Hosting Your Own Web Server Things To Consider

Hosting Your Own Web Server Things To Consider



Are you disgusted or​ disappointed with your current web host? Have you switched web hosting companies too many times? Have you thought of​ hosting your own website(s)? Do you have the​ ambition to​ control and​ manage your own web server?

If you answered 'yes' to​ the​ questions above, then you may be ready to​ host your own sites. This article will give you things to​ consider while making the​ switch.

When being your own web host you should be technically inclined and​ have basic knowledge of​ operating systems, understand technical terms, understand how to​ setup a​ server environment (such as: DNS, IIS, Apache, etc.) have basic knowledge of​ scripting languages and​ databases (PHP, Perl, MySQL, etc.), be familiar with current technologies, and​ have a​ basic understanding of​ hardware and​ server components.

You should realize the​ pros & cons. it​ is​ one thing to​ say, you want to​ host your own web server and​ it​ is​ another thing to​ actually do it.

Pros:

* Own sense of​ responsibility

* Awareness level raised (you are at​ the​ frontline of​ all server happenings)

* No monthly hosting fees/accounts

* Incompetence no longer exist

* Non-shared environment (dedicated server)

* Unlimited websites, databases, content, storage, etc.

* More bandwidth

* No more waiting on someone else time

* Complete control

Cons:

* Exhausting at​ times

* Faced with server/hardware problems

* ISP business account (monthly business/broadband expense)

* if​ server goes down then the​ website is​ offline

* No technical support team

* Software, hardware, and​ network expenses

There could be many more pros & cons but I??ve pointed out some of​ the​ major ones. Managing a​ web server starts as​ a​ full time job, you must constantly monitor its performance and​ security. This can sometimes be an​ exhausting task, especially if​ you currently have other responsibilities. Though, the​ control you will have over your website and​ its performance is​ rewarding enough. You no longer have to​ wait for​ technical support or​ approval to​ install a​ script onto the​ server. You can have as​ many websites and​ databases you want, as​ long as​ your hardware can handle it. You no longer have to​ go into the​ discussion forums and​ search for​ the​ best web host or​ rant about how much you hate your current host. You can even begin hosting family & friends personal websites.

Ask yourself, how technically advanced are you? Many times you do not have to​ be a​ tech guru or​ anything of​ the​ sort, but you must be very resourceful. You must know how to​ find resolutions and​ answers to​ problems, quickly and​ efficiently. This means you must be internet savvy. Not just the​ average surfer, who surfs aimlessly, but you must be the​ surfer who can always find what they are looking for. This is​ key, because with any server environment you are going to​ run into problems and​ finding the​ answers are most accomplished online, using multiple resources, search techniques, and​ engines. Sure you can hire someone to​ fix your problems, but as​ we should have learned from the​ "web hosting", having someone do it​ for​ you isn't always the​ best option. Here is​ a​ test to​ see if​ you are ready to​ find solutions. I need a​ solution to​ a​ Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Event Error - "Event ID: 1056?? it??s a​ DHCP Server Error. How would you search? Go ahead find the​ solution.

Did you first go to​ Google? if​ you did, that was a​ nice effort and​ common for​ most, plus a​ good place to​ start, but usually it​ is​ best to​ start at​ the​ developers' website. in​ this case "microsoft.com" would have been the​ first option. Why? Google would more than likely provide you with the​ answer from Microsoft and​ other sources, but you don't want to​ get inaccurate information from other sources. it​ is​ common to​ get information from Microsoft that would not specifically resolve your problem, but the​ developer should always be your first place to​ search for​ the​ answers. Now search the​ error again and​ go to​ the​ Microsoft site and​ find the​ solution.

You should had found this link: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;282001 (Event ID 1056 is​ Logged after installing DHCP)

What search phrase did you use? it​ should have been Event ID: 1056, because the​ Event ID is​ the​ exact error, it​ pinpoints your exact problem without broadening your search. Sometimes the​ error description is​ also appropriate to​ search, just the​ error description by itself or​ in​ combination with the​ Event ID. it​ depends on your error, your search feedback, your ability, and​ technique. for​ this example I did not include the​ error description.

Google or​ Yahoo! should have been your second option (the two largest search engines). Then search other smaller and​ niche search engines. a​ good search site which makes use of​ Google??s operator tags is​ www.soople.com. Next you should search within forums and​ discussion groups. if​ you are pretty internet savvy and​ have a​ plentiful or​ few forums and​ discussion groups which you frequent then you might actually visit those places before visiting Google or​ Yahoo!. You can even visit those before visiting the​ developer site since it​ is​ a​ trusted source, but I wouldn't recommend it, I still would go to​ the​ developers' site first. Okay, so now we have planted our feet and​ have familiarized ourselves with being internet (search) savvy. We are ready to​ purchase a​ server!

