How do you go about hosting your own web application?

I want to ask a stupid question, but the answer will help a lot.

I'm developing an application which runs on the client system, and depends on data interaction it achieves through an XML web service.

How do I go about hosting my own web service (on MS .NET), on my own computer with MS Windows 2004 Server, through my own broadband connection at home in such a way that several users and companies can connect to my server to get access to their data.

What I'm aiming for is to take data backup, and security away from users, and do it for them, without them having to worry about it. A sort of data insurance thingy. The thing is, I do not want to rely on a host that does the hosting for me.

I maby would like to have 2 or 3 XML web servers at different locations, acting as failover servers.

My knowledge is more polished on the programming side, but I am not to keen on the physical architecture of web hosting. I understand that its either complicated or very expensive, maby even both, and that's why most people prefer outsourcing their hosting to someone else.

I know you can write books and books for this, and there probably is no quick way, therefore any links to websites are welcome. I have a clear understanding of basic TCP/IP, SSL, firewalls and the necessary stuff.

Thanks for your help.

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If you're going to be promising people that you will be secure and reliable, you will want to look at:
 - multiple connections to the internet via different carriers
 - firewall
 - load-balanced redundant servers
 - UPS (and generator?) backup for servers.

I understand that going with a hosted solution may seem daunting and expensive, but do you really want to promise someone that you will have your cable/DSL provider is going to always be available when the customer needs their data??

Your customers won't care why they can't get to their data, only that they can't get there.

There are good hosting solutions out there that can provide what you need to your specifications at reasonable prices.  I've used interland ( in the past.  They were very flexible (although a bit more expensive).  We had one dedicated server (we rented it from them, but you can buy your own and have them mount it) that we used to stream media out via a proprietary protocol.  We had full access to the box for file uploads and application configurations and were able to specify server OS configuration when needed.

Check interland or other hosting providers out before you give up on them.  If you are planning on building a business out of this, you should be including these costs in your business model and should be able to pass them on to your customers.

I agree with jeopboy - if you want security and reliability, you will not be able to match what even the most basic hosts has to offer.

However, if you are determined to set this up yourself, check out 'The Guide' at  It gives you an overview of all the relevant issues regarding running your own web server.
I agree with jeopboy... Also you may want a secure cert so the data is encrypted during transfer.  This can be costly also.

Everyone makes good points with regard to reliability and performance.  Only you can make up you mind there, but they did not really answer the basic question.  If you already have the server setup so that you can connect to it with a web browser from your LAN, you could host this on the internet, if you allowed the connections to port 80 inbound through your DSL/Cable router (you would have to figure out how based on which one/mfg you have).  Then if you had a static ip address from your ISP all you would have to do is give out your external ip address and users could connect to it with http://<ip address>.  If you want to get fancier you could get a free DNS entry and have it point to you ip address so that users could use a name instead.  One good free service is although ther are many good ones.  If you do not have a static address from your ISP they have solutions for that as well, but I would recommend getting the static address.
fl_kiwi makes a reasonable point about the cautionary warnings by jeopboy not being direct answers to the question.  Nevertheless, I personally think it's sufficiently relevant to be included in a valid answer.

Also, fl_kiwi's argument that the previous posts did not answer the question isn't accurate.  The tutorial I provided DOES directly answer the question as it features a fairly comprehensive overview and 'how to' of the various elements related to hosting your own web server.
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