Self Hosting Discussion

This is a continuation of the following thread:

I am very new here to this forum, I see this is a rather old thread, it does not seem to have gotten very far either. Hope it is ok that I start it again ?
After a very bad experience, with yet another “free hosting” service, 000webhost it dawned on me, it could be a excellent way to go, of course this would depend on ones circumstances, having a good internet connection, etc. Because I am in a place where I do have a good connection, and it appears that this will be a long time, or permanent location for me, and over the years, I have learned enough so that setting up a “home server” is quite a reality for me. It is also something I have thought about, and wanted to do for many years.

You also have to worry about security and other server maintenance considerations
Actually I think this is in reverse, if one has the location, and equipment, or means to get the equipment, it will definitely be more secure, then some “free hosting”, where one does not know anything about the people offering the service, and the administrators, techs,etc at these “free hosting sites”, they all have access to everything in your site, often the maintanace is very poor, support is a bunch of volunteers, that may or may not be qualified,… but any way, that is not really the topic I wish to go into, however the same can apply to paid hosting, in both, you are trusting others, to do things, that affect your website/ or sites and servers, With your own server, and hosting your own sites, you are the one “behind the wheel”, so to speak. So anyway, to start, I need to see that it was ok that I posted in such a old thread, and then if there are any other members here that have some experience, a little or a lot, or others too that are interested is starting a “home server”, maybe it would be better to start a newthread ? because I am not really interested in reasons not to set up a home server, I am more interested in discussiong How to, start a home server.
In one post someone mentioned using Windows 98, I definitely would not use windows, of any kind, as the OS for a server, that is ridiculous, windows is to unstable, to much security risks, simply not suitable for a server, plus way over priced. Linux is what I would be using, not just for econmics, but because it is stable,reliable and secure., but also unix and linux are the OS s I am most familiar with, I suppose one could use windows, but I don’t think I would recomend it, heck, Free Dos could even be used to run a server, but now in 2014, there are better options then DOS.
That is all for now,. I will see , hopefully again it was ok to re-start this thread.

It’s illogical to use attributes such as stability, reliability, economy and security as motivations for technology choices when your primary decision of location compromises all of these.

Nonetheless, if you’re determined to do it as a learning exercise then you could start by becoming familiar with the common lamp stack based on centos (or debian). It only takes a few commands to get this up and running, and all the elements are well documented and have loads of tutorials and resources available.

Lamp is what I am using, mostly I use it just as a localhost, on my computers, and it is well documented ,as you say. Also thank you, cpradio, for moving this to a new thread.
I am wondering, if anyone else here actually has any experience doing this, ? It is more then a “learning excersise”, over a period of time , one could go from just a private server, hosting their own sites, to a “home buisness”,

It’s illogical to use attributes such as stability, reliability, economy and security
To me those are the most important aspects, What good is a server,host, that is crashing every 3 or 4 days, or more often ?, Reliability, well the same, what use is a website, that is there today, but tommorow, gone,? Economy, well , especially if one plans to try to build it up into a buisness, that is important,. sure maybe paid hosting is “cheap”, but over the years, how much does it add up too ?, And Security, probabley the most important aspect of it all, my thoughts are, idealy it would be best to have 1 modem, dedicated to the server only, and a separate modem, that was for any other computers, that are being used for personal purposes. That is somethikng I am researching still.
But anyway, for me , having a server, and hosting my own site, would be much better then the “freehosts” that are available, I have all ready become familiar with both LAMP, and various linux distros, the location is excellent, because recently they put in fiber optic lines, and it is possible to have a good line connection, up until this year, that was not possible in the area where I live, Obviously anyone involved with commercial, paid hosting would probably try to not only descourage the idea of setting up your own, server,and doing your own hosting, some would even try to make it against the law, For now I guess that is all

To host a web site at home you will need the following:

A UPS to keep your computer running if your power goes off.
A synchronous internet connection (most allow fast downloads but very slow uploads).
Monitoring software on a separate system that will alert you if the hosting computer crashes at 3am in the morning so you can wake up and reboot it.

There are lots of other things that all reputable web hosts include but you need those three as a minumum if you expect your site to be generally useable.

I’ve actually done this for a small business in the town I live in. They house and run a linux web server for their own website. Thus case may be unique but there were the following considerations.

  1. The website was more of a digital brochure and so wasn’t changing much day to day.

  2. The web server was a dedicated machine and no other websites or services running on it. At least not currently.

  3. Automated backups of website and database are happening daily and monitored through my email.

  4. If the website is hacked (and it hasn’t been yet) then I simply rebuild it quickly and easily from backups. It hasn’t happened yet.

  5. The business is looking to get into the web design business and once they have sufficient clients we will probably move to reseller hosting but self hosting has some cost advantage in my country (not as cheap as USA).

Of course I wouldn’t house a full blown e-commerce system this way where people’s money would be at risk but as the sites they will be doing are simple I believe its acceptable risk.

The amount of security you need is proportional to the value of the assets you are needing to protect. Its easy to go to one extreme or the other.

