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Website Server from Home

Discussion in 'Web Server' started by Cera, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Cera

    Cera New Member

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    I would like to start by saying: I'm really new to Linux (I actually have a thread on Getting Started too) and server management and mostly have been stumbling around trying to set this up based off of various step-by-step guides. I may use terms incorrectly in several areas so if I say something that sounds totally incorrect, I probably picked the wrong word to refer to something. I'm just as much looking for clarity on the topic as a solution.


    (Log in to hide this advertisement)


    The goal was that I wanted to host my own website from a server at home. (Yes, yes, am I sure I want to do this? Software/hardware maintenance, bandwidth constraints, and what-not. It's only meant for visitors to be able to read and copy text. If it doesn't pan out, then I'll hunt for a better option.)

    It all began by downloading Kubuntu (I may change to a server version of Ubuntu later) and installing apache2. I configured the virtual host files based off of a guide/the 000-default conf file. (I have a screenshot of the file at the ready if that would be helpful.) I figured out how to configure my router to do port forwarding (80, 443, 8008, 8080) toward the server computer. Within my own network, if I write in the desired domain cera-nore.com (I know, boring name) on any device it pulls up the desired 409B html file. I went on to purchase the domain name through GoDaddy. But then came the real issue.

    I cannot seem to connect them. I don't really understand what I'm doing with DNS in the slightest or how to configure it. I set the Type A value to the server computer's IP address. I recently read this post, however, and I do have a dynamic IP address nor do I plan on changing to a static one since I won't have any income from the site to make up for the cost. So why am I posting then, problem solved, right? No. Even if I ask a friend to type in the server computer's IP address, it doesn't load anything which has me believing that it's not publicly accessible. Even when the computer is working at its absolute slowest it seems to at least be working in MB/s which last I checked is more than 409B. It doesn't seem like it's an upload problem...

    Does any particular part of my thought process and set-up seem to be wrong?
    Would signing up for this other service with dynamic DNS fix the web access problem because it doesn't work how I think it does?
    Should I be using a different type of IP address other than the IPv4 listed by the computer?
    What should I be filling into the DNS to connect my Domain Name and the Server?
    Have I completely skipped some other step that makes it accessible from the web?
    Should I be asking around on a different forum?
    Is my thread title awful?

    I've become so helplessly lost it's not even funny.
     
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  2. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Good luck @Cera! Your questions here are pretty much out of my league, but maybe @Rob or some of the others will be able to help you sort this out.

    Sometimes running a server at home may violate your Terms of Service with your internet provider, so you might want to check on that. It might not be a big deal if your site has low traffic though.

    I do own several domains, but I go the simple route and pay for a company to host them for me. So all I need to do is use FTP to transfer any updates I want to make to the websites, and I have a web interface to configure some server options and email accounts.

    Cheers
     
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  3. Cera

    Cera New Member

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    I do always run before walking. My ISP is Frontier and it appears they only out-right prohibit commercial use. I'm fairly sure I fall under non-commercial use as while I suppose it is a type of product I offer, they're free. It's basically a gallery. If you like it, you copy the text directly off the page, and then you have it. Though I guess I have a donate tab that I should scrap to be safe.

    I actually have most of it up on a free wixsite as of right now. I absolutely despise working on it. At first it was great, but now I have 100+ pages and you have to work through an online editor. These two things don't mix well. Sometimes it takes so much to run it my laptop will suddenly say its unable to connect to the internet. It drives me nuts because I know HTML / CSS and can design pages entirely offline to work exactly how I want instead of being 'close enough' but wix doesn't do FTP services.

    I know running my own server is a pretty extreme leap from there but it also seemed like a good learning experience. I'm not exactly crazy about the idea of hunting for a host that allows FTP or direct HTML editing of some kind but also doesn't mean more money out of my pocket.
     
    #3 Cera, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
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  4. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    You might be okay to keep the Donate tab too... I just wanted you to know of the possibility. If you have a low-traffic site they probably will not give you a hard time.

    You said you bought the domain name through GoDaddy.... did you not look at their hosting plans? I just took a peek here and it says they start as low as $2.99/month. That isn't too bad, I don't think. You might spend that just in electricity to run your own server full time. (I'm paying a little over $4/month with a local company, although I pay for a year up front.)

