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What is Aardvark Hosting?

Aardvark Topsites PHP is a free topsites script. It is licensed under the GNU general public license (GPL). It’s built with PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) and MySQL.

Topsites are used to track and list a group of related websites by popularity. Aardvark Topsites PHP script allows tracking of important popularity statistics, such as pageviews, for sites in its list (e.g., a topsite might feature the top 100 movie fandom sites, or the top 100 free software sites, etc.). It also allows access to member stats and stats for the entire topsites group list. Security features include anti-cheating protection and spam protections, such as completely automated public turing test to tell computers and humans apart (CAPTCHA).

Other Aardvark features include, but are not limited to: script control from admin area, customizable skins in hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheet (CSS), integrated control panel for members, customizable categories, member rank on site badges, and search engine optimization (SEO) friendly links. The functionality compares favorably with other commercial scripts.

Demo & Installation

You can refer to a demo on their website to see how a normal topsites list functions. You can access the admin area and the control panel to play around with the features. In the demo, you can also see how some individuals have customized their topsites lists.

Aardvark Topsites is open source, which means everyone can access the source code of this project and can even contribute a customized code to be included in the project. Being open source also means there are a lot of knowledgeable individuals willing to pass on their Aardvark Topsites experience to others. If you want a skin (template) for your topsites, you can make a custom one if you possess the technical know-how, or download one from a third-party site that has made one.

Requirements for installation are simple PHP and MySQL. Also, the GD library with FreeType support is required for the CAPTCHA function to work. Installation is just four steps and supported on most hosting plans. Contact your hosting provider before installing the software to ensure compatibility.

Security vulnerabilities

Aardvark Topsites script is vulnerable to cross-site scripting, which results from improper validation of user-supplied input by the index.php script. Remote hackers could use the ‘q’ parameter to exploit this vulnerability in a specially-crafted URL to upload a malicious script in a compromised web browser while staying within the security context of the infected site, after the URL is clicked.

This vulnerability could allow a hacker to snoop the victim’s cookie-based authentication credentials. They could also include an arbitrary remote file that includes a malicious PHP code and execute it in the context of the compromised webserver process. This could allow the hacker to compromise the script and the underlying server.

Latest version

Aardvark Topsites PHP was last updated in 2009. The current version is 5.2.1. It supports multiple languages including Bosnian, Danish, Czech, Arabic, Finnish, French, English, Greek, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Italian, Norwegian, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Swedish, Spanish and Turkish. The previous version was 5.1.2. The only reason you might want to use the older version is if the latest version hasn’t been translated into your native language.

Why use Aardvark Hosting?

By allowing you to track a group of related websites based on popularity and metrics like pageviews, Aardvark Topsites give you the opportunity to measure your own performance against related sites. If your site is less popular than other sites on the list, you would know that you need to make changes to improve its rankings and to compete with others.

Also, you can show your site’s rank with a button, along with any other stat. If your site is popular, this would work to your advantage as advertisers and angle investors may come across your site.

Points to remember

Any webmaster would love to use a script that’s 100% secure from vulnerabilities, but the truth is no reliable hosting provider would make such a promise. Look for Aardvark host with a solid reputation for installation support, customer service, and guidance to mitigate/prevent remote attacks. To ensure things go smooth, look for a hosting package that includes the most stable, latest and compatible versions of MySQL & PHP.

Aardvark Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some good reasons to use Aardvark?

    Using Aardvark Topsites PHP script is an inventive way to do rankings of different websites and blogs if you want to have a live updating list of the best sites on a certain topic. It is secure, has its own stat tracking built in, and is fairly easy to host and manage when compared to alternative PHP scripts for ranking websites.

  • Are there any reasons not to use Aardvark?

    Many. For starters, the Aardvark Topsites PHP script has not received an update since 2009. While the platform continues to be downloaded on a daily basis and has been downloaded over 600,000 times, there is a recommendation on the script's website to try VisioSoft - a modern fork of Aardvark Topsites that has more features and better security. Security vulnerabilities are also well documented with Aardvark, in spite of the "robust anti-cheating protection", security questions, captcha and spambot protection documented on the website following its last version update in 2009.

  • What are the alternatives to Aardvark?

