Web Hosting at Home – Pros and Cons

Have you ever thought of hosting your own website from home? This is a question many people on the Internet have asked before. While there are many answers to the question I wrote above, I will give my basic opinion on the matter.

Hosting from home is not always easy. You must manage:

  • Your Internet connection (at least to a certain degree)
  • Internet router
  • Server hardware
  • Software (including securing your server OS installation and keeping the software up-to-date)
  • Dealing with hacking attempts
  • Clean-up successful hacking attempts (this rarely happens on a properly setup server)
  • Keep consistent backups of your data (I do three backups daily on my server)
  • Putting in battery backups and power surge protectors
  • Dealing with support requests

My context when saying “hosting from home” is not running a large web-hosting business. I mean hosting your own private/business website as well as a few friends’ websites (including email). Obviously, you cannot be a large “GoDaddy” web-host, while you are running out of your home. That is not a realistic expectation.

The advantages of hosting from home are the following:

1) Privacy of your data

If setup correctly, no one can easily snoop on your private, confidential data that is on your own server.

2) You can choose your own server hardware

You are not limited by a web host’s hardware options for your server.

3) You can easily deal with server hardware failures

You don’t have to wait for a technician to fix your server.

4) Possibly cheaper for you in the long run

A decent Virtual Private Server purchased online could easily run $20.00/month, and a decent dedicated server could be as much as $100.00/month minimum!

5) No commitments to a web hosting company

You do not have to worry about some web hosting company making unreasonable demands (e.g., 50,000 file limit — on some large websites, you could easily go over a limit like this).

The disadvantages of hosting from home are the following:

1) Possible higher Internet service cost

Your ISP may require you to purchase an Internet service business plan instead of a residential one; this can possibly be expensive but not guaranteed to be expensive.

2) You may not have enough upstream bandwidth

To host efficiently from home, you will need to have at least 3 Mbps of upload speed; any less and you will notice performance degradation with loading your websites from other locations.

Please keep in mind if you are wanting to host several large videos, I recommend either lowering the bit-rate of your videos – so they will stream faster for your users – or use a 3rd party hosting service just for the videos themselves. Most self-hosters will not have enough upload bandwidth to properly serve 1GB+ video files.

3) Unstable home power

Few people may not have stable power at their house or business and thus their server goes on and off; this can easily be fixed by putting in a battery backup for your server.

4) Reliability of your Internet Service Provider

Unless you have a signed agreement with your ISP, they are under no obligation to keep your Internet connection up 24/7.

5) More manual labor required

On a hosted solution online, someone else does the hard work with maintaining your server; when you host from home, you must do it all yourself.

I hope the above helps you decide on whether to self-host web services. I know there are a lot of people online who say it is “bad, silly, stupid, not smart, wouldn’t recommend it” when it comes self-hosing web services.

With all due respect to those people, most of them have never done web hosting by themselves before, and are trashing something they have never done (which is silly and bad in itself!).

Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers

Akamai Discovers Linux Botnet that Hits with 150 Gbps DDoS Attacks

According to a web article, Akamai (a Content Delivery Network company) discovered a massive Linux botnet. A botnet is basically a bunch of compromised computers that allow attackers to perform various tasks that would otherwise be virtually impossible to accomplish without everyone’s compromised computers.

Basically, the botnet comes in the form of a Trojan. This Trojan targets Linux systems (including network routers). Once it gets into the system, it proceeds to download software to connect the computer to the botnet. The botnet is reportedly able to give up to a 150 Gbps DDoS** attack.

As I have said on my blog repeatedly, Linux is not immune to security problems. No operating system on the planet is immune to security problems. In this case, it is people using weak, insecure passwords on their Linux boxes.

If I set my Windows box’s Administrator password to ‘password123’ or ‘qwerty’, enabled remote desktop on my computer, and allow remote desktop through the firewall, I would eventually get hacked. Was that Windows’ fault or Microsoft’s fault? No, of course not. It would be my fault for setting a bad password on my computer.

Many people say “Linux is more secure than Windows”, but if you notice – most of the time – they do not give any technical arguments to backup what they said.

For example, a part of one of someone’s comment posted online said (direct quote):
“The primary attack vector to take over these systems is default or weak login passwords, and allowing internet-facing remote root. That has no bearing on Linux suddenly being less secure than it was yesterday, or in any way magically now just as insecure as Windows.”

Notice he said “That has no bearing on Linux suddenly being less secure than it was yesterday, or in any way magically now just as insecure as Windows.”, but he did not give any technical arguments to backup what he said. How is Windows “insecure”? How is Linux I have seen this dozens of times (no kidding).

What is worse is people will listen to them, assuming they are correct (e.g., Linux is more secure than Windows), and go off and repeat the same misinformation around on the Internet without even bothering to check if the information they received is in fact accurate.

Web article link: https://www.engadget.com/2015/09/29/linux-botnet-hits-with-150-gbps-ddos/

** Simply put, a DDoS attack is basically an attack that uses up the victim’s available bandwidth. This causes the victim’s computers to not correctly function when communicating with the outside world and internal network.

Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, Software