My first web server was in size of credit card, I know, it is hilarious. But in the meantime it is very affordable mini computer, which performance is quite impressive for such a small thing.
As you can see, basically it is mobile phone running linux (not android, but desktop distribution). In my case, I used Debian for Raspberry Pi- raspbian wheezy. RPi cost around 40$, and due low power consumption running it 24/7 costs only like 4$ a month, which is impressive for fully functional web server.
How it all started? I bought this awesome toy, to play around and learn some robotics basics, I did that, but I got little bored, because I didn't have lot of parts and knowledge to create something huge, and Pi was just sleeping in my wardrobe. Then i started to learn Web development, and I had to rent VPS or buy my own server, but I did some calculations and realized, Pi is powerful enough to work as web server and cost almost nothing.
- Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
- GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
- GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
- 512 MB RAM
- Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
- 10/100 BaseT Ethernet ports
- HDMI socket
- (2) USB 2.0 socket
- RCA video socket
- SD card socket
- Powered from microUSB socket
- 3.5 mm audio out jack
- Header footprint for camera connection
- Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17 mm
I used Pi as web server for about 6 months, on it were about 6 web applications, everything was running smoothly and nice. Using Pi I learned a lot about servers, maintenance, setup and basically everything I know about servers.
Why I just didn't rent a VPS? I don't know, I just like, when physically I'm next to my server. My server which runs this site is also located into my apartment, connected to 200Mbps fiber. I just don't need yet to move to data center, mainly because they cost around 60-80$ in a month, but here I can store it for about 20$.
Raspbian wheezy OS with apache2, php5 and Mysqli database, and few other applications.
I think it is great purchase for education or fun computer projects, you can see them over web. It is fascinating, what people can do with their RPi. Since I don't use my Pi as web server, I will continue to do fun stuff with it, I hope I will be able to post some great projects under Toys soon.