An Introduction to Home Servers
It is safe to say that we have all heard of servers. Some people imagine them as giant computers capable of calculating and quantifying massive amounts of data 24/7 to help protect the world from global catastrophe. Now, while this all might have been true back in the 70’s, the servers of today come in many shapes and sizes.
When you ask a geek what a server is he might respond my explaining that servers are used to host the websites that you might visit. He might describe that when you go to work and log into your computer it is likely that somewhere in the background a server is checking your login information and verifying that they are correct. He might even say that a server can be used to store backups of your pictures, emails, documents, etc.
What he might not mention is that severs can be used in your own home. Allowing you to have a centralized place to store and access all your pictures, home movies, documents, etc. Giving you access to your files regardless of you location or device. Creating a simplified and manageable solution for your data.
The tricky part is understanding and implementing a personal server solution. Just as there are many servers there are also many pieces of software that enable your home server to host all your files and media. For simplicity we will not be going over details of all the software solutions. However, do expect posts describing each piece of software, its installation and setup in detail at a later date.
Right now, we are going to familiarize you with some of the most commonly used terminology and software components used by I.T Professionals.
Linux – Lightweight, free and generally stable operating system used to power a large percentage of online web servers today. Designed by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki. Many variations exist and will be covered in future posts.
SAMBA – Software used to emulate windows file sharing and domain services. This allows a Linux server to talk and share files and printers will a windows computer.
Domain – A domain is a group of computers controlled by a centralized server or group or servers. Domains can manage permissions, enhance security and deploy software. Domains are rarely ever needed with home solutions but it was worth mentioning.
DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This service is not always necessary on your server. It allows a gateway server to renew and release IP configuration information to clients on your network.
Client – A computer on your network that does not act as a server but instead is managed by a server on the network. Clients also can be unmanaged computers on a network if a server is not present.
Server – A computer running software that allow it to host and manage services. This could be a file server for storing files. A web server for hosting an online website, etc.
Now that you have learned that servers come in all shapes and sizes, that you can even run a server in your own home, and some terminology used by I.T Professionals. You are well on your way to better understanding the intricacies of setting up a server. Be sure to check back soon for part two, where we will discuss the different linux operating systems that can be used for your home server.