How Do I Install A Web Server On My Home Computer?

by on January 2, 2007

Q: I’m interested in setting up an Internet server that I can put a website on from my home. Can you point me to a book or something that can tell me how to do it and what the approximate cost would be?

A: First to answer your question I am going to make some assumptions around your configuration since specifics were not provided:

1. You are running a Windows Operating System.

2. You have a high speed Internet connection at home.

3. You are well patched, have a firewall, and are prepared to accept the risk of running a web server on your home based PC (Note: This is something I never ever recommend, especially from a user who is new to the realm of web server set up and security).

With that being said, under the Windows operating system you have a few options. You can install Microsoft’s Personal Web Server if you are running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME or NT 4.0. It’s relatively easy to configure and use.

On Windows 2000 Pro and XP Pro you can install IIS (Internet Information Server) and I recommend that you purchase an “IIS for Dummies” book. The “Dummies” series of books are usually a safe bet when learning something new from scratch. Please note that if you are running Windows XP Home Edition you cannot install IIS on your home system.

Other alternatives are to install and run Apache, which is free (http://www.apache.org) which can run under pretty much any operating system out there (including XP Home Edition). Again, an “Apache for Dummies” book is essential for proper and secure configuration (or use the documentation on the Apache site directly for free).

Hopefully one of these options will do what you are looking for. I still recommend that you pay a hosting company for a web space, and let them worry about the backend configuration and security settings; otherwise you are putting your home PC at risk by having these ports wide open to anyone on the Internet.


One Response to “How Do I Install A Web Server On My Home Computer?”
  1.  

    hi,

    if I were to still set up a server on my home pc and not via a hosting company, what kinds of things should I be looking at when it comes to security. I mean what are the most basic precautions I should take while hosting a web server on my home PC? Would running my website on a port other than the regular 80 be one of them? Please give a checklist of the most basic precautions and ‘best practices’ I will have to take. Thanks.