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I'm trying to create my own mass shared hosting environment and I'm not sure on how to get started. I am currently using XAMPP for windows as a development environment, once ready I will probably buy a dedicated server that uses PLESK or Cpanel

What I've read about so far:

Through google I've a pretty loose understanding of Apache's dynamic virtual hosting, basically I know how to set up one, and generate the directories but that's about it. At the moment I;m lost on where to go next.

What I probably need to know:

I'd probably need to learn about DNS and DNS servers and how to configure them. Security is also something I'd need to learn about. And lastly generating user accounts to go with the virtual hosts and setting permissions.

Can anyone point me in the right direction or maybe link me to tutorials on these aspects and things I might have missed?

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Yes, I can point you in a direction: Find another hobby. Seriously, running a "mass shared hosting" service is heavily involved and you need a lot of knowledge and, above all, experience to get something like that running. This is not done by reading a few books and articles and hoping you are up to speed after that. Start working as an admin for a few years, get experience and maybe then you can think about starting a business. –  Sven May 20 '11 at 8:33
I said I was creating the environment, I never said I was trying to start a service. We all have to start someone, and I'm willing to invest the time and effort to learn the ins and outs of it. –  user81536 May 20 '11 at 8:43
Well, then the heart of my comment still stands: You can't learn this by books, only by experience and you don't get this experience by getting totally overwhelmed with a highly complex environment. Start small, run you own webserver and maybe DNS server, add services to it and see how they interact. If you get more experienced, you can gradually enhance your environment to see what difficulties may arise and to learn how to do this step by step. –  Sven May 20 '11 at 8:59

1 Answer 1

Your concerns and lack of knowledge will be addressed having something like Plesk or Cpanel. You still need to have a basic understanding and from a support point of view you will need to know what your on about when someone email's you and says

I'm tyring to set up an SPF record in DNS can you check to see if mine is ok?

Cpanel/Plesk whilst do all the work for you, you still need to know what is actually happening. Of course if you have a shared server you can't drop into a console (if Linux) and find out what is happening.. You can always approach the company you lease the server from and they will help you as much as they can inside their support terms..

My advice, Linux VPS with Plesk or Cpanel.. It's dead easy, no point trying to throw someone in who doesn't have the skills at the deep end, it's not a nice feeling..

Hope this helps..

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Thanks, but I'm trying to get used to it by using my windows laptop as a server first before using a service like PLESK, so I can gain knowledge beforehand. –  user81536 May 20 '11 at 8:40
Using your PC as a "server" will differ in the end result anyway, because Window's machines are usually powered by IIS.. I'm not a windows admin or a windows hoster, I use Linux.. –  The NinjaSysadmin May 20 '11 at 8:46
Do you think I should use an installation of linux then? –  user81536 May 20 '11 at 8:48
Use what YOUR good at, I'm good at Linux, I'm ok with Window's.. I would just use what you want to use in the end.. I personally find using a control panel such as plesk or cpanel easy, I know how the backend works, but my hosting server is controlled by Plesk and I'm lazy when I get a new account created I just click buttons.. On my private server I use command line –  The NinjaSysadmin May 20 '11 at 8:50
Okay thanks. I think I'll try and learn the ins and outs of PLESK on a windows machine. –  user81536 May 20 '11 at 8:52

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