Need advice on home server setup

I am setting up Unbuntu (desktop) with Apache, PHP, and MySql on a computer that will be on my home network.

  1. Is it a good idea to have my web development computer also serve as the backup computer for the remainder of the network?

  2. I want to be able to access the development files from several computers in my home. I also want to allow visitors to my home viewing access to the sites under development. Is this possible? (keeping files up-to-date on several computers is a pain, so editing from my Windows computer is prefered while keeping the files on the Ubuntu development server.)

Will I need to setup DNS on the Unbuntu computer?

Will I need to modify the Windows host file on the computers of visiting friends and family? (I would prefer not to adjust computers that do not belong to me.)

I don’t see why not. But do take in to account that when you do it this way you don’t get backups from the dev machine. So maybe add an external hard drive to the configuration for backup of the dev server’s data? (And maybe as a redundant backup of all the other data as well, while you’re at it :))

Yes that’s most certainly possible. Been doing this myself for quite some time
(until I got fed up with visitors wasting my bandwidth and clogging my tubes).

You can do this for your local network if you set other PCs in the network to use the Ubuntu box as DNS server, but for using it over the internet you don’t need it.

If you want to use completely custom names (like [noparse]http://csu-bill/[/noparse]) then you do. If not, and you have some domain, you can just add subdomains to that domain and point them to the external IP of your Ubuntu box.
Make sure port forwarding is set up correctly in your router(r) (if any) and that firewall(s) (if any) to allow the traffic.

Okay, I will use this computer as both development and backup, and I will setup an external hard drive as a backup for the development files and Ubuntu system, Apache, PHP, and MySQL. Better that I do it before something unexpected happens. :slight_smile:

When I talked about visitors, I mean folks in my house using my network. This happens several times each month, and I am agreeable as long as they bring my grandchildren. :slight_smile: I also use family to alpha test. It may look great to me, but they find the ugly spots.

[quote]CSU-Bill --Will I need to setup DNS on the Unbuntu computer?

You can do this for your local network if you set other PCs in the network to use the Ubuntu box as DNS server, but for using it over the internet you don’t need it.[/quote]
I don’t plan to access this computer from the internet, just from home. When I get to the point of letting someone view from the internet, I will FTP to a password protected location on my live site.
What I want is to allow my family to enter something like testsite.xyz and then be viewing my work in progress.

[quote]CSU-Bill – Will I need to modify the Windows host file on the computers of visiting friends and family? (I would prefer not to adjust computers that do not belong to me.)

If you want to use completely custom names (like http://csu-bill/) then you do. If not, and you have some domain, you can just add subdomains to that domain and point them to the external IP of your Ubuntu box.
Make sure port forwarding is set up correctly in your router(r) (if any) and that firewall(s) (if any) to allow the traffic.[/quote]
Does this apply even if I have a local DNS setup?

Port forwarding is completely new to me. What does it do in the context of a local network. is there any way to have the router send something with a TLD of XYZ to the Apache server?

Ah, I didn’t realize you meant physical visitors :slight_smile:

That does change things. Is the dev server on 24/7?
If so, I would indeed install a DNS server on there (for example MyDNS) and set up the DHCP of your router such that it deals out the IP of the dev server as the primary and secondary DNS server (if it allows you to set up tertiary or more, leave those blank).
When you do that, make sure you also set up the DNS server to act as slave DNS for the internet (but most are set up that way by default).

When you do that, all PCs that connect to your network that are dealt out an IP address by the DHCP server will be told to use your DNS server. So if you set up your domains on that DNS server everybody who connects to your network will be able to browse them without having to change anything locally :slight_smile:

And yes, the part about port forwarding was only if you want to have (parts of) your network visible to the internet. Since you don’t want that, you don’t need to set up port forwarding.

Yes, I expect this computer to run 24/7. I plan to use WebMin to manage this computer, so it will not have a mouse, keyboard, or monitor.

I will check out MyDNS and get it installed. My router is a Netgear Wireless with 4 hardwire ports. Do I need the MyDNS server connected to one of the router ports, or will it work attached to the switch I have connected directly to the router?

Thank you for your assistance. I will let you know how setting up MyDNS works for me.

No it doesn’t have to be connected to the router directly. The way you have it set up (connected to a switch, and the switch is connected to the router if I understand correctly) will also work just fine.

As I was searching for MyDNS, I found the site and see nothing happening since 2006.

I also found another site that appears to be an upgrade to MyDND, and named MyDNS-NG.

Should I download the newer version, or stick with the 2006 version?

I’d go with the newer one.
Or you can use BIND that usually comes shipped most linux distros, but that doesn’t have nice web apps to manage the DNS database like MyDNS does. The advantage of using a database for storage (MySQL in the case of MyDNS).

It appears I need to take a class or two on how to install to a Ubuntu system. All the helps I have found thus far do not work with Ubuntu. This LINUX novice selected Ubuntu because it seemed to be the easy option.

I had no trouble downloading and extracting MyDNS-NG (may not have extracted it to the correct location). After that, everything I tried gave me an error.

Will see what tonight produces.

I used to have ubuntu for a while, and it can indeed be a bit weird for newcomers. It’s pretty easy once you know how though, and the learning curve isn’t very steep. Hang in there :slight_smile:

This tut seems okay btw: http://www.howtoforge.com/mydns_mydnsconfig_dnsmasp_on_ubuntu_edgy

Thanks for the link. I will check it out when I get home tonight.

I really appreciate the helpful folks here. You keep me pointed in ways I can learn more about what I am trying to accomplish. :slight_smile: