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Web Host - Host Yourself!

There are very few reasons to host yourself these days. Web servers are faster than ever, prices are down, and the majority of internet sites use such a small portion of a web server's resources that a large number of web sites can be hosted by a single server without any negative side effects. However, if you are thinking about hosting yourself, you should first see if you meet any/all of the following requirements:

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  • You are technologically savvy individual.
  • Understand the basic issues in securing a server.
  • You have access to a broadband internet connection for the server.
  • Have a large amount of time to allocate for this project.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.

If you believe this pretty much describes you, then hosting your own server may be a reasonable solution. However, if you do not meet these requirements, we suggest that you skim through this information and continue on with Web Host guide. Chances are setting up your own server would only be an unnecessary headache.

Server Requirements

There are many things to consider when setting up your own web server. We have a compiled a short list of a few key items:

  • A computer that can be dedicated as a web server, not as a personal computer.
  • An NIC (Network Interface Card) and a broadband connection. A high upload rate is of the utmost importance.
  • A computer that will be enough to keep up with server requests. Processor intensive web sites will require a higher quality PC than a web site that only has a few static HTML pages.
  • Installed copy of the Linux OS. Though any OS can serve a web site, Linux is one of the most popular server OSes and is becoming an industry standard.
  • An ISP or Internet Connection that supports web traffic. Many ISPs will not allow users to run a web server unless they pay an additional fee. Contact your ISP for more details

Most of those items should be easy enough, except for the Linux OS. It is possible to serve a web site using the Windows operating system, but many more security issues need to be addressed than with the Linux OS. If you would like to learn more about linux, read a Beginner's Tutorial to get your feet wet.

Windows Hosting Information

If you have chosen to stay with windows to host your web site, please take a look at these tutorials on how to set up a Windows-based web server.

  • Windows Web Server - A steb-by-step process of building a windows web server.
  • Windows 2003 - A great resource for setting up a Windows 2003 based server.

The most important part of getting a windows server ready is to ensure that IIS/PWS (different name for different versions of Windows) is installed. Without installing this you will not be able to serve web documents to the public. If you are using Windows ME or XP Home Edition there is not a safe way to install IIS/PWS to your system. You will either have to use a different OS or install a different version of Windows.

  • XP Pro - XP Pro IIS Installation Guide.
  • Windows 98 - Windows 98 PWS Installation Guide.

Linux Hosting Information

There are many flavors of Linux to choose from. The most popular are RedHat, Slackware, and Debian. If you are new to Linux, do not worry. Many web sites are out there that will teach you all the need-to-know information to get started with linux. Here are a few helpful web sites:

There is a huge community that supports linux and most are more than happy to answer your questions, provided that you have done a little research prior to asking your question. If you have any problems with getting linux to run, the place to ask your questions is at Linux Questions.

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