Creating a Server at Home for a Web Hosting [2021 Guide]

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Web hosting is essential for all websites – without it, a site cannot operate. There are numerous hosting options available, but you need to pay a fee to the provider to use their servers as a host for your website. If you want to avoid paying fees, however, you can learn how to create your own server at home for web hosting. With this method, you become the host for your site and claim responsibility for the host server.

Why Setting up a Server at Home Is a Good Idea

Home servers have numerous uses and are convenient for anyone working from home. Servers can be used to store and manage data, play games and be involved with web hosting, and even for home automation. There are additional more advanced uses; you can run a Tor node, your private email, and chat server, or create a customized VPN server.

When you create a web server, you’ve created one location to store all your media – files, photos, music – to keep everything in one secure place. Another benefit of having your own server is that it’s always available – it’s constantly switched on and operational (unless you decide to turn it off), so you can always use it for whatever you need. The server will relieve some of the load you’re putting on your main PC and can be used as a backup; instead of backing up your data on a cloud or physical device, you can just use the server as a storage space.

It is a common misconception that to build a web server at home, you need to deal with costs and complications. However, the process of building the server is not complicated at all, and you can use old hardware that you have around the house! The only cost you’ll have is the electricity bill. The server has another cool use – it can be used as a platform for security and home automation, meaning that you can control all smart devices directly from the server and monitor audio and video from security cameras or baby monitors.

DID YOU KNOW? VPS hosting is a mix of shared and dedicated hosting, and it’s a popular choice for medium-sized websites. If you’re a medium-sized site owner, you should get the perfect VPS hosting; if you’re a Windows user, you can also get great VPS hosting for Windows.

How to Create Your Own Server at Home for Web Hosting

If you’re wondering how to create a server at home, follow the steps we provided and find out.

Choose a Hardware

The first step to creating a web server is to supply the necessary hardware. You can use an old PC or a laptop that is built specifically for file storage. Wondering how to set up a web server on a home computer? It is better if you use a PC since there are additional cables and switches connected to the main computer, and getting a server rack would be a good idea if you want to keep everything organized. At this point, you also need to decide by how many users the server will be used by and configure it so that it will be able to accommodate the needs of each of its users. It is always better if the computer is newer and faster – this means that the server will perform better and have more processing power, but it still needs to be regularly updated and protected with powerful firewalls.

When making a server, you need to get a computer with at least 60 GB hard drive, out of which at least 25 GB is free space the server can rely on. It also needs to have a dual-core processor of at least 2 GHz and 2 GB RAM. The computer must have a USB port and a DVD drive; most servers operate on a Linux operating system, which is generally considered better for server operation.

Hosting a server at home requires a strong internet connection that can meet the needs of the expected web traffic. The most important thing you need to look for in your internet connection is the download and upload speeds. ISPs usually provide a good download speed, but slow upload speed for residential connections. You can test the speed of your internet connection, and you should check with your ISP if there are any limits on your connection. If there are, you should consider changing your provider.

After you’ve learned how to make your own servers, you might find the process a bit complicated. In case you decide against building your server, there are web hosting providers you can get this service from, and you can choose a type of hosting that’s best suited to your site’s needs. For example, if you have a blog, you should turn to a provider for the ideal WordPress hosting; if your site’s needs are more extensive, you should consider high-quality cloud hosting. Also, remember that you don’t need to acquire hosting directly from a certified provider – there are some great reseller hosting services available.

Decide Which OS You Will Use (and Install It)

When learning how to host a server, you need to remember that the second step of the process is very important and you should give it careful thought. Here, you need to choose an operating system. There are only two choices: Linux and Windows.

Linux

The majority of servers are run on a Linux OS – this is because it’s free and easily customized. This is an open-source OS, so in this respect, it has a clear advantage compared to Windows.

Pros:

  • Free
  • More customizable
  • More secure

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with certain programs

Windows

If you want to make your own servers on Windows, you have to buy a Windows license, which will guarantee you long-term support for any problems you may encounter. It’s also possible to fix technical issues using system recovery, which is quite convenient.

Pros:

  • Automatic system updates
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Supports a large number of apps

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • More vulnerable to malware

Set Up VNC

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) allows for remote access to a computer located elsewhere. Users can operate this computer just as if they were sitting right in front of it! All the resources that are available at the remote computer’s location (printers, drives) are also available to the user that’s accessing this computer, but anyone using the computer at the remote location can see what is happening. If you’re still in the dark as to how to create your own server and why a VNC is essential, you should know that there are two main uses for VNC: to remotely access a work computer, or to provide tech support remotely. A server can’t function without this feature.

To access a computer through a VNC, you need to know the IP address (or the fully qualified domain name) of the computer you’re accessing and the password that’s been designated in the VNC software.