When making a​ server purchase you need to​ consider a​ few things before doing so. What to​ buy? a​ top of​ the​ line, quadruple processor, and​ super fast turbo server is​ always ideal, but many times it​ is​ not logical or​ affordable. Therefore, you need to​ weigh your options (sensibly).

What to​ buy?

* First determine your budget. Be realistic and​ expect to​ spend at​ least $2,500 for​ a​ low-end server. for​ a​ low-end, quality server with other needed equipment and​ services I spent a​ little over $4,500 easily.

* Determine your ISP (broadband) provider. Research and​ speak with several different vendors before deciding which broadband solution best suit your needs. Each provider plan is​ different and​ has different benefits, determine the​ best one which fits your needs. Bandwidth should be put into consideration when choosing your ISP.

* a​ backup device should be purchased before implementing a​ server install. the​ backup device should be double the​ server storage space. This could be a​ standalone unit like an​ external hard drive or​ network storage device or​ the​ backup device could be multiple devices such as: backup tapes, disc, etc. the​ reason the​ backup device should be larger is​ because you want to​ be able to​ have months worth of​ backups and​ not just weekly or​ monthly backups. You should have at​ least 24 weeks of​ backups without the​ concern of​ storage space. the​ backup device or​ safe deposits should also be external, removable, and​ portable. This is​ so the​ backups can be stored in​ a​ remote location. Usually for​ safe-keeping, in​ event of​ a​ theft or​ disaster.

* Determine your daily traffic goal (the daily traffic which you hope to​ see within 1 year ?C be realistic), divide that number by the​ daily traffic you currently receive, and​ then multiply that number by 5. That is​ the​ total number of​ GB space you need.

Example:

Daily Traffic Goal: 10,000 (Divided by) Current Daily Traffic: 500 (Times X) 5 = 100GB

In the​ example you should purchase a​ 100GB Hard Drive, it​ is​ best to​ buy 2 or​ more drives oppose to​ 1. in​ this case, since 50GB drives do not exist or​ harder to​ find, you would buy two 60GB drives giving you a​ total of​ 120GB. 2 or​ more drives are usually needed in​ a​ server to​ configure the​ proper RAID option, in​ some cases 3 or​ more are needed. Your backup storage space should be a​ minimum capacity of​ 200GB (or 240GB, optional).

* Determine your memory. if​ your web server daily traffic goal is​ 500,000 then I would recommend at​ least 2GB worth of​ memory. if​ it​ is​ a​ shared server, meaning it​ also has other server services running on the​ machine, especially a​ mail server or​ database server (which is​ not recommended) then your memory should at​ least be 3GB or​ more. Otherwise you can think small and​ upgrade as​ needed, a​ 1GB memory stick should be fine for​ starters.

* Determine your network components, which NIC card best performs under high traffic levels and​ which router best performs for​ your LAN / web server. it​ is​ best to​ get a​ router which has a​ built-in firewall (commonly known as​ a​ ??hardware firewall??). Your ISP may provide you with a​ router or​ hardware firewall, this is​ how they are able to​ authorize your traffic on their network. Like a​ cable box does for​ cable television. the​ router also shares your IP address with other clients on your network. This enables you to​ share your internet connection without having to​ get a​ different IP from your ISP. the​ hardware firewall is​ simply a​ router with a​ built-in firewall, which means it​ shares your IP address as​ well as​ provides added protection to​ your network. it​ blocks bad addresses and​ ports at​ the​ forefront, before it​ can even make it​ to​ your computer. it​ is​ not recommended to​ rely only on a​ hardware firewall for​ security, this is​ just the​ first step. it​ is​ recommended to​ also include a​ software firewall (firewall software which installs on your computer) and​ it​ is​ recommended to​ continue timely security practices, such as​ updating and​ patching your system on a​ scheduled routine.

