Webtrees Hosting Requirements

Webtrees Hosting Requirements can vary but our guide lists the specification for Webtrees 2 using a shared server, database and software known as a LAMP server.

Webtrees Hosting Requirements

Webtrees Hosting Requirements are as follows:

  • Server Hardware, preferably using a Linux operating system.  A bare minimum of 100MB disk space is required just to create the initial website, but as you download media files, and as your database fills up, you will need substantially more than the bare minimum.
  • Webserver Software, preferably Apache, but NGINX and IIS are also suitable.
  • A Database, preferably created using MySQL, but PostgreSQL, SQL-Server, and SQLite can also be used.
  • Scripting Language. PHP 7.x is required. This comes with various configurable modules that need to be configured to ensure your website can be served up quickly whilst using as few resources on your server as possible.
  • A Website domain name (URL) is required.
  • Hosting Company, who will provide you with all the above requirements.

If you do not know the above means, the following sections will help you to understand.

Webtrees Hardware Requirements

A bare minimum of 100MB disk space is required just to create the initial website, but as you download media files, and as your database fills up, you will need substantially more than the bare minimum.

In an ideal world, you would rent a dedicated server from a hosting company and your website would be the only website on it. However, dedicated servers are expensive and best left to be used by large multinational businesses that run large and complicated websites. Most hobby sites, and maintaining their own family tree website is for most people a hobby, cannot afford (and don’t need) a dedicated server all to themselves. Instead, they use a shared server, a much cheaper option in which several users are given a share of a large server.

The most commonly used software on shared servers is called a LAMP server, and websites on a LAMP server are most commonly administered using a control panel known as cPanel.

What is a LAMP server?

A LAMP server uses Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP software.

Webtrees Hosting Requirements LAMP Server

Why Linux? Linux is an operating system in the same way that Windows and Android are operating systems.

  • Most laptops/desktops use Windows.
  • Most phones use Android.
  • Most servers use Linux.

You can use Webtrees on other types of server, but it makes sense to use a Linux server because:

  • Linux is a free operating system (which is why most servers use it)
  • Linux is easy to administer (which is why most servers use it)
  • There is lots of help online (because so many use it)

What’s is Apache?

Windows is an operating system, but you need other programmes, for example  a word processor or image viewer, in order to do anything. Android is an operating system, but you need to add apps in order to do anything. Linux is similar. Linux is an operating system, but in order to host a website you need some website hosting software on it. That’s what Apache is. Apache is the world’s most widely used server software. It serves your website up, all the way from the server, to someone’s browser.

What is MySQL

Almost all servers serve up their information from a database, and Webtrees is no different. All your family tree information needs to be kept in a database and served up when that information is requested by a browser. There are many different databases, but the most widely used databases on servers are MySQL databases, or databases that are MySQL compatible. MySQL is an open-source (free) relational database management system.

What is PHP?

When you view a computer or phone screen, what you see is a humanised form created by distinctly non-humanised machine code, and there are several different types types of code written in several different scripting languages.

PHP is a popular general-purpose scripting language especially suited to websites using databases because it can be embedded into HTML (which is another scripting language widely used to create web pages).

What is cPanel

cPanel is a server control panel with a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easier to manage your server. There are other server control panels, but cPanel is by far the most widely used. This means there is plenty of free online help available.

Webtrees Domain Name (URL)

The domain name ideally needs to be as short as possible. You may feel something like ‘SmithFamilyTree’ would be fine (although probably already taken unless your surname is unusual) but it is worth considering that there will be many other surnames in your family (your mother’s maiden name, and two grandmother’s maiden names for example) so something like ‘FamilyTree’ would be more appropriate because each family would have its own folder such as ‘FamilyTree/Smith’. I haven’t checked, but ‘FamilyTree’ has almost certainly gone too, so you may have to be a bit creative.

A domain name has an ending to it too. (.com or .co.uk for example). Your natural inclination may be to use the country ending, but you should remember your family tree may end up international, so a .com name is usually better.

Webtrees Hosting Requirements

It is possible to host all the above requirements at home on your own computer, but it is not usually suitable. Your computer would need to be left on 24/7, you would need to configure all the above software and your router, your broadband user probably won’t like it, and even if they do, your outgoing streaming speed will undoubtedly be nowhere near as fast as your broadband streaming coming in.

In short, you need a website hosting company, of which there are hundreds, who you will pay to supply the required configuration. They all offer 99.9% uptime, but they are not all the same and we recommend PlanetHoster.

Our Aim is Clarity

We have tried in this section to make the Webtrees Hosting Requirements as simple as possible, but if the above is still incomprehensible to you we have failed in our purpose. If we have failed,  please let us know, and we will do our best to make things simpler.