks to random email addresses on your domain, like postmaster.
Postfix and Dovecot
The Bitnami standard package does not include a mail server so I had to install Postfix and Dovecot using get-apt install on Debian. Postfix handles email coming in from the Amazon server via SMTP. It limits connections to known hosts like amazonaws.com, apple.com, etc and SMPT port is secured with SSL. Dovecot handles the IMAP interface also secured with SSL. The configuration of Postfix was quite hard and the documentation is poor. One thing that created difficulty is local connections like from the Roundcube web-based email program. Roundcube is run locally, Postfix refuses SSL for local connections and it took a while for me to figure that out.
Roundcube is a desktop, web-based email program which looks an feels like Eudora, sort of. Bitname offers a Rouncube package for $10/month but in my goal of avoiding monthly license fees I installed it using get-apt on Debian and configured it myself. Fortunately Roundcube has a built-in installer checker at <hostname>/roundcube/installer and that helps. It turns out that it needs packages like LDAP3, Net_SMTP, Auth_SASL, Mail_mime and others which you are left on your own to find. LDAP3 is particularly obscure and its GitHub and Kolab sites have zero documentation except "Slava Ukraine"
I had to wrap up this server project quickly so there were a few last things to take care of.
Installing Thunderbird, another Eudora-like email program, this one running on Windows, was helpful in diagnosing the last of the SMTP and IMAP problems with the Linux server. Also it has its own anti-Spam capability which can be used to train SpamAssasin by building up two mailboxes, one with solely Spam and the other with solely good emails. Finally it was used to copy massive amounts of email from one server to another.
SSL certificates for the website and email server was another stumbling block, however the tools exist to renew SSL certificates automatically. And for free, if you're willing to renew it every three months using LetsEncrypt and the R3 certificate authority. Bitnami supplies a script for doing the renewals but you do have to create file links for almost every program (Postfix, Dovecot, Apache) in order to see the updated certificates. Unfortunately older operating systems like Windows XP and older Max OSX do not have the latest certificate authority information, so browsers running under these older systems cannot use Let'sEncrypt certificates unless you update the authority. There was a lot of grief when this first happened a few years ago. But it still stands, and the Internet, like the shark, moves forward or dies.
Licensing online software downloads for copy protection and updates.
Online store for physical products and digital downloads, and integration with the licensing server
Mailing List management custom server, license-free
Animated webpages using HTML5 and mpg video
Roll your own youtube-like video server because youtube won't pay ad money unless you have 100,000 subcribers
Bulletin Board using YABB and Perl scripts