Running a Linux Server from Home

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Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:57 am

Recent upgrades to the internet in Australia means that it is now possible to run servers from home.

I currently run a server that is in a data center using 1RU Dell R610 with 4 x six core processors SSD drives and 32GB of RAM. I am running a virtual system using citrix and the latest version of Linux Red hat. I own the server but am paying a small fortune for the bandwidth even though I am only running a small cart selling ink cartridges http://dealo.com.au it cost me about 30% of my profit in bandwidth. Bandwidth from home would only cost a fraction of the amount.

Does anyone know what are the potential difficulties in just grabbing the Server and relocating it to a room in my house? I am aware there will be configuration issues with the fiber modem, and some issues about IP addresses and Citrix and cpanel but I am sure it will not be so simple. if anyone can give me some help about the potential pitfalls I would appreciate it.

TIA
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:14 pm

If you can get a static IP address at home it shouldn't be too difficult. You will need to forward ports 80 and 443 to your server (or better yet, get the sever its own static IP separate from the one you use for everything else), and change your DNS to point to the static IP.

Other things to consider...

Does your current hosting provider charge for the amount of bandwidth actually used, or is it a tiered plan? Maybe you can switch to a cheaper plan?

Unless you're doing a ton of business, a 24-core server to run a site like that sounds like serious overkill. You may want to consider how much it is going to add to your electricity bill to have that running in your home.

By hosting it yourself you will probably be sacrificing some reliability. The data center presumably has redundant Internet connections and power backup systems. You won't have these at home, so Internet connectivity issues and power outages will take your site offline.

Does the hosting provider currently provide any backup/recovery services? If so, you will be on your own for that as well if you self-host.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:24 am

just brew it! wrote:
Does your current hosting provider charge for the amount of bandwidth actually used, or is it a tiered plan? Maybe you can switch to a cheaper plan?


Answer = Fixed price and we are using the limit already - mainly due to Search engine spiders

just brew it! wrote:
Unless you're doing a ton of business, a 24-core server to run a site like that sounds like serious overkill. You may want to consider how much it is going to add to your electricity bill to have that running in your home.


Answer = The server uses less than 600 watts as there is no monitor or other stuff - compared to my home system it is nothing

just brew it! wrote:
By hosting it yourself you will probably be sacrificing some reliability. The data center presumably has redundant Internet connections and power backup systems. You won't have these at home, so Internet connectivity issues and power outages will take your site offline.


Answer = yes this a serious consideration, thanks for suggesting it. Thus far I have no solution...

just brew it! wrote:
Does the hosting provider currently provide any backup/recovery services? If so, you will be on your own for that as well if you self-host.


Answer = Yes, but I will run a backup system here plus cloud backup.

Finally, thanks for your help - I have more to think about now, but I'm not so blind also.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:49 pm

not2bad wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Does your current hosting provider charge for the amount of bandwidth actually used, or is it a tiered plan? Maybe you can switch to a cheaper plan?

Answer = Fixed price and we are using the limit already - mainly due to Search engine spiders

You obviously want to be indexed by the major search engines since you're selling a product, so you can't block all spiders. But perhaps you could selectively block search engines you don't care about to cut down on the traffic? E.g., I imagine you don't do much (if any) business in China, so you could block Baidu?

not2bad wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Unless you're doing a ton of business, a 24-core server to run a site like that sounds like serious overkill. You may want to consider how much it is going to add to your electricity bill to have that running in your home.

Answer = The server uses less than 600 watts as there is no monitor or other stuff - compared to my home system it is nothing

I would be very surprised if your home system is drawing more than 600 watts 24/7.

Not sure how much electricity costs in your area, but for me 600 watts 24x7 would work out to about $45 (USD) per month, NOT counting the cost of additional electricity for air conditioning.

One other potential issue I forgot to mention: noise. 1U rack mount servers typically aren't quiet. Unless you're planning on hiding it in the basement the whine of the cooling fans could be a problem.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:06 pm

not2bad wrote:Does anyone know what are the potential difficulties in just grabbing the Server and relocating it to a room in my house?

