Ways to self-host your own website

It seems that recent news have triggered a wave of distrust in cloud and hosted web service. The popularity of hosting your website on your own computer seems to be growing. Personally, I’ve been running my own mail server for years, but several concerns have prevented me from trying to host my own website:

  1. Asymmetric bandwidth – The existing broadband infrastructure was laid by large a powerful communications companies that are more interested in broadcasting video and other media to passive “consumers” then in allowing “users” to communicated. A typical 100Mbit broadband cable connection tends to provide only mere 1 or 2Mbit of upload bandwidth.
  2. Security – Hosting a website from your own internal network typically means potentially exposing your network directly to outside threats.
  3. Availability – If anything happens to your home network – it happens to your website. Power failures, computer crashes, bandwidth-eating games and peer-to-peer software, they will all affect your site.
  4. You are on your own – Support services can be very useful when your tile is limited. There is no one to turn to we you do your own hosting.

Having considered the above, recent disappointment with a hosting service I use, had led me to consider self-hosting once more, hare are some ways one can accomplish that:

DynDNS+Port forwarding

This is the old-school way of hosting your own services. You register for a dynamic domain name at DynDNS.org and configure port-forwarding in your home router to route communications from the internet directly into your own computer.

Unfortunately DynDNS had become less accommodating in recent years, having moved from providing a free and extensive service and allowing users to setup a script to automatically update it (That script was even included in most home routers), to seeking payment for many once-considered-trivial services and forcing free users to manually fill a form every month.

 

Pagekite

Pagekite logoPagekite provides a noval approach to hosting your own content. Instead of directing internet traffic directly to your home server, you direct it to Pagekite’s servers and run a piece of software on your computer that forms a tunnel to their servers thereby bypassing the firewall on your home router.

Pagekite provides a very simple built-in firewall that utilizes a fixed blacklist to block access to well-knows administrative web pages, but the basic architecture has much potential which is, unfortunately, currently untapped:

  1. It is unclear wither the included firewall performs its filtering on Pagekite’s front-end servers or on your own back-end machine. Configuration options could have been provided to perform very powerful filtering on the front-end servers, thereby preventing malicious communication packets from reaching one’s internal network.
  2. The front-end servers could provide caching, thereby compensating for low-bandwidth home network uplinks and providing greater availability.

Pagekite’s pricing model seems to be similar to DynDNSe’s. You can use it for free while filling a form once a month, or pay 3$/mo.

 

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