How to Setup Your Own Server for Web Hosting

How To Set Up Your Own Server Homepage

There are many reasons why you may want to create a home web server. These range from basic uses (e.g., storing data, web hosting, home automation, as a video game server) to those that are more advanced (e.g., run a Tor node, private email, chat, create a customized VPN server).

Regardless of why this interests you, here’s what you need to know about how to set up your own server for web hosting.

Make Sure Your Connection Is Suitable For Web Hosting

For DIY web hosting, you’ll need an internet connection that can handle large volumes of internet traffic. Both your download and upload speeds are important.

Hosting Speed

Make sure you test these because a residential internet connection may offer you a high download rate, but its upload speed may be sluggish.

Your upload speed is how fast you can upload your data to your website each time a visitor stops by.

If more than one person visits your website at the same time, they’ll need to share this connection. Search engines also look at this when determining where to list your site in their results pages.

This is why some web hosts pride themselves on being great for SEO.

Hostgator SEO

Having a server at home requires you to have a strong enough internet connection to meet the needs of the expected web traffic.

To do this you’ll need to check your internet connection speeds with a speed test tool like This tool is fast, free, and available worldwide so it provides accurate results.

Many ISPs provide residents with a good download but poor upload speeds. You’ll need at least 25 Mbps of download speed and 40 Mbps of upload speed to run one or two websites.

Reliable & Fast Hosting

If you want to stream very high-quality videos, you’ll need at least 100 Mbps of download speed and around 10 Mbps of upload speed. Make sure that your ISP doesn’t have any data limits set on your internet connection either.

Additionally, you don’t want your data usage capped or throttled. If your internet connection doesn’t meet these standards, you’ll need to change providers before you can set up your own home server.

Choose Your Hardware

Once you’re certain that you have a suitable connection, it’s time to get the right hardware.

Computer Hardware

The main thing you’ll need is a dedicated PC. While you can use either an old PC or laptop, a PC works best since you need to connect additional cables (e.g., Coaxial, twisted pair cables, optical fiber) and switches (either a 5 or 8-port Gigabit switch) to it.

The computer you’re using needs to have enough storage space to house a 60 GB hard drive with at least 25 GB of free space, a dual-core processor of at least 2 GHz and 2 GB RAM, a USB port and a DVD drive.


This is why a newer, faster computer works best since it performs better and has more processing power. This doesn’t mean that an older PC won’t work.

To determine what type of PC you need, you should ask yourself:

You should also consider buying a rack (a supporting framework that holds your computer) so you can keep everything organized.

Choose Your Operating System (OS) And Install It

This is a critical step in the process of setting up a server at home.

One of the major differences is whether you want to pay for a Windows license or save money by using Linux which is a free, open-source program. Linux servers are also much more customizable. Let’s take a moment to compare the two.


Approximately 70% of all servers online are run off of a Linux machine. This is because it’s free and easy to use and customize. Linux servers are also more secure with far fewer malware opportunities for hackers to exploit.

Linux Logo

However, they aren’t invincible. You still need to keep your software updated and everything properly configured.

There are also some programs that Linux won’t work with but the majority of Windows programs will run on it through a program called WineHQ.


To create a server at home using Windows you’ll need to purchase a license. This guarantees you’ll receive long-term support for any issues you encounter.

You can also conveniently fix any technical issues through a system recovery. Other benefits include automatic system updates, support of numerous apps, and the fact that it’s beginner-friendly.

Windows Logo

However, it has its disadvantages like being more expensive and more vulnerable to malware.

Most people will opt for a Windows server at home. This is because Windows is a system that most people are familiar with. Therefore most of what’s discussed in this article will be for Windows servers.

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The one exception is here where we discussed the difference between Windows and Linux servers. The remainder of this article will tell you how to set up a Windows home server.

Set Up And Configure Your Server At Home

Once you have the right hardware and connection and you’ve chosen your operating system, it’s time to set up your software.

How this is done depends on what operating system you’re using. With Windows, you’ll want to install Internet Information Services (IIS) which is a web server add-on.

IIS Server

With Linus, you’ll want to install either Apache, Lighttpd, or NGINX. Apache is the most well-known. You can also install Apache on a Windows web server.

If you are still unsure about which one to use, check out our guide on Nginx vs Apache.

The install process for these programs requires you to open up the ports on your home router and your firewall.

How To Set Up A Server At Home?

This allows traffic to travel back and forth on your own web server. The two most essential ports for web traffic are ports 80 and 443 so make sure they aren’t blocked.

