Hosting Your Own Website: Reliability - Software Reliability
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Apart from the physical conditions of your server, you must also worry about the reliability of the software that is installed on the server. This includes the operating system, the web server software, and any additional software that you have installed for the functionality of the website.
When it comes to the operating system, chances are that you will be fine. As long as you are going with the traditional options of Linux or Windows Server, you really have nothing to worry about. These top OSes have been developed specifically to be reliable and do things like host websites. If you are going with any other option, including a different version of Windows (XP or Vista), then you are unnecessarily putting yourself at risk. Stick to the operating systems that were developed specifically for the purpose.
The web server software is similar to the operating system. Stick with the top choices: IIS or Apache. If you venture outside of the very highest end of software, then you are exposing yourself to a risk that really has no benefit. If you are looking to save money, Apache is completely free. Both top solutions are quite reliable and have an extensive history of development and achievement.
When it comes to extra software that you are installing, the best practice you can use is to install as little as possible. If you have no use for a software suite, then it does not need to be on the server. It will take up more resources and add unnecessary complications and risks. For the software that you do need, make sure that you are installing the official release from the developer. Using user-built packages can be risky and does nothing but save a little time.
The best advice for software reliability is: do not think outside of the box. The most popular software packages and combinations are the most popular for a reason: they work well. If you absolutely have to experiment and try out software that is not quite as popular, make sure that you are very careful and take precautionary measures to ensure that you do not lose your web server and/or website(s) entirely. If at all possible, obtain another server that can be used for testing purposes, separate from your main web server.
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