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If I host my own website at home, will my Internet bill skyrocket? Answered

Well, I was thinking about hosting my own PHPbb forums at home, just as an experiment, but the forums may grow a little, but stay relatively small.  But if i do that, will my Internet Price skyrocket, or are they mostly Unlimited bandwidth? I also don't have the budget to rent webhost.


You really need to check that with your own Internet Service Provider. If you're hosting only text, that's a _tiny_  amount of traffic compared to all the video, audio, and even single images that people are now pumping through the network, and I'd guess they're unlikely to notice, or object if they do notice. If you start pushing the bandwidth use up to something noticably beyond what's typical for their customers, they may limit you or charge you more or both.

Note that hosting stuff at home has the problem that most home ISPs don't promise that your machine will have the same network address every time it connects to the network, which makes reaching your machine from outside your own LAN rather difficult. There are services which act as dynamic domain name servers (dynamic DNS), letting you register your machine's current address so others can find it; some of those charge a fee, some may be provided by your router's manufacturer, some require that you officially register your own domain name first and then just provide the mapping service. A low-budget-but-awkward solution is to post a web page on some other server (your ISP's website server, perhaps) which points to your machine, and write a program which updates that page every time you reconnect and/or periodically so folks can go through it to reach you.

The advantage of hosting at home is that you can run things on your own server that the ISPs won't wont to run on theirs (for fear that a bug will take down the entire server). The disadvantage, of course, is that you have to play sysop and deal with all these issues of network provisioning, keeping the server running, guarding it from malicious users (may not be a problem depending on how widely you plan to publicise it) and so on. And of course either way you still have to deal with the challenge of attracting users to your site. It can be fun; it can be an educational experience... so if you feel like doing it, go for it!

Ok, Couple more questions, you seem like someone who knows about Servers,
1) I have a couple computers that I could set up for a single server, Is this possible without much hassle?
2) If I was to host a small PHPbb forum with users linking Avatars off of the site, that should be small enough?

1) Technically, it's possible to spread the load onto multiple machines. But for the application you're discussing, I'm not sure it would actually help. I'm guessing that the network is more likely to be your performance bottleneck than the PC hardware. Also, once you start distributing the load, you get into the question of how those machines share data between them, so there's some cost to adding that complexity. Basically, I'd start with one reasonably-fast machine with enough disk space and RAM, and wait until it tells you it _needs_ more resources than it can supply.

2) I know nothing about PHPbb and its avatar system, so I can't answer specifics about it.

Unless you are hosting other websites as well, the cost and effort of hosting your own site at home is just not worth it


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Well your website will be slower with your Internet host Id imagine youd have to apply for a static ip address and test your upload speed then youd have to have one pc running 24/7 Which would rack up your electrical bills and Youd have to have proper ventilation and air cooling

Yes, your PC-based server will probably be slower than a server hosted elsewhere -- probably, as I said, due to network speed limitations rather than the machine itself. You can often fix that by paying more for your connection, of course...

As I said, there are solutions which do not require you have your own static IP address, though there has to be a known starting point somewhere.

Yes, the machine has to run 24/7. Of course if your machine has power-management hardware, that may not be too bad when it isn't in use -- and if your hardware supports "wake on LAN", that power draw can be reduced further, at the cost of responding slowly to the first connection after it goes into sleep mode. But my office (two laptops, a desktop, printer, and a few other things) does produce a noticable amount of heat when everything's active, which means it's burning a significant amount of power. So, yes, there will be some cost for the electric bill; how much depends on the machine and how much work it's doing.

Airflow: Just like running the PC for any other purpose. I wouldn't enclose the machine in a box, but I wouldn't worry about a fan or AC for the room except possibly in midsummer. If the room is comfortable for you, it's within specs for the machine.