The big one usually comes down to your terms of service with your provider.
A lot of home accounts state that you are not to run a business off the home plans.
This can lead to them cutting you off with little notice.

Every country is different in laws and what the providers let you do... hard to make a call 1/2 a world away.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:03 pm

not2bad wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Unless you're doing a ton of business, a 24-core server to run a site like that sounds like serious overkill. You may want to consider how much it is going to add to your electricity bill to have that running in your home.


Answer = The server uses less than 600 watts as there is no monitor or other stuff - compared to my home system it is nothing


600 Watts to run an OpenCart instance? Surprising. How many page views do you have each month? You could probably run a decent OpenCart server in an instance taking not more than 50-100 watts.

But back to the main question: How many page views? How much bandwidth are you actually talking about? Have you done a complete analysis of the processes that are consuming bandwidth? What are the top 10? What about pages?

On the page-level, I have noticed that you have disabled almost all caching, and GZIP is not turned on. That alone will add 5-10x to your bandwidth consumption. For a quick / dirty example, check out this URL and enter your site's address: http://www.whatsmyip.org/http-compression-test/
Last edited by JdL on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:55 pm

Arvald wrote:(snip)
A lot of home accounts state that you are not to run a business off the home plans.
(snip).

This. If you're running a business and it makes you money, I think you would need to be sure your wan connection is solid and dependable. A 24 core server with SSDs isn't going to be much use without an internet connection.

not2bad wrote:Does anyone know what are the potential difficulties in just grabbing the Server and relocating it to a room in my house?

For the same reasons (running a business) I would think that minimizing downtime is going to be paramount to making sure the income continues to come in. Maybe the best approach would be to research other colocation providers for your existing hardware - I would imagine those organizations could help you navigate the transition much better than we can via a forum and then consider either changing to that provider (assuming costs/terms are better) or use that as leverage with your current provider to renogotiate your current arrangement. Another option might be to look into something like Amazon EC2/AWS to virtualize your site and reduce monthly cost and use your server as either a backup or sell it off - it sounds like it's a pretty high end machine that might help offset some of the changeover costs. Just a few thoughts from someone who has made a job of keeping businesses running on computer resources for a few years - if you can't accomplish a change like this without more than a few hours downtime it's going to be a huge stressor for you. Consider the bandwith/hosting a necessary cost of doing business and then see what you can do to reduce it as much as possible without reducing reliability/capability.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:10 pm

Agree with the others - this server is thermonuclear overkill for what you're doing with it and you'd IMO be better served to

1) hunt around for a better hosting solution, preferably in a virtual server
2) optimize your robots.txt file to stop the spiders from grabbing absolutely everything. Search for a good guide to this.

Running from home would be a poor choice because of reliability requirements.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:59 pm

if the server is sending out email (ie order confirmations etc) then chances are they'll be blocked as spam by most of the big providers like gmail, outlook and yahoo after you move the server to your house. You could use a smarthost but it's one more thing to consider and probably pay for.

Besides the suggestions about optimising your site and server another thing you could look at would be moving static files like images and JS to somewhere with cheaper bandwidth or even a dedicated CDN.

It's hard to give advice without some actual numbers! How many gigs a month are you using, how much of that is images, how much are you paying at the moment, that kind of thing.

If a lot of the bandwidth is images then think about whether you've optimised them properly. You can make massive savings by reducing both the resolution and jpeg quality setting without any noticeable effect on how the page looks. I wouldn't want to see any images on a page that are much over 100KB and even they should be the exception.