    But it certainly would be a good learning experience, and I've thought about it a few times over the many years that I have owned and managed domains. But there are trade-offs too. The commercial hosting sites have much faster data pipes to feed your audience... compare that to your "upload" speed on Frontier as that would be your speed limit to serving data. Downtime (power outages) is usually less with a commercial provider. And a home server might also open the door to cyber attackers. Servers are always being poked and prodded by script kiddies and other people looking for openings, so it would be extremely important to keep your server safe if it was also shared on your home network.

    Just some random ramblings....

    Cheers
     
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  5. Cera

    Cera New Member

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    If we're going to be practical then I should be looking for another web host. I know by the end I probably won't be sticking with my home server for upload speeds alone. I thought about the hosting at GoDaddy, not really extensively, but the bait of the free domain name with the hosting was very eye-catching.

    I don't know if it makes much sense to be willing to pay for the domain name but not the hosting service. I'll try to explain it though. I know the professional hosting is probably worth the money, but with the domain name I see immediate benefits that I get to enjoy. For example I get the home server up and likely change my mind, well I'll just slap the domain name somewhere else. I can change all my link backs to my website to the domain and move it however I want for the next two years for about $28 with no confused visitors having to follow around the host swaps or me having to hound people to change the links again.

    The web hosting feels like paying for things I don't need or already know I won't use. 24-hour support, that's great but I do everything in my power to avoid directly asking for help. Even if it's something on their end... I don't tap out until it's torture (I've never once complained about the editor literally lagging me out of my internet to wix). I asked about this since I've already joined this lovely community and reached an embarrassing level of obsession over the server. Moving on, I also cannot imagine I get more than two visitors a day so high traffic support isn't a necessity either. My planned pages are also static, if I look at the size of my planned files thus far the folder reads 155MB. It might double or triple by the time I fill out all the templates. Still, that doesn't exactly have me pressed for space. The guaranteed up-time is probably the best part, but a website for a hobby that I don't earn income of off? I wouldn't cry if it went down. I'm sure it does on wix already. I also refer back to the two visitors a day. If it's down for a full 24-hours, most people aren't even going to notice because it's a look when you need. An even smaller fraction of that fraction would take the time to remove a link back to the site (trust me, that's how lazily we roll, I noticed a "competitor" who has been down for nearly two weeks now and still see his links). It would take some severe down time to really cause damage or tick me off. The 2.99/mo sale right now is really cheap and after two years $72 is rather negligible. I simply could not make myself do it when, if we're being honest, wix hasn't even gotten me to the point of tapping out. I hate it, but the editor load times are something I've been dealing with for a year with only now seeking other options and I plan to keep a stripped version of the site there for a while even if I "leave".

    Phew. I'm sorry. I feel so long-winded with all my responses.
     
    #5 Cera, Jan 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  6. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    Phew, wouldn't THAT be a boring world, if we were all practical.

    If Linux Torvalds had been practical, he might have stuck with Unix for networks and servers, and Windows for his OS, and not come up with the Linux Kernel :D

    Then we would likely not be having this thread to enjoy.

    Staff will correct me if I am in error, but I see no problems with a little "gasbagging" in your own thread. Your Title is clear, and as long as the thrust of the subject is maintained, I see you as only brainstorming, or thinking out loud.

    This allows you to clarify what you want out of a server setup, and in particular, perhaps, what you don't want.

    For you and The Viewers, it allows two (or more) benefits -
    1. ... is that Helpers, can more easily say "Now I know what she wants ... I can help her with this solution ..." AND
    2. ... Viewers whom may be seeking for something similar can say "That's it! I'll do what she found works".
    Win-Win (maybe Linux-Linux)

    Cheers

    Wiz
     
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  7. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    A little more careful reading of the GoDaddy hosting link shows that the $2.99/mo deal is "on sale".... and they will jump you up to $7.99/mo when you need to renew the deal with them. Always gotta watch out for these little tricks, I guess. :eek:

    Well, I do hope that someone jumps in who can answer your questions better. I'm getting kinda curious again myself about how to accomplish what you're looking for. :cool::D

    Cheers
     
  8. finrodfelagund_

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    Hi Cera & nice to meet you,

    now, regarding your issue with the Dns configuration in GoDaddy domains. From what I've seen, you did not configured your A record and Cname Dns entries in godaddy correctly. So, here's a link to a YouTube video which is dealing with that:
    . I actually don't have anything else to add, except regarding hosting for free somewhere else, for example on GitHub, if you're interested in that, here's a link so check it out: https://gist.github.com/deanrather/6d63e9dcdf823957b171

    And, that's it, I believe that you don't have a big issue if everything else you've configured works, that is if you've configured it correctly. Now, if you'll still have problems after you configured your Dns properly, come back and we will help you find the solution to your problem.


