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Old 09-09-2008, 11:29 AM
 
878 posts, read 1,902,371 times
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Being a huge geek, I have been playing with a MUD program (for those who can remember back to the '90s), and I want to make it publicly available. Since this is a hobby, I don't want to pay for a remote server, and would like to run the server out of my house.

I currently have a linux box (Ubuntu) which I would use as the server, but I'm not sure where to start. I'd like to offer public access to a few limited ports with other ports being password protected. Also, I would like to allow remote FTP access for other users, either to their own account or to a shared folder.

Eventually I'd like to provide a website, possibly with forums, and add a mail server.

Security is another concern, the server will share a network with my home PC, and I don't want any carryover.

Storage space, processing power, and RAM are not a concern. The box has 1 GB of RAM and a two-year-old Athalon 64-bit processor, and several hundred GB of hard drive space.

Any help is appreciated, thank you.
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:04 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,341,277 times
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How do you plan on connecting it to the Internet? Residential ISPs don't allow servers and many actively block ports. Servers need lots of upload bandwidth which is tough to get on a home ISP account.

Since you most likely have a dynamic IP address, the mail server won't work because dynamic IPs are usually blacklisted meaning other mail servers your server tries to communicate with will refuse to accept your mail. You'd have to relay outgoing mail through your ISP's mail server if they'll allow it. The dynamic IP also means that no one will be able to find your server unless you use dynamic DNS.

Any server you put on the net will get hacked so you'd better put in in a DMZ so when it does get hacked, they don't get access to your internal LAN. Expect that FTP server to get pounded around the clock from IP addresses all over the world.
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,493,942 times
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As EC said, you're going to have some challenges to overcome if you want to do this from home. I also inferred from your post that you're not very experienced with linux, although I could be wrong.

My recommendation is to shelve the idea until you get a more appropriate Internet connection or find yourself a virtual hosting deal where you can install and run whatever you want. You'll also want to get very comfortable with iptables.

Most of what you want to do can be done on a residential connection, but unless you REALLY know what you're doing, you're likely to end up with more headaches than happy MUD players.

BTW, which MUD were you going to run? I used to be a HUGE MajorMud addict, and considered running one of the free *nix MUDs a few years ago - don't remember which one, though.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:50 AM
 
878 posts, read 1,902,371 times
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Quite a bit of negativity here. I guess I'll have to venture into the black heart of Google to find my answers. Thanks anyway.

swagger: tbaMUD | Continued development of the CircleMUD core is a good base (Circle derivative), and is still being updated. It runs clean on UBUNTU, where others would require quite a bit of tweaking just to get them to the point where they would start up.

Alternatively, you could run an older code base (DIKU, GW, etc.) on an older OS. It would save a lot of headache.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
1,055 posts, read 3,647,461 times
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It isn't negativity it is truth. Many residential ISPs have a no server clause in their contracts and you won't have the bandwidth you need. Also, dynamic IP is a problem but not insurmountable since you can use a service like dyndns to resolve the dynamic IP to a host name.

As for the actual server. Once you set it up you will need to do port forwards through your router to the server. The rest will be done by the software on the server.

Security shouldn't be an issue. As long as you lock down the server your network won't suffer.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:00 PM
 
Location: US
1,189 posts, read 3,645,370 times
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Well you -can- run a server at home if you have the right ISP. My ISP offers a business class connection where you get a static IP and all the benefits that go with that. You will probably end up paying double the price of a residential grade connection for the same speed though.

For security I would buy one of those cheap-o linksys routers that you can re-flash with third party firmware. Then you can setup VLANs and so on...

But yeah, don't be surprised when you go to your website one day and see some weird wolf or llama and "TuRkisH Hackerz 4 l1f3!" as your new homepage. If you become remotely popular it will happen, so backup early and often.

Last edited by J Arp; 09-15-2008 at 12:01 PM.. Reason: Leet speak is filtered? Hah!
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Old 09-15-2008, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
1,055 posts, read 3,647,461 times
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Yes getting business class from your ISP will solve many of those problems but is much more expensive. It is what I use at home for just that reason since I'm a consultant and do much of it from the house... also I run servers when needed to demo stuff for clients or to access files on the road.
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:50 PM
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Location: Ohio
16,901 posts, read 33,639,931 times
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Most home Internet connections have upload speeds that are 10-20% of the download speed they provide. Even if the ISP is especially generous about tolerating servers, the typical consumer broadband upload speed won't be enough for you to run a server from home that supports many remote connections.

Some ISPs like Comcast take an especially dim view of servers and will cancel your account and blackball you from being their customer if they catch you running one.

If you want to run server scripts, get a hosting account and run them remotely from a datacenter.
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Old 09-15-2008, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,493,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zman0 View Post
Quite a bit of negativity here. I guess I'll have to venture into the black heart of Google to find my answers. Thanks anyway.
Ok, here's what I'm doing at home, on a residential connection.

The Internet comes in via cable to a linux machine with two NICs. One facing the 'net, the other facing my LAN.

On that machine, I have my phone system running, which handles all the inbound lines (about a dozen VoIP numbers from three different providers), all the IVRs, queues, extensions and whatnot needed for the house and three different businesses, a proxy server (so I can keep an eye on where the kids are surfing), inbound/outbound fax server, plus web, mail, dns, samba, dhcp, cups, etc. It also does all the port forwarding for the various services I'm running inside the LAN that need to be accessible from the outside world.

On the LAN, I have my Media Center, which has to be accessible from the outside world, a development server that runs occasionally when I'm working on a project (right now it's running W2k3/apache for a website I'm working on for a client) that also has to be accessible from the outside world, a bunch of desktops/laptops doing regular computing stuff, a total of ten phones in the house plus two off-site that all connect to the linux gateway/firewall system, a few networked printers, a couple of wireless routers/APs and some other odds and ends here and there. For a home network, it's pretty involved.

There's a number of things I'm accessing from the outside world, but none of them run on standard ports (those are all blocked by the ISP) and none of them get a significant amount of traffic. I have SSH setup on the server so I can get into the network and if necessary, tunnel through that connection to get to the things I don't want to open to the outside world. There's a port forwarded for the web server running on the Media Center, one for the development server, and a couple others for other things. All the firewalling and port forwarding, as well as NAT, is done via iptables.

I wouldn't attempt running anything that saw a lot of incoming traffic on a residential connection - I'm not interested in losing my account or being forced to upgrade to a "business class" connection (which is just a fancy way of saying that you get to pay twice as much or more for a static IP).

So all this stuff (including what you want to do) can be done on a residential connection, but there are risks involved, both with maintaining the status of your cable/dsl account and with your environment getting hacked. I would strongly advise against running a web server on a residential connection, unless it's there for a very specific purpose and isn't there to be accessed by the world at large. As for mail, forget it. You can run your own outbound mail server for the machines in the house, but using it as a MX server for a domain name is almost certainly a recipe for disaster. Get a hosting account at hostgator or something if you're going to run a website/mail.

I guess the bottom line and what I'm trying to get at is if you're asking here for advice/instruction on setting up your network for a MUD, you're probably not really ready to do it. There's more to running a server than installing the software and turning it on - you have to thoroughly understand certain concepts that the average desktop user doesn't really understand or even know exists (e.g. security).

We all have to start somewhere, but we're trying to save you the headaches we've been through and the 3am phone calls from the ISP (been there - not fun). I strongly recommend taking a look at the virtual server offerings out there. You'll have root access, be able to install whatever software you want and it'll be in a suitable environment for such a venture. Maybe you could offer free access for a few months, until people are hooked, then start charging $5/mo or something to defray the costs.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck.
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