Private Server Part 0: Primer

So you’re interested in setting up your own personal server? Awesome! Before we dive in, I’d like to explain more about how this guide is laid out and what you can expect from each section.

One thing that’s true about any industry, let alone computer technology, is that there are a lot of complicated terms used to describe abstract concepts. While it’s easy to lay these terms out in a dictionary or glossary, it’s difficult for newcomers to fully grasp the idea unless they have an real-world example to compare it against. In the best case it would leave them bored and confused, and in the worst case it would discourage them from continuing with the guide. Instead, I’ll take an as-we-go approach, defining and exemplifying terms as they become relevant.

When a topic is too complicated, or there are better examples elsewhere, the guide will link to an external resource. I highly encourage you to follow these links, read up on the information available there, and see if you can use those resources to enhance your experience. The Internet is a nigh-infinite well of knowledge and it’s impossible for anyone or anything to catalog everything (yes, even Google). You might end up coming across a website that explains a concept better than I can. In that case, I encourage you to post links in the comments to give other readers a chance to learn.

My recommended approach for following this guide is to read through each post once, then return to the start and actually follow the instructions on your own system. If you’re adventurous, or if you already have experience with managing computers, you’re more than welcome to try each step as it’s presented. Sometimes the best way to learn is to just go for it. If you fail, don’t get discouraged. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and go back to square one. Don’t beat yourself up over it; after all, it took over half a century for computers to become what they are today. A lot of people before you have tried and failed only to get back on their feet.

Now, without any further delay, let’s get started!

Next: Choosing the Right Hardware

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