Home servers - good at first, but have to go

For quite sometime I've been hosting some stuff at home. It's quite simple - a second hand small-form-factor machine from Compaq, home internet and a router/switch.

Compaq machines are were small and very very quite, they just don't break at all. The first machine that I used for hosting had 7 (seven!) fans some of which we very noisy. No keyboard and no monitor. A small ups and it's good to go.

Hosting stuff at home is extremely cheap - internet that would have been bought anyway. The machines are also very cheap - my blog was running on a Pentium III, 800 Mhz and the machine was running Windows Server 2003 with the blog being .NET application. It's a little load on the electricity bill but that's hardly a show stopper.

A good wi-fi router would do the job of connecting all machines and provide internet for everything in the house. Most new routers have enough juice to support a linux - I've mentioned OpenWRT. If one wants to go crazy one would move a *nix machine in front of the router (two ethernet cards needed), because the router could easily go down.

At first it's very interesting. There are different OSes to configure, building an internal dns, dhcp, port forwards, certificates, sharing. There are a lot of things to learn.

But at some point all this becomes cumbersome - different OSes to configure, building an internal dns, dhcp, port forwards, certificates, sharing. Every single thing takes so much time and so much effort. And the bad thing is that this is a hobby, I'm not a systems administrator.

When I wanted to learn something new there was always twice the effort - once for administration (installing, configuring...), twice for the thing itself. Having stuff hosted somewhere else one does not care about all that. Just click install, or ftp and copy and that's it.

Sometime ago I decided to put a stop to all that. Hosting is so cheap now and the most valued thing (this blog) was the first to go to some distant server. It took me a couple of days but it worked. The old and frankly very stupid personal site I had got killed - after all simplifying is good right?

I've had so many computers, at some point I've owned 4 to 5 machines. I don't think that's necessary. I intend to get rid of all of them and have a nice 802.11 N router with an optical internet and ups.

So it was fun and I learned a lot but it has to end.

5 thoughts on “Home servers - good at first, but have to go”

  1. Hi, Misho 🙂

    Glad to find out that you are back again 🙂

    I'd like to ask you about the hosting... do you use the hosting just to host the blog, or also you use it to host your private info to a remote server?
    Lately I am considering such migration of my private content and if this is your case, it would be great if you can share some info bout that - the provider, opinion about its services etc. 🙂


  2. Niki,
    I'm using the hosting only for my site. Regarding online backup I have to say I'm a little skeptical. I guess I have to check what optios do I have. I'd need at least a few hundred gigs. It has to be secure and ultra fast.
    For now I'm using a shared hdd via local wi-fi or directly via usb.

  3. Thanks a lot, Misho 🙂
    I am using the same approach at the moment. May be I am too paranoid having the fear the hard to not get burnt or something like that. Maybe I have to think on double back-up 🙂
    Thanks again 🙂

  4. Niki,
    If I sum up everything that has some value to me, I'd have something like 150-200 gigs. I guess if I optimize it I can shrink it a lot. Also all that is piled up in a single folder and it's pretty organized.
    I backup using two different mechanisms. I'm using Time Machine on my Macbook which does incremental backup of the whole machine (OS and user files), which is awesome. If I delete something there's a chance that I can find it in the backup.
    Second, I copy this folder like once a year to a remote location so that it's safe.

    I'm also putting more and more stuff online - texts, books, presentations, blog - stuff that I created. I guess everything that isn't private should go online in some form. Everything else should sum up to a lot less than 200 gigs.

  5. Hehe 🙂 Thanks for sharing the experience, Misho 🙂
    So far I am using the second approach that you mentioned.
    Good point for the online materials. I should publish the things I've got as well 🙂

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