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Apologies if this is on the wrong place.

I've set up a web server at home, it's basic and is currently running using xampp, I plan on replacing it with an old mac g5 soon and mamp or individual components for php etc.

I've not done this before so it's all a bit new.

I know that I can set up a new dir for a friend and allow them to upload their site to the server so long as it doesn't involve them creating databases.

My question is how can I imitate what web hostin companies do? I'd like to be able to give him a user an password and for him to then be able to have the same capabilities as myself although restricted to one folder of course. I've googled quite a lot but haven't come across anything that makes it clear. I understand an option is cpanel but I'd rather find a free alternative.

Could someone explain if its doable and if so would it possible to point me in the right direction or state the problems etc that might prevent this from happening.

Any and all advice appreciated. Thanks.

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Broadband Outrages

It's doable but one of the problems is that home connections are not as reliable or stable as you may think. DNS issues occur very regularly on home broadband as well as other problems, also your IP may change (Dynamic) and this causes all types of problems with domains.

Dynamic IP

If your IP changes then your going to need a Dyn Updater to update the DNS records of your IP change of your server, if your friends or customers are going to attach domains to your server this can become expensive as custom domains require a DYN service which is charged monthly for each domain. I recommend dyn.com.

Adding Users and Websites

If you have a static IP (does not change) then this is much easier and if you want full automation for creations of sql, websites, ftp then your going to need a control panel, these cost money too. I recommend Cpanel as that makes everything easy. There are other methods and software but to be honest if your asking here for knowledge how to do this the other methods won't be practical for you since you will need to know some of this before hand and attempting it without some previous knowledge of linux and creation of user accounts would only frustrate you.

Shared Hosting Is Cheap

Shared hosting is incredibly cheap and however nice it will be to host things at home its debatable if its cheaper than online hosting offered by other companies. If you have the power of the machine that will be turned on 24/7 this can be costy and run into a few £'s per a month and the fact that you can get shared hosting only for a few £'s a month would mean your paying more. Also the cost of CPANEL licenses can rack up, attempting to do things manually can work but its not ideal if you want other users on your little box.

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Thank you for taking the time to write such a decent answer. With all what you mentioned in mind...I don't think it's worth the hassle. Ill prob keep the home web server for myself as a dev machine but won't bother with cpanel etc for others. –  Steve Green Sep 8 '13 at 18:23
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