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Figuring out how to create my own server




My Website Account is with Server 1, and cPanel is not working fully after the recent hacking. It probably will be fixed eventually, however it got me thinking whether there was a way to work around cPanel. Can we manage our Websites without cPanel? Basically cPanel is just something that has been configured in order for me to put a few things together in the Website and for Frihost to be able to manage all of the accounts. So would it be possible for me to do the same with my Website space, create my own server, with only one account, and then set myself up so that I could manage my Website directly?

My home computer is due for replacement one of these days. I only have 2GB RAM on it, but it is still running great with Windows XP Professional (32 bit). So I'm willing to risk it for experimenting, i.e. create a server on my computer. I haven't got my plan properly finessed yet and am at the information gathering stage only. It may go as follows:

1. Back-up everything on my home computer - maybe get my new computer first, transfer all of the data to the new computer and reformat the hard drive of the "old" computer
2. Upload server software (am considering Xampp that comes with Apache, mySQL, PHP, Filezilla and Tomcat) and configure the software
3. Upload Zpanel
4. Manage my Frihost Website space from my server

All of the above software is available for free.

Here is one of the many tutorials I've discovered. I'll be checking out others as well, and am particularly interested to see whether there is feedback of people who have tried it out - i.e. what not to do, and also the correct order of installing the software:



I've checked out Zpanel, joined their Forum, and looks as though it may be interesting to try out. I should check out more reviews though, but the Team responsible for this open source software seem to have solid credentials and I like they are from the UK as well. Zpanel has been around for a long time as well:
http://www.zpanelcp.com/about/team/

I'm worried about protecting the server. Hopefully I will discover how to do it during my researches. And not the hard way, although I guess I'll be putting the computer at risk by opening a back door when I connect up with my Website to manage it? Not even sure yet whether that is doable. Think



11 blog comments below

Running a home server is pretty easy, really, but you do need to keep it up to date... if not, they're easily compromised.

I would suggest ditching Windows if you're going to run a server. Linux is MUCH better suited for the task and will let you control and configure much easier, with better access to the software needed to run and maintain the server. There's plenty of documentation and help available to ensure your Linux server is good and secure.

cPanel isn't needed at all to control your hosting/server, but it does make things MUCH easier. Without something like cPanel you need to know the actual commands to accomplish your various tasks, rather than filling in a blank and hitting a button... basically, you need to understand the processes that are triggered by the GUI.
Ankhanu on Tue May 28, 2013 6:37 pm
Thanks Ankhanu. I've heard about Linux being much better, particularly from a security point of view. I should make it a summer objective to sit down and get to learn it properly. I've got now excuse really as there are tons of tutorials out there on the Web.
deanhills on Tue May 28, 2013 6:50 pm
The hardest part I'd found was learning to set your permissions correctly for each type of user... but yeah, lots of tutorials Smile
Ankhanu on Tue May 28, 2013 7:11 pm
Dean, I don't know about upgrading to a system to above WinXP pro. It is too stable compared to newer (IMO). Perhaps just get a second hard to install your server software on, I agree about using Linux for that setup.
standready on Tue May 28, 2013 9:51 pm
I've read Ubuntu is easy to install but when I tried it didn't seem so easy. I got stopped at around the 4th page I think because it was asking for something unheard of in some strange sort of geek language.

https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/serverguide/
Bluedoll on Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:27 am
Thanks for the link BD, has really good information in it.
deanhills on Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:54 pm
CONS (to name a few):

- A computer MUST have a public static IP to properly run a server. The IPs provided by ISPs to their customers are dynamic IPs and not static. So you should ask your ISP for a static IP at a price. (a dynamic IP can be almost considered static if you have your router 24/7 up, but..., you can't control that constantly, for example an outage will trigger the IP change).

- You CAN'T ever ever ever ever run properly your mail from a server with a dynamic IP. As in last years the spammers shit had flooded the mails, mail services are now a lot more careful about where they allow mail from. ALL dynamic IPs (the ranges assigned to ISPs that they provide to clients) are just flagged as not allowed senders so its mail goes directly to spam folders. So if own mail is a requirement then the static IP becomes mandatory.

- You will never have as much bandwidth as a real hosting (comparing with a reliable hosting). The bandwidth users have at home has very little uploading bandwith (from their homes to the outside) because that's exactly what ISPs sell, high download bandwidth (from Internet to the client, with all sort of techniques to minimize the ISP Internet connections -sometimes the contents can safely be provided from the ISP network directly-) and low upload bandwidth (from the client to Internet). In some places in the world they have enough upload bandwidths but in a lot, lot, lot of places it is not so (of course you can ask always the ISP for upgrade if needed, at a price). To run small websites low bandwidth is ok, but you have to know you are limited.

