If you want to do it yourself, you need a LAMP stack and a static IP. You need Apache 2, PHP 5 and MySQL5. You must be able to bring up the default web page from a browser. A residential DSL connection will work – slowly. A 2.0 GHz computer with 2G ram is the minimum.
You can have your web site at one ISP and Webtix on a local machine. This makes a lot of sense for the organizations that use a lot of graphics. They keep their site at a local ISP on top of a large pipeline with lots of bandwidth. The Webtix computer usually has a lower bandwidth requirement and can be kept locally. All the customer sees is a button that says, “Click here to purchase tickets.”
Other things that are handy to know:
- You will want a firewall with ports 80 and 443 open.
- You will want a site certificate. You don’t need it for Webtix to function, but lots of people will want you to have it (including your bank). This certificate is what gives you the little lock on the bottom of your screen. Certificates are available from companies like Comodo.com, Thawte.com, RSA, Verisign and Geotrust for a fee.
- Handling credit cards puts you at risk. You must follow the guidelines of the PCI standard. If you don’t, you can be put out of business in a matter of minutes. Click here for the cardholder information secuirty program. Among other things, you need a firewall with “stateful packet inspection,” anti virus software, security procedures and a policy manual. There is a short list for merchant levels of compliance criteria.
- Because complying with the regulations is so difficult and important, a service like Authorize.net or MerchantPlus.com makes a lot of sense. You avoid the regulations by not keeping the card numbers on your computer or in your office.
- You need a static IP address. 99% of Windows internet users use what are called “dynamic” IP addresses. That means each time you connect to the internet, your ISP assigns you an IP address to use when you connect. The next time you connect, you might get a different address. If you’re only connecting out to the internet, that’s all you need. If you expect people to connect in to buy tickets, you’ll need a static IP address. A static IP is assigned by your ISP to you permanently, and identifies your server to the world.
To install Webtix, you need to do a few things:
- Talk to your bank. Bankers are the ones who set the rules here. Tell them that you are planning to do sales over the internet. They will tell you that you need an e-commerce account, as well as an e-commerce certificate. They may insist that you have a site-certificate (to give you the little lock at the bottom of your browser window). Do things the banker’s way. If you don’t, fines start at $10,000 and they will revoke your merchant account.
- How are you processing credit cards now? We recommend taking a look at Authorize.net or MerchantPlus.com. Both of them store the credit card numbers on high security sites. You avoid the CISP regulations by not keeping the card numbers in your office. Any maintenance (refunds, cancellations, extra charges) is done through a web interface.
- Set up an email response form. It takes about five minutes to enter a “mailto” command in your home page. This will encourage your customers to order over the web.
- Get a simple HTML form to post the data with a submit button. This will take a bit longer since it is an actual web page that uses CGI scripting. You will need to enter your list of shows, performances and prices. Let your customers know that if they submit an order on the internet, they will get first priority. This form is the one you will expand on when you finally jump into Webtix.
The whole process can take a couple of weeks.