    Cheers
    fin_
     
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  9. Cera

    Cera New Member

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    While this video was extremely helpful in explaining what the A record and CNAME record are, it doesn't show me what I'm doing wrong. He is using shopify as a web host. He can go to the website and click on 'add domain' to which it then spits out the A and CNAME record he must set the DNS on GoDaddy's end to be. Where do I find this information for my Apache2 server or how do I create it if it doesn't exist yet?

    I pointed the A name to the IPv4 address listed in the network setting on the computer running apache, but outside of my home network - it doesn't load anything. Is this the right IP address to even be using? Is it meant to be my network's public IP address or the router's IP address or something else entirely? And is this maybe why it works on my network but not outside of it? If it simply doesn't accept dynamic IPs at all, why is it that if I disable the cera-nore.com.conf file and enable the 000-default.conf that has no ServerName or ServerAlias defined... it will display the default index.html associated with it when I visit the purchased domain name on my network?

    With the CNAME (if I absolutely had to guess) would be meant to correspond to the virtual host conf file's listed ServerName. Which is... you guessed it: cera-nore.com. Writing this into the CNAME for GoDaddy reverts it to @ when saved. Is the ServerName not equivalent to my needed CNAME? If yes, is the problem the fact it has the same name as my domain on GoDaddy? If no, where do I acquire this information or create it?

    Of course, the problem could still be elsewhere, but best only troubleshoot one aspect at a time.
     
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  10. Cera

    Cera New Member

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    I figured it out, and feel a bit silly. I tried the external/public IP address yet again for the A record. I had passed over it before since I couldn't pull up the website in my browser with this setting. Well, apparently internal network devices once past the router don't like to turn around to look for an IP address. Meaning I've reversed my issue where I can't access the website on my own network but people outside my network can. I'm fairly sure I've already read something to force a network device to look internally for a webpage somewhere so I'll be able to see what everyone else does soon enough or maybe another A record would do it?
     
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  11. finrodfelagund_

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    Hi Cera,

    as you can see, this kind of stuff can be confusing. Now, more or less, you're on the right track. I believe you're confused with how to point your domain to your server. So, I've found a video that should help you with that part. I believe that after you've watched it, you should be able to set up your web server so it can be accessed from local or outside network. Here's the video, I hope it helps:


    P.S.

    from here it's the same, if this didn't help, come back and we will move from here, but at least we will know that you've configured your GoDaddy Dns correctly.

    Cheers
    fin_
     
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  12. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hey, you got it! Congratulations! I'll look forward to checking out the content when you get some stuff up on there.

    About browsing into your local network.... the Apache box is Linux, but is the rest of the home network Windows? If so, you may need to set up Samba on the Linux machine and create network shares that you want to access that way. Windows needs to use just standard TCP/IP to talk to Linux, not the "Windows Home Networking" that is it's usual default. Here's an article that covers the basics of file sharing on a simple home network with both OS'es.

    Cheers
     
  13. finrodfelagund_

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    Cool & useful. Bookmarked. Thx... It's a matter of time when I'll need this kind of stuff, and now I will not have to "Google" it...
     
  14. finrodfelagund_

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    Hi Cera,



    & how do I put this... Something bothers me, and that is the fact that I'm still not sure how much I have managed to help you back then when you were looking for a solution to your problem. But it's not even that. Not even close. I'm actually bothered with possibility that I might have offended you and/or hurt your feelings with the way I've talked to you. But I can't be sure. And that sucks. The fact that I have maybe hurt your feelings is what sucks, not the fact that I can't be sure... I was only trying to to talk to you like we were equal, not like I was better than you, or something... And I'm afraid, I've managed to do just the opposite. And that is not a pleasant feeling, I can only imagine how you might have felt, if that of what I'm afraid of, was the case. I just wanted to let you know that. So, if that was the case, I owe you big time. And I will stand behind my words. If that's what happened back then, I owe you big time. And I'm sorry for being such an ass.



