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 Post subject: Build home web server vs hosting offsite
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:50 am 
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So, my family has a personal web site. It's currently located on a University's server, where as a graduate student, my fiancee gets free public web space there. She's wrapping up her pHd and we'll soon lose the free web space. The web site is mainly a convenient place to post pictures for friends and family members we don't see often. Call me old fashioned, but I'm not interested in the blogspot, flikr, myspace, etc services. That's a little too public for me, and I disagree with most of their terms and conditions. So anyway, I want to keep the web site, and I want to keep it relatively independent.

I've been experimenting with some older hardware I have laying around. I built/configured a linux apache2 box, configured dynamic DNS service, etc and got everything working perfectly. That's all fine. But the machine idles at around 60W, so I keep if off most of the time - talk about a useless web server! 60W is too much to serve static web pages.

I know there are 10W NAS devices (like some Buffalo LinkStations) that can be modified to run apache, but these are not cheap.

Right now, I think an ideal web server would be a used laptop and an 8-16GB CF card in place of the hard drive. Command-line linux and apache have very minimal hardware requirements. Without a GUI, the P3 server I built used all of 43 MB of physical ram while serving pages.

So I'm interested in hearing what are other's are doing. Just sucking it up and hosting elsewhere? That's clearly the lowest power option! But flexibility and costs become an issue then.

Jay

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:52 am 
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If you think about it, a 60W/hr box = 1.44KW/day, which is about 20 cents a day to run, or about 6$ a month.

I'm all for energy efficiency too, but you have to factor in the recycling portion of it; you're saving a lot of cash by reusing hardware.

If you want to work on energy efficiency with a server like that, a pico PSU is probably the biggest thing you can do. The PIII it very sufficient for a website like that, and its nice to be in control of your own server.

I have a full-time file/ftp/http server so I can grab docuements/MP3's from home over a VPN. This server also has many other things; hosting dedicated game servers for me and my roommates, has webpages set up to show my roommates the bills for each month, iTunes server, etc. My server also idles at about 60W [you can see it in sig]

I guess what I'm saying is you can do more than that with your P3, if its something useful for you =)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:30 am 
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Yes, I know that I can do more with the server.

I actually already have a dedicated home server (also a P3, but even lower power - idles around 40W) for storage and music streaming. I'd like to keep the two machines physically separate for security reasons. In my opinion, opening ports to the public (as www, ftp, mail, etc servers necessarily have to do) is inviting trouble. So I kinda want physical separation of any "public" servers. My music server only has two open ports - for music streaming and ssh. But neither of them are open to the public / forwarded by my router, so that machine is effectively private.

I'm unfortunately stuck with the PSU's that came with these P3's - they're both Dells and have proprietary PSU's.

I have a LGA775 i865 motherboard that I will eventually build into a new music server, and that build will include a picoPSU. I don't quite have enought spare parts to complete that yet.

Jay

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:09 am 
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How much traffic does this site run up each month anyways?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:22 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
I'm unfortunately stuck with the PSU's that came with these P3's - they're both Dells and have proprietary PSU's.

You could get one of these.... ATX to Dell 20pin + 6pin Adapter


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:34 am 
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Wibla wrote:
How much traffic does this site run up each month anyways?

VERY VERY little. So little, that really - if I can't do this for free (or almost free) it's not worth it. Most of the traffic is probably from me, tweaking and updating web pages. It's mainly about getting photos to distant friends and family. It's much easier (and cheaper in terms of bandwidth) to email a single link than a dozen jpg's.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:36 am 
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BillyBuerger wrote:
You could get one of these.... ATX to Dell 20pin + 6pin Adapter

Nice find!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:25 pm 
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You could try an Asus WL500G Premium loaded with DD-WRT. This router can be had for < $100 and comes with two USB ports for external storage. With wireless disabled, idle draw is ~6W at the wall. Newer builds of DD-WRT support extending the configuration httpd server to act as a generic web server (admin functions relocated to port 81). Since this device has only 32MB of RAM, performance is likely to be anemic.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:32 pm 
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Holy crap, the Asus WL500G Premium looks perfect. Newegg's got them for $69. Reading reviews...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:30 pm 
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If it is so little used, and that presumably mostly by family/friends - how about having it off most of the time and use wake on lan to turn it on when you need. (You can send wakeup packets from the internet.)
Set it up with a timeout so if no accesses after time period, it turns itself off again. Reuses hardware, cuts down energy use.

Sure, it would mean a delay when you first access it, but doesn't sound like it has things that are that time critical. (Might also make it more secure too.)

There are also lots of inexpensive online hosting options (freenets, etc.)

Replacing power supply is rarely a more energy efficient option - need to consider the energy & resources involved in making the new supply. (Likewise for buying new computer.) (See green computing forum or ecopcreview).


Small correction on units:

[quote=protellect]If you think about it, a 60W/hr box = 1.44KW/day, which is about 20 cents a day to run, or about 6$ a month.[/quote]

It is 60W, not W/hr - watts is use per time already. So per day would be
kW-hrs/day.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:57 pm 
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scdr wrote:
If it is so little used, and that presumably mostly by family/friends - how about having it off most of the time and use wake on lan to turn it on when you need. (You can send wakeup packets from the internet.)
Set it up with a timeout so if no accesses after time period, it turns itself off again. Reuses hardware, cuts down energy use.

