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Old 06-27-2007, 15:58   #1
Chillin
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Anyone host their own server?

Hello all! I have been thinking about hosting my own server for my website and was curious if anyone here does this using a dynamic IP address. (Cable) I know there are programs like zone edit that will allow me to use a dynamic IP but was wondering how your experiences went.

How's reliability?

Been thinking of using a personal server for a while to start a small busniness but just trying to see if it's just easier to use a professinal host. I'm looking into the extra cost of getting a static IP but I'm not sure if it will be cost effective.

Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:44   #2
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Re: Anyone host their own server?

Quote:
Originally posted by Chillin
I'm looking into the extra cost of getting a static IP but I'm not sure if it will be cost effective.
It usually isn't worth it. Shared hosting is so cheap these days, that most people only have servers at home for fun.

I set up a webserver at home not too long ago. My ISP is blocking incoming port 80 because they suck (CenturyTel), so I had to set it up on a high-level port making it worthless (i.e. http://mydomain.com:30000).

If it's important for your business, you're generally more susceptible to power outages, dead modems, and other downtime.

eta http://www.dyndns.com/ <-- these guys will let you try it out with a dynamic ip number for free.
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:02   #3
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I host my own server at home on a Linux server I built a while back. I use www.dyndns.org for my DNS naming and I have a cable internet connection so my IP address doesn't change that often. Very reliable, doesn't cost me a thing to have up and running and I actually canceled my online-hosting plan with Powweb because I couldn't justify spending $100 a year to host a website that I could do for free at home.


"I had to set it up on a high-level port making it worthless"

WTF? Just because you have to open a higher port number than 80 for someone to access your webpage doesn't mean squat! And it sure doesn't make it "worthless". What are your reasons for thinking that it makes a bit of difference that you use a different port than port 80 for www?
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:10   #4
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Re: Re: Anyone host their own server?

Quote:
Originally posted by David_G17
It usually isn't worth it. Shared hosting is so cheap these days, that most people only have servers at home for fun.

I set up a webserver at home not too long ago. My ISP is blocking incoming port 80 because they suck (CenturyTel), so I had to set it up on a high-level port making it worthless (i.e. http://mydomain.com:30000).

If it's important for your business, you're generally more susceptible to power outages, dead modems, and other downtime.

eta http://www.dyndns.com/ <-- these guys will let you try it out with a dynamic ip number for free.
I'm not worried about the port being blocked off because the ISP I use now (DSL-AT&T) and the one I am switching too (Cable-Time Warner) do not block off any ports. If I read correctly, in order to use dyndns service your web address would have to be "http://www.yourname.dyndns.com" which is not what I'm looking to do. I bought my domain name to be simple without being a sub domain. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by FastZ
I host my own server at home on a Linux server I built a while back. I use www.dyndns.org for my DNS naming and I have a cable internet connection so my IP address doesn't change that often. Very reliable, doesn't cost me a thing to have up and running and I actually canceled my online-hosting plan with Powweb because I couldn't justify spending $100 a year to host a website that I could do for free at home.


"I had to set it up on a high-level port making it worthless"

WTF? Just because you have to open a higher port number than 80 for someone to access your webpage doesn't mean squat! And it sure doesn't make it "worthless". What are your reasons for thinking that it makes a bit of difference that you use a different port than port 80 for www?
That's exactly what I am thinking myself. If I can host my own server, then why am I paying someone $132 a year to hold my files on the internet. They aren't doing the work and they're taking my money

I would be running my system off of XP from my home office pc on a cable network as well. Do you use a regular computer or an actual server for your system? Reliability is great for you from your comments.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:50   #6
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Re: Re: Re: Anyone host their own server?

Quote:
Originally posted by Chillin
I'm not worried about the port being blocked off because the ISP I use now (DSL-AT&T) and the one I am switching too (Cable-Time Warner) do not block off any ports. If I read correctly, in order to use dyndns service your web address would have to be "http://www.yourname.dyndns.com" which is not what I'm looking to do. I bought my domain name to be simple without being a sub domain. Correct me if I am wrong.
DynDNS.org has dynamic DNS services. You can use your own domain name and still have the ip number resolved dynamically. I use them for VPN access to my home and several client networks remotely. I haven't used them to resolve a domain name, but I'm sure they offer that service. Eric
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Old 06-28-2007, 13:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chillin
That's exactly what I am thinking myself. If I can host my own server, then why am I paying someone $132 a year to hold my files on the internet. They aren't doing the work and they're taking my money

I would be running my system off of XP from my home office pc on a cable network as well. Do you use a regular computer or an actual server for your system? Reliability is great for you from your comments.
I just built a regular computer and don't do anything with it except operate it as a server.
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Old 06-28-2007, 14:03   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone host their own server?

