So Long Online Localhost

As you may know from previous posts, I have a server at home that I use for development. I had this server online thanks to dyn.com, but today I got an unpleasant notification from one of my clients. He reported that the server was not working. This was not good news. As it turns out, I don’t know why the server stopped working. All I know is that it is taking too long to respond, which is weird because I can access it from the internal network without a problem.

I have two thoughts:

1) My ISP blocked me.
2) My server was someone hacked, and is being blocked.

The second thought is a strong one, especially considering that the last incoming connection from outside the server, as reported by the apache logs is this:

77.242.153.180 – – [04/Dec/2012:12:11:01 -0800] “\xce\x89\x8d\x85b\ro” 400 317 “-” “-“

Under other circumstances I would mask the IP with 00.000.000.000, but considering that this person was trying something malicious, why the heck would I care.

What I did after deciding to give up on trying to restore access to the server from outside the local network is this:

1) Clear the port forwarding table in the router.
2) Delete my dyn.com hostname
3) Adjust my tools so they would FTP and SSH to the server’s local IP.
4) Clear my old web domain contents to make space to upload projects there so that clients can access them.
5) Add a new line to the host file:
192.168.0.14 dev
This allows me to use dev/projectname/ in my machine rather than typing the ip of the server.

It will be a pain having to upload project updates at the end of every day, but for now that is what I will have to do. I’m considering a VPS on Hostgator, but I need to look a bit more into that option. The one thing that I regret for now is not having the “luxury” of going to the cafe and work from there, since my server is now unreachable from outside the local network.

I am also considering a full reinstall on the server to 1) Make sure that if anyone did hack and messed around the server it will go back to normal, and 2) To maybe change distro, Ubuntu doesn’t make me happy anymore. This time I might compile apache and php again, rather than installing some pre-compiled version.

Ideally, I would like to have a machine online again, even if I have to pay for that, but it must allow me to use it just as if it were right next to me. It must allow me full control over it, even if it is a VM. By that I mean, I should be able to install, and uninstall any software that I need. Access should be over SSH, at the least. Do you know any good service that provides this? Should I go with Hostgator VPS?