Requirements

To install your own server, you need first of all a computer server, a place to put it, and an Internet address.

We will explain in more detail all these elements, and related choices you will need to make.

At this stage we will focus on a specific set-up we have implemented in the L200 space in Zurich, which we consider an "entry level" set-up. And more detailed analysis of alternatives and trade-offs will be added along the way, hopefully with your help.

lennon-L200

VPS remote or bare metal?

A preliminary decision is: do you want to run a VPS (Virtual Private Server) remote or a bare metal one? In the first case, you have plenty of possibilities.

  • You can buy a remote server where you can install one or more VPS. This option will require some knowledge about sysadministration.
  • You can simply buy a VPS from a web hosting provider.

Suggestions for ethical providers?

In the second case, you can buy a new machine for less than 1k euros and install it in your facilities.

This documentation is being created with the use of a "bare metal" server which we named Lennon.

The server itself, the hardware

Any computer can play the role of the server, from a Raspberry PI and an old laptop to dedicated computer servers.

For the L200 space we bought an "HPE ProLiant Intel Xeon E-2224, 16 GB, Micro Server" and we are very satisfied.

Links to comparative reviews and experiences from other models will be included here. Feel free to contribute!

An alternative solution is to rent a "virtual machine" from a web hosting provider, which for now we don't address in this guide.

The server's physical home

When choosing where exactly you would like to place your server in your own space, there are different aspects to consider: humidity, dust, accessibility, security, high temperatures, power surges.

Lennon is installed in the keller of L200, in a big rack abandoned in the street. She looks happy there :-)

lennon-home2

lennon-home

The server's Internet home

When your server is an actual computer placed in your space, it needs an Internet address to be accessed from the outside. This is typically a "fixed IPv4 address". The price for a fixed IP address can vary significantly between countries and Internet Service Providers.

There is also an alternative solution which can work with any home Internet connection, which will give to your server an IP address that will change over time. The solution is called DDNS, and there are free or purchased options.

It means Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS) is a method of automatically updating a name server in the Domain Name System (DNS), often in real time, with the active DDNS configuration of its configured hostnames, addresses or other information.

But, frankly, having a fixed IP will change the situation and will result in a more reliable service.

In Switzerland, we receive a very good price for such an address by Init7, a very ethical and performant Internet Service Provider. We recommend it!