Find Colocation, Dedicated Servers & Cloud Hosting:
Call Now (888) 400-5732

Using Raspberry Pi as a Dedicated Server

Posted by QuoteColo on April 21, 2015 - Updated on March 03, 2016


Using Raspberry Pi as a Dedicated ServerThose who have been looking for a nice, simple way to get a website up and running on a dedicated server might want to consider the Raspberry Pi. Even though this device only costs around $35 and it is technically an experimental machine, it has some amazing potential that could make you rethink your current website host. While it might not have the same power and capabilities as a true dedicated server from a prominent host, you actually can use your Raspberry Pi as a dedicated web server. Of course, you will have to think smaller in scale. Let’s look at what the Raspberry Pi offers to see whether it is something that you might want to try.

What Can the Raspberry Pi Do?

Why would you want to choose this option for your dedicated server? Most people have gotten away from the idea of having their own machines act as dedicated servers and instead, they are looking toward using the cloud. In some cases, that’s perfect. However, using this device as your own dedicated server can be helpful too. Of course, it doesn’t apply to all situations. Well, if you have a relatively small company and site, then it can work out very well for you. However, it does have some limitations.

The Raspberry Pi can store and host a simple website, and it can allow you to store your files in the cloud. However, the important word here is that your website will be simple. You won’t have a massive online store, tons of interactive features and the like when you use this device. However, you can still set up a decent, respectable website with it. They can use simple HTML as well as more advanced web apps.

When you are setting up your website and using the device for a dedicated server, it is generally in your best interest to do it as simply as possible. Having a few webpages without too much to tax the machine is a good idea. Best of all, you are able to do this without any monthly hosting fees. You will also be able to create just about any look you want for your site. They are great for some small sites and the like, but you really must realize that they are not going to be a business solution for you. Instead, they are a fun and simple way of putting up some files online and to experiment.

Think about the amount of traffic that you have coming into your website right now. While a Raspberry Pi server might be capable of handling the traffic right now, you will find that it’s not always going to be the case. The current generation of the device, as capable as it is, still is not as powerful as your average home PC. It will be on your network, and it simply won’t be able to handle a large amount of traffic. If you have it on your home network, and you are suddenly getting a substantial amount of traffic, you might find that you are actually unable to get onto the web because of how busy your network is. That would not be very good for business.

Another one of the problems is that many of the web hosts out there have clauses built right into their contracts that disallow you hosting your own dedicated server. While they would not have any problem with a small server and a very small project, it’s not something that you want to use as your main business website. It simply wouldn’t work.

What can you do with the Raspberry Pi server then? Quite a few things, actually. You are still able to use if for a small, personal site. For example, you could create a site of family photos and a family history that is specifically for you and your family members to use. You could also create your own storage space for files. Maybe you want to store a large number of photos, or even some audio and video files. It can work quite well for that.

How Easy Is It to Set Up?

One of the great things about the Raspberry Pi is it is relatively simple to use. Having knowledge of servers, operating systems, and building websites is important though. Even though it is easy, you will need to know the basics first. Also, keep in mind that it is not going to be ready to play website host when you get it. Let’s look at what you will need.

You need to make sure that you have your own router and modem that you will get from your ISP. Just because you aren’t paying for a host for the site, you will still need to pay for your own Internet connection. You will also need to have an Ethernet cable, which you will hook up from the router to the device so that it has a permanent connection to the web. You need an operating system for your device as well, not to mention SSH, or secure shell, access. Choose the one with which you are most comfortable. A popular choice is Raspbian.

Once your system is up and running, you will want to install Apache web server software. This is a very popular option, and is the one that many server owners utilize. In fact, estimates are that about 50% of sites hosted on servers are running Apache. When you install Apache, it will also install PHP. With that installed, you are able to set up your own website.

Keep in mind that in order to do this, you are going to need to have knowledge of how to build websites in HTML or PHP. There are not going to be any templates that you can simply download and use. After all, this is your own site and server. You are building from scratch. For many, this is quite liberating. They can create what they want. For others though, it can actually be intimidating.

What’s the Best Option for a Business Site?

While it is relatively easy to set up a server with a Raspberry Pi, it is easy to see that it really is not an ideal choice when it comes to any sort of business site, even if you are a small business. It is too difficult to try to ensure that the traffic is going to the right place. Businesses shouldn’t use these as their own dedicated servers. Instead, take the time to look for a professional web host who is capable of providing your company with dedicated servers that are the size and power needed. Whether you are using a physical server on your property, or you are using a cloud server, it needs to have power, flexibility, and expandability to work for a business.

What Do You Think?