Every other house has old computers which remain idle in a corner of a room. How about turning that spare computer into a home web server? The terms and steps involved in creating a web server might terrorize you, but the task is a simple one. With the availability of distributions like Ubuntu and Linux which are consumer friendly it is easy to host a website. Do not worry if you have the oldest of computers, because Linux is a flexible operating system that runs even on the slowest computer ever. The “command line” mode can be used if it doesn’t work on certain PC’s.
Before you start, make sure to check that your computer meets the basic requirements. To work on the PC a minimum amount of about 256 megabyte of RAM is required. The installation procedure consumes about 3.3 gigabytes and additional space is required for software and other files. Taking all this into account, make sure to have 10GB of RAM. Linux supports a variety of hard drives, video cards and other hardware which can be verified with the “hardware compatibility” list. If you like to work quick, you can check all this with LiveCD.
Install Linux into your system and follow the instructions that appear on the screen. Upgrade all the new versions of software and use the 32 bit or 64 bit version for your computer. Boot the computer and customize the settings. Once the installation is complete reboot the system. The first thing that has to be done after installation is to apply all the updates. From “System” go to “Administration” select “update manager” and click on “install updates”. If any updates are done you need to reboot the system.
Install Application Services
Application services are numerous in number, however most websites work on a combination of MySQL, Apache and PHP. Hence, installing these into your system is mandatory. These applications can be installed from the Linux Software Center. You can launch these services by going to “Administration” from “System” and choosing “Synaptic Package Manager”. This is the only place where these applications can be installed. Search for php5, apache2, mysql-server and php5-mysql and install these including their prerequisites. Download these applications and install immediately. MySQL root password has to be fed into the computer when asked for it. Rebooting the system is not compulsory in this stage.
Test the Server
Test the server by opening Firefox or any other browser on your web server. If you find a message “it works”, you can be assured that you have succeeded in setting your own web server. MySQL and Apache will work in the background. You can now edit files in www/var and can view the changes on your website.
Local IP Address of the Server
Now that your server functions well it is essential to expose it to the world. The first step is to locate the local IP address of the server and customize it for future reference. The network information box will have information of the adapter card, DNS server, current IP address, gateway and broadcast address. Make a note of all this information and edit the connection information to come up with a new static IP address. For this you have to go to, “Edit Connections” and feed in the information that you have gathered from the connection settings. You need to pay careful attention to the IP address. Keep the same number for the first three octets and change the final one to a number below 254. For ex: 193.464.2.252 which will be your local static IP address.
Now share the web folder and forward ports. Now the Linux server is all set in your old computer and you can run the server 24/7 or for a limited time. This process can be simple or complicated based on how you follow the instructions. You can now focus on installing software and developing new programs.
Allan Goltz likes writing articles related to Technology News, Gadget Reviews and How To. He also does guest posting for buycharter.com – a site that offers savings and current information on charter tv.