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11-27-12, 10:51 PM
Fifteen years ago, you weren't a participant in the digital age unless you had your own homepage. Even in the late 1990s, services abounded to make personal pages easy to build and deploy‚??the most famous is the now-defunct GeoCities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocities), but there were many others (remember¬*Angelfire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelfire) and Tripod (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripod.com)?). These were the days before the "social" Web, before MySpace and Facebook. Instant messaging was in its infancy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICQ) and creating an online presence required no small familiarity with HTML (though automated Web design programs did exist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms_frontpage)).

Things are certainly different now, but there's still a tremendous amount of value in controlling an actual honest-to-God website rather than relying solely on the social Web to provide your online presence. The flexibility of being able to set up and run anything at all, be it a wiki or a blog with a tipjar or a photo hosting site, is awesome. Further, the freedom to tinker with both the operating system and the Web server side of the system is an excellent learning opportunity.

http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/backend5.jpegThe author's closet. Servers tend to multiply, like rabbits.
Lee Hutchinson


It's super-easy to open an account at a Web hosting company and start fiddling around there‚??two excellent Ars reader-recommended Web hosts are a small orange (http://asmallorange.com/) and Lithium Hosting (http://www.lithiumhosting.com/)‚??but where's the fun in that? If you want to set up something to learn how it works, the journey is just as important as the destination. Having a ready-made Web or application server cuts out half of the work and thus half of the journey. In this guide, we're going to walk you through everything you need to set up your own Web server, from operating system choice to specific configuration options.

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