The Home Server will be a very important piece in our home installation, it is like the main brain of the house. Well, in fact, you can do it with several little “brains” but that will bring in some limitation and complication. Therefore, it won’t be the solution I will use here.
The Home Server is nothing more than a computer with adequate hardware and connected to your network infrastructure with a proper connection. The OS and software will then be installed on it as per your needs as to expand the functionalities of your installation.
Step 1 : The Hardware
In the dedicated page, I’ll try to guide you through the difficult yet important process of choosing the hardware and putting it together (if applicable) so that you will be ready for the following steps.
Step 2 : The OS
A server is a computer, so it is basically a couple Hardware + Operating System on which we run applications and services. We then need an operating system.
Here, you’ll get some hints on what is available and what I would recommend. A quick explanation on how to get it up and running is as well provided.
OK, our server is ready. Well, almost, we need applications on it to make it useful.
Step 3 : Database & Webserver
Firstly, we will need to install a database system and a webserver. Those are not mandatory, but with the growing importance of the web-based app, it is slowly becoming a must to have the Webserver, not to mention that some other apps will get a web-based administration panel, so, better have a good server for that.
As for the database, why do you need it? Well, those above mentioned Web-based app will need data like the user names, the rights for each user, maybe record some measurements,… All these data will need to be stored in… a Database.
So I repeat here, this step is not mandatory, you can skip it and come back to it when I tell you you would need to have done it (some of below services will need webserver and database but not all).
Now, we have our server, with minimum stuffs on it, so what can we do with it.
Step 4 : Applications
Here is a quick list of uses for a home server, You do not need to install all of them, just pick what is useful for you.
- Media Server : Use your server as center part of a home-wide entertainment system
- Local Network File Sharing : We will use here Samba file sharing => Samba
- Global File Sharing by FTP : get you file globally accessible easily => proFTP + Webmin
- Downloading Station : Get an always ON device to exchange files over P2P networks => transmission + transmission remote
- Website Hosting : Host your website at home for “free” => Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, …
Additional interesting stuff
- Server Monitoring : a way to verify that your server is not under too much stress => Webmin
- Cloud Backup : Have a safety backup in the cloud => Crashplan
- DDNS : Get your server available globally => mooo.com