Self-hosting?


#1

I have been a DH customer for two (or more) years and am perfectly happy. I have two domains and a third that is mirrored. I also have one domain hosted by another company. I do have a website, but have not updated it in quite some time and mostly experiment with it. I also mostly use the storage space for backups of my data.

Anyway, my question is this: I am interested in attempting to host my own site (for fun and experience) and need to no where to begin. Alright, that wasn’t really a question, but you get the point (I hope).

I have Windows Server 2k3 and SBS 2k3. (I have Server 2008, but since Vista is a resource hog, I assume this version of Server is also.) I have a dynamic ip address from my ISP (using PPPoE). Any advise on this forum or direction to another website would be greatly appreciated.


#2

I too have a dynamic IP address via my ADSL service provider. I run a WAMP stack on my own machine (for testing), then upload everything to DH.

For your own ‘fun’ site, I’d suggest you simply register a new domain via DH, as this is not expensive. You could then develop and test your site on your pc, and then upload it to your new DH domain, so that’s it’s publicly available.

Setting up WAMP on your pc is made much simpler if you install ‘XAMP’ (basically an all-in-one package) - google this to get the download location. From all accounts I’ve heard, this is a very easy way to set things up.

HTH


#3

Hmm, porting from WAMP testing to LAMP deployment is not quite that easy for everyone - some packages are specifically Linux-only, usually due to issues in the way they’ve chosen to manage the file system.

If you choose to run a server from home, check with your ISP who will probably say that’s not permitted by their ToS. I’m not sure I understand you correctly but if you’re using DH for your PC backups you may find DH frowns on that too.

As to getting your feet wet with your own server, I think part of the fun is getting to know the environment, and you’ve got an “impedance mismatch” by practicing on Windows and deploying in Linux. If you plan to test on Windows and deploy at a different shared/dedicated host that supports Windows, be aware of all of the software that your system uses, especially DLLs or other packages that need to be installed via an MSI file. You can easily install this on your home system but a shared or even dedicated host won’t be as generous. When using your own system you have more packages open to you, you can run services as persistent processes, and you have more freedom to write to the local file system.

The things that prevents me from running a full-blown system from my home office are 1) ISP ToS, 2) ISP reliability, and 3) Security. Point 1 was mentioned. Point 2 means I don’t want my business to suffer when the guy next door is getting a new ESPN channel and the workman outside has to take down my service for a few minutes. More realistically, I’m not setup here to support an outward facing server if the power goes out - that’s why we pay for hosted services. The biggie is #3. You don’t know what you don’t know, and if you’re going to host a public server you need to do your homework to ensure you aren’t exposing an obvious attack surface - obvious to people who spend their time on such things, not obvious to those of us who use web servers simply as tools to deliver content. Again, this is one of the things for which we pay our shared host.

Setting up a server and getting apps running is deceptively easy. It’s that next step at keeping them properly maintained that’s going to start eating your time, and perhaps money, if you’re not prepared for it. I recommend spending time with books on Windows security for websites, just to get an idea of what that world is about, and also in forums where other people are doing the same thing you want to do - like this forum, community support is the fuel that keeps the internet burning bright.

Also, don’t rule out installing a free vmWare Server or similar offering, and hosting Linux there. You can get pre-configured systems that are plug n play and you can copy the environment for learning/development/testing. I have no preference between Linux and Windows and I don’t like the related religion - I host with Linux and do all of my development over Windows with .NET - use what you’re comfortable with.

I prolly have more to say to a direct question, but for now, that’s nuff outta me.
HTH