Home/External Network Advice: Challenge to Meet All My Needs

  NickDiana 18:22 04 Apr 2014


I need some networking advice. I’m moving into a new place soon and really want to use the opportunity to set up a great network that meets all my needs. The problem is, I’m not really experienced enough to know which options are best for me.

Here’s what I want to be able to do:

  1. Have centralized file storage
  2. Regularly back up that storage
  3. Be able to access all files over the local network
  4. Be able to access some directories over the internet
  5. Be able to host a very tiny website (only used by friends)

Here’s my hardware:

  1. Brand new gaming rig (My first build! Relatively budget, but all new)
  2. Old Dell Dimension (Currently being used as my webserver)
  3. A macbook air (Hence why I want the centralized file storage. Primary work laptop)
  4. A oldish raid setup (Something I found somewhere and have little to no idea how to use correctly)
  5. Plenty of 3.5 HDs

A few questions I have:

Can I scrap the old Dell? I worry that it cost more in energy to run 24/7 than it’s worth. Is that accurate? Realistically, how secure can a local network be? What if part of it is accessible over the internet? I would prefer as close to 0% chance of my files being seen by unwanted eyes as possible.

Some of my ideas (pretty naive; don’t read if you think they’ll pollute yours):

Use the gaming rig as a webserver as well. I’m not sure how much processing power it takes to run a really small site though. Buy a raspberry pi and make it a webserver or NAS rig or both. Set up xampp on my gaming PC and run a virtual host - not exactly sure how this works.

As far as skill level goes, I’m definitely not an “IT guy”, but I am “The guy people go to when they can’t find the IT guy”. I’ve used unix, know php and mysql, and most importantly, can follow good instructions well. The best solution would be one that 1) has the cleanest implementation (i.e., I don’t want to use 40 different programs to do a few things), 2) is fairly easy (again, I’m not an expert networker), 3) doesn’t require any/much additional hardware.

Thank you in advance for help with this!


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