Building, Running & Managing Your Own Server Farm

Jul 25, 2009

Building, running and managing your own Server Farm.

This thread is dedicated to those who find themselves on or considering this path.

Here, I am not hosting any ‘foreign business interests’ or associating with any other ‘hostile networks’. I am needing to create many sub-nets, with 3 to 5 WAN’s inbound and outbound. I have a ‘research sub-net’ needing special considerations and will link associates/contractors by VPN. The product-line will also require Radius Server(s). Plus more details and requirements that make the whole project most complicated.

(Thanks to ‘leeware’ for this beginning theme)

1.0 Objective: Building a 30-50 Server facility:

I checked my records and made this decision 2 - ˝ months ago. Since then I have acquired 28 servers, an internet security device, two 3com’s, two 4-port kvm’s, a few small Cisco switches and a host of power related stuff.

2.0 Justification for Building vs leasing:

Control. Costs. Open options. Unique demands more easily appreciated by myself as I am the one possessing the vision. Choosing who I work with as I do the hiring/contracting or initiate associations.

We are generally molded by personal experiences and these set-up our prejudices. I am certainly no exception. My experiences with hosts generated an excellent introduction to the wide world of websites/control panels etc and some products that support it. But the too often cryptic communications, some surprise costs due to my ignorance and that vulnerable ‘boxed in’ feeling made me wonder…

2.1 What is your rational for building vs leasing?

One of my major ‘cross the line’ rational came when I discovered I could buy a used server each month for a similar cost of leasing one. Next, were all my own confounded ‘special circumstances’ that kept cropping up and of course these were not the fault of any hosting company. Lastly technology came to my street in the form of good multiple pipes and my zoning is acceptable because I am off a major highway.

3.0 Business Objectives:

My business objectives center around a very long-run project that I have already long ago completed and keep updated to viability. And I would rather keep that subject to another venue.

4.0 Budgetary Information:

I have enough ‘resources’ to pull it off.

4.2 What is your operating budget (How much money do you plan to spend on an ongoing basis to keep the place running for 12-24 months?)

Same as previous and I will note that ‘time and attention’ is keenly important.

4.3 More importantly, where is this money going to come from? If from investors they generally require a sound business plan.

I require a sound business plan and have it.

5.0 Return on Investment:

Accomplish goals on and on…

5.1 After you account for the initial capital expense to get everything up and running + your on going operating costs, how long will it take you to make back your initial investment and then reach profitability? (12/24/36 months for longer?)

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Hosting A Wiki Farm

Dec 24, 2007

We have a smallish website-design business. Most of the sites are built using the flat-file-based, PmWiki-brand, php software, which we skin to look like "normal" websites, but have the ease of editing that wiki technology provides.

Right now we have a shared hosting account with unlimited domains, and have to manage all the controls for all the clients' sites ourselves, because there's just one control panel for the whole account, BUT we also have to have a full installation of the PmWiki software for each site we set up, because the security setup won't allow multiple domains to use a shared set of scripts.

We would like to host a wiki farm using PmWiki on a reseller-style account. For this to work our way, we want to make a directory structure that looks something like this:


|-- pmwiki.conf (some files not accessible from the web)
|-- pmwiki_base/
| |-- pmwiki.php (pmwiki.php used by the farm)
| |-- wiki.d/ (base wiki's page storage)
| |-- local/ (base wiki's local configuration)

| | |-- farmconfig.php (config for all the Farm Fields)

| |-- cookbook/ (wiki's recipes)
| |-- uploads/ (Farm page attachments)
| |-- pub/ (Farm&Fields publicly-accessible files)

|-- field01 /
| |-- field.php (wrapper script for the Field)
| |-- wiki.d/ (Field page storage)
| |-- local/ (Field local configuration)
| | |-- config.php (config for the Field)
| |-- uploads/ (wiki's page attachments)
| |-- [pub/cookbook] (only if needed for this Field)
|-- field02 /...
|-- field03 /...
|-- field04 /...
|-- field99 /...

In this model, the subdirs field01-field99 are actually our customer domain sites. We would like each of these sites to have its own CPanel or HSphere controls so they can manage their email/etc., but we manage much of the actual sites centrally, in the pmwiki_base directory as above. This way, we can upgrade our client's site functionality without duplicating the code across each domain.

Can we do it with a reseller plan, and gain the benefit of all those exciting billing/management features?

Would this have to be both reseller and VPS, in order for us to safely have those few php scripts shared by all the different sites?

