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Running Your Own Web Server

Save money by doing it yourself.

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By Joel Holland

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When starting a Web site, most businesses go the traditionalroute and pay a monthly fee for Web hosting services. While thisfee isn't overbearing for small, informational sites, it canbecome a goliath when you want to start adding enhanced featuressuch as streaming video, database integration and downloads--orwhen you start to experience high-traffic volume. Each of thesethings can drive your hosting charges through the roof to the pointthat your Web site actually becomes a liability rather than anasset. Under the right circumstances, it may be more cost effectiveto host the company Web site yourself. Believe it or not, thisalternative is not nearly as difficult or expensive as you mightthink.

Contrary to what many people believe, the most expensive part ofin-house hosting is not the equipment, it's the bandwidth. Agood Web server can be purchased these days for around $800--almostless than a personal computer. After purchasing the server,however, you need enough bandwidth to make your Web site loadquickly and handle all the traffic. A T1 line (broadband internetaccess about 27 times faster than 56k dial-up) is probably thelowest speed you should go, although you might squeak by with afractional T1 (only part of the speed a full T1 provides). Theproblem is a T1 costs between $500-$1,500 per month, which knocksthe wind out of most new entrepreneurs. However, there are ways tobeat the price.

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