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JoGiles
17-01-2004, 08:53 AM
Hi there,
I've been mucked around by my hosting company over the last few days and I was stupid enough to keep my email account tied in with them (so I can use my domain that I own).

Now that I've learnt my lesson, I am wondering if anyone has experience hosting a website and especially email on a local machine. Preferably at no cost, but I'm willing to extend the budget to around the same as I pay for hosting a year (~$100).

So, rules are that I want to use my .co.nz domain, I already have a server at my house which is online near enough to 24/7, and I would like to keep costs to a minimum.

Thanks heaps,
Jonathan Giles.

somebody
17-01-2004, 09:17 AM
You can quite easily host it on your own, but there are some things to remember.

Your server at home must have a static IP address eg. if you're using Jetstream, then you should be ok, but if you're on a dial-up connection, then no (because your IP address changes every time you dial up).

Also, your terms of use agreement with your ISP most likely says that you are not allowed to host web/mail servers on your home PCs.

But... assuming the above are no problems, then all you would need to do is to get appropriate software, and get the domain registrar to point your domain to your home server.

Software:
As a webserver, I would suggest using XAMPP, a preconfigured, easy to set up webserver for Windows. (http://www.apachefriends.org/xampp-en.html). That will give you all the webhosting capabilities you would ever need.

As for Mailserver, something like mDaemon would do the job, but that costs money (from memory it isn't too expensive). There are probably freeware mailservers out there, so have a look on the net and you should find something useful.

somebody
17-01-2004, 09:26 AM
I also forgot that XAMPP has the Mercury Mail Server, a freeware mail server proudly made in New Zealand. This mail server should be capable to fulful your email needs.

http://www.pmail.com

JoGiles
17-01-2004, 09:27 AM
Thanks for your reply - I should have clarified my current situation.

I have jetstream starter (128k), I have no issues running a server against my agreement (if it's stipulated - I've never really read it), however this means I have a dynamic IP address.

This would mean I would need to look into a Dynamic DNS host would I not? I see lots of dynamic DNS hosts (http://www.dns2go.com and http://dyndns.org are the main two), however their services are rather expensive once you add on both dynamic DNS and email backup.

My server PC is already setup in terms of software (except mail software), however I am still downloading XAMPP out of curiosity (plus it's far more recent than my setup :)).

Thanks,
Jonathan

ilikelinux
17-01-2004, 09:32 AM
no-ip.com
is a free dynamic dns thing,

i use it and it is up 99% of the time.

JoGiles
17-01-2004, 09:35 AM
Thanks for your reply.

I have looked into them - they are indeed another option.

However, they still restrain me in the fact that I want to use my own domain name, and hence their costs will build up.

I will definitely look into them again however.

Thanks,
Jonathan.

JoGiles
17-01-2004, 09:46 AM
I guess another question I need answered is whether or not I would need a backup MX server for my email.

This would provide me with the security that my emails are being stored should my server crash or something.
It is however more often than not more expensive than the Dynamic DNS service most providers offer.

I hope someone can clarify whether this is required or not,
Thanks in advance,
Jonathan

Chilling_Silently
17-01-2004, 11:00 AM
Here's a few things that might help, I hope Im not throwing you in the deep end here:

Stored emails? Not likely sorry....

Even if they're queued... Just dont go there, you wont be WANTING a server crash.. Plan that if your server DOES crash, that you will only lose one or two emails that _may_ have been queued at the time. You're going to plan to have a server than WONT crash (I'd hope at least) only plan to have 30-60 seconds down-time while it reboots should you cut the power cord to your server or the router! You shouldnt need any other down-time. Power-cuts are the exception to the rule, but a UPS will help through minor power-cuts!

Try QMail if you REALLY want security (This however requires you to be running Linux). Its had Zero bugs so far and its probably the securist server app I know of! It will take a bit of setting up, so it may pay to look into something else if you want no-fuss.
http://cr.yp.to/qmail/guarantee.html is their security Gaurantee!


