Host Your Own Site On Your Own Home Server

  • Posted on: 31 January 2013
  • By: Zhijun Chen

Recently I just purchased an HP server and host my own blog site on it. Here are the main steps I went through to achieve a low cost solution.

* Set Up The Server

A quick way to set up your home server to serve a web site is to install Apache HTTP Server.

Under Ubuntu system, you can install the package using the following command:

sudo apt-get install apache2

Using default configuration, when you open http://localhost/, you should be able to see the following page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more configurations please refer to Apache HTTP Server Documentation

* Choose a Dynamic DNS Service

If you are hosting the site inside your network where the home router acts as gateway, you will need Dynamic DNS Service because your router's external IP address might change over time.

Dynamic DNS or DDNS is a method of updating, in real time, a DNS to point to a changing IP address on the Internet. This is used to provide a persistent domain name for a resource  that may change location on the network.

Refer to Dynamic DNS Service Provider List for available Dynamic DNS Services.

I had to choose Dyndns.org because it is the only DDNS supported by Sky router, which is a bit awkward...If you choose this service, you can try out Dyndns Pro free first and opt out after 14 days. The basic free version will give you one hostname which is enough.

It is quite easy to register, select one of the free hostname and follow the steps. On the hostname page type in your router's current public IP address which can be obtained from your router's configuration site. Of course you can select to host your own domain and pay annual fee.

* Set Up Home Router

For home router, we need to configure DDNS Service and forward port to the server. Again I will use Sky router for illustration.

Navigate to the router home page and select Security tab, you will need to login as administrator (default username and password are admin and sky). Click on Services and add an custom service for port 80 as shown in the following. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save the service and click on Firewall Rules. Under Inbound rules add new rule for Apache service:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Save the inbound rule, type the router's external IP address in the browser and you should be able to see the apache page.

Navigate to DDNS menu under Advanced, tick use dynamic dns service checkbox, select the ddns service and type in credentials:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on show status and you should see successful message. Type in DDNS hostname in the browser and you should be able to see the apache page.

* Register domain

 Register your domain on your preferred provider. I use Godaddy.com. Follow the registration procedure and you should get an email confirmation from the provider notifying that your domain is registered.

* Set CName of Domain DNS Server

The last step would be editing your CName of DNS Server to point to your DDNS address. For instance, if you register example.co.uk, and you want to use www.example.co.uk as your site address. Under CName you should add host "www" pointing to your DDNS hostname.

After all the configuration you should be able to view your site. It's not a pretty solution but it works if you don't want to pay extra money to use your own domain as DDNS hostname. :)

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