Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:54 PM
Again, you are talking about two different things, so I am still a little confused. Sharing files on a closed network is different than sharing files over the Internet. A closed network means that all of your systems are connected through a router, hub, or switch (also called a Local Area Network). Sharing over the Internet means that everybody has their own Internet connections and are not behind the same router, hub, or switch. Am I being clear about the difference?
If I fire up my browser and access my server, which is on my local network, I am not using the Internet to connect to it.
If all of the systems are on a single network, then all you need is Samba for file and printer sharing. Period. Apache is for serving web pages, and has nothing to do with file and printer sharing. .htaccess is the configuration file for Apache. If you want family members to be able to download pictures and such, then you need to either allow FTP or SCP. SCP uses a secure connection to log into your server, and there are free programs that one can use, such as WinSCP. All you need to do is set up a user on the server, give permissions to those users to whatever directories that you want them to have access to, and that is about it. If you just want it available for family, then there is no reason to make them accessible to everybody anyway. The server needs to be set up to allow ssh connections, and that is about it.
If you want to serve up webpages, then you use Apache. That is just a matter of setting up some web content and allowing the system to take requests on port 80.
There is no best or easiest when it comes to servers. Any one already suggested by BlackSpyder will work just fine. But administering a server means a lot of research and asking specific questions. You are not going to set up a system and have everything going like you want in just a couple of days given that you are just starting out. The first thing would probably be to just get a server that works. Another thing you should keep in mind. Servers generally do not have guis associated with them, nor should they (it just potentially adds more vulnerabilities). I'm curious if that was your problem with Ubuntu-Server, perhaps you were expecting a windows-like environment when you booted into it?
Before that, you may want to see if your ISP even allows clients to have their own servers.