Wouldn't that involve having his not particularly tech savvy friends and family install a utility to generate the WoL packets and forcing them to do this unusual task when all they wanted to do was see some pictures in their web browser? I suppose if he had a fancy enough router, he could use that to trigger some sort of WoL event whenever port 80 was accessed and then forward the traffic to the awakened web server . . .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:43 pm 
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Quote:
Wouldn't that involve having his not particularly tech savvy friends and family install a utility to generate the WoL packets and forcing them to do this unusual task when all they wanted to do was see some pictures in their web browser? I suppose if he had a fancy enough router, he could use that to trigger some sort of WoL event whenever port 80 was accessed and then forward the traffic to the awakened web server . . .


WoL packets can be generated by a bit of script that can be run from a web server. There are pages on the web where you can plug in the address, etc. to generate said packets.

So I would assume that one could put together a URL that would submit the right stuff to one of these servers.
(i.e. capture what your browser actually sends back when you fill in values and hit the wakeup button.)

Take that incantation and feed it into one of these sites that gives you a simple URL to access a complex one, and I would guess that one might be able to hide it all in a simple incantation. Might even get it down to one that does the WOL thing and then directs you to your web servers page.
(Disclaimer - I haven't done this, and as always, the Devil is in the details.)

I don't have the bookmark right in front of me for where I read about this,
but this might give some useful links on the topic.
http://lifehacker.com/348197/access-you ... ake+on+lan

And the wikipedia entry for Wake on Lan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake-on-LAN
has a bunch of references/howtos/web wakeup pages/etc.


As you say, configuring the router to send WOL packets is another route.
I asked about this here a while back, and got a couple of useful pointers.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... highlight=

So setting it up might be a little technical, but should be possible to make it quite civilized for the user.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:31 pm 
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WOL is such a cool protocol/feature, and I use this with my media server. It runs SlimServer, and the Logitech/Slimdevices Squeezebox can issue magic packets to wake whatever machine (it knows) is running Slimserver. Very handy because I can power it on with the SB's remote. Although it takes about a minute for the server to boot into a usable state. This is from 'off' - not sleep or hibernate. I haven't been able to get Ubuntu 6.06 to suspend to ram or disk properly. Instead, the machine just shuts down. I'm ok with that.

WOL requires a MAC address. And yes, most WOL clients can send magic packets over IP networks. But, since I can't expect friends & family to remember the MAC and know what to do with it, it would certainly have to be included in some script within apache (etc). Except, this presumes there's already a web server running somewhere to run the script! And so why do I need WOL?

So far, it looks like I'll be able to configure the Asus WL500G Premium router/gateway appliance to do everything I need. I need to decide if I really need to spend (even) $69 on this project.

Jay

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
WOL requires a MAC address. And yes, most WOL clients can send magic packets over IP networks. But, since I can't expect friends & family to remember the MAC and know what to do with it, it would certainly have to be included in some script within apache (etc). Except, this presumes there's already a web server running somewhere to run the script!


Don't think you need a script/etc. Couldn't you just generate the URL that would be submitted to your favorite online WOL packet generator (which will include the MAC address, and your websites name). Feed that URL into a URL Redirector, like TinyURL
http://www.tiny.cc/

And it gives you a short custom URL that will invoke the whole thing.
(Took me a while to remember the name of one of these URL simplifiers, which is why my previous post was less specific.)

I suppose if you feed it to one of those SMS responders - you
could turn your computer on from your phone ;-)

(List of URL Redirectors)
http://www.dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/ ... Redirects/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:16 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
Holy crap, the Asus WL500G Premium looks perfect. Newegg's got them for $69. Reading reviews...



That's a good choice for a simple website. I hosted pictures using a similar Linksys WRTSL54GS router and a USB hard drive. Performance for web browsing by friends/family isn't going to be a big deal - their internet speed will likely be the bottleneck. If you already have a wifi router setup the way you like and don't want to mess with that, an alternative would be the older Linksys NSLU2.

My web site now needs MySQL and PHP, so I've moved on and now use a P3 for MythTV, file server and web server. 2 HD and 2 TV cards, pulling 79W idle with an older power supply but recently reduced to 67W idle with an Antec Earthwatt 380. Yes, pico might shave that a few more watts, but I'm happy considering how much the server is able to accomplish.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:27 am 
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If you don't want to get the Asus thing, you could run Apache in a VM on your current server, so that even if it gets hacked they don't get into your main server. Give the VM its own IP address internally and forward http requests to that one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:34 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
Holy crap, the Asus WL500G Premium looks perfect. Newegg's got them for $69. Reading reviews...


Another perk with DD-WRT is it has DDNS clients (like no-ip.com) built in, so you can have the router update some remote DNS server. Makes having your own domain name a lot easier.

One other option I can think of is using an NSLU2. probably much better performance than the WL500G, but probably not as cheap.

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