This site is hosted for about year on a low-spec PC running linux debian but it is rocket if you compare features to normal shared hosting companies. I keep in a cupboard at home. It has no keyboard, mouse or monitor and is remotely managed. The whole hardware setup cost just £150.00 a few years ago but you can get this days second hand computer or even laptop for about same price. The system paid for itself in the first year compared to the 3rd party hosting costs I’d been paying previously (justhost).
This setup is perfect for a personal site or few sites, but if you’re looking to set up a server for your business, I’d recommend a Dell with some nice xeon cpu that is specifically designed to handle thousands of simultaneous connections. If you’re thinking about hosting your site from home, I can fully recommend it. Just make sure your ISP is web server friendly – Virgin Media is (see T&C on Virgin Media website), and so are the others you just need to read the terms and conditions of your ISP.
As well as the cost savings over commercial web hosting, serving your site from home allows:
- Virtually unlimited storage space. Most web hosting providers will give you 50-100MB, but a basic home server will give you 1000 times as much disk space.
- Ability to interface with your home network. Having a machine powered on 24×7 gives you remote access to your home network. From there it’s easy to access files on other PCs, and even switch your other machines on using Wake-on-LAN 😉
- Live internet broadcasting from external devices.
- Remotely stored CCTV. Using a simple USB webcam and some motion detection software, it’s easy to configure a CCTV system to record movement in or around your home. As well as storing the images or video locally, you can easily automate sending these files to your ISPs free web space, giving you access to the images even if your PC is stolen. The police have already used this technology to catch a thief in England.
- Access to your files and media. Using some free, open source software it’s fairly easy to set up your own musical jukebox. Stick it behind a password, and you can have instant streaming access to your entire music collection anywhere in the world.
- Mobile access to view your photos, listen to music or forward your files by email straight from your phone anywhere around the world.
- Manage large downloads. Use your server machine to download large files – no need to keep your desktop machine on overnight! (even torrents too)
If you’re thinking about running a server from home, the main consideration will probably be power consumption. Remember that your machine will be on 24/7, so it’s important that it doesn’t use too much power. However, if you’re running it as a web server you’ll probably want to avoid power saving features such as allowing your hard disk to power down, as your machine will appear very slow to respond when a user comes to visit your site and the HDD has to spin up again.
I’ve got mine wired through a watt meter so I can monitor its power usage. It typically sits at 20-30Watts (220vac), so costs about £23.00 a year to run. If you will run standard PC which takes about 90Watts your cost per year would be a bit higher.
UPDATE @ 02/11/2016
I’ve been hosting my sites on my own past 7 years now. It does require some technical know-how, but as I mentioned earlier, its very easy! During those years I did saved up around £2800 together. If you are self-employed which I am – you would be (same as me) on £3360 (£560 would be just tax you would get back) – if anyone would tell you this is not worth it, he must be crazy 😉