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Personal vs. Work/Free Server?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the your-property-or-theirs dept.

Businesses 160

akutz asks: "I am sure many of you have asked yourselves this question before: do I run my own server, or take advantage of my employer's hardware and/or free online hosts? I recently brought my own personal server online that provides web, e-mail, source control, and directory services for myself. I like the warm snuggly feeling that all my data is on my box and it is mine, mine, mine. However, I have also just burdened myself with maintaining a server when my employer, The University of Texas at Austin, has plenty of servers that I could use for this very purpose. There are also plenty of free services online that do this, such as Gmail and Sourceforge. So the question is, which is better, running your own server or letting someone else do it for you?"

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LAME (-1, Offtopic)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603469)

Seriously, what is this?

Re:LAME (0, Troll)

Hoknor (950280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603488)

My thoughts exactly. What next, "Which animal has the softest fur, Cats or Dogs!?"

Re:LAME (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603550)

No, no, he asked about what server solution he should be using, not how he should encode his MP3s...

Depends on who it's for (5, Informative)

andy753421 (850820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603479)

If it's just my stuff I prefer to run my own, mostly for the learning experience. However if I'm hosting things that a lot of other people use I think it's better to have a company host it. They generally have better uptime, and if they do go down, the blame isn't on me :)

Re:Depends on who it's for (2, Interesting)

nblender (741424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603549)

I run my own servers. I have one somewhere in europe and I have one elsewhere in this city. I also have another backup on the same continent but in another country Granted, not an option for everyone; but I've had my setup across 2 jobs and have lost no data. The boxes update one another so with a little DNS updating, I can switch over to any one of them in the event that I lose one of the others. My employer is flexible with their internet connectivity and has setup an 'employee lan' that is outside their firewall. They provide a rack where employees can put their own machines. The rack is not anywhere near any other internal network resources so these machines are topologically fully exposed to the internet and treated just like any other random host on the internet. A number of employees have their mail/web servers in that rack. The understanding is that it is for low-volume personal hosting; on the honor system.

Re:Depends on who it's for (2, Interesting)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603577)

Agreed. Unfortunately, nobody has been able to figure out how to access my machine from the outside world. It would be nice, as it's a royal pain in the ass to ftp EVERYTHING to the server a friend lets me use to host it. It's only a small site, so even on the low bandwidth (~60K up) connection i have, it would work fairly well. Plus, I wouldn't have to worry about nagging my friend to get stuff setup (like ftp and postgreSQL).

Once i get this going, it's GOING to go on a more powerful server with more bandwidth. But until then, a 'personal' server with relatively low bandwidth will suffice.

Employment goes away - have a backup plan (4, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603594)

Over a decade ago, before all the non-techies had acquired email and when ISPs were still a novel thing, a friend of mine postulated that you should _never_ have your primary personal email contact be your employer, because if you lose that job you've just lost your social contacts and the contact information that potential employers might use to reach you (at least for the kinds of employers that techies want to work for.) He set up a server in his bedroom which he gave friends accounts on to subsidize his bandwidth addiction, and it's since grown into a respectable-sized ISP with several full-time employees.

Normal employment can change policies or downsize, but universities are an especially fickle environment - many of them have policies making it easy for students to have websites, and some of them have strong academic-freedom policies about your rights to posting content, but other universities change policies when they change bureaucrats, and some of them occasionally go full-blast wacko shutdown-and-expel-you no-due-process mode when somebody complains about H4CK3RZ or when some application suddenly sucks down 98% of the school's firewall bandwidth, or when the RIAA/MPAA hands them a complaint about EVIL FILE SHARING CRIMINALS, especially if the complaint gets handed to an organizationally incorrect person who doesn't get it (at some universities, that's the legal department, at others it's a random grunt in the computer management; it varies a lot.) It wouldn't happen at MIT, but it's standard operating procedure at many state universities, and I don't know about UT.

So if you're going to use a university server, make sure than not only is it ok under the official policies, but that you have automatically-updating backups to your off-campus home computer.

Re:Employment goes away - have a backup plan (5, Interesting)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603645)

Also while your at it, make sure to buy your own domain and use that for your email, domains are almost free these days. So when the campus shuts off your access and throughs you off the grounds your backups won't do you much good when nobody reconizes your email address when you try to contact them again.

Your online identity is precious, most of the people I know online I know mostly by their email address, if someone shows up anouncing some great story about losing their email address and they really are who they say they are and can we continue where we left off with such and such big deal we were working on I would really hesitate and have to work my trust back up again.

Re:Employment goes away - have a backup plan (2, Insightful)

ksheff (2406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603658)

That's one reason to have an email address with a forwarding service. You can have it forward the email to whatever address you like and still give out the same address to friends, family, and business associates.

Re:Employment goes away - have a backup plan (4, Insightful)

munpfazy (694689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604003)

I can certainly see the advantage of using a personal domain for email. In particular, using a domain that isn't your isp is a must. I've known people trapped for years with a terrible ISP by the enormous amount of work required to change addresses.

But, it could also lead to serious trouble if your operational identity is closely tied to the where you work. If you're communicating with someone as a representative of your institution (or using your association with the institution to try to get something done that would be otherwise difficult), starting off with a homebrew email domain is risky.

For an academic, it strikes me as a particularly dangerous. Just imagine what your first thought would be if you received a cold letter from "Professor John Smith ". I'd guess that it won't be, "Oh, that must be that guy with a beard I chatted with at a conference last year." More likely is something along the lines of, "Is this spam? Some crank? Should I bother to open it to investigate?"

In a world where most email isn't worth reading and most people get too much of the stuff that is, it is a good idea to make your headers as obviously legitimate as possible. For an academic who probably has a fixed term of many years and can expect months of notice before an account is cancelled, changing addresses isn't really a huge problem.

Adding a personal address for friends and family can't hurt. But, if you're like me, the distinction between friends and colleagues is often imprecise. Even when it's not, juggling two different from-addresses and remembering who gets which is a pain.

Administering your own machine within your workplace may be a decent compromise, although you could lose your transitional buffer that way. Convincing your workplace to let you set up a .forward file and leave your account intact (if inaccessible to logins) for a few months is going to be a lot easier than convincing them to leave a personal machine running.

Re:Employment goes away - have a backup plan (4, Informative)

munpfazy (694689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604028)

Doh! That should have said,

"Professor John Smith <jsmith@somewackydomain.com>"

Didn't realize the tags would get eaten even when posting in plain text. (Clearly this is some new definition of "plain old text" of which I was not previously aware...)

