Hosting a Web Site from Home

In the past, web site hosting from home was something that the average person with a limited understanding of networking wouldn't dare attempt. But nowadays with the introduction of complete (Apache/PHP/SQL) packages such as Xampp, EasyPHP and NetServer, it isn't uncommon for the average person to begin hosting their own sites from home. I personally host a few of my sites from home.

Advantages of web hosting from home:

  • Accessibility – Easy to do modifications because you have direct access to all of the files. (no need to FTP).
  • Education – Allows you to understand and learn the inner workings and operations of a server.
  • Cost – You don't have to pay a web host: If you already have a broadband connection at home, why not make the best use of it?
  • Experimentation – You can use your web server to test out your projects before putting them into production.

Disadvantages of web hosting from home:

  • Speed – You wouldn't want to host your sites from home if they are generating a high volume of traffic.
  • Maintenance – It's up to you to administer and maintain the server.
  • Uptime – The server must be up and running 24/7.

Getting Started with your home server:

Were going to use "NetServer" for this tutorial because I feel it is one of the easiest server packages to setup within a Windows Operating environment. If you are using a Linux operating system, feel free to try Xampp.

First let's Download Netserver

Run the executable – extract the files to the folder you wish to run the server from.

Example: C:\server

Netserver install

Find the folder you extracted the files to and run NetServer.exe

Click Manage Servers as seen below:

manage NetServer

Now we need to install the core Server components (Apache and MySQL)

First we need to test the computer to ensure port 80 and 336 are available.

Then we proceed to install Apache and MySQL.

Install netserver components

1. You can leave the Server Name and E-mail localhost for now. Just click install.

Apache install

2. After installing MySQL, you will get a password warning box – shown below. Click OK.

mysqlwarn.png

Once everything is installed, your Manage Servers window should look like the one below.

Apache+MySQL installed

From the NetServer Manager window, let's start the server components.

Start Server

If all goes well, your NetServer Manager should look like the one below.

Running Server

Now let's set the MySQL Password.

Open up your web browser and type:

http://localhost/phpMyAdmin/ <-Or just click the link 🙂

You will get a prompt asking for your username and password. Since there is no password assigned yet, just type in root for the username and click ok.

Login phpmyadmin

The phpMyAdmin control panel should now be open in your browser. From here, we should probably set the password access for phpMyAdmin. So from the menu select Change password.

Change phpmyad pass

Type in the password and then click change

newpass

You should now be able to login using username root and your new password.

Congratulations, your Home Based Web Site Server is now functional. To ensure that your server is accessible from the internet, try to access your server via your external IP address.

Just type the external IP address in the browser and if you get a page like the one below, your good to go.

Netserver

Your website is contained in the www directory and any html, php pages you produce should be placed there. If you wish to point a domain name to the new server, simply login at the registrar your domain name was purchased from and set the A-Host to point to your external IP address.

Next, I'll cover Howto setup a virtual server, which will allow you to add more domains to the same box. So… Stay tuned!