- If your server is compromised and it is connected locally to other devices, then the other devices are in danger too.

...

Probably there are some more CONS, mostly if you don't have enough server management knowledge.

PD: When I talk here about bandwidths is not what you are mostly used to. It doesn't mean you are limited to xxx GB of upload (though you effectively are, speed * month secods) it is more a question of the speed you can offer to the people that visit your sites (that's what you have limited at home a lot more than on a hosting server).
manfer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:28 pm
Well, I must say besides I didn't took special attention to the last point.

Quote:

4. Manage my Frihost Website space from my server


And if what you mean you are thinking is using your local computer to install the software needed to run ZPanel to use it to manage the remote Frihost Server (your account on the shared server) then I must say that is as far as I know impossible.

There is no way for example with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create a subdomain. It is not possible with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create a mail account. It is not possible with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create an FTP account. It is not possible with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create a database, ..., and so on...

There are only software that allow users with WHM accounts to remotely create new cPanel accounts with one of his WHM available hosting packages but the level of management you do with cPanel can't be done remotely with another remote administration panel as far as I know.
manfer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:56 pm
@Manfer. Thanks very much for your valuable insights. They are very much appreciated!

Manfer wrote:
CONS (to name a few):

- A computer MUST have a public static IP to properly run a server. The IPs provided by ISPs to their customers are dynamic IPs and not static. So you should ask your ISP for a static IP at a price. (a dynamic IP can be almost considered static if you have your router 24/7 up, but..., you can't control that constantly, for example an outage will trigger the IP change).
I didn't think of this, but it is an enormously good point. Particularly here in the UAE where our dynamic IP intervals are shorter than international standards. For example, I have real problems accessing cPanel on UK servers as I get logged out repeatedly because of the quick changing duration of my dynamic IP. To make it even more "thrilling" is that I'm sharing an IP with a large number of black-listed spammers. I discovered that by fluke one day when I was doing research on how to check out spammers, and then had to find my own IP is black-listed. So you're right, that would have to change if I have my own server. Problem is, static IPs are very expensive in the UAE, so maybe I'll think carefully before I do that.

Manfer wrote:
- You CAN'T ever ever ever ever run properly your mail from a server with a dynamic IP. As in last years the spammers shit had flooded the mails, mail services are now a lot more careful about where they allow mail from. ALL dynamic IPs (the ranges assigned to ISPs that they provide to clients) are just flagged as not allowed senders so its mail goes directly to spam folders. So if own mail is a requirement then the static IP becomes mandatory.
Agreed

Manfer wrote:
- You will never have as much bandwidth as a real hosting (comparing with a reliable hosting). The bandwidth users have at home has very little uploading bandwith (from their homes to the outside) because that's exactly what ISPs sell, high download bandwidth (from Internet to the client, with all sort of techniques to minimize the ISP Internet connections -sometimes the contents can safely be provided from the ISP network directly-) and low upload bandwidth (from the client to Internet). In some places in the world they have enough upload bandwidths but in a lot, lot, lot of places it is not so (of course you can ask always the ISP for upgrade if needed, at a price). To run small websites low bandwidth is ok, but you have to know you are limited.
I figured that out before, but thought to try it any way. But the point on the static versus dynamic IP is a very important consideration.

Manfer wrote:
- If your server is compromised and it is connected locally to other devices, then the other devices are in danger too.
I was planning to run it completely separately. Not sure whether I'm going to do that however until I've done more homework on static IPs, i.e. if there is any chance I could get it at a lower cost.

Manfer wrote:
There is no way for example with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create a subdomain. It is not possible with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create a mail account. It is not possible with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create an FTP account. It is not possible with a remote ZPanel tell your frihost account to create a database, ..., and so on...

There are only software that allow users with WHM accounts to remotely create new cPanel accounts with one of his WHM available hosting packages but the level of management you do with cPanel can't be done remotely with another remote administration panel as far as I know.
I didn't know that, thanks for letting me know. Makes good sense the way you explained it as well.
deanhills on Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:04 pm
Thanks for this, I was wondering the same thing... I'm definitely not up the the stage to be able to do this sort of thing, by the looks of it.
GuidanceReader on Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:04 pm
Thank You!
Farmodo on Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:24 am



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