Re:Employment goes away - have a backup plan (1)

Shaman (1148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604001)

>He set up a server in his bedroom which he gave friends accounts on to subsidize
>his bandwidth addiction, and it's since grown into a respectable-sized ISP with
>several full-time employees.

Your friend is an ISP's worst nightmare. Buy bandwidth cheaper than the ISP can buy it, put themselves into business and compete with a huge cost advantage.

employee handbook (4, Insightful)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603490)

Check the terms of your employment before setting up shop on your company's hardware. Typically business frown on personal use of company resources. Worse, they pretty much pwn whatever is on them.. including your brilliant ideas squirreled away between email love letters and Mexican vacation photos. Roll your own or find a reliable hosting service.

Re:employee handbook (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603543)

Exactly what I was going to say.

I'd avoid setting up anything using Work equipment at all. If they paid any part in it, then they can usually try and yoink it from you. That would suck hardcore.

For example, if I use a company copy of VS 2005 on my home computer and develop an application with it, my company essentially owns it. I was using a work copy.

Now, cut to, I buy a copy of VS 2005 at the company store, and use it one my home computer, and develop an application with it. Now it's mine.

So that warm fuzzy that you get from saying "it's mine mine mine", is a GOOD feeling, and you should be embracing it, rather than thinking of ways to get around it.

Re:employee handbook (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603583)

Now, cut to, I download a copy of VS 2005 from bit torrent, and use it on my home computer, and develop an application with it. Now it's mine and I didn't have to pay for VS ;o)

Re:employee handbook (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603603)

Now, cut to, I download a copy of VS 2005 from bit torrent, and use it on my home computer, and develop an application with it. Now it's mine and I didn't have to pay for VS ;o)

Only until they find out, and sue you for profits gained from your copyright infringment. Ouch, now it's theirs. :(

Plus, my company discount on VS 2005 is damned cheap, so there's little incentive for me to use it without proper permission.

Re:employee handbook (1)

russint (793669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603867)

Only until they find out, and sue you for profits gained from your copyright infringment.
Yeah, that'll happen..

Emphasis added (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603565)

Check the terms of your employment before setting up shop on your company's hardware. Typically business frown on personal use of company resources. Worse, they pretty much pwn whatever is on them.. including your brilliant ideas squirreled away between email love letters and Mexican vacation photos. Roll your own or find a reliable hosting service.

mod parent up!!!

(The University I went to had similar policies, including expelling a student for hosting his own business stuff on the comp. sci. server. I don't know what they'd do to faculty or staff who did.)

Re:employee handbook (5, Insightful)

statemachine (840641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603600)

This is excellent advice. However, I would go one step further:

Keep all your personal stuff off company computers.

The submitter is correct in keeping his personal items on his own server that he can pack up on a moment's notice. This cuts down on any potential administrative conflicts.

Also keep in mind that your data is flowing over your company's network, so don't be surprised if any non-public connection gets sniffed at some point by a bored admin.

It's better to just keep your computer away from the company you work for, in general, but I know outside hosting or co-location costs money.

Remember, any data on your company's network or servers is theirs, so if you don't feel comfortable with them knowing your personal issues, store your data elsewhere. Even just having a separate computer doesn't stop them from accidentally taking it (or worse).

Think this is paranoia? Consider that the law is on your employer's side. Is it worth it?

Re:employee handbook (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604190)

Dear sir, I am very interested in your Mexican squirrel-love vacation photos, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:employee handbook (3, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604785)

Don't count on the employee handbook to tell you whether it's OK.

Back in '95, I set up a web site on my desktop machine at the college where I worked. Nothing bandwidth-intensive, just playing around with HTML, publishing info about myself and things I'd written, etc. My boss knew I was doing it, and didn't particularly care. The only person directly affected by it was me (and even running on Win31 for the first several months, I rarely noticed any performance problems).

But the site somehow came to the attention of the upper administration, and some of the material on it did not meet with their {ahem} moral approval. (No, I wasn't running a pr0n site; I'd be rich by now if that were the case. But I was openly gay and had some erotic drawings on the site.) By the end of the day, I found myself in a conversation in which it was suggested that I resign.

Believe me: there was nothing in the employee handbook about what I'd done. There were no disciplinary policies or procedures involved. "At will" employment (which describes the jobs most of us have) doesn't require anything of the sort. All it requires is someone in authority saying "get rid of him". In retrospect, I can say that storing my personal files like this on a college-owned machine was the one of most bone-headed things I've ever done.

After that incident, I briefly tried commercial hosting, but quickly ran into problems with my provider that left me thinking "I can do it better than this". So I got me an ISDN line, installed Red Hat 6 on a spare Pentium box, and never looked back. OK, I admit: When the web server periodically locks up for no apparent reason, or the power goes out for several hours and the portable generator won't start, or a configuration oversight gets my mail server blacklisted as an open proxy, etc. I find myself wondering why the hell I'm trying to do this myself. But the feeling of self-sufficiency, the freedom and power of root access on everything, and the incredible learning experience of doing it all myself keeps persuading me that it's worth it.

It's also made me all the more valuable to the (entirely different) college where I work today. Where I'm careful not to use college resources for anything personal.

The question is... (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603494)


... are you a geek or an end user?

Re:The question is... (1)

rblum (211213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603699)

I'm a geek. And yet, I've got better things to do than run a server. Heck, every dope with 2 weeks scripting experience can do it nowadays. I'd rather focus my time on interesting things.

Re:The question is... (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604447)

... are you a geek or an end user?

Yes.

ISP port blocking (3, Informative)

Mr_Tulip (639140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603495)

If you host it yourself, make sure taht your ISP has no plans to block the port(s) you plan to use for the servers.
There seem to be a lot ISP now, at least here in Australia, who routinely block port 80, 25 and a host of others.

Re:ISP port blocking (1)

un.sined (946837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603523)

Many ISP's also have rules against running your own servers, specifically web and mail servers. Also, some mail servers won't accept mail from a machine who's ip doesn't reverse lookup to the sending domain. I ran into this problem while running a mail server.

I think you're better off letting someone else host it for you. They're on the hook to keep it available. They're on the hook for securing it. All you have to do is use it.