    But, if I was wrong about this... and I made a mess where there was none, oh well... it happens. Right? Actually, who cares. I'm doing the right thing. Then, forget about this or do whatever you want with this. And of course, I'm sorry for bothering you with my nonsense. I'm sometimes like that...





    hope to see you around, take care, bye.

    fin_
     
  15. Cera

    Cera New Member

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    You didn't offend me at all! I just (mostly) figured it out and then next semester of school came. I got super excited to fill my server with data. Poof went the free time. I never got around to setting up the file share system that Atanere posted even but perhaps over the summer so I can stop manually transporting files.

    I think we just had a misunderstanding with how my side of things was being set up. The videos were very helpful with explaining the DNS system and working with Godaddy. So on that side of things, good. However, I wasn't working with a free cloud server nor did I pay for a virtual private server. I installed Apache2 on my desktop, not even a full LAMP package, just Apache2 through the command line not as an app or anything (Although I did try to do a FTP service later but my ISP won't allow me to open any ports aside from the standard HTTP -cry-). So with that setup, I didn't have any kind of dashboard-like UI to click around on like you would with a cloud service or VPS that were shown in the videos. I didn't know which information I had floating around available to me was the correct information since I understood very little about IP addresses and how internal IPs and gateway IPs worked. Eventually figured out "Oh, the public one which is neither of those other two is the correct one after all". Which I still never really figured out how to access my web content naturally when within the same network as the server. I always just type the domain and tack the server computer's internal IP onto the end to make it search the network for it. xD

    I'm simply sorry it took me so long to get back to you! It's not fun to have things hang over your head like that. But secondary email alert... Finals were encroaching upon me with all their horrors around the 8th too. I also thought I had written one more post than what I see above but I guess I did that thing where I thought about what I was going to write and then remembered thinking about it as actually... doing it.
    ._.;

    To anyone who may be reading this later doing similar things with similar questions:

    ONE: You want your Public IP Address for the A record. All websites receive this when you access them so you can literally google it.

    TWO: If you are following a guide online (I looked at several different ones) many of them tell you to run the command "sudo apt upgrade" do not run that command. Only run that command if you really really know what you're doing with Linux. Because if you don't you'll have to start over like me because the next time you boot up it starts asking for information and passwords for services you've never heard of let alone set up.
     
    #15 Cera, May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  16. finrodfelagund_

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    Hi Cera,

    & cool :), I'm so happy to "hear" all this. I'm a bit short with time, I'm writing this in stages, so I'll keep it short.
    First, I'm relived, it's easier to be wrong than not knowing if you've made a mess, somewhere. Then, that's great, the part
    where you mostly figured out things by yourself, that's the way to learn new things, at least I do it that way. But then again,
    that reminded me of a guy who once told me, indirectly, that I've been learning a language which I'm still learning,
    the wrong way. Just as he did. I think he speaks about 9 languages. Then, the school part, I'm actually a bit envious
    about that, well, that's life, the good side of life, enjoy it. And don't worry, it's not that bad or hard to wait for
    a reply on a few months old thread from a person who lives on another continent, or a same continent, I mean, who cares.
    Well, I have to go, good luck with your schooling, I'm sure you can handle your choirs. And for the end, if you want, when
    you'll have some free time, we can chat about IP adresses and how they work and whatever else you might find interesting
    (as long as I know something about the topic), and it doesn't have to be a real time communication, you know.

    So, until we meet again, all the best, good luck and take care, bye.
    fin_
     
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  17. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hey @Cera... great to see you check back in with us! Your website is looking great! :D

    Cheers
     
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  18. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    OK treat me as dumb o_O where's the website?

    I want to take a gander too.

    Hi all and

    Avagudweegend

    Wiz
     
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  19. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Ah, you may be a Wizard, but all that smoke is clouding your vision! :D:D:D

    Here you go. (Mentioned in Post #9 above... twice.)

    Cheers
     
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  20. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    Doh!! :oops::oops: I was looking for a link.

    Now I'll get up to speed, thanks Stan :D

    Wiz

    Edit - BTW, Hey that is looking good ... congrats Cera :)
     
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