How to Make a Server — Building High Performance Server

How to Make a ServerHome office owners, even people who work from home, often feel the need to build their own server for various reasons. They want to know how to make a server as a simple testing environment or as a production server for serving web sites and applications.

A server is simply a computer that is created as a central point for serving many clients. For instance, a web hosting server serves the visitors of the web sites with pages hosted on the server. You can establish a lot of web sites in one server, depends on the available resources, performance, and traffic for the corresponding web sites.

Blog hosting server, as the name implies, is a server created to host blogs. Note there is no difference between a web hosting that is used for hosting web sites and blogs. However, the server has to have the necessary components to run a blog, which is just another web applications.

A home office usually has print and file servers, but those topics are out of the scope of this web site.

Who Should Be Reading This?

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What are the various reasons to build a server?

While nowadays you can purchase a shared hosting account for less than $10 per month, there are situations when you need to build your own server.

For blog designers and blog plugin developers, they may want to setup a fast and memory efficient web server on their workstation so they could work faster than if they host all the files in the server hundreds of miles away.

Bloggers who are serious about building a stable blog hosting infrastructure — either to handle existing traffic or scalability — want a solution that will survive sudden surge of traffic, such as Digg and StumbleUpon. The most important of all is to be able to do it without spending a fortune.

This guide is even applicable to most Internet marketers who are launching a product. Now those so-called gurus don’t have a reason that a launch melts their server. Such a reason was more likely a marketing ploy or they didn’t prepare enough.

You will learn how it is possible to serve hundreds of requests per second with a low cost virtual private server. If you’ve built a business big enough to buy your own server, it would be able to serve thousands of requests per second.

Unless you have a more complex requirement, you can even do it yourself by following this guide.

Experimental Blog Server for Theme Designers and Plugin Developers

Current desktop computers are powerful enough to run web server software. With locally installed blog software, designers and developers could become much more productive. Best of all, they don’t have to mess with the production server.

The problem is, common WAMP (Apache) setup is not only bloated but less responsive. Various Apache alternatives are available. They are very small in memory footprint, about 1.5 – 2.5MB for the web server component.

If you can make use of more memory for your desktop computer, they offer more than you need to run WordPress or Movable Type on your own machine.

This article provides a tutorial on how to install nginx on Windows (WEMP). And here is a version that walks you through installing lighttpd on Windows.

An alternative, or arguably better way to run server software on desktop machine is by running a virtual machine (guest OS) on top of the host. This way, you may be able to run Linux on top of Windows or even Windows under Windows.

Interested? Do you know you can create and install a virtual machine with VMware Player with a few simple tweaks? After that, you can install a full-fledged Linux distribution such as Ubuntu. Follow this Ubuntu installation guide to run Ubuntu on your virtual machine.

Here is another option. A ready-made WordPress virtual appliance (WP-Sandbox) is available for download. You can deploy WordPress for testing, development or other purposes in a matter of minutes.

Why Shouldn’t You Host Your Own Production Server?

This is the most frequently asked question when it comes to making a server. If a server is just a computer which is connected to the Internet, why can’t they just serve their visitors using their computers?

The difference between a workstation-based and professional webserver is in the stability, reliability, performance and connectivity.

While for a blog designer or blog plugin programmer, a simple server is more than enough to help them test the design or plugin before deploying to their own server or make it available publicly, it is certainly suboptimal for production use.

A production web server needs to be responsive most of the time and reliable. Usually web hosting companies have taken the required steps so their servers have redundant power to prevent your sites from being inaccessible during black outs.

Their servers are also much better connected, not to mention the bandwidth.

The Problems with Shared Hosting Environment

Jacket Potato

In a nutshell, you can’t choose your neighbors. When signing up for a shared hosting account, you will be placed in a server among other account holders. They will use a server to host multiple web sites and blogs.

If one account holder happens to be a developer who is testing a new web application, and the app goes haywire, your site will be affected. If it crashes the server, all the web sites or blogs under that particular host or server will become unavailable until the web hosting company reboots it and disable the offending account.

This might be acceptable for some webmasters, considering the price they pay per month, but most likely this is not the kind of thing you would like to happen if you run a business.

Another thing is, sometimes if you need to customize the web hosting server, in order to run certain kind of web sites, you are on your own. The only choice is to go with your own virtual server or dedicated server.

I will be the first to admit that even using virtual private server, you are not protected entirely from various resource sharing problems as in the shared hosting environment. However, it is certainly better because of the additional protection and flexibility.

When Greater Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Hosting companies are in business to make profits. Although some of them really like and know what they are doing, still most of them don’t care how you would use your server. If you are using the resources without planning, that means you have to upgrade to a more expensive package later, which obviously means you have to pay more per month.

Unless you are running a complex web application, most likely the problem with performance is more about improper optimization. Upgrading to a greater server is rarely required before you optimize.

With existing server technology such as load balancing, in certain cases you are better off with two or more virtual private servers than one dedicated server.

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