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Old computer, a good server?





Peterssidan
I was thinking about get a older computer and use it as a server. It would be most for fun and I can learn alot.
Currently I'm using frihost and it works very good. I have no need for bigger space and more bandwith but I was thinking if an older computer would be as good as hosting it here.
At the frihost server(2) there is a lot of user so I thought that it might be like equal or better to host it on my own. I was thinking about a computer with something like 64 or 128 MB RAM pentium 2 or 3. I would probably use Linux even if I don't know it well. of course the network card will be of interest but I don't know what kind of network things is standard for computers like this.

will it be wouth it? or should I stay with frihost until I need to move on?
shnuffy
I would say it would be worth it in knowledge alone. It'd be a fun project. And I assure you, one does not need a powerful computer to be a server (assuming it's for low traffic). The computer specs you mentioned sound fine, and you could probably find a PC like that for <$50.

And, yes, you will need a network card. Wink
psycosquirrel
If the computer has an onboard NIC, you can just use that. I've found that even systems as low as Pentium 2 will work well, because the limiting factor with personal servers is almost always the connection. Are you planning to use it as a webserver or a gameserver or something else? Either way, be sure you know how to forward ports on your router for incoming connections to your server. Also, if you are using a cable modem, the connection will be very inconsistent, while dsl will be slow. You can't really host a good server without T1 or higher.
kizarop
If you want to host your own www site you must get suitable connection with high rate of upload. Even with DSL (for ADSL max upload rate is 1Mbps) you could host it , but maybe you want your sever to act as router and share connection between computers in your home then you need something better
Peterssidan
I know that the connection is good. It's 100 Mbit/s so I think it will depend on the computer. I should see if I can find some cheap computer that I can use.
Arnie
100Mbps may be your local connection speed, but that ends at the Internet modem. Your Internet speed is as fast as you pay for to your ISP. The upload is probably quite slow and I wonder if your home-server will compare to Frihost's speed. Also note that running a computer 24/7 is expensive due to electricity bills.

But making your own server just to make your own server is fun. I did it too. But in the end Frihost is just a more practical solution.
orcaz
I used my old computer, running Windows 98SE, as a server at home too. There are many free configuration software that could install apache and mysql on ur computer easily.
Peterssidan
Arnie wrote:
100Mbps may be your local connection speed, but that ends at the Internet modem. Your Internet speed is as fast as you pay for to your ISP. The upload is probably quite slow and I wonder if your home-server will compare to Frihost's speed. Also note that running a computer 24/7 is expensive due to electricity bills.

But making your own server just to make your own server is fun. I did it too. But in the end Frihost is just a more practical solution.


I live in a apartment and I only have to put my internet cable in the wall and it should be 100Mbps (I hope that means bits and not bytes). Yes I think that the upload is smaller but I can't find where I can see that. And the electricity bills is not a problem because that is included into my apartment bill.

I still think that the computer will decide how good things will be. I can use 10 GB bandwith every day so I think I have a good opportunity.
I have also read that there is some kind of server room that I can place my computer if I want. I will see.
corey
I think that you have the right idea. I would suggest, though, that you max out the RAM in it. Jam as much in as you can. As a web server (especially if you also run a database), you'll be glad that you did, if you get any amount of traffic at all.
Arnie
Quote:
I live in a apartment and I only have to put my internet cable in the wall and it should be 100Mbps (I hope that means bits and not bytes).
You do not have a 100Mbps Internet connection. 100Mbps is the standard speed for LAN networking devices, so your internal connection is probably 100Mbps, but not your Internet connection. Your local router is connected to your local computers at 100Mbps, but your local router is connected to the Internet at less than half that speed. The upload is most likely not even 1/4th of 100Mbps.

Universities pay like $15,000 per month to get a T3 connection, which is 45Mbps. The most expensive package my provider offers costs 60 euros per month and is "just" 20Mbps. Unless you're living in some kind of chateau for elite nerds who got rich by winning the WCG, you cannot possibly have a 100Mbps Internet connection.
psycosquirrel
I work at a research institute, we have internet speeds second ONLY to the Pentagon. And all I will say, is that we are nowhere near 100mbps. I doubt the Pentagon even has that kind of speed.

Anyways...

I would be amazed if you have 1/100th of that connection speed. I have T3 in my dorm, and it barely gets 1Mb/s upload... Though I max most servers upload speeds with my downloads... Very Happy
Peterssidan
ok. I know that I can't download 100Mbit/s but I thought that was becouse the hardware. Like the hard drive could not write as fast but I'm no expert.