Just for reference 200GBs of bandwidth from Amazon would run to about $40 (USD) per month. If you're using more than that for a simple shopping basket site that doesn't have tens of thousands of visitors per month then my guess is you're doing something wrong. If you're regularly using a lot more than this I'd also imagine that it wouldn't be long after you moved the server to your house that you got a phone call from your ISP asking what was going on and telling you to stop. ISPs don't seem to have read the dictionary definition of the word :roll:

Personally I think a move like this would be a mistake and you really should explore some of the other suggestions in this thread before thinking any more about it.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:26 pm

cheesyking wrote:if the server is sending out email (ie order confirmations etc) then chances are they'll be blocked as spam by most of the big providers like gmail, outlook and yahoo after you move the server to your house. You could use a smarthost but it's one more thing to consider and probably pay for.

That's a very good point (and one I'd forgotten about). Yup, any outgoing e-mails sent by the server are more likely to get blocked as suspected spam/phishing by your customers' ISP or e-mail provider. An e-mail server running on a residential connection is a pretty big red flag which will trigger a lot of filters. You can probably set it up to relay through your ISP's SMTP server, but it's one more thing you need to deal with.

If you decide to go through with this, you definitely should set up a test server (use an old PC or create a VM on your desktop PC) on your home connection before pulling the colo so you can test the configuration ahead of time.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:38 pm

Everyone here has given all examples of things to consider I myself would have recommended. But I would like to emphasize that:

1) Your ISP may have an issue with running a profit generating server at home. Not all ISPs are like this so you might be in luck. Otherwise ask them about a small business plan, sometimes they really aren't that expensive.

2) Your server is seriously overkill (and I'm genuinely jealous :P). Consider replacing it with a power sipping Atom or AMD equivalent (I have an Atom public web server that has over a year of uptime and is whisper quiet). OR! Virtualize that monster and see about monetizing on some virtual machines. You could rent out VMs for others to run web servers or game servers, run game servers yourself (for example minecraft servers are ridiculously popular).

3) Most ISPs let you pay for a static IP. A lot of ISPs even give you a static IP by default or simply do not change very often. Or you can look into Dynamic DNS options (updates name servers with IP changes via some sort of script automatically).

4) Depending on how much you trust your power provider or simply based on historical performance you may want to consider a UPS (completely off-topic do you say 'a UPS' or 'an UPS' I know the rule is an before a vowel but 'a UPS' sounds better). Though this may not even be that important if your business is casual and a small outage wouldn't harm much if at all.

5) If you don't already have one grab a decent router (I've had phenomenal luck with D-Link routers) and make sure you forward port 80 and 443 to your server on your home LAN. This way there is no need for any extra IP or anything just for your server. Port forwarding or Virtual Server configuration on your router is dead simple and works like a champ, I've been doing it for years.

Um I think that's all I got off the top of my head. I'll stop by later and see if you have any other questions. Good luck sir.


EDIT: Forgot two words that made a sentence sound stupid.
Last edited by thegtproject on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:27 pm

Another thing is that your home ISP may well block ports 80 and 25 for non-business plans as an anti-spam/phish measure. Mine certainly does.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:36 pm

bthylafh wrote:Another thing is that your home ISP may well block ports 80 and 25 for non-business plans as an anti-spam/phish measure. Mine certainly does.


You can often request these to be unblocked. I asked my friend's ISP to do it and they gladly did it, no hassle. And mine are unblocked from the get go.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:40 pm

thegtproject wrote:(completely off-topic do you say 'a UPS' or 'an UPS' I know the rule is an before a vowel but 'a UPS' sounds better)


It's "a UPS" because even though the letter is a "U" the sound is a constant (i.e., "y"). Trust your ear on this one. Same is true for words "Utopian," "Universal" etc.
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:02 pm

kumori wrote:
thegtproject wrote:(completely off-topic do you say 'a UPS' or 'an UPS' I know the rule is an before a vowel but 'a UPS' sounds better)

It's "a UPS" because even though the letter is a "U" the sound is a constant (i.e., "y"). Trust your ear on this one. Same is true for words "Utopian," "Universal" etc.

"y" isn't a constant, it is a variable. ;-)
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Re: Running a Linux Server from Home

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:04 pm

Thanks kumori, and lol @just brew it
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