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June 18, 2007

Go Host Yourself – Starting Your Own Web Host

There are four things to consider when setting up your own hosting: 1) Hardware and software tools. 2) Hosting a server. 3) Bandwidth Transfer. 4) Mail Server.

Familiarity with the latest Hardware, software and platforms:

It is very important to be familiar with the hardware and software that needs to be installed on the servers. For example IIS when using Windows 2003 server is something we will need to be very familiar with, if we are going to be hosting sites on a Windows Server. In terms of Linux, this is a bit more complicated. A strong command and knowledge of SSH (Secure Shell Security) is needed. Then a strong background in Telnet Commands, then the knowledge in Networks and Security side such as routing, Firewall(IPS, IDS), Antivirus.

Software:

Web server: IIS for windows 2003, Apache for Linux. Database: MSSQL server for win 2003, MYSQL for Linux.

Control panel software: It is very necessary to offer administration tools for clients such as Cpanel, plesk, Ensim which offers a program called Web Host Manager.

Billing Software: It’s very necessary to have billing software installed on our web hosting website so that clients may place their order and renew it on time. Some of the popular billing scripts are Accounts, Modernbill, Clientexec, Whmautopilot, etc.

Payment gateway: Accepting online payments is must for any hosting company. Signup for an merchant account so that you accept online payments. Some of the popular payments gateways are 2checkout, Ccavenue, Authorise.net, Worldpay etc

Purchasing of Servers (collocation) / leasing of Servers (dedicated)
Office / Data Center Space

After purchase of servers, we’ll need office space or a Data Center to house these servers. If we choose in our office space, need to feed separate 100Mbps Bandwidth from High Bandwidth Providers. Some companies that offer bandwidth are: Verio.com, Cogentco.com and Twtelecom.com for cheaper bandwidth you can use. Otherwise we have to host our server in Data Centers. Data Centers are also offering two types of service,

1) Colocation is used to mean the provision of space for a customer’s telecommunications or computer equipment at the service provider’s premises. For example, a Web site owner could place the site’s own computer servers on the premises of the Internet service provider (ISP). Or an ISP could place its network routers on the premises of the company offering switching services with other ISPs. Businesses often colocate their equipment with a service provider in order to take advantage of higher bandwidth availability and backup power.

2) Dedicated Server, offerings from companies such as Eservers.biz, Rackspace.com, Cyberworldservers.com just to name a few. Each of those companies will allow you to lease a server on their connection, set a specified amount of bandwidth, and allow you to host your client’s websites on the server you lease from them.

Note: Running from Home: Although we’ll have more control over our servers, keeping them in our garage is really NOT recommended, unless we can ensure, among other things: uninterrupted power; climate control; security; and decent network connection.

Colocation: Your hardware is kept in a data center where you have 24/7 physical access and the data center merely provides electric and fast connection to the internet. Advantages are very flexible; you can build your own servers and determine how network is set up; easy set-up of a private network or a firewall; offers you free reign over hardware configuration and Disadvantages are expensive; you’re responsible for your own hardware (repairs and replacements)

Dedicated: if we rent: The data server owns the hardware and rents it to us. Advantages are they’re responsible for the hardware, software, security issues; faster repair times in case of hardware problem. Disadvantages are must depend on Web Host Provider; If Data Transfer Allowance is exceeded, a financial Penalty is assessed.

Bandwidth Transfer:

Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer that you are allowed to have for a hosting package. For example, Size of web Page: 48 KB Number of users who viewed the web page: 100 per day Total amount of data transferred: 48KB * 100 = 4800 KB per day Total amount of bandwidth required: 4800KB * 30 = 144000KB (144 MB) per month.

Bandwidth is the term that is used to denote the amount of data that has been transferred from your web space. The amount of bandwidth that you require while choosing a host depends on two factors: > The size of your site. > The popularity of your site. For our hosing we have to prefer Limited Bandwidth like 10-100 GB (metered) first and the go for Unlimited (Unmetered).

Email system:

Thing to consider in mail server 1) Perfect mail setup with virus filtering and spam protection. 2) Linux Mail server: Unlimited Mailboxes and Unlimited inbox Storage, Integrated anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall, Life time license free software. 3) Windows server: MS Exchange server / 3rd party Email systems – have to purchase a license, separate anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall.

Author:  Lakshmichandrakanth Thangavel is an Internet specialist and programmer living and working in India. He writes a blog at www.sathist.blogspot.com

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