If you’re running a server at home, don’t worry about the process of installing VNC – it’s quite simple! First, you need to install the vnc4server package. Then, you need to make configuration changes to the server, which will allow you to start using it. The next thing the VNC software will ask you to do is create a password that will be used to log on. You can change it at any time using the vncpasswd command.

Install File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard communication protocol that’s used for file transfer from server to client on a computer network. When you create your own server, you must have an FTP server. With it, you’re creating a private cloud that’s under your control and allows you to transfer files at almost unlimited speeds.

Types of FTP

There are three types of FTP:

  1. FTP – Basic, unencrypted FTP, supported by most web browsers.
  2. FTPS – SSL/TLS encrypted FTP, which is widely used, even though it is not supported by major web browsers.
  3. FTPES – This version is upgraded to TLS/SSL encryption, and is more firewall-friendly. Major browsers don’t support it, but it’s still a preferred way to establish a connection.

Ease of Installation

If you’re thinking about how to set up a server at home with an FTP, there’s no cause for concern. The installation process for FTP is fairly simple! Open the Control Panel and click on System and Security. Click on Administrative Tools, and then double-click the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager shortcut. In the Connections pane, right-click Sites, and select the Add FTP Site. In the FTP site name, assign a short server name. Then, in Content Directory, under Physical path, click on the folder where you want to store your FTP files.

User Configuration

When creating a server, you might want to allow multiple users access to the FTP server. If so, you need to go to the Sites section and double-click the Authorization Rules option. Then, click Add Allow Rule, and select either All Users or Specified Users, which allows you to specify a select number of users that can have access to the server.

Configure and activate the FTP server – After you’ve gone through all these steps, you still need to configure the server to fit your needs. Then you can activate it and start using it.

Install HTTP

Even if you’re still learning how to run your own server after you’ve taken care of the necessary hardware, keep in mind that you’ll need to set up the hosting software. For the software to be fully operational, you need to install the specific LAMP software stack – Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, which allow you to set up HTTP, use the server to communicate with databases, and store data. The HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) server is a powerful tool for production usage and it’s simple enough to be used for local development, testing, and learning.

There are four versions of HTTP: HTTP/0.9, HTTP/1.0, HTTP/1.1, and HTTP/2.0. For a home web server, you need to choose a version that is most suitable with your other hardware and software and find the installation package for it. Once you’ve acquired the HTTP package, the installation process is simple, since it’s similar to installing any other program or app on your computer. If you follow the instructions presented on the screen, you should have the HTTP installed on the server in a short amount of time.

Get a Domain Name

If you’ve gotten this far, it means that the hardest part of setting up web servers is already over! There are still some steps to go through before your home server is fully operational, though. It’s not a must, but it’s strongly advised that you get a domain name for your server so people will be able to locate it easily. People can find their way to your server by using the external IP address, but this is significantly more complicated, so you should start thinking about how to pick a domain name that’s suitable for your server. After you’ve decided on a name, you need to turn to one of the best domain name registrars to see if it’s available, register the name, and make it official!

Test the Server

There’s only one thing left to do when you host your own server – test it! The first thing to test is HTTP.

  • Open a browser and type http://<your no-ip domain>.com and press Enter.
  • You should see ‘It Works!’; if it’s not working, type http://<your Internet IP>.
  • If both of these don’t work, try http://<your LOCAL IP>. In case none of those work, it means your server isn’t functioning and you need to start over.

When setting up a server, you also need to test FTP.

  • Open Windows Explorer and type ftp://<your no-ip domain>.com, and you will be redirected to a page where you’ll be asked for your FTP username and password.
  • Once you’ve logged in, you should see all your folders; to make sure everything is working properly, try to upload a file.
  • In case this isn’t working, start the process from the beginning, but when you type the URL into Explorer, omit the ftp:// which should do the trick.
DID YOU KNOW? Before embarking on the process of creating a server and becoming a web host, you should consider all the know-hows of hosting a website and the costs of hosting a website yourself.

Key Takeaways

Web hosting requires a hosting server; you can create your own web hosting server
Setting up a server provides you with storage space and privacy
To build a server, you need solid hardware, a good internet connection, and an operating system
For an operational server, you need VNC, FTP, and the LAMP software – Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP
The last stage of server creation includes acquiring a domain name and testing the server

FAQ

Can I create my own server?

Yes! Anyone can make a server at home – they just need to have the necessary hardware to start; the rest of the process is not that complicated. However, before beginning the process, make sure that the whole endeavor will be worth it!

How to make my server online?

After you’ve created your server, you need to put it online. You need to obscure your public IP address with a DNS service, open port forwarding, and set port 80 as private (lan) and public (Wan).

How to create a private server?

If you need a private server, you can make your own! How to create your own server at home for web hosting and make it private? Simple: just configure it so only you can access it, and don’t connect it to any other devices.

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