Hey guys. I'm looking into buy a server. One to start off with and more later on. Maybe even open hosting in a few years.

But right now I'm looking at just a personal server for mostly Web Site Hosting. But able to easily act as a network server for sharing files to and from the local schools and businesses I work for as a technician.

Any suggestions on, Brand, type, size, price, and OS's are welcome.

I've been looking at the dell servers. any thoughts on those.
I'm most fimiliar with Windows Server 2003 when it comes to server OS's but I can learn anything in a matter of hours.


We really need more information to help you properly along here.

If you are doing pure website hosting, static pages that do not require Microsoft's propriarty (pardon spelling) .ASP things, then I would suggest that you go with Linux, and start out with Apache. Yes, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 is a nice product, and yes, it would work properly for you, and yes, there is a reduced - cost Server 2003 Web Edition that would solve a lot of things for you, but it is still a lot of money to put out for a personal server, and we all know you want to work legit, correct?

Also, what types of fault tolerance are you requiring? You mention it being a personal server, yet you want to share files to local schools and businesses that you work for. Does that mandate 100 percent uptime? If so, you need to think about RAID, multiple internet sources, and hot-swapping. If not, then you can go a less-expensive route. Also consider your memory requirements, and your processer requirements.

Also remember that cable modems / DSL lines often regulate uplink speed... downloads are usually much faster than uploads, and remember that when you are serving, you are also uploading, and may pay a speed penalty. Also note that some ISP's block certain port numbers.... I have one linux server out there that has to email me a reportcard on a different email port daily because port 25 is blocked at the ISP point.

To be honest, and realistic for a personal web server, I would look at a Linux box with a large drive, and a good chunk of RAM, a tape drive, a DVD-R drive, a UPS, and a good network card.

My personal server at home is an old Intergraph server with a Pentium III 550 MHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, and several hard disks. I am on the end of a cable modem, and have a DNS name pointed at me. I have several physical hard drives installed, and every other day, a crontab script makes me a backup from the live data to another hard disk. It then copies it from the hard disk to a tape backup that I keep in a firevault. I rotate tapes on a 3 week cycle. I also burn a DVD disk every other month, or after a major update.

Make sure you know what iptables are, and learn how to use ssh and scp instead of telnet and ftp.

I would *NOT* run a webservice out of the house, where you are hosting from the home with a consumer grade cable modem or DSL connection. You would likely be out of the "reasonable use" clause of your contract with the ISP (a lot of them specifically say no servers!) and your uploading performance would suffer. You also have a reliability problem at home: if there are storms in the area, and your line goes out, do you have a backup? Do you have a large UPS to handle the computer AND the cable modem device? It is too challenging to make a business out of it at home.

I do a lot here at DaniWeb, and might miss any replies to this post. If you would like more ideas / discuss things, I would be happy to help. Just send me an email.


I do a lot here at DaniWeb, and might miss any replies to this post.

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Get him Dani. :P

Thanks Christian. You did metion a lot of what I was looking for. But I'm not looking at running a hosting service from my house. My intentions are to start a small business in town in the next year. I'm working on the grants right now, and have been approved for two.

Web Hosting just seems like something extra I could throw out there more efficiently than the other store in town.

As you said I do need to learn how to use ssh and scp instead of FTP and TELNET. I already rely to heavily on them. When I first started getting interested in computers. Let's just say I wasn't in them for the right reason. But I've strayed away from that area of computers. Too risky, no matter how good or bad you are in that area.

And yes I do want everything to be legit. I mentioned Windows Server 2003 because I am in classes for it, and have the software already. Not just trial versions.

If you think I should have a look at linux I'll definately have a look at it.

Not to argue with the other members of the forums, however there is one thing that I strongly push for everyone I talk to:

Each OS has it's own benefits, and you should stick with what your comfortable in using.

For me, I would definitely be more comfortable using a Linux server, however I know some people that could easily make a Windows server do everything that my Linux server does.

Linux a double edged sword, yes, it is quite versatile, but if not managed properly is highly exploitable.

To sum up what I am saying:
"If you know how to use Windows, use windows. If you are good with linux, then use Linux"

Needless to say, regardless of what kind of server you use, there are applications to help make your business sucessful.

In the current market it may be Cheaper to get a 'dedicated server' to start out with, and go from there to get comfortable.

If you are looking at buying a server straight out, I would definately go with a dell. Their server utilities ie. DRAC and Open Manage are the best I've used.

(off topic)
Here is my current server:

and I'm a little biased because I am ceritified in Linux/Windows and Dell Servers

For a low priced good server try the low end SC Servers from Dell, you can get the SC430 with a P4 for around $300. Now if you want higher end hardware, which I do not suggest for starting out, I would suggest the Dell PowerEdge 1850 for a 1U and the 2850 for a 2U. I also really like the DL145 with Dual Opteron CPUs, with SCCI or SATA drives.