Some friends and me are thinking of creating a website for us so that we can keep in touch. I have created a website before, but it was when I was a kid. We are wanted a place where we can keep it touch, but where we can control access to who we let in. I know it sounds somewhat like Facebook and we are aware of fb, but we don't really like fb so this website idea came to be. We are thinking of building an apache server to host the site. I know this won't be a simple 1 2, but I would like to get some feedback on this. This is what we have thought the site would have and ocourse we will slowly be adding all of this: a password protected site then they will have to log in to do anything, a wall for announcements, a calendar, a message board, a chatroom, and a place to share pictures.

Thanks in advance for feedback.

Wamp is a good place to start. Google it. Has everything you need -aside from a server-.

So if its been a while that you havent built a site, we are no longer talking about the good old days where all you needed was some HTML.

Based on the items you described, you'll definately need to be comfortable with client and server side scripting technologies, as well as connecting to and storing data in a database.

The "doability" of this project will depend on your comfort level and experience.

Ok If you want to build a fb style website you should learn a php framework

Why not get a free web hosting account over at X10Hosting? they have a one click install for a phpBB forum and will even allow the use of chat scripts. However if you do not like the idea of the web hosts Admin being able to see what you are doing then yep, you need your own server and a way to connect it to the Internet.

There is no real difficulty 'building' a server, it's just an ordinary PC running a bit of free software. You can even use really old Pentium or socket7 systems provided you can fully load them with RAM (iMac G3's are ideal because they are silent & come with loads of RAM as standard), these can be found all over for free in skips/dumpsters & store cupboards of small businesses. Laptops with busted screens are also good candidates for home servers with their built in battery, low fan noise & wifi connectivity.

Servers do not have to be fast but they have to be on all the time or the site goes down. This is why I have used old laptops and G3's in the past because they are so quiet.

Software.. older PC's tend do well with a Linux Operating System such Puppy or Ubuntu, both are free BTW and easy to setup. How you connect to the Internet is up to you, though do take note all the sites traffic comes off your accounts monthly bandwidth from the ISP. So you can get away with a forum and chat but hosting movies is out on a home broadband connection for many. Prepaid Internet dongles are a useful way of keeping things really off the grid if you need to.

You could try out Boonex, its a OpenSource Social Media program that is easy to use.

USE WORDPRESS!, most recommended tool!

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will take a look at them and figure out what to do, but most likely since I want to be able to have absolute control over the site and want it to be cheap I probably go with a lamp serer at home. Thanks again for the help. I appreciate it.