* Determine your processor speed and​ power. Regardless of​ the​ amount of​ traffic you are expecting I would recommend a​ dual processor or​ greater. a​ dual processor or​ greater is​ best because if​ your website unexpectedly take off then you will be well prepared and​ if​ you host other server options or​ websites on the​ same server then you will have better performance. at​ the​ time of​ this writing the​ 64-bit platform is​ the​ processor direction. 3.8GHz is​ the​ most available speed. if​ your pockets can afford the​ latest technologies then that is​ ideal, but keep in​ mind at​ this particular time a​ 64-bit compatible processor is​ not necessary, without having many applications that require or​ deliver on that platform. That is​ a​ lot of​ speed going no where fast. Also, remember the​ power of​ the​ 64-bit platform and​ the​ greater the​ processor speed the​ more heat it​ produces, therefore it​ must be cooled much more rapidly and​ efficiently. at​ this time a​ dual 32-bit, 2.8GHz ?C 3.2GHz processor will suffice (even that is​ way more than enough). Though, if​ your pockets can afford it​ then the​ latest and​ greatest would be fine, you will be well prepared. Otherwise, do like most people and​ upgrade when the​ time comes.

* Make sure you have a​ CD/RW drive. a​ floppy disk drive is​ not needed, but I do recommend it​ for​ making system restore disk. the​ CD/RW drive is​ needed because you need some type of​ removable storage device. You never know when you need to​ install a​ driver from a​ different location??like a​ ethernet driver. an​ external CD/RW drive is​ the​ best option, especially if​ you have multiple machines.

* Choose your operating system carefully. Choose the​ vendor which you are most comfortable with. Do not choose a​ MAC if​ you never used a​ MAC before. Just because your friend suggests it​ and​ says it​ is​ a​ piece of​ cake does not mean it​ will be for​ you. You are trying to​ get a​ web server online not re-learn a​ whole new system. Stay focused and​ grounded. if​ you are comfortable with Microsoft then go with Microsoft, regardless if​ the​ it​ person at​ your job says Microsoft products are unsecure, Linux or​ Unix is​ more secure and​ much better for​ a​ web server. if​ you have never used Linux or​ (especially) Unix then you will be in​ for​ a​ ride of​ your life. Your web server experience will soon become a​ nightmare and​ you will have wasted thousands of​ dollars on equipment. Go with what you know, not what you are told. Each platform has its pros and​ cons: Microsoft is​ the​ user-friendly of​ them all; Mac is​ the​ web/graphic developer of​ them all; Linux is​ the​ open-source/developers paradise of​ them all; Unix is​ the​ most secure of​ them all. Each of​ them can be tweaked in​ ways to​ provide a​ solid, quality platform, it​ is​ best to​ stick with what you already know.

* You should install on your system all the​ web services (such as: Apache, IIS, etc.), applications (such as: backup device software, RAID (Array) Manager), scripting languages (such as: PHP, Perl, etc.), CGI, Database (such as: MySQL, Microsoft SQL, etc.), and​ a​ web log analyzer (such as: weblog expert, nihuo, etc.). it​ is​ also recommended to​ perform system updates, security patches, and​ firewall installs and​ configurations. it​ is​ sometimes best to​ leave the​ security installs and​ configurations for​ after you have the​ system functioning properly to​ avoid any uncalculated problems. This way when you install the​ firewall and​ something stops working properly like connecting to​ your website from outside your network, you can troubleshoot assuming that it​ is​ the​ firewall, therefore you would begin by opening port 80 on the​ firewall. This method can save you a​ lot of​ hassle, but can sometimes be considered the​ unsecure method, especially if​ you don??t have a​ hardware firewall already in​ place.

Next, there are a​ few things to​ consider before installing and​ configuring a​ server. Where to​ put it? a​ secluded, cool location is​ ideal, but if​ this cannot be accomplished then adjustments can be made.

Where to​ put it?

* Locate a​ location within your home that is​ static-free, we do not want to​ put the​ server on the​ carpet, near curtains, or​ anything else that can produce a​ static reaction. the​ reason for​ this is​ that you do not want the​ server internal components to​ receive a​ static charge and​ short circuit.

* the​ location should be a​ cool environment, preferably below room temperature. the​ reason for​ a​ cool area is​ because servers (as well as​ desktop computers) produce large amounts of​ heat, the​ more heat it​ produces the​ more it​ needs to​ cool off. if​ the​ server is​ not kept cool, then this can lead to​ the​ server hanging and​ then eventually crashing. It's the​ same result of​ when a​ car overheats, it​ stops running. You can keep a​ server internal components cool by keeping the​ room cool, additionally you can add more fans to​ the​ server which cools the​ server internal components, you can also position a​ standalone fan directly at​ the​ server back panel and​ constantly have the​ fan cool the​ server internal components. Depending on how cool your room is​ and​ how much heat your server produces, getting more fans for​ your server may be a​ must and​ not an​ option.

