I'm trying to set up my own web server and I'm wondering what and why would make the best server that fits my needs.
My first choice was the ubuntu server edition but I'm really not that fond of not having a GUI and as a Linux noob it's kinda hard.
Since I'm a student I can get the Windows Server 2008 R2 for free and I've never set up a server before so I figured this would be the most user friendly version but I'm not afraid of taking some time and learn my other options.
And I just recently begun thinking about the OpenSolaris web server since I want it to be MySQL based and all, why not go with the maker of MySQL?
What I want from the server is to be able to host websites, stream videos and download via ftp. I want also to be able to host community-like websites.
Just about any desktop OS can act as a webserver--even non-server Windows distros. You don't really even need the "server" version of Ubuntu to get a web server up and running. You can opt for the "desktop" version and just enable the services you need via a nice graphical interface (possibly requiring a download here and there).
So ... just try some things? I would recommend an *nix system. You can start your setup in the GUI and learn the command line as you go ...
The second biggest reason for me switching to Linux for my day-to-day desktop OS was to learn about Linux in general because I knew the servers, and most of the other web-related software that I use to generate and dish out dynamic web pages, are designed to run on Linux. At the time when I switched, though, I didn't realize there were seperate distributions designed for desktops and web hosts. So I just installed a desktop Suse and started trying to get on my feet. Once I had the absolute basics down I started trying to piece together a web hosting environment.
When I started out I was using the GUI almost exclusively. It took me a few days to even find out there was a command-line interface. I just pottered along at my own pace. Mostly using the GUI, and then dabbling in the CLI when I got curious or when I had to use it.
Now I'm perfectly happy and confident in building an Apache, PHP and MySQL environment (plus all of the associated peripheral software) from source. I'm actually abaout to have a peek into what's involved in adding Java into the mix by way of Tomcat. Things often crop up after some version changes of some software and I have no idea what's in store with Tomcat (like if it runs as an Apache module like PHP does, or if it runs as a seperate server). I'm not worried, though, because I probably have enough of an understanding of the basics to be able to just read through the documentation and work it out for myself. If I don't know enough then there is, of course, always this place.
You can run MySQL on Windows. So if you decide you'd rather stay with Windows, then you can still work with it, but last time I checked there was quite a bit of "this doesn't work on Windows" in the installation (and a few other sections) of the MySQL manual. Most of the things that don't work on Windows are things you'd probably never use anyway, but it'd be a good idea to check first. You don't need to worry about going the Solaris or Linux route either because you can just do like I did and go at your own pace. Start with your GUI and dabble when you want. You can install all the web hosting software via a GUI too, but I tend not to do it that way because (as far as I know) you can't customize the software you're installing when installed via a package manager.
Last edited by Stephen Philbin; 11-25-2009 at 07:15 AM.
Thanks for the great replys! I recently talked to a friend of mine who is working with webhosting and development and he gave me some good tips. I think I will start out with the windows 2008 server installation and run a linux installation in VirtualPC so I have two operating systems running on the same computer. So if I'm having trouble with anything in linux can I instead do it in windows... probably. Thanks for the great information Stephen Philbin! I'm really curious about linux so I will too play around a little until I learn to handle it!