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This has the possibility to be a very large question but I recently acquired a few rack mount servers and the hardware necessary to run them. Unfortunately I'm a programmer with very little understanding of how to set up a good working network so I'm hoping someone on here might be able to help.

What I want to do is run a domain with a series of subdomains which would all be externally accessible. The setup would live inside my home and my internet connection is your run of the mill cable model (which means a dynamic IP)

I want to be able to set up a couple site, specifically: ( with no subdomain would redirect to this) (for my continuous integration server) (for ruby projects) (for windows project) etc.

Additionally this is still my home network so our personal machines need to be able to get on via wifi with at least the same security we have now through an out of the box router from best buy.

I'm thinking i need a DNS server, DHCP server and one of those would run either no-ip or dyndns to accommodate the dynamic ip.

I don't necessarily need mail but it might be helpful to have some sort of mail server i could use for testing, it doesn't need to get out to the greater internet though.

So how do i set up this kinda of network?

tl;dr Need to know how to set up your standard office style network in my home off my normal consumer level cable modem connection.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

here are a few questions to get us started:

  • Do you already own the domain name and have it hosted with a DNS provider where you can publish your own DNS records?
  • Do you have a router of some kind? Does the cable modem have a router function built in? In that case, can you administer the router and firewall settings?
  • Is it only the networking part that you need help with, or do you also need suggestions for server OS and services setup? If the previous, what OS and servers (apache etc) are you considering?


The next choice to consider would be if you want your Internet-facing services located on a DMZ network (more work) or if it is OK to have them on your internal network (easier). It also depends on what your routers support.

  • If you go with the latter, you just set up your router for regular NAT operation, install your server on the internal network, and finally set up port forwarding in the router for the TCP ports that need to be reached from the outside (web server, mail server etc)
    The downside with this approach is that if the server should be compromised, your whole internal network is now in reach by the bad guy.

  • Setting up a true DMZ typically requires a router with at least 3 interfaces (physical ports with individual network addresses), and router firmware that support this setup.
    You set up NAT between internal and external interfaces, and port forwards from the external side into the DMZ network. Hosts on the DMZ net can not access internal hosts, but the reverse is allowed. In this scenario the local net is still hopefully OK if the server/servers should fall under outside influence (It happens, all code has bugs =) ...

In both setups you would configure either the router or an internal host to update a dynamic DNS name to point at the outside IP address of the router.

Getting your own domain name to point there could be done by paying for a premium Dyn DNS service (for example, or it might work to point CNAMEs from your own domain name to your generic dynamic DNS host name. I do not know what options are available with Go Daddy, perhaps some other user can fill in?

DynDNS Custom ($29.95/yr) would probably fit your DNS needs (use your own domain for dynamic dns updates, easy to edit zones etc) and be mostly painless to setup.

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I own the domain via godaddy so I'm guessing the answer to the second part of the questions is no. I have a router, a couple actually, right now i'm using a airport extreme but I also have a linksys consumer grade router. I also have a commercial grade cisco switch. Pretty much the networking part, well that and knowing what kind of servers i need to run like DHCP / DNS / etc. I'm going to need a mix of dev environments including an old mac i have for iPhone stuff, a ruby on rails linux server and a win server for .net work. I'm good with using linux for the infrastructure stuff. – JoshReedSchramm May 23 '10 at 15:59
Thanks @sajb. I have no problem paying for dyndns's service, after all it's a business expense :-) Also if you have any recommendations on hardware to make this easier by all means let me know I don't mind ebaying some stuff if it would work better than using a linksys off the shelf of best buy. I'm already buying a rack mount and some servers. – JoshReedSchramm May 23 '10 at 16:45

If you need it done now, hire a seasoned sysadmin to set it all up for you.

If you don't mind a bit of elbow grease then get yourself a copy of CentOS and work your way through the bits of documentation that you care about, paying extra attention to the Deployment Guide.

Of course, other distro choices are available, but you'll need to find their documentation some other way.

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ya there's no rush. To be honest the doing it myself part is kinda important so i know what i'm doing from now on. I'm relatively familiar with various flavors of linux from an AppDev perspective but ill check out that deployment guide for centOS, thanks. – JoshReedSchramm May 23 '10 at 2:20

All you need is a open source, free SBS like

try any of above. you dont need to be linux admin or network guru.

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My experience with people that have gone this route is that a simplified interface is not a replacement for knowing what you are doing. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 23 '10 at 16:03
@ignacio, Exactly you're so right. but JoshReed wants a simple quick dirty solution which SME server can handle so easy. @JoshReed, You may have some problems to get support Apache python with ClearOS because of compiler problems. but SME server won't make a problem. you can find prebuilt binaries & modules for apache in CentOS repositories. – risyasin May 23 '10 at 16:09
I'll actually check this out for general purpose use. Setting up a really dead simple network could come up in the future. I think what I want is actually slightly more complicated though. In my imaginary (thus far) network I actually have servers representing each major OS that i can use a dev servers / CI servers most likely running via VMWare ESX. I would ultimately need a root web server for my own site but there's a lot more sites that will be subdomained under that on potentially different OS platforms. – JoshReedSchramm May 23 '10 at 16:44

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