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I am thinking about a way to stay in touch with friends from college and many people don't have Facebook/Twitter/etc so I wanted to make a very minimal website in which users can login (username / password) and post links to websites or just post text. Ideally it would be forum style and I would like to host it from a home computer. I have minimal experience with Ubuntu but think it is possible. Here are my questions:

  1. If 20 people log onto a website that I am hosting from a home computer, will that use a lot of my internet bandwidth?
  2. Other than a static IP and Apache server, is there anything else I need to install to get going?
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migrated from askubuntu.com Mar 7 '13 at 3:46

This question came from our site for Ubuntu users and developers.

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Your requirement sounds basic enough to be handled by a single Google group. Create one, add your friends as members and you're done. –  Darius Mar 7 '13 at 4:26

3 Answers 3

You don't need a static IP. You could look into dynamic IP address services (I just woke up and can't think of their names; dynIP?). Even then, if your home IP address doesn't change much, you can pass that address around and not bother with a static IP.

Look into WordPress blogs. They're easy to set up if you use an online host but have to install if you set up your own server. Unfortunately there's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to setting up your own server. I haven't looked into LAMP or WAMP in quite a while but I'm sure it's simpler with those.

Your home upload speed may show if you get several users looking at images at the same time. This may not bother them. I did this for a while when I first got into web development but it's not practical for commercial work. You probably won't have any issue with your personal downloading while this is running since a server is only pushing stuff upstream (uploading).

You can look into online web hosting which can be pretty cheap and far easier to use and set up for as little as $3 or so a month. Even the cheapest service will get you a lot more than what you can deliver from home.

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Apart from Apache, you would need MySQL and PHP installed on your system. If you're on Ubuntu you can do this with apt-get install commands pretty quickly.

A good software to install is Webmin, which is open source and will allow you to manage Apache, MySQL and PHP from one central interface.

Note, that hosting website from your home computer takes into consideration a lot of factors, because in essence you're using your PC as a Webserver. Firewall rules, uptime consideration will be important.

Since you won't have a hostname, most non-tech people will have to deal with an IP:8080 format instead of ourforum.com, which may be a bit unnerving for some.

If you're good with those points, then go ahead. My suggestion though, is to use a free forum and save the hassle, for instance ProBoards offer free forums with unlimited everything.

Cheers!

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To set up a clean LAMP server in Ubuntu or Debian, run (sudo?) "apt-get install apache2 libapache2-mod-php5 php5 php5-curl mysql-server" And you can indeed run a domain name provided you have an IP address unique to your household and can forward ports. –  ionFish Mar 7 '13 at 4:48
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mySQL and PHP are not requirements for setting up a web site. –  Rob Mar 7 '13 at 13:08

Not really, though I would recommend getting a cheap or free web host. It may use a lot of bandwidth.

The amount of bandwidth used really depends on what you have hosted on the website. If you have a lot of images and videos and other resources, your connection may suffer, but with only 20 users, I don't think it will be that much. A forum might use maybe 15-40MB/day, if you have 6 or 7 users logging in per day and viewing 10-15 pages. Note, if you do have a slow upload speed, their loading time will suffer.

I would also recommend configuring your firewall and forwarding your ports properly, as this could lead to a viral hack of your network.

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