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Running Your Own Web Server

Save money by doing it yourself.

This story appears in the October 2002 issue of Teen Startups.

When starting a Web site, most businesses go the traditional route and pay a monthly fee for Web hosting services. While this fee isn't overbearing for small, informational sites, it can become a goliath when you want to start adding enhanced features such as streaming video, database integration and downloads--or when you start to experience high-traffic volume. Each of these things can drive your hosting charges through the roof to the point that your Web site actually becomes a liability rather than an asset. Under the right circumstances, it may be more cost effective to host the company Web site yourself. Believe it or not, this alternative is not nearly as difficult or expensive as you might think.

Contrary to what many people believe, the most expensive part of in-house hosting is not the equipment, it's the bandwidth. A good Web server can be purchased these days for around $800--almost less than a personal computer. After purchasing the server, however, you need enough bandwidth to make your Web site load quickly and handle all the traffic. A T1 line (broadband internet access about 27 times faster than 56k dial-up) is probably the lowest speed you should go, although you might squeak by with a fractional T1 (only part of the speed a full T1 provides). The problem is a T1 costs between $500-$1,500 per month, which knocks the wind out of most new entrepreneurs. However, there are ways to beat the price.

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