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Posts Tagged ‘web server’

Running your server is easy, fun but involved

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

I love using Linux to do my work. My best usage of Linux is my web server, although I recall I read once that Linus never intended for the kernel to be used as a server. He was more focused on using the kernel in desktops. I’ve been running my own web server for almost a year now, which runs two websites mibrahim.net my real estate website, and clker.com a to be online clipart website – we’re halfway there.

The fun part is simply everything just works. You’ll have all the tools you need starting from database engines like postgres, mysql to scripting languages like php, ruby with different types of webservers apache, lighthttpd and others. All the tools you might think of are there and under your own hand. Building your own server is not expensive – around $100 will do it. You don’t need a super quad core machine to produce extremely fast websites, unless you are already getting more than 50 page requests per second and at that point you will need something faster.

The performance bottle neck is never the CPU, it’s the hard drives read or write speeds. You can improve on that using fake RAIDs. Almost all Linux distros offer fake RAIDs and that is the cheapest way to improve the read speed.

Setting up your server is not a hard process. The best distributions that I recommend are Debian and Ubuntu. The reason is the very large library of software that comes with each. I believe that now the full distribution has grown more than 11 CDs. I used to run Debian and switched to Ubuntu a year ago and the reason behind the switch is the faster updates I get from Ubuntu, which enables me to use more recent and updated versions of PHP and the database engines.

The easiest setup is using the Ubuntu server CD, which is not any different from the desktop CD in terms of binaries. The only difference is that it won’t install the X11-server (GUI) and the window managers (gnome or kde) and the install program itself runs over the console and not VGA graphics. I use the server installation, and connect to my server using ssh. I have another old machine that runs Ubutu as well, and is used to run freenx. By that way I keep the server’s memory for the services running, and I can add all the GUI programs I want on this old machine.

Since I greatly benefited from running my own web server, I will share my experiences every now and then when I’ve got time to write.

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Hardware problems – the mystery solved

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I previously wrote about hardware problems that were puzzling me, and I finally found the answer. I installed sensors on ubuntu and ran ksensors and just watched what’s going on. The old server that was shutting down suddenly had an opteron dual core processor, which ran at 50 degrees Celsius at no load. I had three websites running there, the most recent addition is clker.com . Due to the large number of people that were trying to access the website, the CPU was loaded and overheated, which inturn lead to it shutting down.

Of course the solution is to put the server in a very cold room, which I don’t have. I resorted to buying a new board and CPU, which does not heat as much as the old ones and transfered the database and pictures to it. Currently the no load temperature is 11 degrees, which I think is great. This new board is a special sale from microcenter, both the board and CPU were for $94 with $15 rebate Sempron 64! I added 1GB of RAM. It really worked much better than my expectations, as I had very very low performance expectations from that CPU

Currently this server is running clker.com only, and will run mibrahim.net today. The CPU load as shown in top does not pass 2% except in spikes. People are still digging as well as search engine robots. So that’s a good value if someone wants to run his/her own starter website.

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