Cheap Server Ideas?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by swb1192, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. swb1192 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #1
    I currently have my low traffic site (http://ouryouthvoice.com) hosted by Lunar Pages, but it appears that LP has a lot of downtime. I have visitors on my site 24/7, so I can't deal with any down time. So now I'm looking into getting a server of my own so I don't have to deal with it. In addition, I work in amateur web design (I'm just 16, so I don't do pro stuff :cool: ) so I would like to host my clients' sites, too. I don't have too much money to invest, though, so I need a cheap option.

    I need:
    -PHP capabilities (like Wordpress, etc.)
    -Not much storage
    -Very high uptime

    Any recommendations are appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
  2. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #2
    Any thing will work... literally.
    For what you are asking you can use an older PC, or build one for a few hundred bucks.
    Load up a linux distro with apache, or windows with apache (windows+ IIS also works)..

    Your major issue will not be hardware... at least not until you get a site with a lot of traffic (like mac rumors).. The issue will be bandwidth.
    Chances are your ISP will not like you having your own server. A lot actually block or throttle port 80.
     
  3. swb1192 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #3
    I had a feeling I could use an old PC to do it, but I wasn't sure. Can you show me any links to where I can start the process of turning a PC into a server? I'm not very experienced with servers (obviously).

    I believe my ISP provides server capabilities for a higher cost, which I wouldn't mind paying. Anything for more vital uptime.
     
  4. Koronis macrumors member

    Koronis

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor,Ontario,Canada
    #4
    Pretty much any pc will work, depending on the amount of traffic you expect to get

    as for turning it into a server, that depends which OS you would feel comfortable having your server running on.

    I personally use OpenBSD, the learning curve can be a little steep, but it works on just about anything, and has been rock solid in terms of up time. Another benefit is that it is possible the most secure OS, and great if you want to run it headless, these are the same people who write OpenSSH, and if you use SSH you can administer the server without even sitting at it. Mine doesn't even have a monitor plugged in anymore.
     
  5. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #5
    Seriously, if uptime is a concern, don't host from your house. How many hours of the day are you honestly available to maintain, troubleshoot and repair a dusty box in your closet?

    There's quite a few hosting options in the $10 per month range (or less for lower bandwidth). I've been fairly happy with Dreamhost for the past few years.
     
  6. swb1192 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #6
    Awesome. My dad says he can get an HP computer from his work for $50, so I might just take him up on that deal.

    I will also look more into the OpenBSD. It's possible to make the URL a domain that I have purchased elsewhere, correct?
     
  7. swb1192 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #7
    I work from home and I go to school. I'm planning on getting this site publicized largely, so I'd rather be able to have complete control of it.
     
  8. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #8
    If you get some thing like ubuntu, during the install process it will install apache webserver, mysql, php etc.

    Learning curve is not bad, and you may feel a little at home with the file structure (still very different from OSX.. but close enough).
    That is probably one of the easier distros to deal with.
    default location for your stored files is
    /var/www/ I think..
    Linux will probably be more reliable than a windows server.


    For windows, you can just go to add/remove programs then on the side it should say some hting like more programs or some thing. IIS is an option. This is the microsoft server. It will add ASP support out of the box (apache does not support asp).

    You can also get apache for windows... Install is straight forward... Though it is a little more work to add mysql, php and other things.

    Then there are thigns like XAMP, and WAMP... these windows installers will load up apache, mysql, php and just have it working right out of the box with little setting up.. Any set up needed is easy with a gui. They also have myPHPadmin installed by default.


    I am to lazy to provide links, but every thing should be first link on google ;)
     
  9. Koronis macrumors member

    Koronis

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor,Ontario,Canada
    #9
    yes , you can point the domain to the server. you will need a static IP, and there should be a way to point your domain to it. You may need to run a DNS server on your box (nameD). If you have a dynamic Ip, you can use a service such as DynDNS to automatically update the record. Some linksys routers support DynDNS natively.
     
  10. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    There are a few things I think you should be aware of before you spend to much time doing self hosting.

    1. Most ISPs say that hosting a web page is against their contract unless you buy a more expensive business plan.

    2. Unless you pay your ISP extra, you will have a dynamic IP address. This means that you won't be able to keep your DNS entry current without paying for a service like dyndns.

    3. You can get good hosting for under $10/month. Bluehost is $8 or less if you buy for multi years in advanced.

    4. Your own domain name without a hosting service costs about $10/year.
     
  11. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #11
    There are several very good hosting providers out there that provide a level of isolation for a bargain price.

    Think virtualization is just for the desktop? Not so much. :D

    Check www.webhostingtalk.com for virtual private servers running OpenVZ or Xen. These will give you a level of isolation without the cost of your own server.

    Keep in mind that your home server will have the maximum serving power of your internet connection's upstream bandwidth. That could be very limited.
     
  12. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #12
    Suit yourself. :) I ran a back-up server for a revious company out of my basement: I paid electricity, they provided the hardware (older G4 running 10.4 Server) and paid for the DSL connection. I ran watchdog software on the company side to monitor IP connectivity, and notify me by pager when any service or connection became unavailable. 24/7. I also used a third party (non Tier 1) ISP in order to get static IP subnet.

    If you want a learning experience, it's one way to do it, but honestly, you get as much control as you need from volume hosting sites. PHP, wordpress instals, MySQL (administered through phpMyAdmin) and free domain email. And despite your experiences to date, a reputable ISP is going to provide a higher QOS for uptime guarantees than you possibly could. For less money, too.

    That's just my advice. But if you want to rock the geek side, it is a great way to learn. :)
     
  13. Koronis macrumors member

    Koronis

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor,Ontario,Canada
    #13
    This is good advice, although having your own server is a good learning experience, a professional hosting service will make things a lot easier on yourself, and you stand a better chance of having a good uptime, professionals maintaining the servers, and probably a backup power system.
     
  14. swb1192 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #14
    I'm planning on going to college for Computer Engineering (or computer sciences, I'm not sure yet) so I guess any technical experience and tinkering will help me out.
     
  15. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #15
    Add me to the list of people who caution that this is more trouble than it's worth... also, will your ISP allow you to use your bandwidth for commercial gain, or are you supposed to buy a business account?

    I second the recommendation to go with a hosting company like Dreamhost. I've been with them for a few year and I'm very happy. Promo codes are all over the place, too -- PM me for one that will give you (and me!) $50 off.
     
  16. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #16
    It's up to you, but according to your own words, uptime is a priority. Many hosting companies offer unlimited domains, so you can handle your clients too.

    Of course, there's no reason why you can't set up your own testing server, and offload hosting of your priority sites to a hosting provider.

    Good luck either way. :)
     
  17. Quad SLi 295 macrumors member

    Quad SLi 295

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA (for a limited time)
    #17
    Toaster RAID it up you can serve files and cook your breakfast all in one easy operation.

    well not with this job, but do a search, people have got servers into working toasters.

    Sorry
    Jimmy
     
  18. waloshin macrumors 68040

    waloshin

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #18
    It looks like you are running wordpress as your main site. I highly reccomend you go to Bluehost.com. They run cpanel which will allow you to control everything and easily install wordpress. Their server uptime is amazing.

    - What would you do if the power went out, espically for a couple of days
    - You would need atleast 2 harddrive in raid 1 (extra cost)
    - You would have to do your own backups
    - Your internet would likely not be fast enough, so you would not beable to run any p2p clients. (You would need as much upload bandwidth as possible.)
    - Yes it would be cool to say you run your own server at home, but it would cost too much in the long run.
     

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