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Turning a server into a router


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#1
nutman

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Hi,

I'm quite new to networking so this may seem like a silly question, but here goes..

I'm planning on building a server that will host my website (which transfers 10GB every week), as well as being a file server for the rest of the house. It's required to hold all different types of media that can be transferred between all computers on the network, both wired and wireless. I also want to have the 3 games consoles in the house to have a dedicated speed from our line so that the connection doesn't start to lag in-game when someone else on the network starts downloading.

Basically what I want to know is if the internet connection comes out our cable modem, does it have to go into a separate router, or could I just install some sort of network hub pci card into the server to do the router's job, bypassing the router altogether. If this is possible then I could use some sort of software to split the bandwidth out to all the computers, leaving a reasonable amount for the games consoles.

If this is possible, could you leave a few suggestions on what I could buy.
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#2
SupeR GeekiN CognitO

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Basically what I want to know is if the internet connection comes out our cable modem, does it have to go into a separate router

Well, based on this...

It's required to hold all different types of media that can be transferred between all computers on the network, both wired and wireless.

I would have to say yes, you would need a router.
Not just for the wireless capabilities, but for the security that a NAT router, with built in firewall, is going to offer.
Better do some more research before diving into building a home based web/file server.

Security should be your first priority :) .

Good luck.




:) SGC :)
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#3
dsenette

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#1 having personal files on a publicly visible server (i.e. web server) is a HORRIBLE idea. to have your web server visible on the internet you're basically making anything else on that machine accessible (no matter how secure you think you set it up)

#2 there's no specific "router application" that's going to allow you to use your main computer as a router and do bandwidth throttling. IF you've got a computer with multiple NIC cards you can set up a linux server to be a router, and you can do throttling and a bunch of other really fun stuff. however you have to know EXACTLY what you're doing. with windows you can share the internet connection from the main PC out to the other devices and it will sort of act like a router. but you're still not going to be able to manage the bandwidth directly


If you're [bleep] bent on hosting your own webserver from your house, then you should get a separate machine for that purpose (wouldn't need to be huge) and get a router that has a DMZ port and DMZ capabilities. this will allow you to completely separate the web server from your internal network, which will give you a lot more security, then you'd be able to hang the rest of your internal devices off the inside of the router while the webserver is on the "outside" in the DMZ
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#4
nutman

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I was planning on setting up a linux server anyway so that sounds perfect, ill just have to do a lot of research it would seem. I don't plan on sharing the files across the internet, just the internal network in my house. I was going to just host the website on the same machine...

As for networking, are you saying that if I bought a few of these: http://www.scan.co.u...;source=froogle

or maybe a wireless one as well then I could essentially create a linux server to be a router? or are there better products for this? speed is essential!
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#5
dsenette

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I don't plan on sharing the files across the internet, just the internal network in my house. I was going to just host the website on the same machine...

i'm sure you don't PLAN on sharing the files across the internet, but if you host a website on the machine, then someone has access to that computer and can crack in and gain access to the files without you wanting them to. also, once someone gains access to that machine, they'll have access to every other computer on your internal network.

you wouldn't need a bunch of those ethernet nics. you could get one nic with multiple ports, 2 should be fine, but 4 would give you a couple backups, then you'd need to get a switch or a hub. you'd connect one port on the "server" NIC directly to your modem, then the other port to the switch, then plug all of your other computers into the switch. you could also get a wireless enabled switch that would let you connect computers wired or wirelessly.

of course, all of this would be easier if you just get a router, they're not exactly expensive
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#6
diabillic

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If you decide to go with a hardware based router, like dsenette suggested, I would look into putting DDWRT on it. This will allow you do all sorts of fun things like QoS and VLAN's, but more importantly be able to secure your server down even further.
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#7
nutman

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yeah the main reason I wanted to avoid the hardware router was because of the need to bandwidth allocate, but now you've told me of DDWRT that's not a problem, I have it up and running on my router and its going well. As my router supports DMZ as well I'll be following dsenette's advice on the web server front too. Thanks for your help!
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#8
nutman

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actually one more thing.... when building this web server what sort of spec should I go for? the site I'm going to host puts out weekly podcasts, averaging about 10gb of bandwidth every friday when each podcast is released, then between 5-10gb for the rest of the week.... as there will be quite a large server load every friday, will I need to go for a high spec machine? we currently get between 300 - 500 hits on the friday, but its a new site and we plan to get as many listeners as possible, ideally 1000+ by the end of the year.
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#9
dsenette

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based on your description, you're probably going to want to spec it a little on the higher end but don't go overboard. if your site takes off, i can almost guarantee you that you're going to switch to external hosting in the not too distant future given the file sizes you're talking about.

you need to focus on RAM, processor, and hard drive speed. you want to get the fastest hard drives that you can afford, go a bit high on the ram and get a slightly above average processor
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