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What is a web server?

If you are reading this guide, there is a fair chance that you already know the answer to this question. However, there is also the possibility that you simply stumbled on this guide and don't know exactly what a server is. Hence, before we get into the actual construction of an Arch server, we will go over exactly what a server is.

Simply put, a server is a computer (or a specific program) that provides services to other computers or programs. In the specific confines of this guide, we are refering to the construction of a computer that provides web-based services to other computers.

Types of servers include:

  • Web (HTTP) servers
  • FTP servers
  • Email servers
  • DNS servers
  • Media servers
  • and many more...
So do I need a server?

It depends, many users (even some who have comprehensive web sites) are quite happy with having basic web hosting. It tends to be cheaper than obtaining a dedicated server, and if something goes wrong it is the hosts responsibility to fix it rather than yours. On the other hand, some people would like more control than basic hosting allows, or may find that they require a feature or application that is not permitted by their provider. In cases such as this, a dedicated server becomes much more appealing. Regardless, before obtaining a dedicated server (or setting up your home computer as a web server), it is important that the user understand a few things.

  • Setting up a server requires time and dedication, there is no one-click-and-it-works system.
  • You will have issues at some point in time that make you question your decision.
  • You will learn more than you ever wanted to know about servers (and quite possibly Linux in general).

If you haven't abandoned hope yet, than please read on and we'll see if we can assist you in successfully building your server!

Part I: Install the Base System

Setting up Arch Linux

For the purposes of this guide, we will assume that you already have successfully built a basic Arch system. If you do not have Arch set up yet, please refer to the Beginners Guide or the Official Install Guide as that is outside the scope of this guide.