Prerequisites

Before you get started, you will need to have:

  • A computer that you can erase and dedicate to the task of a server computer.
    • Not required, but heavily recommended, is a battery backup power supply; aka: UPS device.
  • An Internet connection for that server to get to the rest of the world.
  • A FQDN from a Domain Name Service.

A Computer

When it comes to a computer, almost any computer less than 5 years old will do, but the more you want out of it the better machine you need to start with. You can start small and as things progress easily migrate to better computers. If you are going to buy one, my best advice is to look for refurbished equipment without operating systems installed. It saves you a lot of money and gets you the best bang for your buck. I used this search on Newegg to get my machine's. Recently I noticed this site for Hard Drives; HardDrivesDirect which has great pricing comparatively to my searches. You could get bare equipment on Newegg and fill it with bargain Hard Drives.

A UPS Device

The same investment strategy for a computer goes for a UPS device. I got one from eBay, another from Amazon, and here is a search on Newegg to show you what you are looking for. A corollary to the no operating system here is the no battery. It lightens the shipping and the hazardous materials issue. Get new batteries locally that fit the UPS you pick.

An Internet Connection

Most people that read this have an Internet connection. You merely have to access the router that connects your computer to the internet (usually http://192.168.1.1/, user:admin, password:admin), and set up the DMZ to point to the server computer you build by following the rest of this guide. Most routers have instructions about how to do this on their website. It's a safe bet that if you browse to YouTUBE and search the Make and Model of your router along with the words "Set-up DMZ" you'll see just how to do that.

A FQDN

Mine is through Google Domains right now, but their's many excellent alternatives, like Rackspace., or Afraid.org (Free DNS), or DNSimple, or No*IP, or Xname, or Dyn, or Dynu, or FreeNom... This Domain thing you need is very different than a Hosting Service. My guide is showing you how to become your own hosting service and more. A Domain Name Service Provider is more like a phone book for webpages. It's probably going to cost you $10.00/year or less to have a FQDN, but having reasonable hosting somewhere would be at least $15.00/month. After you get your own version of example.com, you tell your domain service to point your FQDN to your router. Easiest way I know to find your router's IP number is to ask Google "What's my IP address". Every computer in that routers domain will give the same answer. (Special note: you probably have dynamic IP addressing as opposed to static IP addressing, so they can change your dotted-quad at any time and your web-server will be disconnected until you go to your Domain Name Service Provider and edit your FQDN to point to the new IP number)

10/25/2019 Update about Registrars of Record

I slipped into a wormhole of information today. As stated above, I use Google for my Domain Name Services provider. They sent an eMail about updating their ToS and so forth. One of their items was making it explicit what TLD's they were the Registar of Record of instead of some middleman reseller of a second level domain name for the TLD's. I assumed that Registrar of Record meant they owned the TLD's in their list, but they don't; they are merely registered with the true owner of the TLD as resellers of names under it. e.g. anyplace you go seems to have com available to you, so it doesn't necessarily have a single Registrar of Record.

I tried to see who really owned the com TLD, and it lead to VeriSign. Try it yourself by going to https://lookup.icann.org/lookup and only typing com into the lookup textbox. While wanering around on VeriSign site I saw that they have a paid service where you can launch your own TLD (if it's available) and they will host all the services for you. Cool, but who else does that? As a random turn of my attention, I thought I would look at who owns the org TLD. That led to here, http://www.pir.org/. While wandering around their NPR-type pleasant site I saw a place where they listed all their current Registrars of Record for org. Here's that page, https://thenew.org/org-people/work-with-us/find-a-registrar/. I was agape at how many places I could go to register a second level domain under .org! I had no idea that there were such plentiful numbers of places to go!

This is also worth a look, https://payments.google.com/payments/apis-secure/get_legal_document?ldi=41397, because it summarizes what strange rules some TLS's have. e.g. .biz requires the second level domains be used for business or commercial purposes.

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