Setup Advice Needed

Problems with the Windows version of XAMPP, questions, comments, and anything related.

Setup Advice Needed

Postby ss3vegeta » 27. January 2009 18:38

Hello all,

I’m considering using a dynamic DNS service so that I can host the 7 domains I own from home. They are very low traffic websites. The plan is to completely dedicate an older computer that is currently collecting dust on a shelf to be a webserver. The old PC has a 120GB HD, Athlon 1800, and 1.5GB of PC2100. I should have plenty of bandwidth and will be running off of a Brazil Firewall box through its DMZ.

I have no experience running a webserver. I know about XAMPP because we used it in a web programming class I took, but the class did not focus on any server side settings or setup.

So I guess my questions are:

1. Will XAMPP be able to fully utilize all of the resources of the computer I plan to use, or will I need to make a bunch of modifications to the setup? If so what settings will I need to modify? I want to make sure I maximize the availability of resources the web server can use.

2. Is XAMPP secure? Can it be made secure? I’m not paranoid, but I’d like to take every precaution possible to stop people from hacking the sites and messing everything up.

3. Given what I’ve asked so far is there an OS that will be best for a dedicated webserver? Is there any security software I should run?

4. Is there anything I should be asking that I haven’t?

The sites that I run include coppermine photo galleries, phpbb forums, smf forums, a lot of custom php sites that rely heavily on mysql (mostly school projects). The coppermine galleries do host about 40k photos so the mysql is taxed heavily, or at least to heavily for shared hosting at 1and1, godaddy or inmotion. Which is why I’m considering trying to run this from home, I’ve tried all 3 and they say that the shared resources can’t handle the sites anymore (mysql times out before returning results because of resource caps), they have all insisted I need to run at least a VPS. For me that’s just not an option because even though these sites have tens of thousands of family photos they are not high volume, I might get 50 visits a month, VPS is just too expensive. I don’t know if this information will be helpful, but I always figure it’s better to give too much information when asking for advice.

I realize this is the Windows forum, but if I should be looking at a linux OS, please let me know. I did not want to double post in both forums.

Any advice is greatly appreciated,

ss3
ss3vegeta
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 27. January 2009 18:33

Re: Setup Advice Needed

Postby dmphotography » 28. January 2009 00:36

Hey ss3vegeta,

I run about 4 websites on an old PC like what you're explaining doing. I had an old Dell Dimension 3000 sitting off to the side, P4 2.8GHz, 2GB RAM and a 40GB C: drive and then an additional 300GB spare hard drive, which is where I installed XAMPP and all of my websites.

I honestly don't know about the optimization part, but I will tell you this, you don't want to go the Linux route. Unless you're very familiar with Linux already, you're going to have several headaches trying to configure stuff on it. XAMPP is fairly easy to install, but I still recommend sticking with Windows.

Security wise, it's clearly stated XAMPP is NOT designed for production use as it's not secure, but after installing all of the components seperately, such as Apache, MySQL, PHP, and phpMyAdmin, I'd have to say the XAMPP setup was much more secure by default.

The biggest thing I know is to make sure to go into the xampp menu, http://localhost/xampp/index.php, and then follow the Security link and set a password for the htaccess and a root password for phpMyAdmin.

Beyond this, I'm somewhat not clear on the other security settings, but I do know supposedly turning php safe mode on is a good idea. That can be done in the /xampp/apache/bin/php.ini file.

The two security risks I've personally encountered were solved by installing a firewall and anti-virus program. Comodo Internet Security is a good free firewall and anti-virus program, but it's not compatible with Server 2003 if you use that as your OS. I was using Server 2003, but recently switched it out to XP because video scripts won't work on Server 2003 for some reason because something is missing from it that's contained in XP and Vista.

I also chose a Performance Edition of XP because it has very minimal extras and uses very little resources running idle.

I recommend using zoneedit.com as a dynamic DNS, but they only allow up to 5 free domains and then you must pay about $11 for each additional domain beyond that.

I just ordered a book on "Hardening Apache", which I will post valuable info on my website.

As far as traffic goes, I get over 300 visits per month to my website with a cable broadband connection and so far I haven't had any issues nor have I had any security issues. The best bet is to make regular backups of your websites just to be on the safe side, which includes complete copies of your whole XAMPP folder and your website folders as well. The backup will easily fit on a standard CD, depending on how large the content of your websites end up consuming.

I made at least weekly backups of mine, depending on how much the content changes from week to week.

You can checkout my website, http://www.myownserver.info for all of the info I've posted so far and things I've discovered in regards to running my own server, but I don't know enough in regards to security to give advice for a production server.
For great video and written tutorials and guides on creating your own web server and installing things such as forums, blogs, etc., visit http://myownhomeserver.com
dmphotography
 
Posts: 191
Joined: 15. December 2008 14:25
Location: Columbus, MS
Operating System: Windows 7

Re: Setup Advice Needed

Postby ss3vegeta » 28. January 2009 16:35

Hi dmphotography,

Thanks for all the info. I'll definitely check out www.myownserver.info. ZoneEdit is a great tip, they are very affordable for dynamic DNS service. I'm also looking into 2myDNS.com, they seem to offer completely free premium services for up to 25 domains. Hopefully I'll get time this weekend to really play with this.

ss3
ss3vegeta
 
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Joined: 27. January 2009 18:33


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