I have a small personal website hosted through go-daddy. I also have an old machine sitting in my garage collecting dust. I know enough to make my old dumpy machine a Linux server for my tiny website and save a few bucks on hosting. But what are the biggest risks attached to hosting my own site? What should I know/do before I decide that's the direction I want to go?
Well if you are hosting from inside your own network then you have a little bit more work to do. ( ps don't use windows , install Linux instead , not only will it be safer but in general all the typical things that you expect to use for hosting a website are designed for Linux , apart from iis windows support is always "hacked in" )
If hosting from a third party provider and assuming that you have no sensitive information stored then you are pretty much set. Just don't reuse passwords and there is nothing of value to worry about.
If hosting from your home network then you effectively have a internet visible IP address which is easy to find ( via your domain name ), so you have to worry about ensuring that everything on that server is completely locked down ( due to the fact that if the web server gets compromised then you have to deal with the possibility that you have a malicious machine on the inside of your home network which gives access to all your data, and the potential to even sniff or inject all network data if your network is appropriately mis configured.