I _will_ recommend Linux, its cheap (You cant get much cheaper than free) and its damn reliable Im telling ya! Ive been running a Jabber server on a P300 on my own JetStream Starter account (I phoned up Ihug just to make sure I could host, they said its all good, no worries) and I setup a really basic system with little but a compiler, editor and a few other lil command line apps. Since then Ive tried out 3x mail-servers (Im using postfix now) and its still up and running after 12 days :D


No-ip.com are great! Their Dynamic DNS worked for me on Dial-up and ADSL where dyndns.org wouldnt! I cant remember what I setup with no-ip.com, but I can send messages and get them back (basic messages so far... I sent a blank one to a hotmail address and it got there, only funnily enough hotmail thought that I'd sent it from my hotmail acct and put it in sent items?). Im just starting email hosting, so send me an email when you're done, I'd be interested to hear how you get on!


Website hosting.. Its pretty easy really with Apache on Linux (Never done it from Doze), simply install apache and put your index.html in a specific folder and it couldnt be easier.

Just be careful about security... With windows, there's NO EXCUSE not to keep up-to-date! Its a must, really.. or you'll regret it later. Better having a customer ring up and say "I cant get on your site" and you find its because you've blocked the ports on the firewall (Go hardware firewall) than for them to ring up and say they cant get on and you find its because the Blaster worm is using all your bandwidth!

All up, it took me about 60 minutes from start to finish to setup a small linux server on my P300 that's now hosting www with php/ssl extensions, as well as ftp. Ive only started on mail the past few days.

Good luck, its worth it, very rewarding to sit back and smile when you check the logs for the day and count the number of unique IP addresses visiting :D

Hope this helps


Chill.

JoGiles
17-01-2004, 11:11 AM
Thanks heaps for your huge response - I wasn't chucked in the deep end so that's always a bonus :-)

In terms of webhosting - I can do that - with an IP address. With your recommendation of No-IP.com I will look into them and probably get an account to map my domain to my IP.

However, where I'm a complete newbie is in mail and mail servers. I want my email address (eg: bob@bob.com), and I want to be able to recieve emails to that address (well, actually, to any at bob.com). I can obviously use my ISP (Ihug) for outgoing emails, so I just need some pointers on incoming mail setups...

I take your third paragraph to essentially mean "don't bother with backup MX, just spend the time getting the server stable" - if that assumption is incorrect please let me know :-)

I am an old hand at Linux - I currently use Gentoo on one of my personal machines, with XP on the other. However, my server uses Windows 2000 (I need to use ICS), so I will be using Apache on a windows 2000 box.

So, it all comes down to email - will it work? will I lose important emails and can it essentially be reliable?

Thanks heaps,
Jonathan

Chilling_Silently
17-01-2004, 01:03 PM
HEY!!! Another Gentoo user :D
Im running Gentoo on my PC, the family's, my p300 server, and GentooX on the XBox :D ;-)

As I mentioned, You're aiming to keep the server up, not down. Be prepared for the worst but dont expect it.

There's some good documentation on the QMail site about attempting to backup the mail queue.

Technically it takes around 10 seconds for an email to go from your server to the next (using a sendmail-standard, some are longer/shorter).

Basically, I wouldnt worry about the MAIL side of it falling over, rather the OS side of it.

Go for it, the worst that can happen is you restart your windows box ;-)

Hope this helps, sorry I cant be a bit more specific about email on a doze box. Worst comes to it you can use iptables as a linux ICS equivalent (Been there done that ;-) easier than ics on doze IMO :p)


Chill.

JoGiles
17-01-2004, 01:07 PM
Heh

I'm at the point now where I have downloaded (nearly at random) an email server.

I have a test No-IP account which allows me to set my MX records.

I will soon install my mailserver.

But I'm confused as to what I set in my MX Records boxes within No-IP - obviously I want any email sent to the domain forwarded to my mailserver, which will then split it up into mailboxes or chuck the unknown ones into a default mailbox.

What's next?
Please help! I'm getting closer and closer :-)
Jonathan

Chilling_Silently
17-01-2004, 01:46 PM
> I have a test No-IP account which allows me to set my
> MX records.
You mean the free account?

> I will soon install my mailserver.
Cool. What server have you decided to go with?

> But I'm confused as to what I set in my MX Records
> boxes within No-IP - obviously I want any email sent
> to the domain forwarded to my mailserver, which will
> then split it up into mailboxes or chuck the unknown
> ones into a default mailbox.
Simply set it up to goto JoGiles.no-ip.com
Then set your router to forward traffic on port 25 to the (Static) IP address of your Win2k server box :-)


Chill.