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Friday, February 3, 2012

5 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Own Server

make your own serverYou’ve probably heard at some point that servers aren’t only for those that have a lot of money. In fact, anyone who has a spare box sitting around somewhere in their house can have their very own server, slaving away at whatever whims you may have. Although it sounds very cool, it does take some effort and a little know-how to get it all set up.

So, before you get all sad and throw that spare box in the dump, here are five reasons why you should take the effort into making your own server.

1. You Control Your Data

If you’re an avid user of the Web, you probably have all kinds of information spread out over multiple servers and websites. For example, chances are you use Dropbox. Although it’s extremely convenient, your files are ultimately stored on their servers, so that means they control your data. You can protect yourself through different methods of encryption, but the storage location stays the same. You can change that by setting up your own server to hold your data. That way, what’s yours stays yours, and it will stay that way as long as you run your own server. With good security, other prying eyes won’t be able to see what you’re storing on your own server, so privacy is included.

2. You Build Your Own Services

make your own server
With your own server, you can do whatever you want with it. Run an email server to handle all your email (although saying goodbye to Gmail would probably be the hardest thing known to a geek), a proxy, FTP server, and many other combinations. You could even run your own version of Dropbox with enough help, or create your very own services that you may be in need of. The possibilities are endless, and you get to choose.

3. No Surprises

Since you’re in control (this is pretty much the main idea), there won’t (or at least shouldn’t) be any surprises when it comes to your server. Aside from the small possibility of hardware failure, nothing in terms of the services that your server offers should suddenly change without you doing anything. While third party services may change the way their services or products work, yours won’t. You configure it to exactly how you want it, and then it stays that way until you change it again to meet your needs.

4. Have Fun With Your Server

make your own server
In the spirit of control and adding whatever you please, why not install some game servers in the meantime? There are so many different games such as Minecraft and Urban Terror that have software for servers that you can run to host your very own games. These games can have their own rules and customizations, making it even more fun for you and all your friends. Again, the possibilities are endless, and you can run as many different game servers as your RAM will hold and your CPU can handle.

5. It’s Pretty Inexpensive

The costs of running a server are actually pretty insignificant, especially when you don’t need it at all times of the day. Your server will more than likely need to be connected to the Internet, but unless your regular Internet connection has major limitations that can’t let you successfully run your server on that connection, you can use the Internet connection that you’re using for your desktop or laptop right now. You can also get a free DNS name from a few different places like DynDNS if you don’t have a lot of needs for your server so that you can connect to your server without having to remember an IP address that might change occasionally.

The software should be free in most cases, and the operating system will more than likely beLinux (it’s recommended, anyways), so no costs will appear there. In the end, it’s really just the cost of electricity, which can be managed if say the server doesn’t have to be on while you’re asleep.


Running your own server brings many advantages that could make your life a lot easier and less stressful. After all the work in getting it set up, you can pride yourself in the fact that you have your very own server that you can do whatever you want with. In the end, it should be well worth it, with a spare box well used. If not, you can always check out this MakeUseOf guide to giving that old box new life.

Do you have your own server? What have you done with it so far? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock


Danny Stieben

Danny is a high school senior who enjoys all aspects of open source software and Linux. He is also a contributor for the Fedora Project. You can follow his Twitter accounthere.