Why not to run your Web Server from home

Any one would have you believe that you can set up a computer at home to run a web server and build a big web empire from the comfort of your sofa.

Whilst the sofa part is potentially true, running a web server from home is a fools errand and here’s why:

  • Dynamic IP addresses – almost all home broadband connections come with what’s called a dynamic IP address. Your IP address is kind of like your postal address. Now imagine if you’ve got a website that people want to see, but you move house every day. Nobody is going to find you. You can pay for Static IP addresses from your internet provider, but it’s cheaper to get a dedicated server than pay for that static IP.
  • Bandwidth Limits – home broadband is not only designed with dynamic addressing, it’s also designed to have wider pipes going one way than the other. Almost all internet connectivity to the home is coming from someone else to you. You send Netflix 2kb to request a file, and they send you 600mb in return. Broadband providers know this, so they optimise the network this way.
  • Running a Computer costs Money – this one’s a simple one. To have a website available, you need your computer to be switched on. Not only is that costing money to have the power there, but you need to make sure it stays on. If there’s a power cut. And even if there’s a power cut, how are you going to connect to the internet?
  • Home Computers aren’t reliable – this one’s not quite as strong as the rest, but dedicated servers are built with components that are designed to be left on permanently. Home computers aren’t – they’re optimised for power efficiency, and to be able to be switched on and off multiple times. Dedicated servers have built in protections from errors in hardware that most consumer level home computers just don’t include.
  • Home servers don’t offer value for money – to make a quick comparison, browsing eBay for a suitable computer it might cost me around £400 to buy. A dedicated of similar specs will cost less than £10pm. I’d expect to need to pay to upgrade or replace that computer within 4 years, in which time I could’ve paid a dedicated server provider less and they upgrade the servers over time.
  • Support – last thing is support. If your server stops turning on, there’s nobody at home to help. If it’s in someone’s data centre your £10pm is paying for someone to keep the lights on. And they do.

There’s no good reason to host your sites at home, unless it’s for the smallest of small projects. Get someone to host it for you (we’ll do it, contact us for a quote) or set up a server yourself.


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