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I have been renting a Windows 2008-based Virtual Server from 1&1 for the past few years. It is located in a well-connected server farm, has 10 gigs of space, and unlimited Traffic. I used to host my Subversion repos on it, but have started doing this locally; therefore, I have no use for the server any more.

However, the contract runs until January 2011.

What is a productive (and legal, and useful) use the server could be put to until the lease expires? I was thinking of something like the SETI@Home project, but I'm not aware of anything similar in the web field. The server's not that big in processing power, but as said has good connectivity.

Any ideas?

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5 Answers

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You could run a long running torrent server for free software projects like ubuntu, centos, etc etc, basically allowing quite a few people to benefit from this bandwidth. Should also be completely legal. Maintenance would also be very low.

If you wanted to be more involved you could do full mirroring / hosting.

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Mmm, nice idea. Of course! Why didn't I think of this - it's nice and safe (safer than running a generic proxy or relay). I'll definitely look into this first. –  Pekka 웃 Sep 29 '10 at 21:30
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Don't forget Folding at home :)

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Looks interesting, thanks! However, my virtual server is not that strong on the processor end - its massive bandwidth and unlimited traffic would be more interesting to make use of. Still, I might take a look –  Pekka 웃 Sep 29 '10 at 21:18
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Don't know what you do with your computers. For some people, it could store some files for access on the web, maybe host a programming project, put up a web page for a local event.

Otherwise, folding at home, SETI at home, anything hosted by BOINC (see this article for example).

Just make sure to check on it once in awhile and keep it updated. The charity goes to waste if it malfunctions or gets hacked from neglect.

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Look into tor (The Onion Router). If you have a fair amount of bandwidth, and specially if you have unlimited traffic, your server could be a valuable addtition to the tor network. Have a look for yourself and see if it sounds useful: http://www.torproject.org/

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Interesting. I'm a little bit hesitant to open a server to TOR because of the possibility of misuse - what if someone uses my server as a proxy for something illegal, and a bone-headed german public prosecutor refuses to understand the principle because they saw my server's IP in the logs, so I must be the culprit? I think the way TOR works will make this very unlikely, though. Are there any resources on this? Still, the best suggestion so far because it focuses on the web connectivity and traffic part. –  Pekka 웃 Sep 29 '10 at 21:15
    
There are many possible legal ramification to running a TOR exit node, I would very carefully examine the laws in the locality the server operates in. –  MattyB Sep 29 '10 at 21:22
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The first thing that popped into my mind was file serving for Open Source projects, many of which are struggling to establish mirrors.

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