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Managing Your Linux Server

Aug 18, 2007

site or resource that offers worth thing for managing linux server from begin to end about any category for instant, linux basics, Security, Optimizing Mysql, Installing 3rd party software.... and whatever else ?

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Building A Server

Mar 24, 2009

I am thinking about buying this processor and building a server with it. This processor is very affordable for me but I am wondering what kind of server I should run it as? Do you think the processor would be able to handle a heavy DDoS attack and act as a good firewall?

Let me know, here's the processor I want to build the server with:

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Exchange Server - Managing Company Group Emails

Jun 1, 2007

Our company has recently invested in a Microsoft Small Business Server, we are moving all our email accounts to exchange server.

Our company runs a high profile website in Japan and we have a few email accounts that are downloaded by multiple staff, rather than have all staff download the same emails is it possible to have all emails forwarded to a public inbox where emails processed can be marked and ignored by other staff?

We do not want to forward the emails to user's personal inboxes, this seems to be the common solution for this type of email.

This might sound like a basic questions but we have trolled the internet for best practices in trying to set up this solution on exchange server but have not come across an answer.

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Building A Dedicated Server

May 30, 2009

I have built my own computer before with ease. However, I am aware that building a dedicated server can be slightly different. I have a question.

Should I go with 'normal' hardware or specially made 'server hardware'?

I am aware that 'server hardware' is more expensive, but is it really that much better? I don't want to spend out lots of cash just for a minor performance increase.

Also I was looking at these rack mount cases as I am going to Co-locate the box. However I don't know which would be the best to use with my configuration.


I'm hoping to use a Quad Q6600 and 4GB RAM but I'm stuck on which motherboard to use,

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Buying/building Web Server

Jun 15, 2008

So I need to build or buy a server to run my site. The site will use a basic LAMP setup and we will also be allowing for file uploads and downloads. File sizes aren't expected to be too large, mostly word/PDF documents and maybe some Powerpoint presentations. At the moment we can only afford one box to run the whole site so we need to build something that can handle both file serving and basic site stuff.

I'm wondering what kinds of hardware we would need to make this happen. If I were to setup a box with a quad core CPU, 4-8GB of RAM, and a few 15K RPM drives would that be able to handle file serving and PHP/mySQL? Would multiple processors be required? What about RAID?

I guess the real question is what kind of hardware requirements are involved with setting up a file server. I'm guessing running PHP and mySQL is not really an issue but I don't want the site to slow down because of the file serving. I'm sure some of you have experience with this sort of thing so if anyone knows please let share your thoughts.

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Building A Backup Server/nas/san

Jun 8, 2008

Wondering what the most cost-effective and efficient way of building up a bulk backup server. I'm colocating some equipment and will have a private network.

I have a full cab, and only a few servers in it, so lots of room to spare.

Now this will originally just be used for my own users, but I need ease-of-use and expandability. For example, I can load it up with lots of cheap SATA drives, and a raid card. However, what do I actually do on the software end? Installing Linux and setting up rsync crons is the easy part, but what about permissions? Is there an easy way to create users?

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Building A Server For Colocation

Nov 26, 2007

In me effort to go colo I have been studying as best I can different server builds. Here is some information you may want to know or be able to help me and others with.

Quest: Build a server designed for serving html and other uses as a webserver (mail, database, etc). Limux operating System

Chipset- Although I found a lot of good and bad motherboards, I could find no information regarding chipsets and Linux. maybe it does not matter, who knows? Also..upgrading motherboard and chipset AFTER server is up and running seems like a challenge.

Harddrives- It would seem best to get a harddrive made for a 24/7 uptime. Not ALL drives are like this. Seemingly, unconfirmed, SCSI drives are for this pupose. However, Western Digital has made some 'RE' drives that are to be up 24/7 with no issues.
Note: 7200+ rpm drives appear to fail more often and some suggest a more stable 5400rpm.

Built in NIC vs Adding one- Very little could be found on this, but would assume a much better one should be bought and not use an onboard one. Some onboards can have probelm with some linux distros too. I would buy one and add it...a good one.

CPU- very little talk was available on linux's use of multiple CPUs. Very little talk was available on speed and use of multiple versus single cpu units. Example- how would a single cpu of 3ghz do against 2 CPUs of 1.8ghz.
Having two CPUs does allow for a server to utilize different CPUs for different processes, so if one is busy, the other can be used.
No information was really available on the difference..or what you should buy for the actual CPUs.