Re:ISP port blocking (1)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603534)

I have been looking around for a co-located server the last month or so and have found a couple that looked decent for about $30/month, if you are running your own hardware anyways what is to stop you from doing a co-locate? All you have to do is sell hosting for a couple of websites to some friends/family and that will pay for the server from month-to-month.

Doing that will get you uber bandwidth and you won't have to worry about port blocking.

Re:ISP port blocking (1)

cirisme (781889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603710)

Would you mind pointing me towards these cheap colocating services? I've been looking for one, but haven't found anything for less than $75. Thanks!

Re:ISP port blocking (2, Interesting)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603753)

The one I am looking to move to is http://www.colopronto.com/ [colopronto.com] I know I ran across a couple of others on google but I don't remember the sites. Now I have not used the service I just mentioned so do your research, my server is currently with RackSpace.com and I am paying $225/month for a dedicated server. As soon as my rackspace contract is up I am going to switch to a co-located server.

Re:ISP port blocking (2, Insightful)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603993)

Before co-locating with a super cheap provider, be sure to check into their background if you want mail delivered consistently. Find out what IP blocks the provider has and look them up on various RBL's to see if you are going to have issues. Looks like Infolink (owner of ServerPronto) has had some issues in the past.

Re:ISP port blocking (1)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604148)

I have done some checking and they look good for the most part, when I checked some of their ip's out I didn't see any major RBL's listing them. As long as they have a stable connection I am normally good since I run my own mail, apache, mysql, and dns servers. I still have more to check on (Policies, what happens if hardware dies, turnaround time, etc) before I decide where to go.

Re:ISP port blocking (1)

briansmith (316996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604529)

This place has received awesome reviews. It hosts javablogs.com and also (I think) apache.org. They claim colocation is $50/mo.
http://www.contegix.com/solutions/colocation/index .action [contegix.com]

I am considering going with them based on the recommendations I have seen. But, I have no first hand experience with them, so do your homework first.

Host your own if you can (5, Insightful)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603514)

If you have the ability and it is not costing you much or anything host your own.

I hosted my stuff at my previous employers and it worked great for a couple of years and then our relationship turned sour overnight and I lost about 3 years of work, I had backups but most of them were where I worked, what I did have backups of on my own was outdated etc.

Running your server is more than warm fuzzies, you can do what you want without anyone looking over your shoulder, plus the experience you gain from it could very well be stuff that could be used on a resume or talked about during a job interview. Much of what landed my current job came from the fact I was my own server admin.

Re:Host your own if you can (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603766)

If you have at least basic admin skills then it's only about $50 a month to host a dedicated Linux box. Not to hard for most people to afford. Or about $5 a month if you just want a dedicated account on someone elses machine.

Re:Host your own if you can (3, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603784)

If work can tolereate it, do it at work because you can test out features that work is not ready for yet. New OS's, webserver software, new content management features, new databases, they can all be tested out on a work-sponsored playspace in a way that would never be permitted on a core server. Then you can turn around and integrate those features into your work services with some practice and some debugging in hand before possibly slapping down a core server.

Personal stuff on a work server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603521)

You better get written permission before you start hosting personal stuff on the employer's box. If the company policy doesn't allow it, you'll justifiably screwed if/when it is discovered.

My thoughts on the issue (5, Funny)

green pizza (159161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603522)

I debated this very same issue, you can read my thought on it at my homepage:

http://www.cocacola.com/~robert [cocacola.com]

Re:My thoughts on the issue (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603532)

ya dick, I fell for it. :)

Re:My thoughts on the issue (1, Funny)

blurfus (606535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603769)

Hahaha, me too
only to realize the joke onMouseUp()... (e.g. immediately after clicking on it)
good one

Re:My thoughts on the issue (0, Redundant)

slacktide (796664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603678)

Am I the only one who checked for this URL in www.archive.org?

Academic Institution (2, Interesting)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603527)

The beautiful and special thing about Universities is they often make resources like this available for their faculty, staff, and students plus have a sizable staff to do the management work for you. If you don't mind some of the regulations they enforce, then I'd go that route as it should be the path of least resistence / cost.

University Management (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603711)

I'd watch it though. Some smaller universities don't have very good network/server management. My University wanted me to help with some applications development and maintenance as a student worker for $5.60/hr. I said screw that as I make about $500/week doing webdesign/consulting on the side. The networking and application maintenance is a joke ran by Ph.D's who won't get their head out of their proprietary asses and think that coldfusion is a godsend. The Computer Science department, however is ran by very well rounded individuals that know wtf they are talking about. All the good people end up being teachers, and assholes end up maintaining the backend, and think of you, the user of their servers as dumbasses, and they don't give a flying shit about your data.

Re:University Management (1)

AmigaBen (629594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604812)

The Computer Science department, however is ran by very well rounded individuals that know wtf they are talking about. All the good people end up being teachers, and assholes end up maintaining the backend,
Bwuhahahahahahah.... Good one! Most especially the part about the teachers being the ones that know what they're talking about. Oh lord, I needed a good laugh. Thank you.

DO BOTH AND BE HAPPY (2, Insightful)

StuffMaster (412029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603529)

Do what I do...do both!

I've got an unused machine in my office at a decent university set up as my mail and web server. Unlimited bandwidth (within reason). Free bandwidth! My own box! On-site administration! Nobody knows! Unlimited email space! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS I WANT!!!

Re:DO BOTH AND BE HAPPY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604024)

I've got you beat: I lost my job six months ago due to budget cuts, but I still run a game server from there! The boss knows about it, too!

WOOT!!!!!

Its root that matters (1)

germanStefan (766513) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603546)

I rent 2 servers and have root access on up to 4. There is nother better than having root access, so when you want to install X you can just apt-get install or yum install or whatever distro you are using instead of waiting for 2 weeks and tech support people to do it for you.

Re:Its root that matters (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604255)

Yeah, root is wonderful! I run Gentoo, and when I want X, I just $emerge X, so instead of waiting 2 weeks.... oh.

Re:Its root that matters (1)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604673)

You install X on production servers :-)

My Advice (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603548)

1) Don't run your own Email Server. It's a pain in the rear, and it'll get blacklisted for being on a consumer subnet anyway.

2) If you have a website that you need to guarantee availability for, get a cheap webhost like LunarPages [lunarpages.com] or IPowerWeb [ipowerweb.com] . (Note that blogs fall under this category. Don't run your own blog unless the Blogger.com service doesn't meet your needs.)

3) If you have something personal (such as vacation pictures, web scripts for testing, an experimental web app, etc.) run your own server. It's a rewarding experience and can teach you a lot.

