Im looking for a little help with setting up a home server... i want to have one computer conected to the internet and have all the other computers at home link to it and be able to acces the net... i read that you can monitor the internet bandwidths used buy each computer and so forth... what is the best was to set up such a nifty little network... i would be really greatful for any help...
If your network is only really for web access, then you can install squid (proxy cache) and turn off direct access to the internet for other machines. Once everyone is going through the squid cache, you can run tools over the squid logs to see who is using the net the most, what sites they're visiting, and the amount of data they're downloading.
yes is a better option squid is a power full tool you can view the which ip is accessing which site
tail -f /var/log/squid/access.log
gives you all the details and according to the websites visited you can even create access list, etc.
To do it yourself, I would suggest something light like DSL, Gentoo or Slack. Use IPTables for IP masquerading/NAT and Squid for a web proxy/caching service. Actively monitoring all the bandwidth being passed through can be handled by ntop.
If you want something pre-packaged, check out PF Sense or Smoothwall.