If you currently run a few websites, you may have wondered whether or not it's possible to host those sites from the comfort of your own home. It is possible, but it might not be the cost-effective solution you're looking for. There are some other problems with running a server from your home office too, but we'll hit those at the end of this article.
For the very determined, here's how you can actually run your own server from your home office.
1. Make sure that your current ISP is okay with your new plans. Often, running a server from home is against the terms of your contract, so double-check this.
2. Get a dedicated IP address. You don't want your IP address to change every time you have to restart your system. To get a fixed IP address, you will have to upgrade to a business service (which may cost you more money). Check out broadband options for fixed IPs.
3. Get a web server. You can purchase software like Apache and run that from a different system – note: I said ‘different system.'
4. Use a different system. It is not – I repeat, not – a good idea to run a server from your home or office computer. Why? Because you are setting yourself up for safety issues, and you're going to disappoint your site visitors when your site goes offline due to system crashes or problems.
5. If you have a Mac, you can simply check out what Apple says about running your own server on the Apple website – the details are pretty clear, though, once again, it's not necessarily recommended.
Some Definite Drawbacks
Now comes the fun part. It's also the part where I try to talk you out of running your own server from home! Ready?
1. Your energy costs will skyrocket.
2. Your site speeds will not (and cannot, really) ask fast as the speeds that hosting companies offer.
3. Your site will go offline somewhat frequently, and this will cause your clients some aggravation.
4. You probably won't save any money. I know that you think you will, but compare the costs of the actual setup plus electric (and time that you may be losing business because your sites are down), and you'll find that option for a slightly more expensive dedicated hosting package from a reliable hosting company is a better idea.
5. No support. If things go awry, you're on your own (unless you are planning on building out your own support team in your home office!).
Can you host your own websites from home? Sure. Do you want to? Probably not. My advice is this: carefully weigh costs and other factors before you decide to move ahead with this setup. It may seem simpler just to make some space in your office and set up your Mac, but that's not necessarily the route that you should be taking.
Not convinced? Leave your arguments below.