4) DO NOT run ANYTHING on your employer's servers, unless you have explicit permission. It was one thing to make quick use of them back when bandwidth was hard to come by. But now that everyone and their dog has server-grade bandwidth, there's no reason to be making illicit use of your employer's server.

Re:My Advice (2, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603561)


I run my own mail server but forward through my ISPs mail server. That fixed the dynamic-IP bounces I'd occasionally get.

Right on the money with #4. "don't shit where you eat" I always say.

Re:My Advice (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603724)

I still run my own email server too. But with the advent of GMail and lousy spam-block attempts, the personal email server has become far more trouble than it's worth. I've pretty much kept it around just for application and legacy use.

Re:My Advice (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603947)

Like you, I thought using my ISP as a smarthost was a good idea, but not anymore.

Running my family mail server at home on adsl was fine for the last 5 years until last week when not only did a mail I sent through bellsouth's server get bounced because bellsouth's server was listed at SORBS blacklist, but then bellsouth started to block incoming port 25 so my family and I don't get mail at all anymore.

Now I am contemplating the same question as the original post in addition to having to switch to a sane ISP that actually provides me with an actual connection to the internet.

Re:My Advice (1)

bfields (66644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603758)

1) Don't run your own Email Server. It's a pain in the rear, and it'll get blacklisted for being on a consumer subnet anyway.

I've been sending and recieving my own email directly from a debian/unstable box on a home DSL line (speakeasy) for about 4 years. Unless I've forgotten something, I believe the setup was just a matter of apt-get installing exim and answering the questions in the obvious way. This is the only email address I use for personal and work use, I use it pretty heavily, and I've only seen the blacklist problem on one email. Though it may have happened other times without my noticing, of course. And maybe I just lucked out and got network neighbors that don't get us on too many blacklists.

My most serious problem currently is that my current hardware is kind of poor at recovering from power outages. So if I'm travelling a while and something bad happens at exactly the wrong time I may be without email till I get back home.

So it's not without tradeoffs. But I wouldn't describe it as a "pain in the rear" either. In terms of ongoing administration, there's not much beyond the regular apt-get update && apt-get upgrade (or equivalent for your distro).

Re:My Advice (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603760)

I think 2 needs to be clarified. I think what he's trying to say is either use blogger.com for your blog, or get a cheap webhost. Don't try to do it on your own machine at home. I tried this for a while, and it was more trouble than it was worth. For $4 a month you can get almost everything you need to run a blog. It's well worth it.

Re:My Advice (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603970)

1) Don't run your own Email Server. It's a pain in the rear, and it'll get blacklisted for being on a consumer subnet anyway.

Or just run a recieve-only email server, and send outgoing mail through your ISP's server.

Re:My Advice (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605099)

send outgoing mail through your ISP's server.

Then you have to change your outgoing e-mail server settings whenever you connect your computer to a different ISP, and you have to add each server that you have sent from to your domain's SPF record, if your DNS provider (which is often also your shared web host) even lets you set SPF records. Using SMTP AUTH on port 587 to a smarthost is the preferred solution here.

easy (3, Insightful)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603559)

It's time to choose:

a) If you like the challenge of configuring, securing, and running a server, do it yourself.

b) If you just need to use a server and you get what you want...security, access, uptime...somewhere else for free (or at a reasonable cost), then let someone else do it.

it depends (2, Informative)

amazon10x (737466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603564)

I pretty much host everything on my own servers now for a couple of reasons.

1) Most importantly, I learn all kinds of nifty things doing this that I can apply in a workplace environment

2) I don't have to pay anything. My cable connection + comp is expensive enough; I don't need to pay for that all again.

Obviously, if you have no need to learn about hosting servers and also have some extra money to spend, paying for a server is better. This way you have a better guarentee of uptime (assuming you pick a good host) and you usually will get better speeds this way (I only have 384k upload on my connection so downloading from somewhere else is very slow).

Conversely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603651)

I admin all the servers (and workstations) where I work (a small non-web-hosting business with several online entities). It's great to have root and be able to do whatever I want (ssh access and postgres being the biggies not offered by web hosters).

For my sideline business, I use a web hosting company because:
  1. They have 24/7 oncall people. I don't
  2. They have redundant power. I have a 500VA UPS.
  3. They have multiple fat pipes. I have a cablemodem (with a formerly flakey provider).
  4. They have multi-core, Multi-GB-RAM, RAID-5'd, servers. I have a spare K6-2 and one spare HDD.
  5. They have multiple firewalls, dmzs, etc. I have a dlink and hope.

How good is your self-censor? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603589)

If you're comfortable with the fact that every email you send, every mailing list you sign up for, every love note your MOTAS sends you, is living in your boss's hardware, then sure, why not.

Even if you love your job, though, consider that you may still want to gripe about it to a friend sometime. Would you be comfortable explaining to your boss why your complaints were sent out through his system?

Keep your own server. It's good practice, in several senses.

Host Your Own All the Way (1)

Shimdaddy (898354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603602)

I currently have a website that is hosted only because my university has serious bandwidth caps so I can't host off my own machine. Definitely, though, you should opt for as much independance as you can manage, because then you are bound by fewer agreements. I'm not saying you should or would even want to host pr0n, but often times I want to put something up that a certain service would fail at. IE, using sourceforge for pictures of me and my friends, or using gmail for publicly distributed (or even large) files. Free services just have too many ropes tying you down.

Even hosting to a degree, though it has it's benefits (security, ridiculous uptime), has some issues. I'm learning perl instead of Ruby on Rails simply because my host doesn't support Ruby on Rails. Plus, with hosting normally (I at least) run out of webspace but can't even get close to my bandwidth cap (200 gigs? really?) and host-your-own hard drive space is super cheap.

So, my advice is to set up your own box and enjoy the freedom of a truly blank, unrestricted slate.

My own reliability stinks (3, Insightful)

Wespionage (751377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603633)

In general, I think that managing your own server is a great way to go for things like this -- there are other issues of responsibility that come into play when using your company/institution to host it for you. But if you're going to rely on any of the services you set up for yourself while also treating the box like a bit of a toy (or at least a minor concern), then be prepared to have decent backup services in place for anything that becomes important to you.

