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 (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 http://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.

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