Do you have a synchronous internet connection or are all the pages being served via the narrow bandwidth that your ISP supplies on an ADSL or similar connection while the much larger bandwidth the other way is way underutilized. What happens if several people try to access the site at the same time?

Do you have a synchronous internet connection
Well actually, the internet connection, is not yet setup, but this is a good point to consider.
Guess I need to explain a little. It was only this year that the phone company, put in a underground “fiber optic” cable, they also have built a “station”, or terminal of sorts, I am not sure what it would be called, but it is where the lines can be connected ,etc. In a nut shell,just this year , our pueblo finally has a real “land line” , They have installed the lines, and I am going to be contacting them soon to start the service, …Obviously it will be important to make sure they know what I will be doing, so that we are sure to get the kind connection I will need.
Here where I work, but it is in a bigger town, the office has a pretty good network set up, and I am impressed with how well the modem,etc. works. Also there are several “internet cafes”, using the same phone company,etc. Don’t get me wrong, I will not be setting it up here, where I work, obviously that would not be a good idea, I realize for a server, it needs to be separate from the other computers,etc.
What I have in mind is very similar to what "Kiwiheretic ", describes, in post nmbr 5, It will not be a "full blown e-commerce system ", but a small “local” sort of site.
I am almost late for work, so later this evening I will try to get back, thanks for sharing

How do you know it hasn’t been hacked? And what happens when someone hacks this website and uses that as a springboard to hit the rest of the network?

The question I’d ask myself in 2014 is “can I serve this better and cheaper than AWS or Azure?”

How does anyone know? We would know if someone had tampered with the web pages. The sites not that big.

We don’t have any unnecessary services running on the web server. It has SELinux enable so that gives us NSA level security I’m told (or if you believe the press releases).

I shouldn’t think we would be any more at risk than your average home user who accesses the internet from his windows machine and has installed a standard vurus scanner.

One major thing not mentioned in this thread is it against your broadband suppliers TOS?
The internet cafes will probably be paying a business rate much higher than you will be paying.

Monitoring software on a separate system that will alert you if the hosting computer crashes at 3am in the morning so you can wake up and reboot it.

What happens if you go away on holiday and something goes wrong.

I suppose it would be interesting to try but I do not think you could run an important site like this.

How do you know it hasn’t been hacked? And what happens when someone hacks this website and uses that as a springboard to hit the rest of the network?

This is why I would have the server on its own modem, completely separate from any other networks, Same as his reply, I am not going to be starting with anything big, just a small website, and a couple of forums,. But even on bigger sites, the access logs, if reviewed regularly , show a lot. Up until now I had never heard of Azure, or AWS, so I did a google. Microsoft and any “windows” products, I stay away from, very insecure,unreliable, I use only linux, and open source software. I have heard NASA, uses Linux, and I believe that, they need a high level of security, and reliability, but that would be another topic , I think. There is a reason though, that most servers and webhosts use either Linux or unix.

I shouldn’t think we would be any more at risk than your average home user who accesses the internet from his windows machine and has installed a standard vurus scanner.
You are probably at considerably less risk, if you are using linux.

What happens if you go away on holiday and something goes wrong.

That is a good question, and would be something to consider, but also usually things can be done “remotely” too. In my case, I don’t have the money, nor the desire to go anywhere , taking “holidays”, is not part of my life style. However someone that is very seldom at home, often traveling around, taking holidays, well probably they would not want to take on a project like this.

I suppose it would be interesting to try but I do not think you could run an important site like this.
To start with , I don’t have the kind of experience needed to manage a site like this one, also, I am sure it takes a lot more then just 1 person. That leads to a question I had been wanting to ask, though, it is “off topic”, but any way, what kind of forum software are they using here ? or is it “custom written” by members of the SitePoint team ?
The website,and forums I would have, will not be very “popular” not high traffic, I am using a paid host at this time, but really the traffic I get does not warrant that. In our community, there is nothing for the young people, students, no internet cafe, There are a few kids, that have a genuine interest in learning more, but also no one to teach them, setting up our own server. hosting our own site, will be a very valuable experience for not only me, but some of the kids that have interest.
I had not mentioned any thng about the TOS, because I thought that is a obvious thing, obviously everything needs to be in agreement with the TOS of the internet provider.

The internet cafes will probably be paying a business rate much higher than you will be paying.
That depends, there are some government programs here, that help communities that don’t have resources such as internet cafes, because our community (pueblo) dose not have that, the rates are lower, and the government has a program where they pay part of it.

Its currently vBulletin but they are moving to Discourse despite its beta status and being unproven. I guess Sitepoint likes being adventurous.


That’s a bit harsh. There are a lot of factors that contributed to the decision, ease of developing new features, being able to fully customize it to our needs (because it isn’t built with already established assumptions), and the fact that this community hasn’t really been a community in a long time and needs a major revitalization.

