You can save a lot of money by hosting your own website rather than using a web hosting provider.
To host yourself, you must be familiar with router configuration and have a valid domain name and web server.
Your web server can be a computer that is not your primary work computer and runs Windows, macOS, or Linux.
This article explains how to host a website and what you need to know to be successful.
Prerequisites for self-hosting your website
To host a website at home, you will need three basic components:
- To begin, you must provide your audience with the ability to access your website, which necessitates the use of a domain name. However, there is a chance that your home internet connection does not have a static IP address, in which case you will need to use dynamic DNS.
- Furthermore, your router is most likely set to reject incoming connection requests, protecting the machines on your network from Internet teasing. As a result, you must ensure that requests for websites (and only these) are permitted through your router.
- Finally, you will require a computer on your home network to run the web server, which will serve your content to visitors.
Set up the domain name for your self-hosted website.
Users can plug your domain into their browser and have it forward their request to your home if you configure it correctly (this isn’t as scary as it sounds). Set up the first leg of the journey by following the steps below.
- Purchase a domain name. It is generally beneficial to have domain names in order for visitors to find your website. This relieves them of the burden of remembering an IP address like 18.104.22.168. (IP address of Lifewire). You can read our guide to obtaining your own domain name, which is a relatively simple process.
- Examine the method by which your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns your IP address. As a consumer, you will almost certainly be assigned a dynamic IP address, which means it will change over time. If you’re fortunate enough to have a static IP address, you can skip to step 4.
- You must sign up for the dns dynamic service if you have a dynamic IP address. This service updates your domain name on a regular basis so that it points to the IP address assigned to you by your ISP. See this DDNS primer for more information.
- Your DDNS provider may also be able to register a domain name for you. This is a convenient method because you can be certain that there will be no issues when updating DNS and IP addresses between two different providers.
- If you have a static IP address, all you need to do is make sure that your domain name (wherever you registered it) points directly to your IP address at home. You can usually do this by adding a “A record” to the settings in the control panel of the service that sold you your domain. Assigning a custom domain to your Tumblr is a similar process.
Increase the number of visitors to your self-hosted website.
You can successfully send requests from your visitors over the Internet to your home network using a domain name and DDNS. They must, however, be admitted. You’ll need to make some changes to your router’s configuration to accomplish this. Your objective here is to receive website requests and ensure that they are delivered to the web server (more on this server in the next section). Here are two options if you have a typical consumer-grade router.
- The first step is to put your web server in the “demilitarised zone,” also known as the DMZ. Your router may be able to add a computer to your internal network and treat it as part of the larger Internet. This means that, for better or worse, any computer on the Internet can contact you using your IP address or domain name. You don’t have to worry about a complicated network configuration, but anyone on the Internet can try to crack your server. Before you proceed, make sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks of DMZ.
- Another option is to configure port forwarding on your router. Routers are typically set to Reject incoming requests, which keeps your home network secure. The exception to this rule is port forwarding, which instructs the router to route traffic on a specific port to a specific computer on your internal network. This way, you can only direct HTTP/S web requests (usually on ports 80 and/or 443) to your web server without exposing the rest of your home network to the outside world. Use these instructions to configure port forwarding on your router.
Configure your self-hosted web server.
The last step is to ensure that there is a server to receive web traffic now that it has arrived on your network and you can route it to the appropriate location.
- Set up a server computer that can run Windows, macOS, or Linux first. All of these operating systems can support a small personal website. However, it is best to use a computer that is not your primary work computer for security and performance reasons.
- Check that the IP address of the server computer matches the port forwarding settings you created.
- You must then install the web server software yourself. There are numerous free web servers available for installation on one of your network computers. Apache, an open source Web server, is one of the most popular.
- Finally, you can save your website to your server machine. Simply copy static web pages (created, for example, with a static site builder) to the server’s web folder, or install a CMS such as WordPre
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