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How to make a basic server at home?

Posted on 2007-11-24
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I lease server space for the website I create from a major company, but I would like to have a basic Linux and possibly a basic Windows box at home that I can use for testing databases, an in-house FTP servers and a server that I can install scripts which need root access to install.

I have a couple of desktop computers that I can sacrifice for the project.  I have a 5meg cable connection at the house, but at this point it is a dynamic IP.

What do I need to do to use that connection as a server (it is cableone if that matters), and keep my existing in-house network secure (wired and wireless)?  What OS versions should I use, and how do I configure my network to configure the IP's appropriately?
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Question by:lsolheim
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6 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:LordOfPorts
ID: 20344280
One option might be to start by setting up the most popular and free web server Apache http://httpd.apache.org/ 
It works on Windows and Linux and their website provides tutorials and guides on how to configure the web server. As you progress you might add PHP http://www.php.net/ for scripting and setup the MySQL database http://www.mysql.com/ 
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Expert Comment

by:terrydavis
ID: 20344431
First off, I would recommend giving vmware server (free) a good look for your qa/test environment.  That said, a lot of ISPs block inbound 80 and 25 traffic.  This shouldn't matter much for testing, just use something above 1024, like 8080.  Just a gotcha for you.

Now, for your questions:
1) What do I need to do to use that connection as a server and keep my existing in-house network secure?
1a) This really depends on your router's capabilities, post back here with the network equipment involved.  To truly secure them, they need to be logically separated (subnets).   Perhaps you should define what you mean by secure.  That means different things to different people.   :)

2) What OS versions should I use?
2a) You should use the same OS version (or very similar) to that of the production environment.

3) How do I configure my network to configure the IP's appropriately?
3a) This depends on my comment in #1.  Please post your network infrastructure equipment involved.
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Johnjces earned 2000 total points
ID: 20350620
If I was you starting off with wanting a basic server at home, I would download the ClarkConnect community edition and install it on an old PC with at least one network interface card. If you have two NICs in your CC box you would have a complete firewalla nd router.

You can download the CC at:

http://www.clarkconnect.com/downloads/

The forums are great! Lots of help and the site has a lot of documentation.

http://www.clarkconnect.org/forums/ubbthreads.php?Cat=

CC runs Apache, PHP and MySQL so most anything you need is there. It is easy to administer via a beb interface.

You MUST make sure that your router port forwards port 80, (if your ISP does not block it) to the IP of your web server. DNS2Go will take care of using a different port if your ISP blocks port 80. You set up the server to run on, say, port 8080 and DNS2Go will redirect any www traffic to that port. Some routers will forward port 80 to port 8080 or any other port you decide,

You will want a domain name. You can get one for free from one of the dynamic DNS providers like DNS2Go.com or DynDNS.com. These guys follow your changing IP address with a client utility running on a windows PC somewhere in your network or in ClarkConnect. Not that easy to install under Linux, however "I Think" that ClarkConnect provides you with such a service for free but not certain.

Anyway, a cool place to start and a great way to start learning a bit about Linux!

John
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Author Comment

by:lsolheim
ID: 20403657
To answer the question about my equipment.  I have a 8meg cable connection through CableOne and I use a D-Link DI-524 wireless router (w/4 ethernet ports).  I have basic WEP encryption enabled.  From what I understand CableOne does not offer static IP's unless I go to an enterprise system for $200/mo and I don't want to do that.  I could get a dedicated box elseware for less than that.

Also, to clarify... I would like to use this home server for serving a few pages and databases.  Mostly, I think I would like to use it as a FTP server.  I am not sure if that changes everyone's opinions or not.

I appreciate the help so far.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 20403768
It does not change my opinion.

For your IP and DNS issue, go with DynDNS or DNS2Go. I use DNS2Go as I have named domains. They do have free domain names such as www.MySite.dns2go.com or MySit.d2g.com etc.

http://www.dns2go.com
http://www.dyndns.com

These services follow your IP as it changes with a small client application running on your PC or server.

CableOne does do port blocking for residential users. Port 80 and 25 that I know of. I don't think they are blocking port 21 the FTP port. Most cable ISPs do this and limit bandwidth.

What is cool about DNS2Go is that you could have web site or FTP site using any port that is not blocked and DNS2Go will take care of the the port to send to. You will have to do port forwarding in your router to your FTP or web server.

Hope this gives you some help.

John
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Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 20501467
Did any of this help you?

John
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