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8 Things You Need to Setup Your Own Web Server

Original Server Photo by: Tom Raftery via Flickr

For some of us, paying a hosting service is worth the monthly cost. Being able to hand over control to someone else can remove potential headaches. But 3rd party hosting isn’t for everyone. I use a local server for testing out web apps I am developing, which cuts down on hosting costs for a dedicated server for testing, which can easily run $100+ a month!

This is the first part of an on-going series that will walk us through the process of setting up our own web server. First thing we need to do is look at what you will need in order to get your own server up and running!

1- An Old Computer

It doesn’t have to be new, or fast, just not super old. It also needs to have a CD burner, which will help get the OS installed.

2- Ubuntu Server Software

Ubuntu is a great Linux OS which will be free for us to download and run. You will need to download the ISO image, which will allow us to put in on a CD.

You can download the latest version here.

If you need help burning the ISO to the CD, there is a handy guide at: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto

3- Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP STACK)

These are all web technologies that you will need to make sure that your server can display your webpages. Apache is web server software, MySQL is a database server, and PHP is a server-side language that you will want to support, especially if you are planning on running a WordPress site.

Learn More At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAMP_(software_bundle)

4- A Domain Name

Not totally required, but we will want to add a domain name, so that people can easily access our web server. I recommend NameCheap.com for domain registration.

5- A High Speed Internet Connection

This will make sure our web server is serving up content to our users at much faster. If you are setting this up as a local test server, the speed isn’t as important.

6- A Static IP Address

One of the hardest parts of our setup will be figuring out how to handle a process called port forwarding. Since your home network is behind a router, we will need to run a process that will make sure your server is visible to the world. So, you need to login to your router, and look for something along the lines of: “Static IP” or “Static Routing”. Make note of your static IP address.

7- Learn all you can about port-forwarding

Seriously, this is always the trickiest part of setting up a server. The main problem is that each router is different, each ISP is different, so it is hard to know all the settings out there.

So check out: http://portforward.com/routers.htm and learn all you can about your setup.

8- Time.

Setting up your own server will take time. And even longer if you run into issues. So make sure you have the better part of an afternoon set aside for this.

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