Once you’ve set up your web server and configured it for traffic take a moment to ensure it works simply by visiting it through a web server. If you encounter a test page you’ll know that it’s time to install your own website’s files.

Set Up Virtual Network Computing (VNC)

A VNC allows you to have remote access to another computer. With VNC access you can operate the computer you’re setting up your new server on.

All the resources (e.g., printers, drives) will be accessible to you just like it would if you were sitting at the computer.

VNC Protocol

So, whether you want to remotely access a computer or provide remote tech support you’ll need to set up VNC.

Setting up your VNC isn’t difficult. You’ll need to know either the computer’s IP address or its fully qualified free domain name and password.

Once you have this information here are the steps you must take for setting this up on a Windows system:

Although this may sound challenging, it’s actually quite easy to do. You’re simply installing a server package then configuring your own home server so you can start using it.

Install File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is a standard communication protocol. What this means is that it’s how you’ll transfer files from your dedicated hosting to your visitors.

FTP Filezilla

Installing FTP on your own server is important. Not only do you need to install FTP but you also need to activate FTP server. Doing so creates a private cloud that you control. Once created your website files will be transferred quickly.

There are a few types of FTP you can use for your website files. These include:

Setting up a server at home with an FTP isn’t difficult. In fact, the installation process is fairly simple. You need to:

Now that FTP is installed you’ll want to configure it for your users. Before you get started, consider how many users you want to allow to have access to your FTP server.


When you create your server you may want to configure FTP users so multiple people have access. To do this you’ll need to:

After all of this, you’ll still need to configure and activate your FTP server to fit your specific needs.

For instance, you may want to take additional steps to ensure its security. Once you’ve done this you can start using it.

Install HTTP

Once you have your hardware and FTP server in place it’s time to set up the web hosting software for your own server at home. In order to have fully operational software, you need to install the correct LAMP software stack.


This means that you need to install Apache, MySQL, and PHP so that you can set up HTTP. When your LAMP software stack is set up your server can communicate with the databases and your site’s data that are stored on your web hosting.

After installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP you’ll have an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) server which is a powerful tool for production usage. It’s also simple enough to use for local development, learning, and testing.

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HTTP Explanation

There are four versions of HTTP (HTTP/0.9, HTTP/1.0, HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2.0). You’ll want to choose the one that’s the most suitable with the other hardware and software you’ve installed on your home web server and find the installation package for it.

When you get the HTTP package the installation is simple. It’s similar to installing any other program or app on your computer. Simply follow the instructions on your screen and you’ll quickly install the HTTP support.

Set Up DNS Entries

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a directory service that provides mapping from a network’s host to its numerical address. Before you can start using the Domain Name System on your own server you must install and configure it.

Preliminary Requirements For DNS Configuration

Before you configure your DNS there’s some basic information you’ll need. This information isn’t necessary if you’re setting up a server for internal use only.

DNS Hostgator

Otherwise, here’s what you’ll need:

You’ll also need to verify that the following conditions are true:

Configuring Your DNS Zone

To create a DNS zone you need to:

Install DNS

Once you create DNS zones you’re ready to install DNS on your server at home. To do this:

Once you’ve completed this process DNS will begin installing.

Configure DNS

There are 5 things you must do to configure your DNS server:

After your DNS service is installed it’ll determine whether you have a static IP address or if it’s been configured automatically.

IP Address

For servers that automatically obtain the IP address, the Windows Components Wizard will prompt you to configure a static IP address. This means you’ll need to:

After you’ve closed the Windows Components Wizard your Configure a DNS Server Wizard will start. You’ll want to follow these steps here:

When you’ve completed the Configure a DNS Wizard, the Configure Your Server Wizard will display a message telling you that “This Server is Now a DNS Server page.”

Configure Your Server Wizard

If you need to review the changes that you’ve made to your server or you need to make sure that you’ve installed a new role successfully, simply click on the Configure Your Server log.

Configure Your Server log. Once you’re done, you’ll want to close the Configure Your Server Wizard. For this you need to just click Finish.

Set Up A DNS Forward Lookup Zone

A Forward Lookup Zone is the specific zone that resolves a domain name with an IP address. At this point, if you’ve followed the configuration instructions above, you should already have your lookup zone set up.

DNS Zone Manager

However, if you still need to set up your forward lookup zone, here’s what you need to do:

Changing The DNS Server For Network Interfaces

There are a few reasons why you may want to change the DNS server for different network interfaces.


