I have had bad luck with commercial hosting in the past and wish to make my own web server. I have heard Linux is the way to go. I was wondering what distro you would suggest and any tutorials i could follow.

  • 3
    You might have better luck asking this on serverfault.com. (But I can't resist answering that I'd have a serious look into FreeBSD.)
    – Cody Gray
    Nov 5 '10 at 9:58
  • If you are asking which Linux distro you should be running, you are certainly not ready to run your own web server.
    – halp
    Nov 6 '10 at 10:28

I personally suggest you consider checking out a VPS. Running your own server is much more expensive than you might think as you cannot generally use residential Internet connections to connect a server to the internet and uptime is a major concern as most good hosts have multiple, redundant connections and both battery and generator power backups.

To get started I personally like this walkthrough for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Nginx, PHP, and MySQL.

  • You sure can use most residential internet connections to host a web server. They just don't handle much traffic. But vps is the way to go here.
    – Joel Coel
    Nov 7 '10 at 17:11

Choose a popular long-life distro such as RHEL, CentOS, Debian, or Ubuntu LTS. The two groups (RHEL and CentOS, and Debian and Ubuntu) each have their own ways of doing things, but reading RUTE is a good start to familiarizing yourself with Linux in general.


I would recommend using Debian or Ubuntu because im lazy and all you have to do is execute "sudo apt-get install apache2" in a shell. Then start creating your site in "/var/www/"

Iv set up a few servers for local businesses this way and for a domain i would recommend godaddy


Definitely go for Fedora. It's rock solid and quite fast. Debian isn't bad either.

  • Fedora is rock solid, and fast, but it's also got a very short support lifetime (eighteen months, tops, from release to support-discontinued). Unless your box is close to hand, using a short-life distro will mean scheduling upgrades - and we're talking full-on, boot-from-a-CD upgrades, not just freshening the package list - every year. Ignacio, above, recommends some long-life distributions, and for a hosted or VPN server in particular, that's good advice.
    – MadHatter
    Nov 6 '10 at 6:45

For a quick setup, I'd go with Ubuntu's server package. The install wizard has a few standard options, so you can install a LAMP stack during (or shortly after) the OS installation.

I've used it once or twice for a home server and it's pretty easy to use. You may have to tweak some network settings, but other than that, it's relatively easy to get working. You can install a remote management system (I used Webmin at one point) or Putty into the server.

It doesn't generally come with a windowing system, though, so you'll have to use the console. It does run well on low-end hardware, however (ran a LAMP server on a 1ghz processor with 512 RAM and a 40 gig IDE HDD, with reasonable performance).


I'm doing the same thing. I was running my own setup with quite a few sites on it. We only had a DSL connection, but the sites loaded quite fast. I also ran email, FTP, and mysql db's. The hardware was two core duo systems running Ubuntu LAMP server. The savings over having it hosted on a dedicated server elsewhere was good, but I never calculated the cost of power usage. The whole thing came to a crashing halt just a little while ago because my router/firewall died. Many of the sites use SSL so I couldn't use just any router. I had made my own software router out of an old PC and 5 NIC's. I guess that was my big mistake - live and learn. We also have a backup generator, but no back up Internet. I'm thinking of trying it again, but doing it better this time. I can get a better Internet connection than before, but no redundancy is still a problem. I'm going to stick to dual core systems, and CentOS. I'm also going to add separate hardware for the mail server, and a better router/firewall. I still think this is a good way to go, but the argument can go either way. I guess the thing I would miss about hosting it elsewhere will be tech support that isn't me, and never losing the Internet connection.


I have to recommend getting a VPS from a provider such as Linode. I use their service myself and I couldn't be happier.

The choice in distro doesn't matter that much really, but Ubuntu probably has the most and the most user friendly information out there. If you want to check out how to setup an Ubuntu server on a VPS, this is an amazing resource (Linode again).


Personally from my own experience I would recommend Ubuntu Server edition on a VPS from a company such as BurstNET, very low cost, but a lot of learning is required to fully manage a server your own server. I would also recommend Virtualmin which is free and it installs all the major packages for running a web server, email, etc... and it gives you a easy to use web interface.

Good luck and have fun with it!

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