As some of you may know we were self hosting over half of our site for a few days while we the account to the new host was processing. Once the hosting account was fully set up we started to upload the site files.
But we still wanted to have as much information still available so we self hoasted the larger portion of the site ourself. We played with FTP servers before but not the actual hosting of a web site. What we decided to do was setup a server of our own and we happened to have a few computers laying around that were in working condition. The easy choice was a 2.4 ghz Celeron (p4 type) processor computer with lots of ram. But we went with a Dell Optiplex GX110 with a 600 MHZ Pentium III processor and 512 megs of ram. So it was something that most anyone would have or could get fairly cheaply.
We used a server program called miniportal. It's a expensive program but a fan of the site had it and was not using it so they gave it to us. See someone out there sitll loves us.
Our setup was the Dell GX110 with a 600 MHZ Pentium III processor and 512 mags of ram.A seagate 40 gig hard drive and Windows XP. We started by loading a fresh install of Windows XP onto the Dell computer. Then we installed miniportal. Miniportal has Apache server built in so it was perfect for us. We know how stable Apache is and that is what we wanted but as some of you know it can be a little hard to configure. But with miniportal it was all setup for us once it was installed.
The next trick was getting the DNS servers to point to our IP. We found that the free DNS services that we tried just plain sucked and never did do what they were supposed to do. So we ended up using a subdomain and just had a link that pointed to our IP address. And bingo we were on the internet.
The server was getting tons of traffic. We did not have any monitoring software to check the actual number of hits but the hard drive was still clicking away even at 3:00 in the morning. Which is why we were taking it off line. The computer was keeping me awake at night with all the traffic it was getting. I had several people check the server to see if it ever crashed but it never did.
So if you ask us if you want to try some self hosting give it a try. Our full list of equipment and how we did it is all below.
We were using a typical Verizon DSL connection with a Belkin router model #: F5D5231-4. The configuration of the router was pretty simple. We first installed miniportal then we looked at the IP it was using and then we went into the router settings and went to the "virtual servers" setting and put the IP into the setting for the virtual server.
Then we put a index.html file (you can also use index.htm) into the "htdocs" file in the Apache folder of miniportal. We then went to getip.com and found out our real IP address. We typed the IP address into our brouser and bingo our index page loaded.
Then we loaded all of our site into the "htdocs" folder and we were on the internet serving our site from our own server. We might offer very large files in the furure which we will be serving the files from our own server.
This is not intended to be a self hosting tutorial. This is just what we used and what worked for us. We did read various self hosting pages which said everything from "Don't do it it's too much work and you will destroy the world" to "it's so easy if you can't figure it out you should not have a computer" It is easy once you understand the process. But what is easy for one person is a bunch of mumbo jumbo to another. We did find a good article that may be helpful.
For more info on hosting your own website there is a some good info here
For DNS services there are a few free ones like Zoneedit, Everydns, freedns and others. We tried freedns but it only partially worked for us. It pointed our site to them instead of pointing our site to out IP