I recently built a Debian 10 server to try out the Virtualmin control panel. Virtualmin is a control panel that allows adding of websites to a server for access to a private or public network. The goal of the server is to host WordPress websites under development in a local hosting environment. When I say locally in this instance, I mean literally at your own home or office as opposed to on a remote server somewhere.
Why one might use a Virtualmin server
Using a small server with a control panel like Virtualmin is a great way to allow website development locally. These days, when many of us in the web field are working from home, having a server connected to one’s local area network can be a huge advantage. The main advantages I can think of off the top of my head are speed, time savings, cost, reliability, and lessoning of frustration.
Upload and Download Speed
Operating a server using Virtualmin on your local area network is a huge advantage speed-wise. When one is managing a website remotely – especially using the more complex themes – there is a lot of “back and forth” between the web server and the web developer’s workstation. This “back and forth” is adversely affected by Internet speed. Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers, such as, e.g., Comcast, Spectrum, Consolidated, Verizon and so on) provide their customers with what is called asynchronous service. Asynchronous, in a nutshell, means that there are two different speeds for one’s internet connection. Hosting services (like CharlesWorks and most companies that provide web hosting) usually utilize synchronous service – which is far more expensive – and provides the same upload and download speeds.
Developing websites on one’s own server attached to their local area network using Virtualmin overcomes the asynchronous speed issues. This is because your local area network provides synchronous service connections between computers or devices hooked on your network. Especially wired connections which are the most secure as well as the fastest.
Website Development Time Savings
If the ability to upload pictures, text and other graphics along with being able to save your work is speeded up, there will naturally be a time savings on the overall website development. In short, this allows you to be a little more productive when working through a large web project.
Website Development Costs
A higher speed advantage results in an overall lower labor time put in on a website. Over the time involved in developing a website from start to finish, the cost can be impacted because of this. While the cost impact is of little consequence when simply going in and making changes to a website, it may be significant over the entire time devoted to website development.
Local System Reliability
Another advantage of utilizing a local area network server is the sheer reliability of it in terms of Internet connectivity. A common complaint heard from remote staff is the Internet being intermittently out. This problem goes away with a Virtualmin server at one’s location. Without having to worry about losing Internet, your next biggest concern would be to keep power to your machines (at least your workstation and the server system). If you have a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) system system hooked up and you lose power then you should be able to still remotely issue a shutdown command to the local server and then gracefully shut your system down. If you are lucky enough to have a backup generator in place, then even a power loss won’t be an issue as long as the UPS system will keep your workstation, network router and local server operational.
Lessoning Your Frustration
It is often the little things that make tasks frustrating. Web development is trickier than most people understand. It is difficult, at best, to “create on demand”! Reducing the interruptions that can get in the way of that development roll when you are on it help you feel your best about accomplishing your website development tasks.
Hopefully you have gained a little insight into the reasons why one might want to use a local server. These are the kinds of projects that I can help you with if you are interested in having this sort of thing set up for use at your location.