Can you use any computer for a server?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by James_S, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. James_S

    James_S Second Unit

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    I am putting together a website and vBulletin forum (non-competing with here) I would like to host it myself sense I will be making changes to it daily and hourly.

    My question is do I need to go out and buy a "server" computer or can I take another computer and turn it into a server. I have the server software and ready to get it set-up.

    Or am I better off just having someone host my site???

    Any suggestions would be great

    Thanks,

    James
     
  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Yes, you can take any PC and turn it into a server, but usually the more reliable purpose built server machines (that cost more) may be worth it. Adding dual hard drives (mirroring) in case one drive dies can help, and dual power supplies as well if one of them breaks, etc.

    Depends on how much downtime you're ready to contemplate, and on what your budget is. Low budget probably means generic PC running freeware software to the greatest extent possible.

    It also depends on where you will be hosting this. If at home, then size of the machine isn't important, but if you want someone to host the machine itself for you, you probably want to keep it rack-mountable and as thin as possible (1U high).
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Technically, any PC that's capable of running your server software will work. However, how robust that machine needs to be will be a function of (1) how fast you want response time, (2) how many users will be hitting the server, and (3) how reliable you need the server to be.

    If this is going to be a small server for a handful of people and you do not care much about uptime, then a low-end PC may be sufficient. If this is a "mission critical" server, then you'll want something more robust.

    For example, I work in healthcare IT, and our minimal server configuration includes hard drive redundancy via RAID 5, dual power supplies, dual ethernet NIC's, redundant cooling fans. More critical servers that support direct patient care are usually clustered.
     
  4. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    Note that some OSes may impose an artificially low limit on the number of Internet connections you can have, the better to force server owners to buy a more expensive version of the same OS.
     
  5. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    Yep. Right now my home webserver which I use to serve up images, my personal website, gallery and email is an old P3 450mhz with 256, maybe 512mb ram. It's a normal size computer from 1999. It's loud and sucks in a lot of power. I'm about to get an 800mhz-1ghz Mini-ITX board and build a small, quiet server. Just had to put those plans on hold for a couple weeks since I jumped on that Dell laptop coupon the other morning. !!
     

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