Hardware requirements for a web hosting server

Hello everyone! Today we will actually be dealing with the hardware that you will set up in your homes as a Web Hosting server. The process might become complex if you are building a network of servers and making a fully-fledged data center. However, the amount of heat and noise that network would generate would probably make you house inhabitable.

Like I mentioned it before. You can build a server as powerful, as expensive and as big as you want. The technology is saleable and you can keep on adding to your services over time but since you are setting up the server in your home, I am assuming you are not planning on opening a fully-fledged business anytime soon.Itel Xeon

Let’s get to the server part now. There five main components that you need to take care of when putting together a Web Hosting server. Even though, a meager dual core processor with 1GB of Ram would do just fine, but that would not be able to handle an adequate amount of traffic. So, assuming on the basis of the traffic which I receive on my server, you would do just fine with a Quad Core processor or even an Intel i3 or i5 for that matter. However if you really want to get things running then I suggest that you go for Intel Xeon E3-1220 which is what I went with.

It is a quad core Server CPU with 3.1 Ghz clock speed and can be found online for approximately $189. And the motherboard which I selected with this processor was Gibabyte’s GT Z97 which I got a used one for about $190. A new GT Z97 retails for $238 on Ebay.

What’s even more important is the amount of Ram which you will install in your Web Server. 4GB of Ram should be adequate however, if you can afford it, I’d suggest that you go with 8GB of ram as that will secure the server from fears of crashing in case of a large amount of traffic.I went with ECC’s Crucial Server Memory Module of 8GB but a nice alternative is Kingston’s 8GB HyperX Memory. I have read a lot of recommendations online which recommend even 16GB of Ram but in my opinion, that would be an overkill for a small scale home based Web Server.

The next step is the amount of storage. This now depends on the type of websites which you’ll be hosting on your server. Needless to say, the bigger the size of the files are which will be stored on the server, the more storage space will be required. So, you will need to carry out a bit of assessment when deciding on a Hard Disk. This is purely at your discretion. I went with Seagate’s Barracuda 1TB HDD but really any hard disk with a decent RPM such as WD’s Blue 1TB would do.

The second last step is the network connection that will be attached with your server. Needless to say, the more bandwidth you have, the more requests you’ll be able to handle. In my opinion, for the amount of traffic which we’ll be getting on our server, a standard 4Mbps Broadband connection should be adequate.

The last step in completing your server is the Operating System software that will run on your server. A lot of people would recommend that you go with a linux distribution (probably Ubuntu Server) for the sole reason that in addition to being powerful, it is absolutely free. During my personal quest for setting up a server, I went with Windows Server 2012 R2 and I have my reasons for that. I have an entire article dedicated to the debate of Linux vs Windows so you’ll have to wait a bit more for that.

Some of the things which I’ve left are the obvious omissions of a Keyboard, a mouse and a LCD monitor. You can pick them up according to your own preferences.

In the end, we should realize that the server I went with and the server which I am recommending is probably no better than your own personal laptop nowadays. But it does the job in the end. It gives you that platform to learn and deploy your own Web Server and if you have done it with an underpowered Quad Core processor, you can also do it with a mammoth Xeon or Opteron Server. You also cannot afford to put bigger and more powerful servers in your home as that would create a lot of heat and noise and provide discomfort in your home.

However, if you are really keen on building a proper server and opening your own Web Hosting business then that would obviously require better hardware than the ones mentioned above. In addition to a powerful server, you will also need to install a cooling mechanism in your home that will cool down the servers as like mentioned before, servers can and will heat up a lot and generate heat a lot! So in order to cool down the servers and saving them from melting, a proper cooling mechanism should be set in place.

This is it for today. Hope to see you all next week as well! Thank you and good night!

Making a website hosting server at home : My Experience

Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing okay!

