How to Build a Server

Building a server at home is a simple process. Many people do not realize that the old computer sitting in the closet is halfway to becoming your new server. This guide will walk you through the steps of installing your OS and server software.

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Save some money and build your own server.

Step

Find an old computer that you have around the house. Minor upgrades may be necessary. An alternative is to use your active computer as a part-time server. There are sites that suggest minimum specs for a server, but depending on your immediate purpose and budget, any computer can be turned into a server and upgraded as necessary. The key is proper cooling (fans) and keeping the inside clean (blowing out the dust). Web designers and programmers who wish to develop a local server may use their active computers and skip to the server software steps.

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Everything you need can be found in that old computer collecting dust.
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Windows 2008 installation

Step

Choose a server operating system to install: Windows, Linux or FreeBSD. The last two are open source and cost nothing. However, installation will be unfamiliar for those with Windows experience. Using Windows XP is not advised due to the extra resources and processes that are required to run these operating systems.

Step

Insert the Windows Server software disc and restart the computer to begin installation. Windows Server OS setup is identical to installation of Windows XP, which requires minimal input from the user. Make sure that you set the regional options correctly. Date, time and language selection are necessary to the proper operation of your server.

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Install your Server Software after OS install is complete. If you've chosen Windows Home Server, then this process is already complete and you may log in to access the control panel. If you've chosen to go with Linux or BSD, then choosing server software is necessary. AppServ is known to be reliable and easy to use. Linux users may like Ubuntu software.

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Step

Download and install Appserv or Ubuntu. For server machines built without a disk drive, the use of flash USB drives for installation is an alternative option.

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Configure your server by filling in proper information. Your server will be localhost or 127.0.0.1.

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Fill in your Admin email. This can be changed later, so it is preferable to fill in an existing email such as 'yourname@msn.com'.

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Leave the default HTTP port at 80. For most of your purposes, defaults will not need to be changed. The server name (localhost) and the server port (80) are primary defaults. If you are behind a firewall or router, then you will need to adjust the settings to allow for access.

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Choose a password for your MySQL database. The default username is 'root' and cannot be changed at this time. This can be changed later when logging in to the database for the first time and should be for security reasons.

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Test your server. Open a browser window and type in 'http://localhost/'. The default welcome site should appear. If you have any problems, review the steps to ensure that you have correctly configured the server.