How my journey into the server and website world began

How it all Started

My name is Adrian and I am from Newcastle Under Lyme in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. I started learning how to use servers back in 2011. It was a Fujitsu Primegy MX130 S1 seen in the images below. I knew nothing about websites or how they were hosted. I had books that I read and learned a lot from using the internet. The operating system back then was Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard which was bought for me by a friend. The operating system was not all that bad. The main part of the server operating system was Windows Server 2008 R2. The SBS interface had things so you could set up an email exchange and an internal website. The operating system took 30 to 45 minutes to install. It ran ok until you started to get updates. There was an update for SharePoint that conflicted with the Windows backup and caused to backup to crash and stop running. That would take a few hours to find out how to fix it. You had to run a command using PowerShell that corrected the problems. From reading information from forums, a lot of I.T. people were not happy about it because if the backup failed and something went wrong with the server you could not even restore the operating system to an earlier point. After a few years, Windows 2012 was released but I did not use that and carried on using the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard operating system. Then Windows Server 2016 was released and I tried that out on a Virtual Server using Hyper-V on my computer to see what is new and what it is like. It had a few bugs and ran ok for what I needed so I decided to change the operating system to Windows 2016 using an OEM key. I created a website using Microsoft Expression Web. It was a very basic HTML website but was a starter for me. The next thing I started to learn was setting up Internat Information Services and how to set up a website. I learned all of that had the website setup and could see the website on my computer. I found out it could not be seen outside of my home network on the internet. Remember I knew very little about websites. My friend had a look on his computer browser to see if he could see it. He told me there was nothing. So I did some more research and found out you need to buy a domain name from a domain provider. You also require a static public IP address. You can find out your public IP address by typing My IP Address in Google Search and you will see a box displaying it. 

 

A Few Years on and to the Present Day

In 2020 I knew that the end of life was approaching the Windows Server 2016 operating system I knew it was time to upgrade to Windows Server 2019 and a new server. I downloaded the operating system and purchased an OEM Key. I had already ordered a new Dell EMC PowerEdge T140 – MT  Server and had that setup ready to install the Windows Server 2019. The server was easy to set up and was very fast as installing the operating system. I was very impressed. Then once everything was complete I logged in and set up remote access to save me from having to use an extra monitor and keyboard on my desk. They were required for the main set-up. I still use the same server for the present day to run all my website and gaming servers now and again. The server also ran PBX VOIP Software up until 2023. It now runs a private open-source exchange for emails and I have never had any problems with it. The server occasionally goes offline now and again if it has to be restarted for any update installed from Microsoft but that will only happen in the early hours of the morning of GMT UK. You can learn more about Self-Hosting if you would like to run your server. If you prefer to use a cloud service then you might want to learn about a Virtual Private Server.

WordPress

I started to learn about WordPress because someone had mentioned it to me and said you might find it easier to create a website using WordPress. I knew nothing about it at the time. So looked it up on the internet and could see wordpress.com and wordpres.org. I had a look at both of them to find out more information and what it was all about. WordPress.com is a platform that allows you to create a website using their servers. The only problem is that your website domain will be wordpress.com/yourdomainname.com. That was not for me. I wanted something that allowed me to self-host a website on my server and that was where wordpres.org was useful. You download a zip file from the website. The current version is 6.4.3. You then have to extract a zip folder to a location of your choice. Then you create an empty database. Then for Internet Information Services, you require PHP manager and URL Rewrite. I soon learned how to install both of those. The next thing I had to do was download and extract a version of PHP so WordPress would run on Internet Information Services. Once that was done I opened my browser then typed the domain name in the address bar and saw an installation page. I followed all of the instructions and completed everything and my website was set up and running. I found WordPress is so easy to use once you learn how to use it. There are other self-hosted website platforms like Joomla but it’s not as easy to use and can be more complicated to use. I have tried and tested Drupal but there are not as many themes and plugins available as there are with WordPress. 

Be Aware of Scams

The WordPress Security Team is aware of multiple ongoing phishing scams impersonating both the “WordPress team” and the “WordPress Security Team“ in an attempt to convince administrators to install a plugin on their website which contains malware. The WordPress Security Team will never email you requesting that you install a plugin or theme on your site, and will never ask for an administrator username and password. If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from WordPress with instructions similar to those described above, please disregard the email and indicate that the email is a scam to your email provider. These emails link to a phishing site that appears to be the WordPress plugin repository on a domain that is not owned by WordPress or an associated entity. A WordPress site’s administrators can also access the plugin repository via the plugins menu in the WordPress dashboard. As WordPress is the most used CMS, these types of phishing scams will happen occasionally. Please be vigilant for unexpected emails asking you to install a theme or plugin with links redirecting you to a fake login form. Do not enter any credentials in the fake login form. Uninstall the plugin immediately because there might be remote access software allowing a hacker to log in to your website then who knows what damage they will do to your website? If you have a backup before you install the plugin or themes then I recommend reinstalling your site with the backup. If your site is used for a business and you have customers then you will need to inform them as well to make them aware and to check their bank accounts for any unknown payments and to change their emails and passwords. I know it sounds horrible but it’s better to be safe than sorry because it could end up costing you a lot of money. I check my mcmasterphotography.co.uk website for any suspicious activity every other day. To make payment more secure for people I use PayPal and will not accept any other payment options like Visa or credit card payments. This site and my main adrianmcmastergaming.com do not use payment because they have no online shop and I am the only person who logs into the websites.

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