What do I need to run my own Nodescan server?
Keep in mind that it is not necessary to run a server all the time. It is possible to just run the Nodescan Server application for a short time, to share some documents or have an online discussion, and then quit it. In this case you will still need to make sure that your router (and the firewall on your PC) are set it up to accept connections on the relevant ports and, optionally, register a dynamic domain name (see below).
When you want to provide a more permanent online presence, you should consider running it on a dedicated server. In that case we provide the following guide to help you.
- 1) A small PC.
A fast processor and hard drive will make it more responsive and allow it to handle more simultaneous connections. For a basic setup you might be able to use something like this (with an external USB HD or SSD). A (used) Mac Mini makes a great personal or small group server.
It need not have a monitor as you can use a screen sharing server (built in on Mac OS X 10.5 or later) and view the server using another PC.
The host computer must be set to not sleep.
Make sure the PC is in a well ventilated place. If the server needs a high level of availability you might consider getting an Uninterrupted Power Supply (a battery that will keep your computer running during temporary power outages.)
Cost: $0 (if you have an old PC that you don’t use) – $500
- 2) A router.
You probably already have one but if not, a (broadband) router is necessary to handle the incoming connections and improve the efficiency of the server. While software routers are available, the price and functionality of hardware routers (such as port-forwarding, firewall, DMZ, etc.) makes them hard to beat. Get the newest, fastest one you can afford. If you are buying one, look for a router that offers “Virtual Server” (or port forwarding) functionality. This will ensure that you can set it up to accept connections for specific (custom) services on their designated ports. DMZ functionality means that you can separate the connections coming to the server from the outside (internet), from your own computer and any others that are connecting from the local side (LAN). If your router doesn’t do this you should quit Nodescan Server when you are not using it (and turn off port forwarding) to protect your computer from unwanted external access. In addition, look for support for dynamic domains such as dyndns.org.
Cost: less than $100
- 3) A broadband (always-on) internet connection.
A cable or DSL internet connection is fine, but be aware that your upload speed will probably be quite a lot less than your download speed so users accessing your server may not be able to download (receive) files quickly – especially if more than one person is doing so at the same time. You should also be aware that other people, such as family members, using the internet will also be taking bandwidth (especially noticeable for network games like Call of Duty that require a lot of back-and forth communication across the network.) Also, while your internet provider might advertise their service as a high speed service, consumer internet services are usually ‘best effort’ which can mean great slowdowns during peak times. Even when you have full use of all your bandwidth, a fast 100Mb/s Cable or DSL connection may only provide 7-8Mb/s upload speeds. Where available (and affordable), fiber-optic connections usually offer equally fast upstream and downstream speeds which can make a dramatic difference to the speed for external users.
Cost: $0 (if you already have it) to $100+ per month for a high speed contact. This depends on a lot of things, such as where you live, how much competition there is, internet infrastructure in your area, etc.
- 4) Nodescan Server
- 5) A dynamic dns account (Optional).
A dynamic domain name stays the same when your assigned IP address changes (which could be any time you restart your computer or your modem) and lets you use a domain name (such as myserver.dyndns.org) instead of an IP address.
Cost: A basic account suitable for a homeserver ranges from free to around $30.00 per year
Running Nodescan at home saves you from paying for external hosting for a (personal) site.