Quote:
Originally posted by Eric
DynDNS.org has dynamic DNS services. You can use your own domain name and still have the ip number resolved dynamically. I use them for VPN access to my home and several client networks remotely. I haven't used them to resolve a domain name, but I'm sure they offer that service. Eric
Thanks for the response! I'm going to have to look into it more to see if this will best fit my needs. Sounds like my best option atm.
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Old 06-28-2007, 14:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by FastZ
I just built a regular computer and don't do anything with it except operate it as a server.
I have a few computers around the house that I could use as just a server, but would it slow it down too much if I also used the pc to do some html work while using it as a server? I could always connect a couple in the room but it would be less crowded with just one. Small room : /


Thanks for all the replies everyone!!! I appreciate getting advice from experienced members on the board.
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Old 06-28-2007, 14:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chillin
I have a few computers around the house that I could use as just a server, but would it slow it down too much if I also used the pc to do some html work while using it as a server? I could always connect a couple in the room but it would be less crowded with just one. Small room : /


Thanks for all the replies everyone!!! I appreciate getting advice from experienced members on the board.
If you are going to host a web server at home, I would put it behind a good firewall and I would place that server on a DMZ separate from your internal home network. This goes double if you are hosting on a Windows box. There are dozens of new ways thought up each week to exploit some service or function of an online server.

Even with a good firewall, it is not enough to just park the box there and let it run. You need to keep everything updated, you need to regularly check for new exploits and vulnerabilities of any service you use and you need to check your firewall and server access logs frequently. Isolating the box can contain a hacker on that box in your network, if it is compromised, but it will not limit the damage and aggravation they can inflict on others using your equipment.

If you allow access to a box online, that box will always be vulnerable. That is the nature of the beast. Keep it segregated from the rest of your network, so your personal systems cannot be compromised. Like I mentioned, check the box regularly to make sure it hasn't been compromised and isn't being used to bang away at other peoples' equipment. Again, this goes double if it is a Windows box. If you want to host yourself, you are slipping into some pretty deep waters. Make sure you know what you are getting into and that you are prepared. I'm not trying to dissuade you from taking the step. Just make sure you are aware of the realities of such an endeavor. Eric
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Old 06-28-2007, 14:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eric
If you are going to host a web server at home, I would put it behind a good firewall and I would place that server on a DMZ separate from your internal home network. This goes double if you are hosting on a Windows box. There are dozens of new ways thought up each week to exploit some service or function of an online server.

Even with a good firewall, it is not enough to just park the box there and let it run. You need to keep everything updated, you need to regularly check for new exploits and vulnerabilities of any service you use and you need to check your firewall and server access logs frequently. Isolating the box can contain a hacker on that box in your network, if it is compromised, but it will not limit the damage and aggravation they can inflict on others using your equipment. ...
Right now I currenty have a router with a firewall as well as a software firewall setup but I am now reading into DMZ networks because I am not really familiar with them. Glad you sugested it because I of course want this server to be secure and do not want anyone exploiting my system or anyone elses for that matter.

I am really in no real hurry to set up this server and I want to do it right to make sure it is reliable and secure so I will definitely be doing more research before I set this up. I currently have hosting that I can live with but everyone wants to find better ways of doing things. Any more suggestions for a more secure and reliable server?
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Old 06-28-2007, 15:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chillin
Right now I currenty have a router with a firewall as well as a software firewall setup but I am now reading into DMZ networks because I am not really familiar with them. Glad you sugested it because I of course want this server to be secure and do not want anyone exploiting my system or anyone elses for that matter.

I am really in no real hurry to set up this server and I want to do it right to make sure it is reliable and secure so I will definitely be doing more research before I set this up. I currently have hosting that I can live with but everyone wants to find better ways of doing things. Any more suggestions for a more secure and reliable server?

Well, I wouldn't have any sensitive personal info on the online box and I wouldn't use it for personal stuff in addition to hosting. I don't think a software firewall on the hosted box or a commercial firewall/router would be good enough security. You have to allow a certain amount of access to a server to serve web pages and if someone uses that access to compromise the box, the firewall software on that box isn't going to do you much good. Check out this thread: http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=707118 . I would recommend setting up a M0n0wall firewall. It is powerful, well-suited to what you want to do and free.

