Hi Lifehacker, I'm a student who just started doing some work on the side building websites for local businesses in my spare time — thanks for introducing me to Codecademy and making that possible). I've decided to look into hosting the websites myself as another form of income. How do I go about setting up a server to host websites? Are there student discounts for buying servers? Thanks, Host With The Most
Student picture from Shutterstock
Our genuine advice is this: there's not much money in setting up a full-blown hosting service yourself, but there is (potentially) a decent amount of pain. Hosting is a commodity market these days, and those companies that do make money from it do so because they have sufficient scale to handle large numbers of sites. That's hard to replicate from your own home or even a small office, especially in terms of having decent connection speeds.
As you're only dealing with small scale sites, we'd suggest setting up hosting through a cloud-based provider such as Azure or AWS. That lets you retain administrative control, allows you to host in Australia if you wish, and you can still opt to charge your customers a fee which lets you build in a decent profit margin. You'll still gain the experience of managing those (virtual) servers, but you can let someone else worry about the hardware and network uptime. It's also relatively inexpensive to set up a sample site and see what the likely monthly expenses will be.
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