When you have more than one computer, managing your data and important files becomes an issue. When you need a data file urgently, first you have to scratch your head to remember on which computer it is stored. Seven out of ten times, it is not on the PC you are currently working on. A better way to avoid such a situation and maintain your access to your data, is to establish a home server to serve your computer network at home. Linux systems are not too demanding and one can use a computer with a minimum of 512 MB RAM, a 2.0 GHz processor, a network card, Internet, and a 500 GB or more capacity hard drive as a home server.
Linux Home Server Software
The positive point about the Linux computer operating systems is that most of these can be downloaded for free or by paying a nominal fee. Some of its versions are as good as the commercially available Windows OS, though not as easily installable. Individuals needing a way to interconnect multiple personal computers prefer Linux. It has network capability built into it, a facility which allows Linux to handle multiple connections with the other computers.
The computers requesting connections with your server can either be a part of the home network or not. You can configure your server so as to enable a few outside computers to access it. You can choose the Linux operating system to install as your server from different flavors of Linux systems such as Mandriva, Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Kubuntu, or Fedora. All the flavors are pretty resistant to virus attacks and each of these systems offer strong fire-walling and security features.
Installing Linux Operating System
Download the Linux installation package (.iso) of your choice from the Internet and burn it onto a CD. Rather than choosing the Regular Data CD option, select to burn an ISO image file. This will help you while booting the system.
- Before starting the installation, connect the computer into your network. First, connect an Ethernet cable from the network card of your computer to the Internet router, so as to let the connection be detected automatically and taken care of. Insert this CD, reboot the system, and follow the instructions that appears on the screen. It is assumed that the PC you are using can be booted from the CD or DVD-ROM.
- During the installation process, keep an eye out for the network configuration settings. The OS may also ask you about whether to enable FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Telnet, and such networking services on your computer. Choose appropriate options to enable them.
- The system may instruct you to set up a user account. Set it to System Manager or Administrator and save your info such as name for setting up a normal user account for you.
- In the network setting or configuration option, set the machine's IP address to 192.168.0.254, followed by the string 255.255.255.0 for the subnet address.
- By setting the gateway address to 18.104.22.168., you can disable Internet access for this PC, in which case, no outside computer can access your server. To enable the internet access for this PC, set it to the address of your network router.
- Add user accounts to your home server. Having a password and a username will allow these users to map your server as a drive or an application server on their PC's. While setting these user accounts, take care that no one gets access to the network files which are essential for the server.
- Go to the control panel and enable the network applications such as Remote Desktop/VNC and Telnet on your server, if they weren't already during the installation. Enabling critical services like FTP will allow file transfer from Mac and Linux based computers. For Window based computers, enabling Samba will activate file transfer.
- Now your server is ready to be mapped on the other computers on your network. For Mac computers, click on "Go" button, then on "Connect to Server". For Windows computers, right click on "My Computer" then "Map Network Drive" and fill the address or name of the server. For Linux based computers in your network, follow standard mapping techniques. Your Linux home server is ready and active.
Well, no doubt the process for setting up a best home server needs some technical knowledge and patience on your part. However, once it is done, it will act as a central data storage for your network.