Any advice on setting up a personal web server, please?

Allow me to apologise in advance: I have checked with Google and am still a bit confused.

Currently I pay for webhosting and I'd like to do away with those costs.
I want to set up a reasonable fast pc to act as a server for my websites.

Has anyone here actually done such a thing and was it (very) difficult?

Also, once I have bought my web domains, how do I point to my own server?

I don't need the detail of the how to as I can research that - what I need to know is just how
much work this will entail and what range of Linux/Microsfot products will be needed.

Many thanks.

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Jayefuu5 years ago
I don't do it anymore since I have paid hosting, but I can highly recommend some software called XAMPP. It's apache, mysql, php perl and stuff all in one. You can set it up on your PC and use it as a local server.

It's really easy to set it up for your machine only, 10 minutes more fiddling to configure it for your network and a few more minutes getting it out past your router. The documentation's good and the software's great.
Jayefuu Jayefuu5 years ago
Oh... in answer to your other questions:

You can run it from any windows machine. They do do linux flavours if you prefer.

Now I've done it before I could probably set it up in half an hour, if it's your first time and you're fairly tech savvy (which if you're trying, you probably are) then allow an hour.
kevinhannan (author)  wearetheworld5 years ago
I'm really very sorry I didn't give you best answer (if that's important to you),
even though you helped *enormously* by providing me with the right answer, such a brief answer did not allow me to gauge how useful it would be.

I wish that the 'ible bosses would allow for a "best supporting answer" or a #2, as I often find that it's a couple of peoples replies that combine to give a really effective answer.

Sorry again :( but thank you enormously for your time and help ;-)
Also depends on your ISP, whether they'll LET you put a webserver on your machine

orksecurity5 years ago
How much traffic do you expect this server to get? That's what will determine how much network bandwidth, and how much server power, you need. The operating system makes almost no difference unless you actually want to use Microsoft's server products. Which, for this, you probably don't.

Your home routers are probably getting dynamic IP addresses from your ISP. Servers need to be reachable via a known IP address. One solution is to pay your ISP extra for a fixed address. The other is to have your machine "publish" its address automatically to a server somewhere else, and have folks consult that server to get the link that actually takes them to your current location. (Some routers include a subscription to such a service as part of their purchase price; check your manuals. Some ISPs may offer this; check with them. It's generally cheaper, since you have to pay for a fixed IP address.)

As part of buying the domain name, you get the right to associate it with an IP address. I haven't played with that but I understand it's relatively simple; you just tell your domain registrar what address that name should point to.

You'll have to configure your router to act as a proxy, passing incoming traffic along to your server machine. See its manual.

Managing security is ENTIRELY your responsibility. You may want to make sure the server machine is in "the demilitarized zone" if your router setup permits that -- this partly isolates it from the other machines on your own network, so if it gets hacked into it's less likely to jeopardize them all.

Then it's a matter of installing the server software on that machine and loading it up with whatever it is you want the folks who contact it to see or do.

Note that if you do want to use Windows, it doesn't have to be Windows Server -- again, unless you're specifically leveraging Microsoft's server software.
I dont agree about dynamic ip`s. You can have it dynamic, but some domain sellers has some applications that insert automatically your new ip. Also, if there is a router and the connection is maded via PPPoE then you`ll have that ip for long.
Anyway, solutions are a lot out there... but you have to maintain your security.
You have to work with permissions and updates. Not all updates are recommended so you have to check it when needed.

But my suggestion, if there must be an OS, then choose linux instead of Windows server.