Owning A Home Server


#1

This is something that’s been on my mind for a little while now. I think it would be fun and rewarding to own my home server and have a cool site in order to give back to the community.

Problem is… I don’t know much about hosting, or what i’d need exactly. I do know however that i’d like to own and maintain my own sever, and not pay a monthly or yearly fee to someone.

my site would be providing downloadable combo clips and what not. they would range from about 20 - 100 mb’s in size; Sometimes more. I would like to have a forum similar to this one.

so… What is a good starting server for such a site. I’m not looking to break bank here. maybe something like $600 at the highest.

Go ahead and throw out some recommendations.


#2

The first issue that you’ll have to worry about when running a server from home is that most home internet plans specifically have a clause against running a server. So if the automated network monitors at your ISP start noticing a lot of incoming connections to port 80 you may get a nastygram or just get cut off until you talk with your ISP.

The next issue is that the internet is an evil, vile place full of griefers. So don’t be surprised when you find you have zero bandwidth or have hit some random transfer quota because some asshole decided to download your videos until your ISP shut down your connection.

Third, because you’re going to be serving videos you’ll want to make absolutely sure you have the right to distribute those videos. This means you either have to make the videos yourself or get it in writing from the creator with some verifiable proof that it’s your video. (I’m not sure of how you would prove it’s your own video.) Be prepared for some DMCA griefing whether by jackasses or genuinely mistaken individuals.

After that, the technical issues of maintaining a server aren’t so bad. Dell makes $700 rackmount or $600 desktop servers that should work until you have a sizeable user base (at which point you’ll want to go to a hosting company for reliability sake.) Keep server backups and remember that RAID is not a backup tool. Use a LAMP stack (the L stands for Linux) or use a BSD as your OS. (I think it’s OpenBSD or FreeBSD that has 24 years of semiannual updates with zero security bugs.) Ubuntu is easy peasy to start. There’s plenty of free blog software out there – just make sure to read and comply with the license of whatever you use. (Most free blog software has some clause in the license about debranding it – and for good reason.)

If you really have to cheap out you can sometimes find a newer-but-not-newest server on eBay for $400-$500 shipped. Or, check out ABMX. They have <$500 1U rackmount and tower servers.

http://www.abmx.com/entry-level-tower-server should be a decent starting point. Once you get a large enough userbase you want to consider a hosted solution, possibly using Amazon S3 for distribution. You might want to consider distribution through torrents as well and having your server be a seed box and tracker as well.

This may have been somewhat rambling but I think there’s enough information there to start on. Good luck on your new endeavor!


#3

ISPs frown on home servers, esepcially if it’s residential service. You might want to check with your ISP if they have services for business or SOHO (Small Office Home Office) that allow the use of servers.


#4

Screw the ISP, they can’t deny you service over that. Can they frown on it? Sure, but you pay for the bandwidth. The only concern you should have is if you’re one of the very unfortunate people who have bandwidth caps. If you don’t have to worry about that game the fuck on, you can max your upload and download the entire month and theres technically not a damn thing your ISP will do. (lol verizon)

As for home server solutions, go build yourself a nice little box from newegg. Doesn’t have to be anything incredibly fancy, I actually run a home server off of a mATX Intel Atom with a gig of RAM. The Motherboard/Processor cost me about $70, ram I had laying around, case and PSU cost me another $100 (I wanted an efficient PSU, means I was using low power, you can probably skimp on the case too if you don’t want 6 internal HDD bays), and there you go, you’ve got a headless server started, buying a dedicated NIC (Network interface card) is something you may want to look into, I’ve had no problems with mine.

From here you can probably just throw Ubuntu Server, or whatever ( I personally use FreeNAS, it still works for Apache/MySQL as well as a solid home server), and some patience, lol.


#5

You can build an awesome server for a few hundred really easy.^^^^ everything he said except a $100 PSU you can get an efficient lowpower psu for $50.

Papertigre how are you getting 6 HDD onto an atom board they usually have only two sata ports.


#6

They also come stocked with two PCI slots…
<edit> Yes, Sata controllers are expensive. Unless you take them as a parting gift from your old university (p.s. fuck you penn state)


#7

We ripped ours off for Halloween decorations every year, by senior year they were onto us. Also got a bunch of unused records no one listened to.

Good times


#8

Dealing with all of the hassle of a home server is hardly worth it when you can get unlimited hosting packages for $60 a year or less. You would more than likely spend $300 or more on building a server and that money would be better spent on five years of hosting where it won’t slow down your home connection and you don’t have to maintain a box. Additionally the quality of service is more consistent from a hosting provider than it would be on a home connection.