RAM- Buttloads of ram out there. No info on what works best with linux, which works best for a server, or what kind would work best for a server.

Motherboard- many are available and many suggest different kinds, but no definitive reasons have been given. No idea which would be best for a linux web server.

Control panel versus no control panel - after a little learning curve it would appear a non control panel is easy to use for a single user server. Control panels are buggy, have many issues, but do allow multi user systems and shared servers to be easily used. Some seem very limited in the updated versions of software. I will be going with fedora, but no control panel. The overhead is not something I want to deal with..or the bugs, or the old software, of the issues of upgrading. Ensim and cpanel seem most used and professionally serviced.

Raid- Just working on this one. No real info as to the best type of raid card for a linux webserver. Raid 1 is a mirror system i believe that allows you to have two drives where one is a ghost of another (sort of)? Do not know how much this slows the system or the drives down, but a mirror would be best in the case of a failure.
Do not know what happens when there is a failure (will system freeze, ignore it, hang?)

Partition of drives: It would seem that putting the linux system on one aprtition, the /home directory on another, and perhaps the mail directory on another is a way to make it easier to deal with certain issues. If you need to compile, reinstall, or whatever with linux and all your data is not on the partition, it becomes easier. If a partition gets screwed, the data is spread out, so much can not be destroyed. The actual amounts for the partitions are not evident in my research.

ANyway, that is a synopsis of info I have been perusing these last few days. Usually you can only find someone talking about something they use and like, but no real details to balance out why something else will not be as good.

One other note: Distros of llinux are all over the place. But for a webserver I do not think any distro is really needed. Perhaps just building your own kernel would be good (and a great learning experience)...but that remains to be seen.

I will be posting a web page in the coming weeks with a detail of how I built, where i bought, and how I installed, my new server here.

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Plesk 12.x / Linux :: DNS Manager - Managing All Server With Single Nameserver

Aug 23, 2014

I have many server with Plesk this server I have single nameserver...example server number 1 have and - server number 2 have etc etc...

Now I want manage all server with single nameserver example all server working with and ....

I have licenses for my server of Plesk no check if PPA is installed in my server ? Otherwise how to install PPA or other software for DNS Manager?

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Building A Streaming Media Server

May 3, 2006

I need to build a video server that supports remote inbound live streams (multiple sources) and multiple outbound streams. I'm interested in hearing feedback or suggestions on Real Media Server, Microsoft Media Server, or other alternatives. Please share your thoughts on any of these. I would prefer Linux hosting and would prefer Windows Media formats. I would love to hear what some of you have had successes with.

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Building A Simple LAMP Dev Server

Jul 18, 2007

I currently dev locally on a cobalt RAQ (ollld!) and would like to upgrade this setup.

I'm looking for a simple way of getting a linux system setup for internal dev work with the basics... mysql, apache, php5, and some kind of version control - subversion / cvs.

Are there any linux liveCDs that I could use to make something like this quite easily?
For our production server we use plesk, so a control panel similar to that for setting up new dev domains would be useful. Open source of couse tho.

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Building A Storage Server. Power Consumption

Oct 30, 2008

I'm building a storage server out of spare parts that are lying around here at the office. Purchasing a brandnew server kinda overshoots it's target, since all basic hardware is available lika a big Chieftec 4U casing with 2x 4drive SATA hotswap bays.

The machine will just be dumb storage for saving our backups.

The plan is to add a decent serverboard, proc and some ram as a baseline. On top of that a 3ware 8-port RAID-controller with 8 1TB harddrives (seagate has some nice ones).

Now the only issue i'm having is powerconsumption. The case has an 460W PSU, but I'm not sure if that's enough.

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Building A Server With Lots Of Storage Space

Mar 7, 2008

We are going to offer web space to our students and we want to build a new server just for this purpose. We were looking at buying a storage array, a RAID card, and a server. I have no problems building a server; however, I have never built anything with an external enclosure. I am thinking about buying this storage array:

www newegg com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816702010

I plan on installing hard drives in every drive bay for a total of 12 drives.

The problem I'm having is I don't know what type of RAID card to buy. I saw this one; but, I don't know if it will work with this storage array.

www newegg com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816116062

Thanks so much for any light you can shed on this! I apologize for the link but I do not have enough posts insert URLs.

