I asked a question about my new HP Proliant and got a very good answer but it was unclear to me if the answerer understood that I was using the server in production (although for home use). In other words, the load would be very small compared to anything in production for a business, but the data is critically important to me.

I asked a question to try to clarify whether the answerer correctly understood the situation, and another commenter decided to argue that the phrase "production quality" has some absolute meaning regardless of the purpose or context of the server. I explained and defended my use of the word "production" (if it's got real data and it's not QA, UAT, dev, etc., then it's production) since he didn't seem to understand this, and he became abusive, saying he was going to close the question "since [I] insist on being so appreciative of [his] answer".

This strikes me as a flagrant abuse of the power bestowed on him by his higher rep, but he also implied that the fact that my question is about a home server makes the question off topic. Is this true? Are our questions somehow invalidated by the fact that we're using the hardware at home rather than in an enterprise (or small business) setting? If so, why does that matter?

  • 2
    If you are that worried about your data, you ought to be just as concerned (or even more) about your backup procedures than on the server itself.
    – EEAA
    Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 20:15
  • Also, the fact you're trying to beat the ability of a microserver by putting in 16GB of RAM suggests to me you're doing something wrong.
    – tombull89
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 14:42
  • 1
    By the by, since drawing attention to your question as being a home server issue, it's attracted a couple close votes after being re-opened, so maybe not the best idea, for future reference. Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 15:10
  • @HopelessN00b: meta.serverfault.com/questions/3978/…
    – user9517
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 15:51

3 Answers 3


A couple of additional points to Iain's answer:

  • Home use questions are off-topic because we don't want endless questions about how to host a website on a home computer, how to configure consumer routers on ADSL connections, etc.

  • There's absolutely no "abuse of power" going on. The guy who commented on it being a home system didn't unilaterally close it, 4 other users agreed that it should be closed.

  • I'd consider your question to be borderline: there are times when professionals cut corners and using a low-end server for a system where uptime isn't a big concern can be an appropriate decision. (I'd agree that it's not really a "production quality" system, however.)

  • A closed question is not dead. The normal advice is that you can edit your question and flag it to ask a moderator to re-open. In this case, however, there's nothing in your actual question that says home use, so I'd suggest flagging it and asking a moderator to delete all the comments and re-open it.

(Actually, you don't need to flag it because I just did.)

  • 2
    The difficulty is that the OP has created a great big pythonesqe finger with the caption 'Home Use Question This Way' above :(
    – user9517
    Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 8:56

Home use questions are Off Topic because this is the considered decision of the SF community.

SF is for IT Professionals wanting answers to questions in a professional setting.

If you read the faq then you'll see that it says


and it is not about…

  • Anything in a home setting

This barrier is a protection for SF without it we would be overrun by home users.

(some) References:






  • 2
    I have personal issue with this rationale, because I do things frequently in a home network environment that I might also be inclined to do in a small corporate network, ie: setting up a BSD Router w/ DHCP / NAT / DNS / IPv6 / Mail , etc, and it really is my "learning" platform so I know how to do that before I try do it in a paid capacity. So for me, "Home setting" is very, very vague. Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 21:19
  • I mean, there are only 4 people behind my router, ... but I've also worked in businesses where there could easily be only 4 people behind the router, and they just use shitty commodity hardware for that. So my "Home Network" could be considered more "professional" than many "Professional enterprises" =p Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 21:23
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    @KentFredric If the 'home' setting of your question is irrelevant, don't bring it up then. If your question is on-topic for the the site aside from that detail. If the question cannot be asked without bring up that this is for home-use then the question is off-topic. Or if the person who asked the question balks at the answers saying they don't apply because this is a home-use setting or that they are not a professional, then the question is off-topic. The home-use rule is just a way to weed out people who want a half-assed solution.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 23:45

As others have pointed out, "Home Use" questions are de-facto off-topic on Server Fault. We have even expressly edited our FAQ to make this clear to avoid the kind of lousy questions that were flooding in ("My home media server isn't accessible from my office" and the like.). We chose a blanket ban on ALL home use questions because of the constant rules-lawyering that goes on in terms of what is and is not on-topic: it is a very blunt instrument and does sometimes wind up closing otherwise great questions, but the alternative is for us to have a Meta filled with "why was my question closed?" / "Why won't you people help me?" / "OMG SERVERFAULT IS SO MEAN!!!" questions. It's easier to deal with the occasional good question like yours (by editing out the home bits and re-opening) than to deal with the whiners.

As has also been said here, if you're administering a system in a professional manner, and the fact that it's in you're living room has no real bearing on the question or answers, you can just leave that out - If the question is otherwise a good one we generally share a knowing glance and consciously look the other way in these cases unless something obvious (like a comment saying "this is for my home use") comes along and makes it impossible to ignore.

This is by no means a great system - it's just the best we've come up with so far.
We're definitely open to other ideas.

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