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D.I.Y. WEB HOSTING ON DSL / CABLE / T-1 LINE
Many businesses and individuals
have reliable DSL, cable or dedicated connections
in their offices. These internet connections
may be used
for web hosting. If you choose this setup,
your site would be hosted on your own computer and you
will have unrestricted access to both the files and the
hardware. Most importantly, you will avoid having to pay
separately for web hosting.
Does this sound like a good deal? Possibly yes,
but we wanted to point out some of the possible problems
with this approach:
If all of that doesn't scare you and you still think the
advantages of hosting in-house outweigh the disadvantages,
here's a set of recommendations on getting started with
the D.I.Y. hosting business:
- To begin with, some ISP's (particularly cable providers)
explicitly prohibit use of their lines for web hosting.
You may need to check your service terms.
- You need to have a computer to host on. While many
affordable web hosting plans don't require you to
make any investment in hardware, doing things yourself
also means you buy the server.
- Reliability of your site may suffer from any of the
Not that all these things can not happen with a
"professional" web hosting providers as well, but at least
those guys are usually prepared to deal with the risks.
For example, web hosting companies usually lease multiple
Internet connections to several independent backbone
providers, they often use industrial-strength
power outage protection equipment, they tend to be
diligent about upgrading server systems and typically
colocate computers in special air-conditioned
rack units a good distance away from coffee machines.
- Problems with your Internet connection.
- Power failures in your office. If you want to
avoid small interruptions, you will need to buy
a UPS system. (For serious blackouts they won't
- Coffee (or other liquids) spilled on the server.
- Employees tripping on cables and unplugging
the web server computer.
- Possible misconfiguration of the server.
- Security problems may arise if you are a novice user of
the operating system you host on. Generally, the systems
need to be patched regularly. Many web hosting providers
will do this for you.
If all these steps worked out fine, you should be able to type your
domain name in the URL location box and see the site. You're all set!
- Register your domain with a domain registration company. There
are many around with annual fees per domain name ranging from $10
- Make sure your existing internet connection is good
enough for hosting. Cable or DSL with reasonable upload speed
will do, but you need to make sure that upload speeds
are no less than 128 Kbps
(and that's the absolute minimum, which
is only appropriate for small web sites).
- Make sure your provider allows web hosting on your line.
(Although it is often technically possible to install a web
server even in those cases where the ISP prohibits such practices,
we can not recommend doing it, since it may make you
subject to fines, penalties
and possible disconnection of service.
The moral is: first make sure it's allowed, then host.)
- Buy (or designate) a PC which you are going to put
your web site on. We will
refer to this computer as your "server" from now on.
- Map the domain name you registered to the IP address of your
server computer connected to the internet.
We strongly recommend getting a "static" IP address for
web hosting. For static IP,
mapping is done using DNS service which you may be
included with your domain registration
service for some domain registration companies
(e.g. http://www.register.com/ ), from your ISP, or from
commercial DNS providers such as
If you are only able to use a dynamic IP, the situation
is more compicated. You would need to get a dynamic DNS
service from one companies like
They are able to
track your IP address changes and adjust your DNS settings accordinly.
Again, this is NOT recommended.
- Install the operating system and configure your web server.
If you decide to run Linux,
Check out the RedHat distribution
as one of the most popular ones.
- Create a web site and put the files on the server.