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How2 Host Your Own

Posted on 2006-06-23
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Hi Experts!

I currently use a hosting service for email and web hosting.  It used to be a great cost effective solution for myself and my (really) small business clients but thanks to spammers, overloaded mail queues, and blacklisting, this is no longer the case.

I'm toying with the idea of bringing this in house for myself and possibly as a service for my clients (hosting them here).  I have an existing Win2k Advanced server as a single Domain controller on my small home network.  I've been using it mainly for testing with virtual machines, etc.  It also holds offsite backups of some of my client's files.

I also have another Win2k server and would like to install Exchange Server 2K on it (I have read that I shouldn't put the DC and Exchange server on the same machine).

Currently, my Domain is setup as "mydomain.local" because my domain name is pointing to the hosting service.

I'm trying to figure out what steps I need to take and in what order so that I can bring my email and website in house.  I know I need to get a static IP but, I do have a free dyndns.org account that has been working pretty well.

Should I join my second server to the mydomain.local domain?  Should I install Exchange Server before or after doing that?  Will I be wasting my time if I don't have my domain name (mydomain.COM) pointed at my static IP (which I don't even have yet!), or will it be simple to change the domain once everything else is in place?

I could really use some help and advice on how to proceed.

As always, any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Question by:ttist25
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redseatechnologies earned 2000 total points
ID: 16973273
Hi ttist25,

You asked a whole heap of questions there, so I will try to get them one at a time,

You are correct, exchange on a dc is not recommended - this is for performance reasons mainly
To bring your email and website inhouse you need the following;
 DNS records pointing at your server(s) (MX for mail, and A records for WWW)
 Mail and web servers configured (on the same box if you like)
Yes, you should join the 2nd server to the domain mydomain.local now
You can try to install exchange before doing that, but it wont let you - it must be on a domain
Yes, you are wasting your time if you dont have a domain pointed at your external address - but not ALL of your time.  If you configure everything, you can then set the DNS stuff up later, but this has the problem that you cant really test it while you are configuring it!

Also, I would not use a home internet account to host a server - even with a static IP.  A lot of companies block residential blocks of IPs from accessing port 25, see if your ISP has a business package, this should also include a static IP (for an extra $20 a month or so)

Hope that helps,

-red
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by:ttist25
ID: 16973392
Hey Red!

Thanks, and yes, that helps a whole bunch.

So, if I join my second server to mydomain.local and install Exchange Server, when I get my static IP (my ISP offers a "SOHO" product which opens 80 and 25) can I change my domain controller to mydomain.com?  WIll that mess up my Exchange server?

Again- thanks a bunch!
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16973437
Ahhh, I get the question.

Personally, I dont buy in to the whole mydomain.local for inside and mydomain.com for outside - the only reason that I have read for doing this is so it is less confusing.  Which to me, sounds very stupid.  If you are confused by your own network, then you have bigger problems than mydomain.local :)

So, *I* would format and rebuild the DC as mydomain.com, then join the exchange server to that domain

If you are going to be hosting for multiple clients, it is a good idea to use a domain name like so;

Company "ABC Networks" "abc.net"
Domain Outside "abc.net"
Domain Inside "abchosting.net"

Then you register both abchosting.net and abc.net - why? then you can give your clients a login to OWA that is client1@abchosting.net - as opposed to client1@abc.net

But that is a very minor detail.

Long story short - I would not use .local - but read this and make your own mind up -> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;296250

Have a look at this (spectacular) guide to doing what you want -> http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Shared_Hosting_Exchange_2003_Part1.html

Also, I would recommend you using windows 2003 and exchange 2003 - but that is a whole new episode :)

-red
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by:ttist25
ID: 16973514
shukran!
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