I've been running a personal server now for about three years, primarily for web/email services with a few other things. I approached it as though it would be a little box to tinker on. But as I've come to rely on the services more -- particularly email -- I find that relying on my own availability and attentiveness isn't as carefree as I had thought. Most things on the machine are easily trashed/rebuilt/restored, but I rely too heavily on the email accounts handled by the machine so each time I hose the machine or just feel like starting fresh, it is becoming more of a hassle without also having a backup mail server in place.

Requirements? (5, Informative)

Morty (32057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603637)

So, what are your requirements?

  • Do you need the server to be up 24x7, or is some amount of downtime acceptable?

  • Do you mind rebuilding your server when you change jobs?

  • Do you mind rebuilding your server when you change hosting providers?

  • What budget do you need to stay under?

  • Do you have time to perform backups, routine software upgrades, and other maintenance?

  • If your backups are in someone else's hands, will you want to perform periodic secondary backups in case their backups become inaccessible to you?

  • How much do you want to learn, vs. having it Just Work?

  • Will your employer get pissed off at you if you use your company's resources?

  • How much bandwidth, CPU, and other resources do you need?

  • Do you want physical access to the server, or is some virtual setup good enough?


This is a multivariable optimization problem. There is no right answer for all circumstances. Which is why some people host their own sites, some host at their employers' sites, some use colocated servers, some use virtual servers, etc.

Re:Requirements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603995)

You are an enormous nerd. Good show.

There is no clear better. What matters to you? (2, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603656)

Choosing between hosting at home and using a hosting account:

Running your own takes effort. You have to install your own software, keep everything patched, fix failing hardware, accept that it's going to break at some inconvenient time so you have to choose to leave your site down or abandon what you're doing to go fix it, etc.

It's a large investment of time. In return you get to have greater control over the software you use, the posession of your data, the ability to just fix things when they break rather than waiting for tech support, etc.

As for using an employeer... Are you sure they want you to? Who owns your data if you do? If you quit, what happens?

As a Tax payer in Texas... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603672)

I would appreciate if you didn't use state owned, state maintained servers, bandwidth, and infrastructure for personal use.

Re:As a Tax payer in Texas... (1)

bfields (66644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603841)

I would appreciate if you didn't use state owned, state maintained servers, bandwidth, and infrastructure for personal use.

Eh, I don't know. I also tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to using work resources for personal stuff. But when it comes to setting policy I'd rather be lenient--there are also costs to enforcing a rigorous separation between work and personal uses, and I wouldn't expect the small bandwidth/power/whatever savings you get from doing that to be particularly worth it. And at a place like a university, along with the predictable abuses, you also get people that do some pretty cool stuff just for fun, and I'd rather not make those people jump through a lot of red tape.

Re:As a Tax payer in Texas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604338)

That is exactly how I treat my guys at my private employer, with the owners informed consent. A public entity is a differnt case all together. You know, the public trust and all that. Its also against the law.

As a different taxpayer in Texas . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603964)

I say go for it. It will be the most useful application of that bureaucratic hellhole of a money sink yet, if it slows the network and is the last straw that drives some student from that armpit into the job market, it will be worth it. In fact, as a taxpayer, I think I have the right to an account on it too. I'll be in contact, please reserve the username "hornfan".

Re:As a Tax payer in Texas... (1)

el_chicano (36361) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604165)

I would appreciate if you didn't use state owned, state maintained servers, bandwidth, and infrastructure for personal use.
Why not? Especially when the University of Texas offers students access to IT resources for personal use [utexas.edu] ? [PDF file warning].
 
If you read the UT Acceptable Use Policies [utexas.edu] they don't limit what students can do as long as they they respect the fact that IT resources are a shared and limited resource and they don't break any state/federal laws or university policies/regulations.
 
I too am a Texas taxpayer (as well as a college student) and have paid enough in taxes and tuition that I would be pissed off if they did NOT allow students personal access to information resources.

Re:As a Tax payer in Texas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604266)

I agree that students SHOULD use the resources purchased for thier use. BUT, the key words I think you missed were "my employer". This is a state employee. Convering state property for personal or business use is against the law in Texas.

Re:As a Tax payer in Texas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604289)

Some student employee did that at the University I work at and lost his job because of it. It seems the IT director got a nasty letter from someone's lawyer about a copy of DeCSS on the student's web page and decided to fire the student before he learned anything about DeCCS from a neutral source or heard the student's side of the story.

You really don't want to host your servers at work unless you have a contract explaining the rights and responsibilities of each side.

I use my own server. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603688)

I use my own server for a many different reasons.

1. I use it as a file server. I have lots and lots of disk space and I'd rather have that in a room seperate from my desktop. (less noise, less risk)

2. I use it as a media server. I watch mythtv, stream media, and share media files to myself and others with it.

3. I use it for authentication purposes. I can use openafs to share files out onto the internet in a safe manner with authentication taken care of with kerberos. I doubt many people sell system space online for it.

4. I use it for learning purposes. I run Xen on it and run multiple operating systems.

5. I don't use it for email or webserving. I don't paticularly care about that sort of thing. However if I did then I'd use imap and relay the email through my isp's servers and whatnot to avoid blacklisting. I'd be able to more easily aggrigate and sort my email as well as run spamassasin on a seperate machine then my desktop. (my laptop is has a weak cpu and using evolution plugins to filter spam out via spamassasin can take a good hunk of my cpu time)

Web serving is a different beast. My ISP blocks port 80 and thus it's not to usefull for webserving from my home. If I was interested in it I'd use a discount system (small disk space, whatever) for the website's home page and redirect pages and larger files to be served from my home box.

If you just want webserver and email I wouldn't do that myself. It's just silly.. The cost of getting a good service is less then the cost of hardware and electricity you'd spend on doing it from home.. and you'd probably get better results.

My own. (2, Interesting)

awing0 (545366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603695)

I run my own boxes off my employer's electricity, but on an internet connection I barter for. I'm work in electronics recycling, so I trade hardware for bandwidth with an ISP in my building. Rackmout LCDs, UPS hardware, blade servers, you get the idea, for 3 IPs on a connection that's a bit quicker than your standard T1. My employer gets to save hosting costs for services related to online resales of recycled hardware by utilizing the servers and internet connection. And my hosting setup is all done with used post-recycled equipment.

Easiest (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603727)

I find by far the easiest way to do it is by paying for hosting. You can get super cheap packages with shared hosting starting at less than $4 per month. This goes all the way up to dedicated machines where the price can get up around $200 a month. There's a lot less to manage, and uptimes are usually pretty good. This way you can spend more time putting the content on your server, and less time making sure the server is running properly.