Well lets not waste any more time then. In this post, I will recollect all of the experiences which I had while setting up the Web Hosting Server in my home. As I have mentioned, I am a Computer Science Student and I like to tinker a lot with different kinds of technologies and that’s when I got the idea to set up my own Web Hosting Server. I read around on the internet and looked up the hardware specifications (I have an entire article on how to choose hardware for your Server in case you missed it). In the end, here is the Server Setup that I had:

  • Intel Xeon E3 – 1220 Processor with 3.1Ghz clock speed and 8MB Cache
  • Gigabyte GT 297 Motherboard
  • ECC Crucial Server 8GB Memory Module
  • Seagate Barracuda 1TB Internal Hard Disk
  • 4Mbps Broadband Internet Connection
  • Logitech K400R Wireless Keyboard
  • Logitech M320 Wireless Mouse
  • 20” Acer V203H Widescreen LCD Monitor
  • Operating System of Choice: Windows Server 2012 R2

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I know I know a lot of you may question my choice of going with Windows Server 2012 R2 instead of any popular distribution of Linux such as Ubuntu Server 14.04.3 LTS. So first of all, in case you missed it, I have written an entire article debating and weighing the pros and cons of both Windows and Linux as Server Operating Systems. And based on those weights only, did I choose to go with Windows. And I reason is that I wanted to get my Server up and running in as little time as possible and I had no prior experience of setting up a Linux Machine. If I had chosen Linux then I would have to spend an ample amount of time first trying to set up a Linux Server and then learn the Command Line interface of Linux in order to get anything decent out of it. On the other hand, Setting up a Windows Server is a fairly easy and straightforward process. Also I am very much used to the interface of Windows since I have been using Windows probably ever since I started using Computers. Therefore, I chose Windows as it was saving me a lot of time. Having said that, there’s no denying the fact that Linux truly is much more stable than Windows Server and is a lot more flexible ONLY and ONLY if you know how to use it. Probably one of my next challenges would be to learn how to set up a Linux Server and then shift the hosting service from Windows to Linux. Though I’m not sure when I’ll actually take up that challenge.

Moving on, so I bought my copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 (read my post about what’s better, Windows or Linux) and no, I did not download a pirated copy off the Internet if that’s what you’re thinking. I assembled the Hardware components, installed the Operating System and the Server came to Life! However, this was just a regular PC. To make it a proper server, I had to install all the necessary tools that would come in use. So that’s what I did and installed all the tools such as an Apache Server (absolutely necessary to run a Web Server), Mysql, FileZilla for setting up an FTP Server, a VPN and other similar range of services.

There were two problems which I faced with the Web Server.

One was that since I lived in a relatively hot and humid area, the server would heat up a lot and therefore crashed sometimes. So to counter that, I installed a proper cooling system. I wanted to save the cost of using the Air Conditioner 24×7 as that would cost me a fortune on electricity bills. So what I did was install a stylish bladeless Dyson fan near my desk as well as an efficient Lasco window fan in the window which worked as an exhaust fan. The entire setup not only got rid of all the heat generated from the server but also made the room feel much more cooler than the remaining parts of the house.

The second problem was that power outages were very common in my locality. However, I didn’t really have to do anything about that as there was a stand by generator installed in my House and the Server would start up automatically in nearly 6-7 seconds after being shut down due to power failure. Yes, that resulted in a downtime but It was very negligible as well as affordable. The last thing which I did to ensure reliability of my Server was to have a low powered PC connected to the Server via a network with Tons of storage whose sole aim would be to store the data files of the Server as backup in case the Server crashed or was breached and all the data was lost.

Also, I did not realize it in the beginning but I should not have put the server on the same power circuit that my kitchen appliances use. I have a habit of eating french fries while working on my project. I cook them at home (btw, I use a here’s the one I have at home) from flash-frozen pre-cut potatoes. So, I set up a bunch to fry and then go to my office to work. Once it is ready and the fryer timer makes a sound, I come back and bring the fries to the office. In the beginning, when my server ran at the same time as the fryer, I often ended up with dead fuses 🙁 So I had to carefully choose a power outlet to plug in my server to avoid such collisions.

Oh well, that were my thoughts went stray. Back to the topic.

Now that my server was up and running, the final phase was to pitch my service out to potential users. Now since I am not a professional Web Hosting Service provider, my best chance at getting Clients was through Free Web Hosting Services with add on packages which were obviously paid. So what I did was set up my website for Web Hosting, made a few packages such as “Free, Bronze, Silver and Gold” and went live with my service.

I did end up making quite a fair amount of money from it and I still do. However to truly get a serious amount of cash out of this, one has to invest a lot of time and energy into this and take it as a business. I didn’t set up a Web Server because I wanted to have a professional service which I could sell for Money. My aim was to learn and that’s I what I did. I learned how to set up a small scale web hosting Server in my home. And now that its been done, I look forward to my next endeavor.

It was nice talking to you all. See you all soon !