M0n0wall can run on any old computer you have sitting around. It doesn't have to have much power at all. M0n0wall can run off of a CD and operate only in memory, it can be installed to a hard drive, or can plug in a cheap IDE/CF card adapter and run the system off of a CF card. Just install a couple of extra inexpensive network cards so that you have 3 NIC ports. One is for your incoming connection, one is your DMZ connection and the other goes out to your internal network. M0n0wall does all the work and the setup is easy. Another good free firewall is pfSense, which is based on M0n0wall, but with several other capabilities added to it.

Just remember though that the security you build is not the end of the journey, it is the beginning. A hacker can and will eventually beat any unattended security you put in place. To keep your system healthy and safe, you need to keep things updated, monitor the boxes and read your log files regularly.

A person can try to compromise your system for destructive, investigative or parasitic reasons. If their intentions are to destroy something, their efforts will obviously be easy to spot. If they are trying to find info to compromise you or customers/readers on your system, you may never be aware of their efforts. Don't keep sensitive info on the server unless you have to.

Parasitic efforts would be someone trying to set up a SETI server or chat server, or more commonly, they are compromising and modifying your web server to make it an open proxy web server. This means that anyone that knows where to find it can relay requests for web pages through it and make themselves anonymous to the sites they are interacting with. A box compromised in this way would show few if and signs of being messed with, if the hacker covered their tracks. If they were careful, about the only way to spot that anything was wrong would be to go over your access log files or check the config files thoroughly.

Your box could also be turned into a zombie that checks with an IRC chat server regularly for instructions. A hacker can control dozens/hundreds/thousands of zombies that they can use to attack other people's servers, with a distributed attack, like a denial of service attack. This sort of thing can be derailed by simply blocking any port from going out that you do not need. Even if the box were compromised, it could not communicate with its controller. Whether the efforts at communications can get out or not, you will be able to see them in the firewall logs and spot the trouble.


There is a lot to learn, but the best way to learn this sort of stuff is by doing. Just minimize the damage that can be done by problems and drive on. Eric
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Old 06-28-2007, 22:14   #13
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Where would I be without you Eric? >: )

Well I have a few extra PC's laying around the house so it looks like my best option would be to set up one desktop as my server and one desktop to do all my work on. I'm reading into m0n0wall to see if it's not too complicated to set up. I am also in the process of buying a cisco firewall/router to connect it to.

All personal/sensitive material files will be stored off the system on one of my laptops hopefully away from any attempts of compromising my network. Really wanting to do my research before I have everything set up and running.

I really had no idea how much more was invovled in setting up a server. Articles made it sound like a breeze : P Glad I decided to check on this forum for any other ideas and security issues there was before jumping into it. This forum really has helped me out a number of times with different issues and I appreciate it.

Count on a donation from me. It's well worth it for the amount of knowledge floating around here on different subjects.

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Old 06-28-2007, 22:33   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chillin
Where would I be without you Eric? >: )

Well I have a few extra PC's laying around the house so it looks like my best option would be to set up one desktop as my server and one desktop to do all my work on. I'm reading into m0n0wall to see if it's not too complicated to set up. I am also in the process of buying a cisco firewall/router to connect it to.

All personal/sensitive material files will be stored off the system on one of my laptops hopefully away from any attempts of compromising my network. Really wanting to do my research before I have everything set up and running.

I really had no idea how much more was invovled in setting up a server. Articles made it sound like a breeze : P Glad I decided to check on this forum for any other ideas and security issues there was before jumping into it. This forum really has helped me out a number of times with different issues and I appreciate it.

Count on a donation from me. It's well worth it for the amount of knowledge floating around here on different subjects.

It is simple to set up a web server. Perhaps too simple. It is good to do some research so you can go into it with your eyes open.

M0n0wall is extremely simple to set up. You just download the software image file for M0n0wall. Then, burn the image to a CD. You need a software package that can burn an .iso image file. Nero works great and they have a trial download version. Then, just insert the CD into a computer and boot off of it. As I said, you can run the system off the disk or install it. They have decent documentation. Once it is up, it is easy to configure and administer. If you have at least three NIC ports on the computer you run it on, you are all set. If you have trouble getting a M0n0wall disk burned, PM me your address and I will mail you one. I have several laying around.

A donation would be appreciated, but it isn't necessary. I am happy to help. Good luck with the project. Eric
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