Hosting work/personal (3, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603735)

The company I work for would have no technical difficulty hosting my personal website. In many ways they would probably encourage me to do it, as I can use it to gain experience outside of what I do on a day to day basis for the company.

But even if they suggested it I wouldn't do it lightly.

I would rather pay for hosting service and know that if I lost my job tomorrow I would still have the website and domain.

I know that anything I do on the website is mine. I don't use their tools, or their time to maintain it. If, for some reason, they decided they owned something on my website I could, in good faith fight for my rights to keep it as mine. They would have to fight to take it from me, I wouldn't have to fight to get it back.

Keep your homelife, and your worklife separate.

Unless you plan on getting /.ed... (2, Informative)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603787)

Here's what I say: If you don't mind a slightly slower Internet connections and have no intentions of being /.ed, a home server is perfectly acceptable. I myself used to use GeoCities, Tripod, etc. a lot, but after a while kept having to move over because so-and-so had X feature that I wanted... drove me nuts, trying to find a free host that suited my needs.

Eventually I figured that since we have broadband I may as well set up my own machine as a server. Used to run off my desktop – not a good idea – but now I've got a dedicated machine that's been re-purposed as a server. Everything I need (PHP/Python, MySQL, as much space as I need, NO ADS...) and then some.

And this machine hasn't been too much of a problem even though (1) we've got about six or seven machines online ALL AT ONCE at any given time, including the server, and (2) since it's hosting what's now a fairly well-known Linux distro [distrowatch.com] – my own of course, link to DistroWatch to save me bandwidth – and haven't had a problem.

I think the trick is really to just know what you're doing. Don't over-burden your connection, optimize your site for efficient bandwidth usage, use technologies like BitTorrent if you plan on distributing lots of large files, and things should be just fine.

Oh, and one more suggestion: Go with Linux... yes, I'm saying that partially because I'm a Linux developer and therefore would be somewhat biased, partially because it's better optimized for that type of thing, and partially because spending $1000+ on Windows Server for a tiny personal site [or even a large one like mine [dyndns.org] ...] is just overkill. :-)

Re:Unless you plan on getting /.ed... (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603818)

Sorry I'm replying to myself, but one more thing I remembered:

If done just right, you can set up a Linux server and totally forget about it until the end of time for all anyone cares. My own machine, a 700MHz Duron with 256MB RAM, manages to run Apache, sendmail, VSFTPD, and BitTorrent – and not to mention MySQL and a few other internal-use-only-type things – oh, and OpenSSH as well for remote logins, and the occassional VNC session – without any problems; you just have to know what you do and don't need. I've set it up so that it only allows around 20 or so simultaneous connections, and just about the only time it ever needs tweaking is if there's a new version of Ultima Linux out. (And I should know...)

Another suggestion would be to choose a different program to run the site. I hear that lighttpd [lighttpd.net] is pretty good, and mininova [mininova.org] would probably agree with me here... I haven't used it much personally, because I've become overly dependant on Apache's mod_rewrite, but it's worth checking out if you don't want to over-burden the server.

Configuration, configuration, configuration!

Free is not really a good price (2, Interesting)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603802)

My landlord provides free cablemodem, downside it's shared with about 5 other people and it drags down my torrenting or gaming with their VoIP phones and surfing. Damnit I need my fansubs!!!

At work we got rackspace out the wazzoo so my boss would let me put a server on our corp network if I keep it low key (loki?). Downsides are if I get fired/quit I got to move it out with a quickness. I also need to worry about management asking why a v120 and a Sunfire 280R is in the racks that's not under control of the dev group, they need accounts on it by close of business today..... Not to mention having to explain open firewall ports or making a fast shuffle when we need to expand in a OMG hurry.

I could run the boxes at my house but the electrical is circa Ben Franklin, I can't keep them all up at once so I bite the bullet and rent a rack for $350. It's part of the costs of building a bigtime app cluster as a hobby. Seti will be pleased until I get it going for real.

Conclusion, if you don't have a long term plans/needs for servers, stay out of it. Get yourself a linux box and stick it in a corner. If you want to play with the big toys, you need to not play in the kiddy pool. Real computers need real power, UPS, racks etc. Otherwise they will gather dust in your garage and that $2000 you spent will be 18 months from now gone, as you sell it for $150 on ebay. Deep coat of dust not included.

NEVER use work's server (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603807)

It is their server. All your datas are belong to them.
You won't work there for ever.
They will decide they no longer can afford to have people freeload on their server.
Someone will buy them out, and decide that they can't affort to ...

I host my own because that's the kind of thing I do. I've done it since the late 80's, when it was UUCP. I'll probably continue to do it for a long time. But if all you want is email, I'd use Google. If you want to blog, I dunno - plenty of people let you do that cheap/free.

If you want to host a website, maybe you want to run a webserver and use dyndns (supposing you can't get a static).

But hosting mail can sure be a lot of work. All the spam, and the multitude of painful spam protection software. dynamic IP blocking, ISP policies, and the fact that you're going to change ISPs every few years makes it all even more troublesome. But it can be done if you want to.

Interesting Info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603904)

This guy appears to work for ITS at UT-Austin

Directory Information for Schley Kutz

Name: Schley Kutz
E-mail: a.kutz@its.utexas.edu
Title: Oper Sys Spec, BA
College/Department: Information Technology Services
Office Phone: +1 512 475 9246
Office Location: COM 1
Office Address: The University of Texas at Austin
Asso VP for Res-Prgm Devel Ofc
1 University Station Stop G2700
Austin TX 78712
Campus Mail Code: G2700

Re:Interesting Info (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604411)

This guy appears to work for ITS at UT-Austin

Yup. And next week UT is going to decide to outsource their IT to India. Or secede from the union. Or become a subdivision of Halliburton.

You never know.

Never trust work's server.

Simple (3, Insightful)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603826)

Who do you trust?

(this coming from someone who still has an answering machine)

thanks for the responses! (5, Informative)

akutz (452702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603948)

I appreciate all your comments, truly. For the curious, here is my setup at home. I have a 10mbps Fiber connection to my home courtesy of Grande Communications. I happen to rent a duplex in a well-to-do neighborhood of Austin where my wife and I could never afford to actually buy, but the nice side-effect of renting here is that the Austin president of Grande lives in the same neighborhood making this area the first one with fiber to the doorstep :) Oh, and I pay for 3mbps! double-:)

My server is a P4-2.8ghz 83G5 Shuttle with 2GB of RAM. It runs Ubuntu Linux 5.10 Breezy Badger. All this setup does is run SSH (pubkey auth only ) and Apache2 with WebDav enabled so I can access my home directory from afar with ease. Oh, and I require client certificates to talk to my WebDav share for security.

