Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
You'll be in for an education if you want to host your own web site, but we'll walk through a couple of the basic things you'll need to get started.
I have a Server type computer, I was wondering what you recommend I use as an OS and how to use it to host my own websites and/or use it as an FTP site.
You've got a machine on the internet. Why not let people connect to a site you host on your own machine?
It's certainly possible. The question is - is it the right way to do it?
I'm assuming you're setting up this server at home or at a small business that's connected to the internet by some kind of broadband (Cable or DSL) connection.
Actually, what OS you use is less important than how you're connected to the internet. Some ISPs don't allow servers on the connections they provide. Others charge a bit more for the ability to do so. If you're using broadband (DSL or Cable), remember that while it might be fast enough for you, it's shared between you and everyone who might be connecting to your server. It can get clogged and slow very quickly.
Your machine will need to be on 24 hours a day, and you're most likely going to need a static IP address - dynamic (or changing) is the more common default. You'll also probably want to grab a domain name (like "example.com") so people can find you.
Once you've got the physical connection, I'd run Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2003 Server, both of which come with the software to host a web or ftp site: IIS (Internet Information Services). Another alternative would be a Linux distribution; most come with ftp software as well as the Apache web server.
I'll warn you that you're in for an education. Hosting a server is not a trivial task and not for the faint of heart. My recommendation for most folks is rather than hosting their own, spend a few dollars a month and go to a shared hosting company where you can get some space on a server that's maintained by someone else. In fact, your ISP probably already has some set aside for you.
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