Hosting your website off your home PC. Is a personal web server a good idea?
I’m willing to bet that when you started your first website you got the idea, at least once, to save money by hosting your website on your home PC and internet connection. Starting a personal web server to host your website of your home computer has always been an interesting idea to me…but is it a good idea?
Be prepared to learn a lot!
If you really want to go through with starting a web server on your own you better be prepared to learn a lot and also spend a lot of time testing. In all honesty, if you know nothing about web servers I highly suggest you give up and go with a reputable web hosting service.
A headache and a half!
When I first setup a personal web server at my house it took me roughly 2 weeks to figure everything out like installing Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, configuring PHP to work with MySQL, etc. I cannot tell you how many times during those 2 weeks I was tempted to throw my server out the window and say to hell with it.
Your ISP might not be equipped to host a website from.
Even if you have the fastest DSL or cable connection you might not have enough power to host your own website. When running a web server, download speed is not important at all. The main factor to serving out fast web pages is your connections’ upload speed. The fact is that cable and DSL usually have crappy upload speed and throughput. Not only that but some ISPs even have clauses in their terms of service that customers are not allowed to host websites from their home connection.
The cost of leaving your computer on 24 hours a day.
Even though I stopped using my home server a long time ago, I still leave on my personal computer 24 hours a day. I have calculated that leaving one computer on 24 hours a day costs roughly $20/month (depending on your computer specs). So if you are used to leaving your computer running 12 hours a day, you will be pumping out an extra $10/m just to host it yourself.
Other factors may hinder you –
If you are behind a router you will find it even more difficult to setup a web server. Another thing that doesn’t come with a home web server is an experienced server administrator. You risk getting your computer hacked into if you don’t work on security.
The fact is: it’s cheaper to go with a professional web hosting service.
Let’s do some simple calculations here. Plan to spend atleast 40 hours working to get your server setup and configured properly. We take 40 hours x $7 (minimum wage) – $280. Now lets add in the extra $10/m it will cost to pay for the extra electricity being used by your computer that is now on 24/7.
So to run your own web server from home you are looking at paying $10/m + $280 for the time you spent figuring it all out.
Now lets use a plan from my web hosting company as an example:
For $5.95/m you get a web hosting plan that can provide way more than your personal computer could – 2GB Disk Space, 50GB Premium Bandwidth, and 24/7 Support for any scripting languages you could need. Not to mention your home computer won’t be able to stand up to a professionals’ hardware.
As you can see, hosting your website from a home web server is actually quite difficult to do. It takes a lot of skill and experience to configure the required services that a web server needs. Not only is it difficult to do, but it also costs more money to do it yourself. A cheap web hosting service can provide you a better service for a cheaper rate than you could do with your own setup.