Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache
to Microsoft and IIS as PCSTATS shows you the ropes of hosting a website with
Apache from a home PC! - Version 1.0.0
PCSTATS recently published a much-requested guide to hosting your very own website using Microsoft's IIS (Internet
Information Server) web hosting software. Though feedback from
that article has made us realize that we'd left a large cross-section
of users hanging in limbo.
Microsoft Windows XP Home, like Windows 98/ME before it, does not contain IIS or any other type
of web hosting application. This means that WinXP Home users can not host a website from
home based on the instructions in the original guide, which is a bit sad since WinXP
Home users are arguably more numerous than those of any other operating system
since Windows 98 SE.
Fortunately, there are other options out there for web hosting, the most
prevalent being the open source Apache web hosting program.
Apache has been around since 1995 and is the main alternative to Microsoft's
Internet Information Server (IIS) web hosting technology on the Windows
platform. When it comes to the Internet as a whole, Apache may actually be
the preferred web hosting technology, since most professional web-hosting
operations use versions of Apache on the Linux operating system to host commercial
The popularity of Apache can be directly attributed to three things.
For one, the program's general simplicity and ease of use make basic web hosting
extremely easy. Secondly, like Internet Explorer, Microsoft's IIS
technology suffers and has suffered historically from the fact that it is
directly linked into the Windows operating system. This opens it up for a
constantly evolving host of security issues, many of which can prove devastating
if not patched. Apache is a standalone program, not patched into the OS on
which it runs, and is also blessed with simple but effective security
Finally, Apache is an open source program, and is freely available on several
platforms including Linux and Windows. For users of Windows operating
systems that do not include IIS (like Windows XP Home), Apache provides the
simplest and probably best means to get your content onto the web.
In this Beginners Guide, PCSTATS is going to walk you through setting up a personal website on
the web using Apache web server for Windows. We'll introduce you to the
terms and concepts you need to understand in order to host a website, show you
how to prepare a system for web hosting, then go through the steps of
configuring Apache server and hosting a website.
Recap: What's a web hosting
A web host like Apache or Internet Information Server provides a way
to publish content from a computer system onto the Internet. This is
done by placing special files, usually formatted in HTML (HyperText Markup
Language) into a special directory reserved for the purpose by the web server.
These files can be easily transferred over the Internet (along with other
information like pictures and audio files) and read by a computer using a web browser
like Internet Explorer or Firefox.
Essentially, web-hosting works like any other form of downloading; a remote
computer requests files (the HTML files that make up your web page), and the web
server transmits them over the Internet. When the requesting computer
receives the files, it can then view them (and thus a web page) using
Internet Explorer or another browser program. Links in the HTML files
prompt the reading computer to download other HTML files from the web server, or
from other web servers on the Internet.