Take a look here and you could read some about it: http://www.chalmersstudentbostader.se/about/broadband/

Does anyone know where I can see my upload speed?
Arnie
The 100Mbps reading you get is only your internal speed. The website is fooling you by telling misleading truths. You do have a 100Mbps network connection, but it's not capable of connecting to the Internet at that speed.

Go to http://www.speedtest.net/ to test your speed. I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Also note the speed meter: the red area indicating very high speed already starts at 5Mbps, and the highest reading you can get is 20Mbps. Those are the rational maximum speeds.

To get back on-topic, you'll want to check out your upload to see if you can run a server.
ganesh
Read the website you directed to. Seems like your dorm is connected to the internet through a 1Gbps link. However, this 1Gbps is probably split amongst all the dorm internet connections. For example, if there are 1024 computers plugged in to the link, each would get only 1Mbps. Nice thing I noted is that each connected computer is given a public fixed IP! That is good. No more messing around with dynamic IPs which you need to often update on the domain name provider site / install specific tools for them.

Please let us know how your server plans work out! (And also let us definitely know about the uplink / downlink test).
fadirocks
last time i checked with Mandrake ver(umm Cool on AMD k7 1200Mhz 266FSB with 386MB RAM ran my 100Mbps at 110Mbps! in addition was enough to burn a CD & my buddy was remotely compiling something! I think that was back Summer 2001! (can't really remember) anyways that server kicked butt even it wasn't fully configured to be at max efficiency

but for windows I barely reach 60Mbps with my IBM ThinkPad T42 running XP SP2 bah!
Arnie
What the heck are you talking about? Since when is a 100Mbps router capable of achieving a 110Mbps speed? Even if you had a quad-core with the most divine OS ever (fill in Linux yourself Rolling Eyes ) that would not be possible.
psycosquirrel
Yea, I think Linux was talking about MEGABITS not MEGABYTES. It is not possible for the router to be over its transfer speed without hacking it...
Handyman
I think that this topic got way off track from the original question. Of course you can use an old pc as a web server. There are many linux servers that will run fine. There is some great tutorials located at How-To-Forge.

I have tried a couple of distros out so far and I really like CentOS 5. I would suggest starting out with the gui installed so you can cut and paste the code in the terminal just to see how the setup works. The GUI does eat up the resources of the hardware but it is good for learning.

Then when you are comefortable with the whole process you can start over and just do the text based install to improve performance.

The ISPconfig web based controll panel is a good choice but there are others to choose from like webmin and zpanel. You can just google them.

Learning to setup a server is frustrating at times because of all of the layers of programs and utilities required to keep them stable and runing. But it is a great learning experience.

Right now I am trying to wrap my brain around OS X Apache Mysql and PHP.

The part that confuses me the most is the Bind 9 service. (Name servers are confusing)

I hope that this helps in your quest to host Wink
Arnie
CentOS is basically Red Hat Enterprise but the free version. This is possible because Red Hat has to publish the source code to its Linux distribution even though it sells it.
DecayClan
Yea, use an old computer as a server Razz, i use an old computer as a download center, firewall, etc... It is only a P3 800MHZ with 3x128Mb Ram. a much weaker machine would do the job as well.

~don't dream about 100Mbps internet... no way~ But you don't need that much. Especially for low traffic sites, and if you don't have big files for downloading( put them somewhere else on the internet).

But be concerned about " i just plug the network cable into the wall" . Is there a firewall? Is there an other server? Will they port forward to you, some ports that you will probably need? ? ?
Peterssidan
I did the speed that Arnie told. now I got 21079 kb/s down and 2950 kb/s up. There seem to vary a lot that test but maybe it say something. ok it maybe not is 100Mbs but to me this seem to vary a lot. when I took a look at Windows Task manager some days ago I got it up to 50% of my link speed. That time I downloaded from the local network or something. I think that it can only be reach from here in this area.

I have got some problems with my real computer that I have to sort out firt. My Harddrive is not that good :p Have to buy a new one.

When there is vacation from school I will have more time for looking for a server.
Arnie
Your local network has 100Mbps but so has mine and nearly everyone's. Your Internet download speed is more than 20,5Mbps which is very fast. Your upload is about 2,9 which is acceptable for a small server.
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