The main use of the server will be as a web host for multiple sites. I am going to be spending allot of time researching options but wish to accellerate the process by asking here what expereienced hosts here finds to work best. I have Server 2003 Available to me but my usuers prefer Cpanel so will likely use a Linux distribution. I have never set one up though, have no expereience in how to deal with setting up domain name servers either. I have a company here in town to host the box though which would mean direct access for me> I already have a domain name registered for the DNS and simply need to give it the new IP's that much I know but if there is anything else involved that is what I don't know. I am talking about 4-5 major sites and 20 - 30 small personal sites. I'm looking for information on efficient hardware setups, distribution selections, and control panel advice. I want as bullet proof a setup as possible, need e-mail, PHP and SQL service. And ease of backup for the server as a whole and for individual accouts is usefull as well.
A secondary use if server can handle it without seriously affecting the web hosting is as a game server for one of my accounts.
Any suggestions are welcome. I have a good solid server now but billing is very irreegular and I cannot reach my server host. Haven't been able to in weeks. I hope to have this box in place in the next week or so as well.
Also as many of you are more than aware most the prebuilt servers I'm finding are rack mount. I am in need of a tower solution. Depending on finances I'm looking at the Dual Optertron but for now I've been doing find with a P4 2.4 Gig so my needs are not extreme by any measure.
Well you are going to need to colocate this serve somewhere. So your best bet is to get a 1 or 2U rackmount system. A tower is going to cost you more to colocate. It will cost you more to ship as well.
For a server since you don't seem to want to build your own I would suggest getting a used Dell PowerEdge or Supermicro off of ebay. Dual P4 might be enough for your sites plus a game server. Assuming your sites do not have high CPU useage.
As far as setting everything up on it, you will not find a general FAQ for setting up a decent server. Your best be is to go though a ton of HOWTOs and FAQs for the various parts of linux distros. Learn how DNS works, make your own zone files. Do this for all the various parts of linux on your server.
A good idea might be to get a demo copy of VMWare and build out how you want your machine to be. That way if you completely hose something in the install you can back it out. I'd use something like Centos to start with. Don't use a distro that does absolutely everything for you.
Expect around 1.5K for the server and maybe 75/mo for budget colocation. Hit the colo forum and the colo offers forum for deals and more info.