Fun DIY Project to Help Charity: Build a Web Server

STH Build a Web Server for Charity
STH Build a Web Server for Charity

We are starting a fun project on the forums. Build a web server for charity. The premise is simple. I am providing two users with gifts so that they can build web servers for charity. Their goal will be to use a $200 gift to scour the web for deals and build the best server for charity that they can. Dual older-generation Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron? Newer Intel Atom or AMD Zacate based system? Dual Android server cluster? The options are plentiful. The hope is that people get creative.What we are looking to do is build servers for charity. The hope is that the two individuals will build the best server they can using a constrained budget. The fun is in the bargain hunt and knowing that these will help others. For those that do not this this is possible, a dual Intel Xeon L5430 machine with hard drives and 12GB RAM runs for around $150 these days (example here) so there is plenty out there to choose from.

Overall goal is that the gifts will be made to the participants on Friday May 31, 2013 and then in the ensuing four weeks the servers will be built and given to charity. The folks that are gifted the funds will be responsible for the following:

  • Writing a short main site post documenting where the web server parts came from and why they were picked
  • Keep a short build log in the forums (or main site) regarding the server build with pictures and STH Linux Benchmarking Suite benchmark results
  • Finding a suitable charity to donate the server to. If one receives tax benefits from the donation that is fine

Always open to feedback on future versions of these charity builds. Feel free to visit the forum post on the DIY project or post comments below. Finding deals on ebay, on the STH forums or Craigslist are all fine. Using a few components sitting around is perfectly fine as this is not a contest, just a fun activity to benefit charities folks are involved in. The folks participating in the builds will likely need some help from the community.

Note – I will open the STH parts bin to folks if they are getting stuck. Other proposed helping items:

  • Each user can use the following in an unlimited category, but must disclose what they use:
    • One USB drive (Open to make this up to two)
    • Any cabling e.g. SATA, SAS, SCSI, IDE cables, Cat 5/ 6 Ethernet, power cables
    • Any (or no) chassis
    • Any miscellaneous chassis hardware, e.g. power switches, LEDs
    • External power brick if required by solution
    • Any keyboard, monitor, mouse
    • Any drive used for installation media e.g. floppy drive or CD ROM drive
  • Some of the above items, e.g. SATA cables, if I have extra I can donate those too
  • Challenge participants will have 7 days to make their purchases and up to two additional days to document what they purchased. We want to know how much you spent and what you picked!
  • Since we are doing this on a budget, users will have up to 14 days to get their systems working and an additional two days to document what they did. Expectation is that ship times on large server components may take awhile in this price range and that is OK

If you are interested in following the project check out this forum post and get involved. Since this is the first time we are doing this type of activity, the above should be considered loose guidelines.


  1. I would sure like to participate in this one but I am on vacation. Hope you do this again. I do want to see the builds and the charities


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