Three years ago, I made the slightly crazy decision to run this website from my own server. This page is brought to you by a four-year-old generic PC that sits under my desk and dutifully hands out the web pages of my site to anyone from anywhere on the internet that asks for them.
Over the last three years, running my own server has taught me a lot. It has given me complete freedom and control, as well as complete responsibility over my own website. The hardware, software and configuration are all my own thing — if I get it wrong, I have to fix it.
That opportunity has made me learn lots about what you need to do to get a Linux-based server on the internet and keep it running. I keep the software installation on the server as lean as possible; I don’t even install a GUI or any applications that aren’t directly related to the tasks the server has to do. I am fanatical about backing everything on the machine up as frequently as is necessary and making sure that I could rebuild the setup at any point without losing data.
There are also huge disadvantages to running my own server, particularly when it is connected to a home-grade internet connection. The upload bandwidth is very poor, which means that all visitors to the site can only get the pages as fast as I can push them out. That does mean I am forced to keep my pages a small size and to optimise them as much as possible, but it would be nice not to be so limited in what I can deliver. That also means that if my internet connection goes down, so does my site.
All in all, though, I have really enjoyed the opportunities and challenges that running my own web server from home has presented. I look forward to continuing my self-hosting arrangement for a long time to come.
While I am being nostalgic, this is a good excuse to show some cool graphs and interesting statistics from my time self hosting.
Page Loads/Unique Visitors/Returning Visitors April 2008–March 2010
As you can see, my server has handled a decent amount of traffic over the past three years!
Uptime report August 2008–April 2010
That is less than a day’s downtime since August 2008! (Only measured in 1 hour intervals, however, so take that with a pinch of salt)