Using your own computer as a web host

  gregsickle 10:01 09 Oct 03
Locked

Is it possible to use your own computers hard drive to create web space instead of paying a company like 1&1 (click here)? Any responce would be greatly appriciated

  Taran 10:19 09 Oct 03

Yes and no.

You can set up ypur PC as a web server fairly easily using Windows IIS click here or Apache click here but many ISPs do not allow you to host your own website and the security implications of using your PC as a web host are pretty horrific.

You also have DNS resolution issues to consider and a third party product or service like NoIP click here would have to be used to point your site visitors to your site unless you have a static IP address.

Frankly, for what you get in return for the cost of hosting, it simply is not worth the hassle or risks involved and if your site is anything other than just a slight hobby to you, running your own web host is completely impractical for a reliable service.

Just let a web host do what they do best and use your computer as a PC.

  gregsickle 22:09 09 Oct 03

Thanx

  jz 07:18 10 Oct 03

To make your website available 24 hours a day, you would have to leave you PC on 24 hours a day. Since this generally costs around £170 per year in electricity, hosting from your PC may well be false economy.

  wsces 18:38 11 Oct 03

It may also be worth mentioning that PWS can do the same thing as IIS, it is included with Windows98, and possibly above, correct me if I'm wrong.

  Taran 10:59 12 Oct 03

You are correct, but PWS is similar to IIS in that it is operating system dependant and neither one is a good choice for anyone wanting to serve their own page.

The issue here is not a simple question of whether or not it can be done: rather the issues centre on whether or not it is practical and cost effective and the anser to those questions is a resounding no.

You can get an inexpensive web hosting package for as little as £35 - £40 per year these days and while I cannot comment on how good (or not) these packages are, other hosts in the £70 - £150 per year bracket that I do use for simpler sites not requiring advanced features offer excellent service and support without any of the headaches of running your own web server.

Locking down a web server is not the easiest of tasks to begin with. PWS especially and to a lesser extent IIS and Apache present a huge array of security isses that all have to be dealt with properly to effectively deliver your site online. Couple that with electricity costs, bandwidth costs or restrictions, ISP limitations (many ISPs rightly disallow you from serving your own site). the need for a static IP address or a thrid party redirection service like NoIP and a whole lot of other headaches and you have a very convincing argument in favour of not even attempting it.

I run a great many sites for a lot of clients as well as my own and all of them are through hosting companies. I have my own web server with one host and I run a lot of sites on it but despite (or perhaps because of) a background in network management and systems administration I would far rather pay a dedicated host for their guaranteed uptime, backup support and everything else that they offer than run my own web server from my business premises.

It is not that it can't be done, quite clearly it can. There are just far too many uncontrollable variables in the DIY approach and at the end of the day if anything prevents or disrupts your site form being online, your visitors will get that annoying Page Error 404 and they won't come back later for a second look.

Regards

Taran

  Forum Editor 14:17 12 Oct 03

of running my own web server in my office - I've worked with too many servers in corporate offices to want the hassle of worrying about up time, particularly at weekends and during holiday periods.

Like Taran, I run a dedicated server with a hosting company. The server's in a secure facility in London's docklands area, and is monitored on a 24/7 basis; if it goes down it's rebooted immediately, and I don't have to worry about it.

There are just too many problems associated with running a home server for it to be viable, unless it's purely for your own amusement. If it was worth doing I assure you we would all be doing it.

  Gaz 25 13:03 21 Oct 03

What a dangerous idea!

Hackers will not only find themselves a way in! A virus could bring the whole lot dowm, and it will be against the User Licence of the ISP.

It is just not worth it.

But if you want, play about with Linix, it is a lot safer than Server 2003 from my opinion.

  Taran 15:02 21 Oct 03

Linux and Windows Server are very roughly on an equal par as far as server security goes with the one very important factor that you absolutely MUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING to use either one of them effectively.

A default Linux server setup is laughably wide open to attack (as is Windows for that matter) so it all falls down to the nut behind the wheel, as it were, to lock things down properly.

Besides, to serve your own personal web you don't need to look further than IIS or Apache running on Windows, provided you can get past ISP restrictions, the probable lack of a permanent IP address from which to serve the site, DNS resolution and any one of many other issues.

It all gets pretty messy, horribly insecure and is more work than it's worth.

I use a managed server with one host for a lot of sites and I also have a server that I manage myself with another host, as well as some standalone individual hosting packages assigned to certain sites. At the risk of repeating myself, despite a background in sysadmin/network management (amongst other things) I wouldn't dream of serving my own site(s).

Regards

Taran

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