* it​ is​ suggested that the​ server is​ at​ a​ higher level within your house (mid-floor), because if​ it​ is​ in​ the​ basement and​ a​ flood occurs it​ could ruin it. if​ it​ is​ in​ the​ attic and​ the​ sun beams on the​ attic for​ hours the​ server could overheat. Mid-floor level is​ usually the​ cooler place within the​ home, but these recommendations is​ optional and​ you should put the​ server in​ the​ most comfortable and​ convenient space following the​ rest of​ the​ guidelines.

* Be sure the​ area you choose is​ not damp or​ wet (no leaks, moisture, near any liquids, or​ near a​ window ??especially open??). We all know what can happen when electrical components get wet.

* the​ server should sit at​ least 4?? inches from the​ ground

* Be sure a​ working electrical outlet is​ near. it​ is​ an​ important to​ have a​ power supply, a​ good brand is​ APC. Having a​ power supply can save you from electrical outages, blackouts, and​ brownouts. Having a​ power supply helps the​ server keep its power, remain stable, and​ unaffected when there is​ an​ outage, as​ well it​ protects your server against electrical shock. if​ your outage remains more than 5 minutes it​ is​ recommended to​ begin backing up anything deemed important and​ shut the​ computer down voluntarily as​ well as​ any other electrical attached devices.

* Have a​ LAN line near and​ also a​ phone jack (if you plan on using the​ server for​ any dial-up services). it​ is​ not recommended to​ use your web service with a​ dial-up connection. a​ broadband connection or​ greater is​ recommend for​ optimal performance. the​ LAN line should never come from your wall and​ plug directly into your server, it​ should plug into a​ hardware firewall (usually a​ router with a​ built-in firewall).

* Depending on the​ size of​ the​ server and​ the​ internal components the​ server may be extremely noisy and​ loud, especially with the​ fans going. it​ is​ suggested to​ have the​ server in​ a​ secluded location which is​ not near any peaceful area of​ the​ house, such as: bedroom.

Those are all some basic things to​ consider before hosting your own server. Hosting your own server is​ not an​ easy task, but once you have had some time and​ experience with it, it​ becomes a​ breeze. You will have a​ better web hosting experience, you will be more in​ tune and​ reliant to​ your customers, and​ you will gain greater technical aptitude. Hosting your own web server is​ rewarding, useful, and​ gives you the​ opportunity to​ host unlimited websites, databases, services, etc.

If your web traffic becomes too great for​ your server then it​ is​ recommended to​ choose an​ offsite web host. it​ is​ recommend to​ purchase a​ dedicated server with a​ quality web host. if​ you choose a​ server with the​ above recommendations then your server traffic should be fine for​ at​ least up to​ 25,000,000 page views per month. it​ could be greater or​ less depending on your operating system, your server configuration, performance, applications, and​ services. the​ point is​ you should be well in​ a​ position to​ purchase dedicated server space by the​ time your traffic gets too high, because if​ you are getting anything close to​ 1,000,000 page views a​ month you should have some competitive advertising or​ ecommerce income. and​ plus, with the​ knowledge you will gain from the​ experience you will be able to​ support your own server at​ a​ dedicated server (remote) location, thus cutting more overhead.

The biggest disadvantage of​ hosting your own web server is​ the​ uptime reliability. if​ your web server powers down for​ any reason then your website is​ offline. Usually web hosting companies have methods and​ networks to​ prevent this failure from affecting your website. Usually if​ the​ system goes down they have a​ mirror location where your site is​ rejuvenated and​ doesn??t experience much downtime. Some web hosts do not practice this method or​ any other fault tolerance. Imagine if​ a​ blackout or​ power outage occurs, then your web server could be down for​ hours or​ even days, this can affect your business greatly. There are some hosting companies who provide mirror web hosting for​ a​ small fee, I haven??t found one that is​ reliable yet. or​ you could cross your fingers and​ hope for​ the​ best, until you are able to​ host your server outside your home on a​ larger network.

Hosting your own server usually is​ not a​ money-saving experience. it​ sometimes cost more to​ host your own server, when you total the​ up keep and​ maintenance. the​ benefit of​ hosting your own server is​ usually a​ better platform for​ your customers, because it​ is​ no longer a​ shared server and​ it​ gives you the​ ability to​ make global changes almost instantaneously. When your customers request more performance or​ specific applications, then you will be able to​ implement this immediately. Customers like to​ know that you are in​ control. if​ you tell your customers that the​ server will be down for​ maintenance from 6 a.m. ?C 7 a.m. then it​ would be best if​ that is​ when your server is​ down, not from 5 a.m. ?C 10 a.m. You know how your web host will tell you one thing and​ then you have to​ try explaining it​ to​ your customer. in​ the​ end it​ will benefit you to​ host your own web server as​ a​ web business, this helps you and​ your customers.




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