These reasons include things like making your dedicated hosting run faster, making it more reliable, or to better protect it.

If you want to change the DNS server for your network interfaces you’ll need to:

If you want to add more DNS servers, you can click on the Advanced button to do so.

Flush The DNS Resolver Cache

DNS resolver cache is the temporary database that a server creates to store data of your recent DNS lookups. This cache helps make the lookup process faster for returning IP addresses.

Hostinger Cache Manager

To see what entries are currently being stored there type in the following command: ipconfig /displaydns

If a virus were to hijack your server’s DNS cache it could result in “cache poisoning.” This is when they use your DNS to re-route requests. It’s the primary reason why you may want to flush the DNS cache.

You’ll know this was completed successfully when you receive a message stating that “Windows IP configuration successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.”

Create A DNS Entry For The Web Servers

One of the most important things you need to remember about running your own website is that you always want it to be accessible to your users.

Shared Web Hosting Illustration

For this you’ll want to create a Canonical Name (CNAME) for the DNS server where then Internet Information Services (IIS).

This is an important step because it ensures that you can connect to your external web hosting computers to your web server through your “www” host name. To create this new DNS entry you’ll need to:

Get A Domain Name And Make Sure It Works

Once you configure your home server so that internet users can reach it, you’ll need to set up a domain name.

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GoDaddy Domain Name Search

While people can navigate to your server via the external IP address having a domain name makes this easier for them. This will give you a name that people can easily remember rather than a series of numbers that are too complicated to recall.

Upon deciding on your server’s name go to a domain name registrar to check if it’s available. When you find an available name you must register it so it’s officially yours.

If you don’t want to pay for this, you can go to a service like No-IP and register a free subdomain.

Now that you have a domain (or subdomain) it’s time to set up your domain’s relevant DNS entries so that it points to your server’s IP address.

Register & Verify Ownership Of Your Domain

To do this you’ll need to create an A record (the domain’s address record which is part of the DNS system, mapping the domain name to the IP address).

Your domain’s name server stores this record for you once you set it up. To do this you’ll need to:

Your server will be ready in a few hours.

Test The Server

The only thing left to do with your own server at home is to test it.

You’ll see a page that asks for your FTP username and password.

FTP Details

When neither of these work it means your server isn’t working and you’ll need to start over. Make sure you also test FTP.


Is There Any Way To Create Your Own Server?

Yes, it’s possible for anyone to create their own server at home. Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure that it’s worthwhile to do so. While the process isn’t complicated, it does take some time.

What Is A Home Server Used For?

If you still want to do this, the first thing you need to do is get the right hardware (a computer with a 60 GB hard drive, at least 25 GB of free space, a 2+ GHz dual-core processor, 2 GB RAM, a USB port, a DVD drive). Once you have it you’ll need to work your way through an easy process.

How Can I Create My Own Online Server?

Once you create your server you’ll need to put it online. To do this you’ll need an external IP address that has a DNS service and open port forwarding.

Make sure that you set port 80 to both private (this is your local network, a.k.a., LAN) and public (this is your wide area network, a.k.a., WAN).

How Can I Create A Private Server?

Creating a private server isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

Private Cloud

To create your own private web hosting you must configure it so that it’s accessible. Make sure that it isn’t connected to any other devices to ensure its security.

What Are Some Of The Drawbacks To Me Setting Up My Own Web Hosting?

There are a few drawbacks that you must deal with when you choose to set up your own web hosting.

They include higher electricity bills, slow websites, IP addresses that continually change, slow websites, and the need to maintain the hardware and software that are being used.

Domain cost

These are a few of the reasons why people choose to use hosting providers instead of setting up their own web servers.

Is Self-hosting A Website Common?

Using hosting providers is more common than running your own dedicated server. Even the larger websites don’t maintain their own servers.

For instance, Netflix and Reddit pay Amazon for web hosting services. The only way you can make a solid case for self-hosting is having an enormous site like Google. Most websites will never be this big though.

Will I Be Able To Self-host A WordPress Site?

Most WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) software will allow you to install content management systems (CMS).

Managed WordPress Hosting

While WordPress is by far the most popular CMS, you can also install others like Drupal and Joomla too.


Once you set up your own server at home you’ll be in control. It’s great to know that the data is in your hands instead of in the hands of some company.

However, DIY hosting isn’t right for everyone.

Before you decide what type of web servers you want to use, take some time to read more about this topic.