On top of this though I run VMware GSX server. I run a virtual instance of Breezy that is my web/e-mail/ldap/svn server. The beauty of it being virtual is that if I ever need to move it I just move the directory to another machine! Since the VM was created under VMware GSX 3.2.1 I can easily move it into ESX 2.5 or VMware Workstation 5.5.1 (legacy mode). I went this route specifically in case of the need to migrate the server. I also run a virtual instance of Windows 2003 Server Enterprise and Exchange 2003 for testing code and projects on Windows.

I like running my own server, it teaches me a lot, and I feel that I have the minimum amount of competence to pull it off. That said, there are times when I would love to just give it to somebody to run for me!

P.S. I was using Lunarpages, but I got to the point when I decided that I needed shell access to much. However, Lunarpages is a spectacular hosting company and their support turnaround is second to none. Withing 2 hours on the weekends! Those guys rock!

My solution: both! (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603985)

Like you, I like the warm fuzzy feeling of running my own server, knowing I can put whatever I want on it (both in terms of content, and configuration--Win/Lin, PHP, Perl, Postgres, etc.), never run out of room, and not worry that someone else will upgrade a component that will break everything. So, I've got a vanity domain running on my DSL at home--mostly my little play area.

On the other hand, I don't want to *have* to keep that box up 24/7/365 so I've got my main "real" domain at a real host--that way, I (mostly) don't have to worry about important stuff like keeping my email going and not running a box that's vulnerable to spammers.

Also, consider your desired naming--do you *want* to be company.com/you or school.edu/~you forever? (And, more importantly *can* you? What happens if you quit, get fired, graduate, or drop out?) In any case, if you want a real, permanent TLD, you'll probably need to run your own box at home or pay for a host.

Dumb story, but... (3, Insightful)

Gherald (682277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604009)

Q. Which is better, running your own server or letting someone else do it for you?

A. Letting someone else do it for you, and rsyncing daily to your own server.

Re:Dumb story, but... (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604632)

I'm surprised this didn't get modded up. It should.

It gives you the experience and (questionable) geek cred of running your own server, but without any of the hassle. You can even run your server as a virtual instance on your desktop, if it's suitably powerful, I suppose. But the point is you keep everything that the outside world touches in the colo building; you just get to do the "fun stuff" of building your site, your blog, whatever. And if you want to switch hosting companies? No biggie -- you have everything in your house. Or if the your house gets wiped out by a fire/flood/meteor strike? Again, no problem. Well, actually a big problem for you, but nobody reading your website will notice. (As long as you keep paying the bill, of course.)

It gives you uptime, without having to worry about the QoS of the internet to your house -- probably expensive, if available at all -- or the power brownouts, or HVAC, or any of the other infrastructure stuff. And, perhaps most importantly, you aren't risking your job by running your blog on your company's server (which I think is such a uniquely stupid idea, I can't believe anyone in this day in age would actually consider it -- I won't have unencrypted personal IM conversations from my work laptop ... much less run a server from the office!).

In the end I don't think it would be that much more expensive an option than running a server out of your house and doing it right would cost; for the price of a good internet connection (synchronous, 1d onsite support) in a residential area, you can get a 1U colo or an VM on a shared server, and use a computer you have around the house to build the site and rsync it to the colo. In my mind, that's the way to go.

I plan to do this (2, Interesting)

this great guy (922511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604010)

I have thought about it a lot. I work from many different locations (at work, at home, at random places on my laptop using a wireless Internet provider, etc) on a multitude of projects, and basically my need is to have a permanent access to a secure Unix server offering flexible services on my DNS domain, in order to:

  • Use it as a mail server, get myself a permanent email address (independent of my current employer and/or the current trendy free email account provider), forward most of my current email addresses to this central location, archive some of the emails without having to worry about the available storage space, archive the most important mailing lists I am subscribed to, and be able to conveniently access all of this at anytime using a local Mutt instance via SSH (or a remote IMAP/SSL client). Nothing is as fast as a textual mail interface to manage a huge amount of emails.
  • Use it as a web server, because I need to have a permanent HTTP address for some of my stuff (articles/papers I publish, etc). When I say "permanent", I expect to use the same domain and URL in 30 years.
  • Use it as a handy Unix shell available at anytime, from which I have direct access to the Internet: no fscking fw, no high-latency DSL connection, convenient end-point for my private VPNs, etc.
  • Store and edit the data that I use very frequently: current open source projects I am working on, etc.

That's why I plan to buy a 1U server with at least 2 disks in order to do RAID 1, and I will have it collocated in a datacenter offering affordable prices. I plan to use an encrypted partition (think /home) to store my data, this partition will have to be mounted manually (to enter the required passphrase). This way if someone power off the server and try to steal my data, the encrypted partition will be useless for him.

Ideally I would have preferred NON-managed colocation (i.e. I would responsible for the physical installation of my hardware in the rack, and I would have access to it 24/7), but since it's too expensive I have chosen to go for managed colocation (i.e. I send my server to the colo company and they install it, but I would not have free physical access to my server).

Why not skip the CoLo and host it yourself? (1)

Akardam (186995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604507)

This is based on my personal experience. I've run my own linux server from home for many years, providing quite a range of services (DNS, HTTP, FTP, shell, etc), and if you live in an area with good power service, then I think you could pull it off.

First off, find yourself a local, geek run ISP. They generally will have good service, with high speed low latency connections to multiple higher-tier ISP's, and their own backup power.

Second, get a decent DSL package through them, and I'm not talking the "speed not garunteed" SBC deal-o-the-week - something in the range of 3.0-6.0mbit downstream and 384-768kbit upstream. If you can't find a decent local ISP, look at a larger geek friendly ISP like Speakeasy. With my DSL, which is 3.0/384 via a Covad line, I can get consistant 20ms ping times to google.com, so latency is not a problem. Plus, I've had maybe 90-120 minutes of downtime in the last 12 months. Sure, it ain't 5 nines, but it's not bad, either.