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Managing Two Servers In One Domain

May 28, 2009

I'm trying to set up a new site on a new server, primarily informational, while maintaining the old order-taking and database functionality of the existing one. This new one is an Ubuntu vm with samba and apache all set, but the old one is running Tomcat and basically takes java programming to update. How can I properly route incoming requests to the proper server, pass back and forth login information (which resides on the old server), etc? I'm a relative newbie to all this, so the solution might be blindingly obvious, but it's a bit daunting to get them working in tandem.

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Mar 8, 2009

I have 65 parked domains that are reasonably high traffic (26000 hits per day).

I'm looking to run my own VPS server to manage these domains.

I would like to have all the domains nameserver records pointing to my VPS and redirect traffic from different Countries to different parking companies based on a php script.

Can anyone reccomend what sort of VPS setup I would need as regards to RAM,bandwidth etc. And a good hosting company?

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Nov 17, 2008

I am planning to drop ESXi on a company server to consolidate some existing boxes, however I cannot for the life of me figure out VMWare's licensing structure, with regards to managing the 'free' version of ESXi. It's free, only VirtualCenter (apparently required to manage the hypervisor) works for 60 days. I'm pretty sure I must be missing something here, anyone got experience with deploying ESXi, if so, what's required to remotely manage it?

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CPanel For Managing My Hosting

Nov 17, 2007

I use cPanel for managing my hosting.

There are about 18,000 emails in my default email account ( These emails are using more than 50% of my hosting space.

Therefore, I want to delete all of them. One way is to delete them through webmail but it will take alot of time.

Can anyone suggest a way to delete all of them in one go?

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Managing Your Own CNAME Yourself On Shared Hosting?

Sep 13, 2008

Let's say I buy my domains from godaddy and have the DNS records pointed to the shared host.

From there, the shared host creates your CNAME records, or whatever you want to add to your domain name.

What happens if I wanted to control the CNAME records? Can I do this from godaddy? If so, how? Are there negatives to this method?

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Creating/Managing Cron Tasks With PHP

May 7, 2009

I want to create a simple PHP script to manage cron jobs. Say I want to create a front end like a control panel.

I know, many of the WHT members are using custom coded control panels, and surely they have implemented this already.

What is the right approach to do it ?

- Using exec() function and execute commands

- Write directly to /var/spool/cron/<username>

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Managing Multiple Email Addresses

May 3, 2009

I had a thread about this several years ago here but it petered out without a satisfactory resolution and when I tried to restart it the Sitepoint bot suggested I start a new thread . . .

Briefly, I'm into lots of stuff - software, art, poetry, business, etc, so I want to have different email addresses for each activity but I want them all to go to the same inbox so I don't have to log into n different accounts to check my email.

My website is hosted by HostMySite but their webmail offering ("Smartermail") is lame. I don't have the option of installing a different email client (at least not for what I'm paying) but I DO have the option of routing my email to a different provider while retaining my email address.

Aliases don't solve this because if someone sends email to an alias, e.g., it goes to my root account inbox, say, so when I hit "reply" the recipient sees the mail coming from, not Furthermore, if HE replies it goes to the global "reply-to" address which is a THIRD address because I don't want the root address in general circulation, to minimize spam to my root email.

I'm getting complaints from clients and customers about this because they're not sure which email address they're expected to use.. Is there any third-party email provider that lets me have multiple aliases or identities that I can process from ONE inbox, but where the alias or identity is applied in a consistent way so my clients see just ONE email address from me?

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Oct 30, 2009

I'm planning a website at the moment but I'm wondering about a slight issue, regarding the local root folder of a website.

Currently, I'm using Dreamweaver to create a website and I have had no problems of uploading my files to a site through Dreamweaver before. But I will not have access to my computer for about one month every year. However, I have a laptop available during that month. But since my local root folder is located on my stationary computer it seems impossible for me to, in any way, use that laptop to manage my site (upload new files to the server).

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Managing A Client's 100 Email Accounts

Sep 26, 2007

If there's a moderator lurking that knows of a better spot for this inquiry, by all means point away.

We're an ad agency in the very vertical market of Recruitment Communications.

We've developed an employment site that we host on our Multi-site account.

They have today requested a quote on what it would take to create 100 email accounts for their various employees and administrators on this employment site.

I initially think we tell them in the proposal that having their employees utilize webmail for their accounts would be least problematic (read: least cost support) for them. It's still going to present a bit of manual labor on our part creating the names, but not too daunting.

The client has no experience on staff that would be able to undertake the task as outlined above, so naturally we're concerned that their needs are indeed met in the best possible way.