    The first topsites script alternative anyone should suggest to you over Aardvark is its modern fork, VisioList. While it is a premium script as opposed to Aardvark, which is available under a GNU license, VisioList has many modern web features that users and webmasters have come to expect when they are managing a website. Other open source, free to use alternatives in the topsites script space include PHPfaber, Monster Top List and GB Top-Directory.

  • Do I need to be concerned about installation?

    According to the homepage of the Aardvark Topsites website, installing the script is an easy 4-step process. Make sure you go to install.php/index.php in your web browser and follow the instructions. Once the installation is complete, delete the install directory. Make sure you also configure your SQL server, too.

  • Do I have to know how to program to use Aardvark?

    You will likely have to know some basic HTML to use Aardvark. In the administration area, you can add custom skins to your site without customization. However, if you intend to create custom pages for your site, HTML coding knowledge will be required to create them. Since your skin will already be loaded into the site, you shouldn't need a lot of programming knowledge, however. If you can create a P tag and know how to start and finish an OL tag and know how to make words bold with the STRONG tag, or italic with the EM tag, then you should be just fine.

  • Do I need to be concerned about installation?

    According to the homepage of the Aardvark Topsites website, installing the script is an easy 4-step process. Make sure you go to install.php/index.php in your web browser and follow the instructions. Once the installation is complete, delete the install directory. Make sure you also configure your SQL server, too.

  • Is there any reason not to use a one-click installation wizard?

    No. If you can find Aardvark out there and it is included as a 1-click installation, go ahead and use the 1-click process. The only concern you will have when using 1-click install is making sure your PHP and MySQL are up to date. When those files are not compatible with your website platform, server errors are very common.

  • What are the requirements for Aardvark web hosting?

    There are only two major server requirements for hosting Aardvark Topsites. You will need to have PHP version 4.3 or higher and MySQL version 4.0 or higher. With these two requirements and Aardvark's open source, GNU license, you should probably consider hosting it on a Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP server, also known as a "LAMP" stack.

  • What does self-hosted mean? I don't have to run a server myself, do I?

    Self-hosted websites do not require YOU to personally own a server and manage it to host your site. Instead, self-hosted simply means that hosting is not provided directly by the development team that created Aardvark. In order to use a self-hosted topsites script like Aardvark, you will need to contract a hosting provider before building your website.

  • Can I host the Aardvark topsites script on a shared hosting plan?

    Considering how simple the server requirements and the fact that it is available as a 1-click installation with many hosting providers, hosting Aardvark on a shared hosting plan shouldn't be a difficult request. However, if you are unsure if you can host on a shared plan, consult with your hosting provider to make sure Aardvark can meet their requirements for shared hosting.

  • Do I need managed hosting in order to use Aardvark as my topsites script?

    The answer to this question depends on your answer to the question "how much responsibility are you willing to accept for the maintenance of your website?" The more complex your site becomes with widgets, plugins, multiple blogs and theme changes, the greater your need will be for professionally managed website hosting. Shared hosting often comes with some managed services included. If you have a dedicated hosting solution, however, managed services are likely required as part of your agreement. To be fair to Aardvark, this is the case with any self-hosted content management system - not just Aardvark.

  • How does Aardvark compare to PHPfaber as a script for top sites?

    Aardvark is a simplified tool when compared to PHPfaber. While both are coded in PHP and run on MySQL, PHPFABER has a larger list of features and can be integrated with many applications. By comparison, Aardvark is a complete self-hosted solution with less features and more experience in HTML coding required. If you are choosing between these two scripts and are not looking to run a full site using this script, then PHPFABER may work better for you. If you need a site from the ground up using a topsites theme, then Aardvark should serve you well.

  • How does Aardvark compare to Monster Top List as a script for top sites?

    Compared to Aardvark, Monster Top List is more feature rich. With MTL, you can even create a webring of other topsite projects. Because Aardvark hasn't received a software update since 2009, it is tough to compare it to other topsites scripts in a "fair fight". The features available for Monster Top List are extensive and will help you provide a much better user experience than what you will find if you host an Aardvark site.

  • How does Aardvark compare to GB Top-Directory as a script for topsites?

    Compared to Aardvark, GB Top Directory is written in PHP without using MySQL, which makes it much quicker in its response times. GB is also much friendlier for SEO than Aardvark and provides comprehensive stats for admins. Once again, GB Top Directory is a tool that is more frequently up to date, making it a better option as a topsites script over the outdated Aardvark.

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