Beginners Guides: Website Hosting From A Home PC
Obstacles like IIS and dynamic IP addresses can make
the process of running a website off a home broadband internet connection complicated... There are several tricks you'll need to know to get it
working, so follow along and get clicking! - Version
Websites are still cool. It doesn't matter how many badly designed
personal sites there are out there with questionable flash animations and
animated GIFs abounding; the fact is that a website still offers you almost
unlimited room for personal expression, with the added side-bonus of potentially
If you want a website badly enough, there are many service providers that will
be only too willing to design the site for you, then host it on one of their
servers for a monthly fee. If you have the cash, you can have a website of
your own quickly and easily.
But what if you have the ideas but not the cash? Why pay someone else
to host your website for you when you can easily do it yourself on the home computer
over a broadband Internet connection?
In this guide, PCSTATS will explore the process of
hosting a website from your home
computer using a broadband Internet connection. For the sake of simplicity,
we'll stick to using Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Server) to render the site, and help you deal with
the issues of dynamic IP addresses, among other potential home-based web hosting
We'll leave the details of creating your own HTML website up to you. There are plenty of freely available programs that
can help you do this, and of course you can always just use Notepad to code up
the HTML by hand, so no excuses. We're only interested in the
hard parts of hosting a website from a home PC!
Note: Since this PCSTATS beginner's guide only
covers using Microsoft's IIS application to host websites, users of Windows
XP Home edition or Windows 98SE/ME are out of luck. Unfortunately, IIS is not
included with these operating systems. We may produce a guide on using a
third-party web hosting program like Apache later on, depending on reader
interest. For the purposes of this guide,Windows NT/2000/XP Professional will all work.
Before we get going, we need to get familiar with a few basic concepts,
namely DNS (Domain Name System) and IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and how they
are used when hosting a website. The following descriptions are slightly
(or not so slightly) simplified, but they will suffice for our objective.
Understanding IP Addresses
IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are the backbone of computer networking,
both on the Internet and in your home network. They are the 'phone
numbers' that allow computers to locate and communicate with each other across
An IP Address is made up of 4 sets of decimal numbers, 0-255, separated by
periods (for example, 192.168.44.251) which form the address of a computer on
the Internet or within a local network, and allow it to be referenced by other
In order to view a website, or to allow others to view your website, your
computer must have a valid Internet IP address in order to exchange data with a
web server or the potential readers of your website.
Your Internet Service Provider allocates your home PC a valid Internet IP address when it
connects to the Internet. Depending on the provider, this IP address may
stay the same for long periods (static IP) or may change frequently (dynamic
A computer can have multiple IP addresses assigned to it. If your
computer connects both to the Internet via your provider's cable/DSL modem and
to a home network, you will have a separate IP address for each
To view your IP address information, go to 'start\run'
and type 'cmd' to bring up the command prompt, then type 'ipconfig'. This will
list all the IP addresses your computer is currently using. If you use a home
router or other Internet sharing device, check its status page to find out your Internet IP address. If you are not sure how to
do this, consult the manual for the device.