One of our company's goals for all of our clients is to, as much as is possible, Under-promise/Over-Deliver. But as we're not specifically a "provider" in the typical sense of what they're asking, I am also thinking that it might be better for both the client and ourselves to examine whether this is a feasible undertaking.

If we were to undertake this 'project', and this is something you've experienced or read about, might you care to offer guidance on what guidelines we should assert/set-up? Web-mail versus Pop? Pricing structure? Support fees? Etceteras, etceteras.

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Oct 19, 2007

I'm a window type of guys and considered myself more proficient using windows operating system. However, when it comes to linux, i have not really a clue except some simple command i learnt from CMD that also applied to linux.

I have a root access to my dedicated box and I use putty for SSH. Problem is from there, what kind of usual and daily web admin do to the ssh?

In other words, what is the daily routine of Network Admin in Linux?

Any recommendation of website that introduce me to using ssh to use remote linux server?

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Building My Own Box

Mar 24, 2008

I've been running a niche hosting business (one man show) for about 6 months now and so far I've learnt the basics of the hosting business. In fact I'm quite successful too, with good profits right from the first month. I know a bit of server admin and manage my own servers.

However, now I plan to start general shared hosting business and have decided to own my hardware and colocate it at a DC. (I'm not located in the US; the DC owner is my friend and would receive the hardware and set it up for me.)

The box would cater to general shared webhosting needs with cPanel (I don't like it but the market does )

Here's what I'm planning to go for...please put in your valuable inputs.

$300 for 1x SUPERMICRO MBD-X7DCL-I ATX Mainboard
$380 for 2x Kingston 4GB(2x2GB) KVR667D2D4F5K2/4G RAM
$475 for 2x Intel Xeon E5405 Harpertown Quad Core 2Ghz.
$240 for 2x WD Caviar RE2 WD5001ABYS 500GB SATA2 HDD
$250 for 1x Supermicro CSE-811T-420B 1U Chassis

100Mbps port, CentOS 5.latest 64bit, cPanel.

So, to sum up... 8x2Ghz CPU, 8GB RAM, 500GB SATA RAID system to start with.

I'm open to all suggestions and would appreciate valuable advice etc. from experienced people. I'd like to ensure full hardware/software compatibility and maximum stability.

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May 30, 2009

I want to get on my own ded server for free hosting and have it fully managed by the provider e.g. they have the capability to look for spammers/hackers/phishers/ etc while I'll be on my marry way providing free hosting. Is there such a provider? Any recommendations?

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Managing Local Root Folder Without Being Able To Access It

Nov 2, 2009

I'm planning a website at the moment but I'm wondering about a slight issue, regarding the local root folder of a website.

Currently, I'm using Dreamweaver to create a website and I have had no problems of uploading my files to a site through Dreamweaver before. But I will not have access to my computer for about one month every year. However, I have a laptop available during that month. But since my local root folder is located on my stationary computer it seems impossible for me to, in any way, use that laptop to manage my site (upload new files to the server).

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Jun 24, 2008

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Mar 20, 2007

We are consolidating several of our servers (6-8) into one location. Collectively, they'll probably use about 15-20 Mbps. We'd like to keep all of our VoIP traffic on premium bandwidth, but the rest of the servers (web, mail, etc) on something like Cogent.

My question is this: Is there anyway to keep it all on one switch/router but be able to specify certain IPs or MAC addresses to use a specific provider? Is BGP the only option? It would be nice to be able to have that level of control. If BGP is the only way, it doesn't yet seem realistic on this scale.

I'm proably being completely overzealous, and should just stick with two Layer 2 switches (one for each provider) and put each machine on one or the other, then setup a seperate VLAN for them to talk to each other. However, we'll probably be hosting servers for customers in the near future so having a router wouldn't hurt, we could use the traffic shaping, QoS, etc. in the long run.

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Jun 13, 2007

MS Exchange Managing Software with IIS Support ? Something like cpanel, but with Windows Exchange support.

Does Ensim or Plesk supports Exchange ? (Creating users, remove, edit..) ?

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Building An Os Template

Oct 9, 2009

How would I go about building an ostemplate?

I want to build one running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and ISPConfig on openvz

Could I pretty much start with the Ubuntu 8.04 minimal install and then run the ispconfig installation [url]

and then make an ostemplate out of that?

The part that concerns me is will the hostname autopopulate based on what is setup during the build of the vm?

What about the SSL info it asks me for during the install, should I just enter something generic for that or?

Has anyone else done this?

I don't want hostinabox to be the only image with a control panel

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