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Can I use my computer as a web server?

Wherein computer maven Ada Lovelace answers all your tech questions!

Dear Ada:
If your computer could be a server, why don’t more people just set up their own servers rather than use a web hosting service?

Yours,
Serving in the City

Dear Serving:
If you want to use your computer as a server you need it to be on and connected to the internet at all times, otherwise your site will go down. This is commonly referred to as “uptime” which means the percentage of time a site is available for browsing. Industry standard uptime is 99.99%, anything less is no good!

With that in mind, think about all of the times that your internet is weird or your computer runs out of battery or Firefox freezes everything and you need to restart. Basically, if you wanted to use a computer as a server you really wouldn’t want to do anything else with it EVER and if you ever wanted to use it for something else you would need a backup computer to be your web server in the meantime.

At that point, with the amount of work that would take and the cost of having at least two to three computers on hand (one to be your personal computer, one to serve as the primary web server, one to be the backup web server), you are much better off paying $15/month to a web hosting company and letting them worry about all of that.

Yours,
Ada

Who is Ada and how does she know everything?
Ada is Ada Lovelace, also known as the daughter of Lord Byron, and commonly considered the world’s first computer programmer. Read more about her here. Send your questions to her at hello@skillcrush.com.

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