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How To: HOST a Computer Service/Game

By jobeard
Dec 8, 2008
  1. How-To HOST a Computer Service/Game

    Definition: Hosting; making a program available to the public Internet, using World Wide Web browser with a URL, FTP for file up/down loads, or Telnet/SSH for shell account access.

    The mechanical issues are:
    1. Obtain a Domain Name, which will assign a static IP address for your Domain.
    2. Determine which system to which the IP address will point.
    3. Port Forward the gateway router to the system with the program that is always running.
    4. Open the required Port(s) for the program on that system.​

    Licensing issues may restrict particulars of the above and you need to validate these before you finalize items (2-3). For example, a normal End-User-License from an ISP typically comes with restrictions on hosting anything, including website, file serves and shell accounts and contain clauses which allow the ISP to disconnect you if violated.
    Typically, to enable hosting, the ISP offers a Business Class License, which will then enable anything you, need.

    In addition, software often comes with a Single User license and requires a multi-user or Commercial Usage license for everything else. After all your hard work (and expense to make this work), get this right before you get into trouble.

    (1) Obtaining a Domain Name. For an annual fee, one of the Registrars will assign you a public IP address, associate it to the Domain Name of your choice (assuming it is still available), and make an entry into the global DNS so that nslookup yourdomain.name will return the correct static IP address.

    The goofy way to achieve the same effect is to use DynDNS.org. This will cause a non-static IP address to be found by your users. HOWEVER, you may then still violate the License issues of your ISP. CAVEATE EMPTOR!

    (2) This is the HOSTING solution decision. The business solution is to purchase hosting from a reputable vendor with UPS, backup services, and professional services on-site. This is not real expensive and you get lots of services for this investment.
    (a) choose the vendor you wish
    (b) inform them of your domain name and they will update the DNS to point to their hardware.​

    For whatever reason however, some people want to host their service(s) on their own system(s). You then get your ISP to support your Domain name and its IP address and they will ensure your ISP connection (usually your modem/router) is assigned the public address. Then you use (3-4) to get your services to receive traffic from the Internet.
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