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Old 07-09-2017, 10:25 AM   #1
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Default Repurposing an older machine as a server?

Hi,
It'd be nice to give my old 2009 desktop a new breather of life as a server machine, since I'm thinking for complete control to make my own server for a website.

The computer in question is a Packard Bell that has an AMD Athlon X2 7450 dual-core x64 processor, 2 GB of RAM, an AMD graphics card (I think), and around 320 GB HDD.

I'd probably install Ubuntu Server 17.04 and include Apache, PHP 7, MySQL, and any other necessary dependencies for my site (a MyBB-powered forum). I'd also like recommendations on a free control panel I can use to manage my site.

I'll probably use a paid domain and also use it as a mail server.

Any tips or guides on configuring, and setting up the server? I have a dynamic IP, so is there any way to make updating the DNS records easier on the domain when it changes?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Repurposing an older machine as a server?

I would recommend using a firewall appliance that can be used to segregate your server from the rest of your home network. If you have another old machine collecting dust, something like Smoothwall Express, pfsense, or IPCop will run on just about anything.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Repurposing an older machine as a server?

If you think you could throw some more RAM in it, might be worth considering installing a hypervisor. Even if you just have one Ubuntu machine, it would make it easier to move it later when you upgrade to new hardware.

Plus you can make snapshots which is helpful when trying out new things. ESXi or Proxmox come to mind.

A mailserver that functions correctly in the outside world is difficult (maybe impossible) to do on a home internet connection. Most mail servers can detect that and just won't talk to it. I recommend a cheap VPS for that. An easy-ish mail server to set up is MailCow.

No-IP is a good domain registration service that provides DDNS update clients for both windows and Linux. Their might be cheaper stuff out there but these guys are pretty good.

Also, you might check out Nginx for your webserver. Resolved a lot of frustrations for me that I had with Apache when I made the switch. It's pretty popular these days.

To add to what Dngrsone said- PFSense is a good firewall that you can use to isolate your server from the network. Not sure on your networking skill level but it's one of the easier ones I think. Probably would still take some patience and studying up though. You can also run it as a virtual machine if have to.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Repurposing an older machine as a server?

Hmm. I don't know if I'll be able to pull this off, but thanks for the tips anyway. Hopefully it becomes helpful to others in the future. ^^

Thinking of just buying a .uk domain and shared hosting since I don't really have the time to upgrade or the ability to manage everything myself, and as you said the mail server might be a pain, so yeah...
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Repurposing an older machine as a server?

Yeah if you just want to get up and running with a website and email that's the easiest way. Good luck
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Repurposing an older machine as a server?

On the subject of repurposing this old machine. You could turn it into a Plex Media Server and put movies & tv shows on it. I run one and it's great, How to Set Up Plex (and Watch Your Movies on Any Device).
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