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534 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 17891 16-Dec-2007 22:36
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what's the difference between a home computer and a webserver? how can one make their home PC a web server??

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 100335 16-Dec-2007 22:46
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Webservers are capable of providing access to webpages through a server program such as Apache or IIS.

A home computer can act as a websertver if you install one of these programs (or any of other web server programs around). However it's best for it to have a static IP address so other computers can find it, and better to have its own domain name.

Depending on how popular the service provided is you might find that home configurations are not suitable for this role. Also depending on the popularity you might find that "home" connections (DSL, cable) do not provide enough bandwidth for some applications.




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  Reply # 100336 16-Dec-2007 22:49
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No difference, the hardware is the same, its just a question of formfactor and specification really (last webserver i configured for somebody was a Hewlett Packard DL360 with redundant disks, fans etc.

To server web pages at home, you either need an http server like IIS, Apache or Xitami or similar to run on your Windows, or you need to dedicate a machine to do it (Windows/Linux etc). You also need to know about security, port forwarding, DMZ, and lots more.

For users who are unsure of the fundamentals, I highly recommend actualy signing up to a webhost instead - try webdrive, webfarm, orcon, kiwiwebhost, or try a google search.

There are many webhosts that specialise (or at least do really well) with certain types of web content - what kind of site do you want to host?







 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 100338 16-Dec-2007 22:52
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Your home computer can easily become a webserver. A webserver is just a piece of software running a computer that listens for "web requests" and answers them.

Having said that, the major differences are:

1) A webserver usually has a proper dedicated Internet connection. That includes a fixed IP address. With most ADSL, your IP address changes when you reconnect. That makes DNS hard.

2) A webserver usually runs a dedicated Server operating system, not Windows XP or Vista. Something like Windows Server 2003, A Linux Distribution or FreeBSD.

3) A webserver usually has different hardware. A minimal graphics card, very fast hard disks and lots of memory.


You can make your home computer a webserver by download some webserver software. I know of many different webservers. The more common free ones are

Apache (quite complex but this is one of the most popular)
Microsoft IIS
Lighttpd - A good, small, fast webserver.

Of those, ISS is the most user friendly, it lets you "point and click" to configure the webserver. Both Apache and Lighttpd require text file editing.

How you GET ISS I don't know, I think maybe you have to buy it? I'm sure other people with more windows experience can give some pointers on other, free, easy to configure web server software.

BDFL - Memuneh
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Reply # 100340 16-Dec-2007 23:04
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IIS is part of Windows XP and Vista. The difference between IIS on Windows XP/Vista and Windows Server is that on these editions you can only have one domain, while on Windows Server you can have multiple domains, served up based on the HTTP header request.

Open Control Panel, Add/Remove, Windows Applications and you will find the option to install IIS. It may ask for the CD to install the software or just install directly if the software is on HDD (most OEM are like this).




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  Reply # 100347 17-Dec-2007 01:04
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The other alternate option is using WAMP (Windows Apache MySQL PHP) in your Windows machine instead of IIS. IIS becomes a bit complicated when you want to use PHP, MySQL along with it. And on the other hand, if you are using WAMP, it becomes complicated to use ASP.NET applications, lol. So, you should really come down to what you want and then choose the proper webserver for you.

I have used SpikeSource's WAMP stack and I can recommend that to anyone Wink




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Chaks

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  Reply # 101685 24-Dec-2007 16:46
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Okay so if I install IIS then my home computer can become a webserver.. I just need to give another person my IP address and they can access some part of my hard drive? is this on the right track? how does it find the right location on my hard drive...


BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 101695 24-Dec-2007 17:55
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Correct. Also make sure your router is forwarding port 80 to your PC correctly.

You configure IIS in the Control Panel | Administration Tools. If you are not running a server OS then you can only have one domain defined - you can create folders for that domain pointing out to other folders on your PC.

Note that if you do this everyone on the Internet will be able to see your files on those specified folders, unless you assign a username and password for those folders.

Incorrectly done this can cause your PC to be quickly taken by malicious software and people. Be warned.






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  Reply # 101704 24-Dec-2007 20:02
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Hmm so once installed it's on for ever untill i uninstall it? or is there a way of turning this on and off?

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Reply # 101709 24-Dec-2007 20:30
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You can start and stop the Web Publishing Service but by default it will be always running. You can change its configuration to Disabled, Manual or Automatic.






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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 102080 28-Dec-2007 16:27
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Okay I have this working and I can see it on my own machine however when I try from work it does not work... the IP address didn't change or anything... what's wrong?

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  Reply # 102082 28-Dec-2007 16:38
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Firstly, make sure that you have correctly forwarded port 80 from your router to the PC hosting your website.

Secondly, make sure you are trying to connect to the WAN IP address assigned to you by your ISP rather than your internal network IP. If you don't know the IP your ISP has given you go to www.whatismyip.com and it will tell you.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 102085 28-Dec-2007 17:13
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Yip got my IP right but how do i direct to port 80??



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  Reply # 102183 29-Dec-2007 13:44
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This is my router... so what is it i'm forwarding???

http://www.portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/3com/3CRWDR101A-75/3CRWDR101A-75index.htm

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Reply # 102186 29-Dec-2007 14:17
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You have to forward port 80 to your computer. You will need to know your computer's IP Address and enter this in the router following the instructions.




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