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I've have a static IP address and heard that I can use my desktop as a server.

  1. Using FTP client(CuteFTP), how can I connect to the system having the static IP?
  2. I have installed Apache Web Server. How can I make this public so that anyone who gives my static IP in the URL can be able to access my site which I'll be designing?
  3. Do I need to install Linux/Windows Server 2003 for the above specification?

As of now I'm using Windows 7 RC.

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Ask your ISP to make sure you're allowed to use their services to run a server on your system. Some providers will demand that you pay more to get more bandwidth. If your server ends up being popular, it would eat up lots of bandwidth, resulting in the ISP charging you extra or just throttling your account once you get above a certain threshold value. –  Wim ten Brink Sep 15 '09 at 21:24
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migrated from serverfault.com Sep 16 '09 at 10:34

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3 Answers

I would suggest that you first familiarise yourself with the security aspects of server hosting. Otherwise, you will just be adding another zombie machine onto the network. Setting up software such as web-servers is actually quite easy today. Unfortunately, defending your network against outside attack is not so easy.

For one, avoid using FTP and consider using SFTP instead as it is more secure. Another thing you can consider doing is running a VM and exposing that VM to the outside world instead of your real machine. That way, any security breach can be contained do just the VM. You can even run a different OS on the VM.

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+1 for ditching FTP. I hate it. And if it's just for local access, you don't need FTP at all. –  Mark Henderson Sep 16 '09 at 2:41
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Please try not to feed botnets... Download Sun Virtualbox or VMware Server (both free), setup some systems as VMs and play with it inside your network. Then, when you know what's going on on these machines and how to set up FTP servers (shudder!) and Apache securely, cut some holes into your NAT router an let the world play with it...

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+1 Agreed on the botnets and virtualbox. –  osij2is Sep 15 '09 at 20:31
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Secure FTP server — ha! –  emgee Sep 16 '09 at 2:29
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You mean you want to use it as a web server? It will also depend on what your upload speed, since most of the services offered to the general public do not have enough bandwidth for that.

  1. You need to set up an ftp server to be able to do it, ie filezilla server or try ssh on windows it has sftp which is more safe, here's a link for that http://www.digitalmediaminute.com/article/1487/setting-up-a-sftp-server-on-windows

  2. If you have a router, you will need to forward the 80 port to your computer. And check the apache settings to see if you are not denying everyone.

  3. No, you don't need any kind of "server" operating system, if you can install apache, you can run it, however I don't know if windows 7 has any quirks with it.

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If only I had editing powers, your lonely "u"s would be reunited with their abandoned "yo"s and all would be well with the world. –  Wesley Sep 16 '09 at 1:22
    
I'm inclined to disagree with almost everything in this post. For starters, if this server is in your network, you do not need to install FTP to get files onto it. This is just a security breach waiting to happen. And whilst you don't "Need" a server OS, I would STRONGLY recommend it, because it provides you with so much more flexibility. Using an unpatched home OS just provides you with more security holes. –  Mark Henderson Sep 16 '09 at 2:40
    
thanks for fixing my you's i was in a hurry. You are right, security is really important, i just wanted to answer the question, without realizing it may create a bigger issue. –  Prozaker Sep 16 '09 at 6:56
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