Sure it could be viewed as risky, but watching a sinking ship continue to sink, isn’t much of a plan either. We are simply giving out lifeboats to a new ship we can build upon.[/ot]

We’ve actually been working closely with Jeff for a while to get it out of Beta and to ensure that it is scalable. It is a risk, sure, but perhaps not the risk that you consider it to be.

Good quality commercial hosting doesn’t crash often. The last time I needed to reboot my primary server was over 2 years ago. If it does crash, they have staff on hand to deal with it 24/7. What happens when a self-host is at work, or asleep? Sites go down and stay down.

Most commercial hosting uses raid, professional quality disks meant to run 24/7/365, and will have on and off site backup. Most home servers won’t have the same redundancy and resilience unless you spend hundreds on professional level components which brings me to the next point…

Cheap hosting costs less than the $10 a month it costs in electricity to host at home. If you factor in your broadband cost, and equipment cost per annum then it’s more expensive to do it yourself.

Security has both technical administration and physical aspects, apart from network configuration. 24/7/365 monitoring and reaction to network threats isn’t possible by one person.

A server that can be stolen by a casual neighborhood thief throwing a brick through a window, or destroyed by a cat knocking a cup of cola onto it isn’t secure in the same way a server in a datacentre, with a team of security pros working around the clock, with razor wire fences, guards with swipe cards, CCTV, motion sensors, and halon fire suppression is secure.

Those are valuable points, and the level of security needed, would also depend on a few things, obviously someone offering hosting service to others, be it free or paid, would need a higher level of security,
someone had said this,in the post by wwb_99 ,

The question I’d ask myself in 2014 is “can I serve this better and cheaper than AWS or Azure?”

I couldn’t really answer that, because I had not heard of either one, so I did a search with “google”, well, on Azure, since it is a micrsoft and windows, product, I did not look any further, but when I saw that AWS, stands for Amazon Web Service, I realized I had seen the name, I did some more research, since I am new here, and do not know if it is ok to post links to the sites I got my info, and also I don’t want this thread to become a controversy or discussion on if AWS is secure,and reliable etc, but I will go so far as to say, they may be bigger, then what I would have, mine would be for me, and maybe 2 or 3 others, but it would be considerable more secure, I would not permit. or host anyone or thing that is involved in producing malware, spam bots, hacks bots, etc. Apparently that is what a lot of the (not all), but a lot of the people using AWS are bad news, and that is where I had seen Amazon WebService dot com, it and any IPs connected with it are blocked on my sites, and many others. I had seen it in my logs, several users of AWS repeatedly try to register, and post spam, also try to “scrape” the entire site, and other nasty things.I could do better then that with my own server, hosting myself. But enough on that. In fact that is one reason I am considering doing this, so many hosts, even paid hosting, are only after the money, they will host anyone, and personally I do not want to be associated with any hosting service known to host spam sites, and other nasty things. But that is impossible, or would be very expensive, to find a hosting service that keeps a close watch on what kind of clients they have.
Ok well for now, that is all .

Hosting at home is the most expensive hosting option there is.

Simply moving your server from your home to a colocation hosting provider will save you thousands in infrastructure costs - UPS, monitoring etc. and provide you with a much cheaper way of getting a high speed internet connection to the server.

If even that is too expensive then a dedicated hosting package will be even cheaper as they get economies by buying the server gear in bulk.

Yes, you may be right, I think that is going to be the biggest obstacle, getting the equipment, etc, and it is expensive. I do have enough to start something small, and if the power fails, well, it would be offline, I do have a small regulator, that uses battery power too, it will last about a hour, if the power fails, I did not mention in my profile, but I am a ham radio operator, and have a lot “old junk” around, a solar powered battery charger, can be built fairly cheap, and it is more then enough, to keep batteries charged,etc.

You mention that you block amazon ip addresses, but do you realise that if the ip address of your connection is from a standard ISP pool, then any email server transmitting from (e.g email notifications from hosted sites) it will likely be blocked, either via the ISP itself or it will be filtered as high risk by the end recipients email provider.

Not blocking them for e-mail, they are blocked from registering to various forums,and sites that have guest books, blogs, etc. is a high source of spam. I do realize that dose affect the few that are not spammers as well, it is a complicated thing. However, if a real person gets blocked, there is a means, that they can contact me, then if I decide to do so, I can “white list” thier IP, etc,…so they can register. Let me show you a recent log,

#: 3889 @: Sat, 15 Feb 2014 08:38:40 -0800 Running: 0.4.10a3 / 75d
Score: 1
Violation count: 1 
Why blocked: Amazon Web Services. Not an access provider ISP. Used by hackers, Keyword spamming SEO bots, and other unsavories (CLD-0AMZ). Checked for bypass - 
Query: action=help
Referer: ( I removed the URL, it was my site)
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.31 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/26.0.1410.64 Safari/537.31
Reconstructed URL: (REMOVED the URL,same is my site )

The above is a copy of one of the log entrys, to be honest I do not get very many of the Amazon Web
I am using a php script, called zbblock, there is a discussion on this, on his support forum. However I do not think I can post a link to the discussion, ? Also I hope I am not “out of line” with this post.