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I am 100% green when it comes to servers. I know nothing about them other than they host websites, and files, and they are interesting and mysterious machines I see ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! JCaserta's Avatar
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    Completely Green


    I am 100% green when it comes to servers. I know nothing about them other than they host websites, and files, and they are interesting and mysterious machines I see in commercials. That being said I am very interested in learning everything about them. I have been googling for a while trying to find useful information, but most of what I am finding assumes the reader to have a higher level of knowledge on this subject than I do. Can anyone recommend a good site that takes things slow and explains what they are tlaking about. My goal is to have a server at my houes to host my own website, email, and pretty much a large and random assortment of files to be accesible via ftp. I appreciate any help you can provide, and thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Linux Newbie deek's Avatar
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    For what you are talking about, at least the webserver and ftp access, a server is no more than a PC connected to the internet (in some fashion) running a handful of server apps (in this case, some examples would be: apache, perl, php, mysql, proftpd, maybe sshd for remote shell, etc).

    I have an old (P2 350Mhz 256RAM) at home. I use Comcast Cable as my ISP and have a router that forwards http, ssh and ftp requests to my slack box. I also have a domain name and use EasyDNS to resolve it to my comcast dynamic ip.

    After that is all accomplished, all you are doing is running those apps on your box and you now have a server at home! No real mystery... You don't have to buy any hardware that says "server" on it and for your uses, an old PC with a nice linux distro (I recommend slackware) will do just fine!
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    Just Joined! JCaserta's Avatar
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    Wow I had no idea it was that simple! Do you have a list or know where I can get the list, of apps I would need to run? I am already excited about this project! Now how does the processor speed and amount of ram factor in to the performance of the "server"? Meaning will it effect my download/upload speeds from the ftp and when viewing my webpage, or is that a matter of the speed I am getting from my isp? I have just gotten tired of paying someone else to host my website and worrying about bandwidth and storage space. I want to put a terabyte of storage space in there, and then i'll know the chances of running out aren't likely unless I start hosting movies and etc, and if it is just running on my internet connection then who's keeping track of bandwidth!

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    Linux Newbie deek's Avatar
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    I can tell you what I have and probably what you'll need to get started.

    Webserver: Apache 1.3 or 2 (I use 1.3)
    Database: mySQL (in case you need a database for your site)
    I would add PHP and Perl for any scripting or database access or whatnot that you may end up getting into.

    FTP: you can use proftp.

    Now all of these apps you can get as slackware packages from slackware.com, so really, it is just a matter of downloading them, installing them (installpkg does just fine) and then doing a little configuration to get it all running (this may take the majority of your setup time and will entail quite a bit of reading).

    So, that is a list of the apps you will need to install. As for running, once this is all said an done, the only processes that will be running are httpd (which is the apache web server), mysqld (if you decide to use a database) and proftpd (for ftp access).

    Again, I am running this setup on a P2 350mhz machine with 256MB of RAM. I would say that the processor is not going to make as much difference as your RAM. Get as much RAM as you can and you will have good performance.

    Your up/down speeds will be more limited by your bandwidth from your ISP than anything else.

    Now once you start getting into movies and stuff, you are out of my league:) My site basically just runs a RPG and messageboard, maybe 10 users on a regular basis with random visitors from time to time. And of course, my own personal use...

    Hope that helps some!
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    Just Joined! JCaserta's Avatar
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    That was great, thanks for your help. With the movies and etc. I just want to have files that I am using frequently on there so that if I am at someone else's computer I can quickly DL them and use them there, or allow my friends to easily get from me a new music or movie file that I have recently acquired. Not actually streaming it on a website or anything. So again thank you for your help and I hope to be up soon!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCaserta
    That was great, thanks for your help. With the movies and etc. I just want to have files that I am using frequently on there so that if I am at someone else's computer I can quickly DL them and use them there, or allow my friends to easily get from me a new music or movie file that I have recently acquired. Not actually streaming it on a website or anything. So again thank you for your help and I hope to be up soon!!!
    Do bear in mind while you *can* do what you describe, your home internet connection is frequently faster downloading than uploading. Which is fine when you are just a "client" (meaning getting services) - the http requests you send are almost always less data than the replies you get. Whereas a server "gives" services - it will use the slower outbound direction, so don't expect instantaneous transfers...

  8. #7
    Linux Enthusiast puntmuts's Avatar
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    Server does say something about the purpose of the computer. So any computer running services for other computers could be called a server.

    What hardware you will need depends on the number of services you will provide, which services you will provide and how many users simultaniously will use services on your machine. RAM is most of the times a limiting factor but if you run a low traffic low user site a simple computer can do it.

    When running a server connected to the internet, security is an important issue. One aspect of that is that you should keep track of security notices and install updates. Most of the times the distribution has a mailinglist for that and provide updates.

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