Thursday, September 05, 2002

To Answer Joni's Question

Joni came to me with the following problem:

Okay, Marc. You posted a comment about running your own server. I found out that the tech. guy at RoadRunner lied to me. The first thing I figured out when I logged into RoadRunner the first time (in their top ten FAQs) was "no CGI scripts," and "no telnetting." Geesh.

So. Is there a way to make my box a network and just run the damn thing from there? Help me out here...

I responded with:

You can certainly run your own server using Windows 2000/XP Pro or Linux. I don't do Linux so I can't help you there. Nor do I run CGI on Windows, so I'm not a lot of help there. I do all my stuff with ASP, VBScript and Access databases. Those are hardly big time web tools, but they work for me.

Anyway getting back to the point at hand...

Make sure you read your TOS (Terms of Service)very carefully. Most broadband providers disallow servers of any type from their residential customers. Sure you can try it, but I know here they periodically scan the IPs looking for servers. My server is running on my T1 line at work so that's not an issue for me. The CEO was totally cool with me running my site on the companies equipment and net connection. I feel EXTREAMLY fortunate. Hell I'm piggie-backing one of the company domain names too! LOL My address is: If you use; you'll see what I mean.

Back to your situation...

You CAN run a server, but it can be tricky with your ISP. Also you will need to use: DNS2Go. ( It used to be free but it seems as of Oct 1st, they are gonna start charging for it. Bummer. Their software basically looks at your servers dynamicly allocated (from the ISP) IP address and sends it to the Deerfield DNS servers. You register your domain with them or use one of theirs. So when someone tries to hit your domain, their DNS servers say, it's over here, then thier software redirects the web server to your computer.

It's a pretty clever idea I must say. Every web surfer has to brounce through a dozen or more servers before they get to you anyway, what is one more?

Now your ISP may provide an extra fee for allowing you to run a server. You'll have to check with yours. Comcast here in Nashville requires that you sign up for a business account which is over $100 per month. For some that may be worth it. For a blog? I doubt it.

I know this isn't the answer you wanted. Technically it can be done, but the ISPs rules may not allow for it, in a cost effective way.

All is not lost however! There are a LOT of hosting sites that will give you all that you want and need. Do I have any suggestions? No I'm afraid I don't. You will be lucky to find a host that will allow Telnet access, since this is a favorite way for hackers to get into systems, but there will be a few here and there.

Another option is co-locating your server. This is where you send off or lease a server that is all yours to do with as you please, to a host that maintains the server and provides a certain amount of bandwidth per month. One place in Sacramento was charging $300 per month. That may price it right out of contention.

The long and the short of this is, it's not going to be easy nor cheap to pull it off. I think the only reason I am getting the sweet deal I am is because I'm the Network Admin and I work damn hard for the company. I think its probably considered an unofficial perk. I suspect one of these days it'll fade. When that day comes...well I'll figure something out. LOL The Net changes so quickly, who knows what will be availible by then.

I really hope Joni can find what she's looking for.

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