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Im looking to set up a stand alone PC as a server for a web application. It will only be used for the web app over an office lan for 4-5 client machines.

Is a standard PC suitable as a server? It will be dedicated to the webapp. Im considering the following spec:

1ghz processor 80gb hd 2 gb ram

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migrated from Feb 14 '11 at 16:06

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

I think, in a small office environment, a stand-alone PC will be fine. I think, though, that you should use Windows Small Business Server 2003 because it has a lot of nice wizards that can automate many of the setup tasks. It makes a nice development server for web development, too, and is pretty stable as a headless server using remote-web-workplace.


also, you should use hard-wired LAN instead of wifi, just for speed and security if not for ease of setup.


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I was considering to use xampp (secured of course) on the machine. I think it will suffice. – Santiago Feb 13 '11 at 22:26
Wow. Talk about massive overkill. – John Gardeniers Feb 14 '11 at 17:07

A lot of it depends on the operating system you want to use or feel most comfortable with as for such a small userbase almost anything will give 'good enough' performance and these days there's little difference between the main contenders in terms of security (so long as you keep on top of those updates).

  • If you're a Mac user something like the Mac Mini Server is super easy to use for beginners and although its entry price is higher than some there's no extra 'per user' licence costs for its built in services - which could save a lot of money as your office expands.

  • If you know Windows well there's a whole pile of machines to consider but I'd be tempted to stick to one of the 'big boys' like Dell, HP and IBM - they often have 'ready to go' boxes. Something like a basic Dell T110/T310 would be fine for most things - not sure what specific version of Windows you'd need though, perhaps you could come back with more details?

  • If you already have a degree of expertise with one flavour of Linux then you could go for the same kind of hardware listed above in the Windows section or possibly consider a web-based VPS. It would mean you'd have to pay more attention to security and slightly reconfigure your router but it may work out cheaper - certainly initially - and could give you the benefit of letting you work away from the office in exactly the same manner as if you were in the office. That said if you're a Linux novice most people would agree that the learning curve can be a lot steeper than with Window/Mac.

Feel free to come back with more information, and if you have a make/model in mind and want us to give the specs a 'once over' again come back and we'll see what we can do.

Good luck.

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The question title does say "Windows PC". – John Gardeniers Feb 14 '11 at 17:09
Good point, well made * embarrassed face *, that said I'll leave it in place on the off chance that someone finds my answer in the future and/or this dude wishes to consider other options. Thanks though. – Chopper3 Feb 14 '11 at 17:36

It really depends on the web application you're trying to run and the web app's computational intensity. For example, if it had to generate the first million digits of pi for each user, that might be a bit of an issue.

But in reality, if it's something fairly simple, you shouldn't run into too many problems. For only 4-5 users concurrently, you should be fine with a Windows IIS stack.

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The webapp doesnt do many computations. However, its used to read&write to a DB with some report generation – Santiago Feb 13 '11 at 22:27
Yeah, that's definitely fine then, depending on the size of the DB (assuming the DB is on the same machine). – Webs961 Feb 13 '11 at 22:52

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