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#1 333OnlyHalfEvil  Icon User is offline

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Questions Regarding Residential Web Server

Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:02 AM

I'm kicking around the idea of doing freelance web design more often and hosting the sites myself from home. As of now, the only sites I'm aiming to host are small, low traffic, html/css sites for local businesses. Here are my questions:

1. Can I avoid building a separate physical machine to host the sites and just use my desktop? The idea I have is to just have a VM on my desktop with linux installed on it to do the hosting since my desktop is a powerhouse. I'm wondering if this is possible and, if so, is it wise?

2. If I build a separate physical machine solely set up as a web server, will I run into problems having it on the same network as my personal computer? I have concerns similar to question 1 with this.

3. Is it simple to host multiple websites from the same machine?

4. I'm planning on beginning with simple websites and eventually transition into more complex websites. Are there limitations on residential servers? If they work for simple websites can I also set up email? ftp? stores? login capabilities? game website? etc?

5. Any foreseeable problems using a dynamic IP?

6. Does anyone have any links to anything I might find helpful?

Thanks in advance!

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Replies To: Questions Regarding Residential Web Server

#2 Atli  Icon User is offline

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Re: Questions Regarding Residential Web Server

Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:36 AM

As somebody who has actually set up web hosting on my local network, and knows Apache and Linux administration pretty well, my advice would be to drop this idea and get a hosting account from a reputable hosting service. It's not worth the trouble to do all this yourself; not when you can buy hosting for < $10 per month that can host any number of small-scale sites, with all the bells and whistles of a modern(ish) host. (Server-side scripts, databases, etc...)

As to your questions:

  • Yes, you can definitely set up a VM as the hosting OS. I've done this using both VirtualBox and VMware, both of which can "pretend" to set up actual physical network devices for the VM, with their own separate IP address on the local network, thus completely isolating it from the host OS.

  • It shouldn't be a problem setting the host machine up on the local network, so that it doesn't affect the rest of it. Standard port forwarding should really be the only thing necessary to get this to work. - I'd be more worried about security, since it's no small issue to keep a public host secure, and once a single machine on a network is vulnerable, the entire network is.

  • Yes. Setting up virtual hosts is no big deal on any popular web server.

  • There is no technical reason why your machine couldn't host anything you can think of. Given that your ISP doesn't block the necessary ports, and that your internet connection is sufficiently powerful. Anything less than a fibre-optic line is likely to have severe constraints on your upload speeds.

  • Your external IP would have to be static for a DNS record to be set up properly. If your ISP swaps your IP around, that's pretty much a deal-breaker. - There are some services that will keep track of the changes and provide "dynamic DNS" records, but I wouldn't want to rely on such things for an actual hosting server.

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#3 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Questions Regarding Residential Web Server

Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:31 PM

If you want to host from home, always contact your ISP first. Especially with this net-neutrality a thing of the past. They may block ports 80, 443, 25, 110, you know, all of the good ones :)
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