Get yourself a /29 or /28 netblock for the heck of it, and you're your own mini-ISP. You can expand services and machines as you see fit, and you have complete and secure physical and administrative control over your boxen, and you don't have to give the boys down at the NOC a call at 3am to power cycle your box if something goes wrong.

Re:Why not skip the CoLo and host it yourself? (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605120)

This is an idea that I have considered. But in my case, I am very nomadic: I move about once every 12 months. So if I hosted my own server, I would have at least 3 to 4 weeks of downtime every 12 months (time to move and subscribe to a new DSL plan), plus a change of IP address. Add to this the frequent power outages in my area (California), and IMHO this is just too much hassle. Compare this to a managed colo for 1U with a 10 Mbps (if not 100 Mbps) symmetric connection for about $100 a month or less, and I think for me the colo makes more sense... But of course I would be happy to change my mind if someone can share a good experience while hosting his own server and moving frequently...

You Are Responsible for Security (3, Informative)

yancey (136972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604012)


I'm guessing you have already considered the relevant University of Texas System polices [utsystem.edu] , the Office of General Council Ethics Standards [utsystem.edu] , and the ITS Policies [utexas.edu] . Sorry, I work for another Texas university. :-) Universities tend to be generous and tolerant of a personal computer on their network so long as it does not interfere with your work, does not violate any laws or policies, and does not interfere in any way with the network or other computing systems.

With that in mind, know that you and only you are responsible for the security of your computer and that you will be held responsible for any undesireable activity coming from your computer. If someone were to manage to compromise your computer and then attempt to compromise other university systems, you will at least be held responsible for not securing your own system, if not held responsible for anything coming from your computer -- or through it. If you are quite certain that you can keep your computer secure, then by all means run your own server and learn as much as possible. It's best not to experiment with production university systems. Besides, one could argue that using university-owned systems for your own purposes is a violation of the ethics policy. However, using your personal computer on the university network is no different than any student using a laptop.

Re:You Are Responsible for Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604394)

Impressive!

Student Quota: "Disk Quotas: 500 MB" http://www.engr.utexas.edu/itg/students/home_dir.c fm [utexas.edu]

The Student quota is 50 MB as my school (UT Dallas).

Running Servers on University Boxes in Ohio (FYI) (3, Informative)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604509)

Just as an FYI, here in Ohio (as it was explained to me by my HR contact), it is illegal to profit from State owned (e.g. public university) resources such as IT equipment, vehicle, telephone, e-mail box, etc. (ORC 102.04) For example, forwaring "you@yourbiz.com" to the University Central Mail system and making personal business transactions, is (at the opinion of the University) a violation of (ORC 102.02) If what you are doing is of "academic or not-for-profit" interest, it's up to the IT folks/university lawyers what they construe as "within the academic mission of the university." The problem comes when your friend of a friend's boss asks if you'll host his stuff for $juicy_sum_of_money, and you risk it or need to get a 3rd party host if you want to get his business anyway,. You also have to worry about hosting content for a social/political group whom the university (or mid-tier sysadmin) doesn't want on the subnet, you're in a real pickle.

Killing a server (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604512)

When I am testing something I might like to implement at work, I generally try it on my own servers first. Partly because it's a learning experience for me either way (and the more practice, the better) and also because killing my home server just annoying a bunch of unpaying users whom I host... killing the work server means pissing off the bigwigs which is much less cool.

Not company servers, please (2, Insightful)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604546)

As so many others have said, keep your personal data out of company servers. Otherwise, you are just asking for trouble.

If you want to provide some sort of internet service, even if it's just for yourself, keep in mind the risks asociated with it.

Example: if you run your own personal mail server it might be only a matter of time before some clown decides to spam your domain doing a dictionary attack, and while anti-spam techniques can be pretty effective in rejecting messages, your bandwidth/cpu will still be consumed.

If you would still like to keep control of your email, try a colo box, or a virtual server, or one of them spam filtering services (you point the mx to them and they forward the "clean" mail to you) or even a traditional mail server and "fetchmail" the mail into your own server.

This shouldn't even be a question (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604681)

Don't mix your personal stuff on company gear! What good can come of it? If a hacker takes over your webserver and turns it into a SPAM zombie because of a flaw in your script or the next Apache whole, who's going to be in trouble? Yup. You. What do you gain? You save a few bucks.

IMHO, host at home for sites in which you aren't concerned about uptime, or get a webhost for sites where uptime counts. FWIW, I host my personal website on an old Linux box downstairs, but my commercial stuff is on a professionally hosted VPS.

Bad idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604810)

Running your own server on a company's dime without explicit permission is stealing, plain and simple. Why not just use the mail room to send your personal packages while you're at it? In fact, most companies in their bylaws have explicit rules prohibiting this very sort of thing.

List of personal colocation providers (3, Informative)

ziegast (168305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604986)

I don't host anything of my own at work. Take a look at the Personal Co-location Registry [vix.com] . You'll find a bunch of inexpensive providers for your servers or apps.

shared server (3, Insightful)

np_bernstein (453840) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605013)

Uhm, have you looked around to see how much it costs to get your web/mail/databases hosted? It's cheap as hell. I started at 2.95/month a few years ago, and now I pay a whopping $9/month. Maybe I'm just insane, but I would *never* consider hosting my stuff at an employer's work, even if they were OK with it and I had no plans of leaving ever. It's just shady. What if your php script that you just threw together playing around and that didn't go through QA had a hole in it and your server got compromized... or whatever.

Leave work at work and home at home,
Nick

Ask Yourself the Same Question I Did (2, Informative)

nuintari (47926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605052)

Ask Yourself the Same Question I Did.

How badly do you want to do things, "Your Way?"

I work for an ISP that gives me a lot of freedom to do things as I see fit, and I am very proud of the work I have done, and the machines I maintain. However, I am bound by compatability issues with previous design decisions I don't always agree with. That sort of entrenched policy is impossible to quickly erradicate. Hence, I opted to maintain my own trio of machines that do my bidding.

I do make extensive use of my work servers as well, but for my personal use, I wanted it to be 100% all mine. I have prior design decisions of my own that I regret that have become entrenched, but at least they are "My" mistakes, and mine alone to fix. But I am an insatiable individualist, to the point of obsessiveness.

Just how badly do you want to run a sys your own way? If the answer isn't, "I wanna run a server for myself and possibly a few friends as if I were a demon from hell, sent to restore order to the entire interweb, one puny server at a time." Its probably not worth the effort. If that _is_ your answer, medication?
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