starting a web hosting company....

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by kishba, Jul 27, 2002.

  1. kishba macrumors 6502a

    kishba

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Location:
    Michigan
    #1
    ok a friend and i are considering hosting our own web sites on our own server (and possibly offering space to others for sites)... what we'd like to know is how exactly we can do this with one linux/mac os x server...

    we are aware that we'll need to setup a web server (apache, obviously), a mail server, and most importantly a dns server... how exactly do we get the dns server working and how do we make sure the domains all work with our new web server?

    i'm pretty sure i understand how the dns system works but please feel free to explain it again if you'd like. most importantly, however, i'd like to know how to setup a dns server

    thanks for the help in advance guys :)
     
  2. mymemory macrumors 68020

    mymemory

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Location:
    Miami
    #2
    If you want to spend a lot of money and if you are not looking for proffits... you can do it.

    Just think about that you need an internet connection (beyond DSL) with an specific IP address. Then think about the traffic (band width) of the web sites and the email. Consider the compence out there, the manteinance (sorry for my englis, I'm in a rush), etc. Besides the software and the hackers (there are lots out there).

    It is fun to have a server but I wouldn't see that as a bussines un less you host a lot of people and work with another bunch.
     
  3. awrc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #3
    If you're talking about hosting everything on a single machine, you *don't* want it to be hosting DNS. You need redundancy in DNS, so you'd be better off outsourcing that to one of the various DNS hosting specialists - places like dyndns.org also host DNS records for static domains, and have no fewer than five servers.

    The only other reason you'd need a DNS server running on your local server would be a caching server to be used if you plan to resolve IPs in customer's access logs.

    I'll use my own server as an example. I host my own domain on my DSL. The authoritative servers for my domain are those belonging to dyndns.org - they charge something like $30 per domain for lifetime (note - this is for hosting the DNS records, it's got nothing to do with the domain registration). You can add and remove most common types of DNS record through a web interface, it's pretty straightforward.

    However, the server that hosts my web site is also my mail server, and also provides name service for all of the machines on my home network. It also fakes being authoritative for my own domain, so that machines behind my firewall can use private IP addresses for everything in my domain while the rest of the world just sees the IP of my firewall.

    You've got two main choices for local DNS - use BIND or use Dan Bernstein's DNS package. There are others, but these two probably account for the majority of nameservers out there (well, I suppose there's Microsoft...)

    BIND's the more common, can be easily configured, and you can buy a nice O'Reilly book about it. There's probably a fink package for it. However, it's also rather bloated and has a patchy security history.

    Dan Bernstein's stuff (djbdns and tinydns) suffers from the author not being off this universe. It takes some getting used to, let's put it that way. However, it's incredibly compact, rock-solid and Dan's $500 reward to anyone who finds a security hole still stands.

    Beyond that, setting up DNS is a little too complex to explain in a single post to a forum - there's HOWTOs out there for both setting up BIND and setting up the Dan Bernstein tools, just do a Google search, and I'd be glad to answer any specific questions, since DNS is very much "my thing" - my primary responsibility in my last job was running/designing/improving the DNS cluster for a regional ISP.
     
  4. awrc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #4
    Yes, very good point - the webhosting industry has become very consolidated in recent years. There are only a handful of big companies left out there, everything else is pretty much webhosting divisions attached to ISPs. Example - my former employer hosted 30,000 or so domains, and we were small-fry. Even with those economies of scale we were charging slightly above average hosting prices and (as far as I know) not making much cash from it.

    A group of half a dozen people or so sharing the cost of a co-located server gets you the advantages of having your own server at a reasonable cost. However, the infrastructure costs of running a webhosting service as a commercial concern mean that unless you've got a lot of free bandwidth, it's a quick way to burn money if you're doing it on anything but a tiny scale.
     
  5. kishba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    kishba

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Location:
    Michigan
    #5
    the primary reason we wanted to host sites is so we can package hosting with our web design/development... give users a complete solution...

    if we went with dyndns we would only need to have a mail/web server and a firewall, correct?
     
  6. Jbear macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    #6
    ok a friend and i are considering hosting our own web sites on our own server...

    As much time as Kishba spends on macrumors, it might be hard to believe he has "friends." Just to clear this up, I will admit to being the friend he's referring to. Thanks for the posts as well. just for some background info on the project, a group of small businesses that I associate with have asked us to design websites for them. We thought it would be a fun idea to set up our own web server to host their sites for them (for a small fee of course) and to be able to host our own sites as well and to maybe save a buck or two. I already have my own company, so the thread title is not quite acurate, I thought it would be slick to offer this on the side. The equipment would cost nearly nothing and the cable and dsl connections I already have access to would not cause any additional overhead, so this project would only take time to complete. Any additional help would be greatly appreciated (on setting up the dns part of the server.)Awrc- you mentioned not using the same server for everything, if redundancy was NOT an important factor, *could* it easily be done with a single machine? Thanks again for all the help. (just kidding about the friends kishba)
     
  7. Pin-Fisher macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Location:
    Marlton NJ
    #7
    "The equipment would cost nearly nothing and the cable and dsl connections I already have access to would not cause any additional overhead, "

    You don't want to run a web hosting company through a cable connection. Check you TOS. They probably don't allow it and the capss they have on your bandwidth will make it very slow.Cable
    is all about downstream not upstream. DSL is a better choice but
    probably going to be too slow also...what speed DSL are you taling about?
     

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