Hosting your own website & email

Need some advice. I think there are other people here in the same situation. I am a small a small business owner. My website is currently being hosted through Godaddy. I also get business email through Godaddy and they just switched me to Microsoft 360 email. I am NOT OK with this! I also pay for ssl security certificates and whatever else they make me buy. I would like to take control of my Website. Thanks to this group I see I have options.
First I have spent tens of thousands $$ on Internet advertising (SEO & PPP) I don’t know how these people working at marketing companies sleep at night! Many many years of SEO have done nothing except line pockets. Never the less any progress that might have been made I don’t want to loose. Whatever I do the website needs to remain marketable. I’m thinking my options are I could change hosting companies or host myself. If I host myself can I do this through VPS & NAS.
What would be a good way for me to take control of my website & email??? Any suggestions will be appreciated!!

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Hello @HealthyPools!
I have a co-worker at my company who decided to pull the plug from GoDaddy last Spring. I pulled the plug from Google last Winter and removed our company’s website from WIX, which is partnered with Google.

There are several options you can go for:

Shift to a non Big Tech company

This was the first thing I did, as I didn’t have enough bandwidth to support a full blown website at my location. This has changed the past couple of months, but I will still need to make a server investment and dedicate the time to set things up.
Thus, a great option - meanwhile - is to try Zoho - which is business specialized. It has a multitude of modules you can add, which can help with the individual needs of your business. I ended up purchasing their Workplace for 5 of my team members, which gives a communication platform (called Cliq, a Slack equivalent), 100GB email per user, a conference tool (for up to 100 users with video/audio-only call options), 1TB cloud, and a few other options.
I also moved the website to WordPress.com, which is a non Big Tech, non-profit organization (I only pay for the hosting and some templates). They also offer SSL and a free domain - if you choose to have an alternative. You can also transfer your current one there - which only takes a few minutes to propagate. The WordPress application is Open Source, and you can easily export your entire website and self host it at your convenience.

Self-Hosting at your location

This is also an option. Depending on the functionality and traffic requirements of your website, you will need an appropriate bandwidth, preferably dedicated, with a static IP address. You can set it up - again - on a WordPress platform and make sure you install a firewall plugin so that your website is not an easy target.
For this scenario, a standard HP ProLiant Microserver will do the job nicely. It’s a small system with a cost of around $650 plus whatever drives, peripherals (keyboard, screen, mouse) you put in, and services you may acquire for its remote control module (which is not really necessary). Once you have it, you can install Ubuntu Server and then download and install Cyber Panel. This will allow you to setup your Website and your Email directly on that server. However, you will need a new registrar for your domain name - to essentially move it. I’ve heard that Epik is a good place to go. You can then issue a new SSL from them or via Comodo SSL services directly and follow their instructions to attach it to your Cyber Panel.

Hosting via VPS

The method is exactly the same as the self-hosting. The only difference is that the bandwidth will be handled by the VPS company and you will only be able to login remotely, initially via SSH (Secure Shell) - which is text based, until you install Cyber Panel, which has its own web interface. The rest is essentially the same as the self-hosting option.

I hope the above gives you a hint of direction. :slight_smile:

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That’s great info! It definitely opens up some options.
Thank You!

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My pleasure, @HealthyPools ! :slight_smile:

Many of my websites are low traffic so self hosting seems doable. I feel comfortable building the linux server and installing Wordpress but my biggest concern is the internet access to the server. I can lockdown the ports and install Wordfence to protect Wordpress but what about Linux? I assume we would need to install a linux firewall too. Is there anything else we need to consider? eg alerting if there is unusual traffic/activity

One last thought. If we host this server at home and it’s compromised will that expose the rest of the home network? Is there a way to isolate the linux server?

Thanks in advance

Question: Was Wordpress.com involved in a deplatforming/censorship controversy? I have a recollection they were.

Hey, @obverse and welcome to the forums!
We have analytical sets of courses on preparing a VPS, with a full web server (WordPress), DNS, FTP, and email capability. Additionally, they include secure keys and ways to harden the server at the OS level. We were discussing those yesterday at the live workshop.

The general process is:

  • Setup a non-root user
  • Harden the SSH configuration and implement SSH keys
  • Set firewall rules (if you have CyberPanel, those will be set for you)
  • If you change the SSH port, remember to change the firewall ports too

The above process goes for a VPS or a personal server at home (where you will need port forwarding). Another thing to keep in mind about home servers is that the IPS (Internet Service Provider) blocks the email ports, so you cannot send an email from your place - unless you request an unblocking from your provider. Additionally, most providers offer dynamic IP addresses, which will throw your domain off. You will either need to request a static IP address or get a DynamicDNS service (and configure your router accordingly).

And yes, if your home server becomes compromised at the OS level, it can reach the rest of your local computers.

I hope this helps!

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Hey @BillLawrenceOnline!

I did my search regarding censorship and I found one occurrence, specific. There may be more cases, but the articles were responses of rage, which always brings out half-truths.

Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org are fundamentally different. The Dot-Com is the hosting service of WordPress. The Dot-Org is the free and open-source software (FOSS). Yes, WordPress.com offers free plans for users, but it’s nowhere near as strict as Blogger. The only way it censors is if it receives many reports on its content.

With that being said, you don’t need WordPress to host your site. You can easily pick up WordPress the application and use it on other hosting platforms, or one that you own (or rent, as a Virtual Private Server).

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Thank you, vasileios

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Thanks @vasileios .
Lots of good information there.
And I’ll definitely look at those courses you’ve mentioned.

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Would you happen to know if Aghosted hosting server is big tech?

Hey @WestTexasGrit and welcome to the forums!

I tried to look into the hosting service provider you asked for and couldn’t spot it. Is the name “Aghosted” or something different?

It’s called Agathon or Agathon Group.

I appreciate you looking!

Hey @WestTexasGrit!
From what I can see, no, Agathon has zero relationships with the Big Tech. If anything, it appears to be a small provider.
And you are very welcome!

They are my hosting provider, so greatly relieved. They have been truly amazing support.

Thank you again. God’s blessing to you and yours!

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You are most welcome @WestTexasGrit! I’m glad you found that provider and thank you for letting me know! :smiley:

Vasileios,

It has been a while and found your post on email. Hope you are doing well. I have been using a private mail server and thought I would share.

Self Hosting:
If you happen to own a Synology NAS, you can use your Mail Plus app to run your mail. I have several Synology nas and have been looking for a way to do a mail server using dynamic IP since my cost of a static is $50.00 per month. I have been following Willie Howe on Youtube for some time and he finally put together a video that does it justice. You do need a mail relay at dnsexit.com but it really does work. link here; Host Your Own Email Part 4 - Putting All The Pieces Together - YouTube

I had to make sure to allow Mail Plus through the Synology Firewall but have been operating Synology Mail Plus server and Mail plus with their full office, drive and chat apps for an entire “Office in a Box” for about 60 days now with no issues. If you really want to get away from Big Brother for email this would be an option.

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