Setting up own server at home is actually one of the prerequisites of this blog. Without having one, there would not actually be any sense in starting to write anything here.

It began more than a year ago… And an essential part in the story belongs to one of best tech guys I know (may be even the best, coz I do not know many tech guys for now), my namesake Anton, my server-guru. Very much about Linux he knows, and not only about Linux. And if you ask him something that he does not know, he will read it up and tell you better than any article.

So at the beginning of the previous year, I found out that Anton has his own Apache server running at home. A small box, not bigger than a toaster, standing on the table that can host a website (an not only that). “That’s certainly awesome” – though I – “Must be cool to understand it”. That was the time when I did not completely understand how to install an SSL certificate on Apache server, and the though of Tomcat server could make my hair stand on end.

Then, it came that time when I worked on SSL installation articles for SSLs.com and SSLCertificate.com knowledgebases. There were some of most common servers, but, of course, nobody did ever grant access to any of those servers to test the installation and make some cool screenshots. So I had to improvise. Thanks God, our hosting has cPanel, so there is plenty of places and occasions to understand the process and make some screenshots. Apache and Nginx were also not that difficult, as openssl for CSR generation was available in our workplace command line, while the number of chats with the certificate installation cases was quite high to get the main point and the installation sequence. For Plesk and DirectAdmin panels, I had to dig up through the Internet for panels demo versions. The Plesk one was quite nice, while DA not that much. I do not still understand why did we picked DirectAdmin as one of the first articles that should be in our installation KB. It is not that popular, and fancy, and good-looking. And the license for it costs $29/month (quite a rip off). With the same success we can have an installation article on ISP Config.

The fun starts further. For Tomcat keytool commands I also used out work terminal (another good piece of advice I received from Anton was to play with keytool commands to understand better Tomcat SSL installation). As for the second part of the certificate installation, editing the Tomcat configuration, which I had never seen in my life then, I needed to borrow some information from existent articles from Namecheap and other knowledgebases. IIS was a tough one first, but became a piece of cake after I found that there is an opportunity to unblock an Internet Information Service Manager on each Windows machine (even not a server one), so I used it my laptop for practicing the installation. Before it I had learnt that MMC, used for some certificate management tasks, is also a standard tool of all Windows operational systems; so it produced a couple more support articles later. While with Exchange Powershell I had to improvise. For now, I think, Exchange still remains the most enigmatic server we ever assisted with.

Further on, after I began dreaming about creating my own knowledgebase with blackjack and hookers, the idea of setting up my own server never left me. This idea was enormous, as I wanted both Linux and Windows servers, with trying various free hosting control panels over Linux (and not very free too). And that’s how I came to this:

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A small, portable box that takes little place on my desk under the monitor and can be easily put in the backpack. Not very demanding, not super-powerful. Quite enough to setup own home server. So, let’s look under the hood.

Case. So what’s with the wrapping? Delux E-i3 – Mini-ITX, aluminium, black case that has exterior power supply as a unit (120 Watt); with 2 USB sockets on the side panel. We have such cases at work. Very comfy and compact.

156864357_w640_h640_162462Motherboard + CPU. Since I did not need the machine with huge computing power, I decided to purchase a motherboard with integrated CPU and GPU in it. J1800 MSI J1800I mini-ITX

materinskaya_plata_+_protsessor_j1800_msi_j1800i_mini-itxRAM. Never was lucky in choosing RAM, in fact. When adding more memory to the Laptop, ordered a new RAM module which was not recognized by the laptop. Had to return it back to the shop. The same situation is with the modules for the server. First ordered SO-DIMM DDR3 4Gb 1333MHz Kingston; bummer – server never started. Had to replace it to similar from AMD. May be I have bad luck with SO-DIMM modules, may be this is just Kingston that sucks in making proper RAM. I believe 4 GB would be right what is needed for a Linux server.

Physical memory. It looks like noone is producing HDD less than 500 GB. First, wanted to gain a small-volume SSD for about 100-120 GB, but after all, why would I need a solid drive on the server that I access once a day to run a couple of commands. That’s why I ended up with two 2.5″ SeaGate SATA 500Gb drives. One new (costs much cheaper than SSD), and the other one from the old Asus laptop (HDD extraction from is a tale for another time for another time). So far, both are attached to the motherboard, but I think I will use one of them for installing Windows server operating system later.

Combining all this together, I received a reliable machine to train, test and work. It has been functioning flawlessly for about three weeks without any disruptions. Who knows what we are going to experience with it. I hope something very huge. 😀