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Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache

Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache - PCSTATS
Abstract: Apache has been around since 1995 and is the main alternative to Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) web hosting technology.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 11 2006   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

A Networks' Default Gateway

To communicate with different networks (that is, computers with IP addresses that use a different network portion), a gateway must be used. At its simplest, a gateway is any device which has two or more network adaptors, each connected to a separate network. Computers on one network can pass data to the gateway, which then forwards it to the desired computer on the other network. This is the fundamental structure of the Internet.

The default gateway address shown in by the IPCONFIG command you tried just a moment ago indicates where data will be sent if you try to contact an IP address outside the local network. In the case of most home network setups, the default gateway will be the router or Internet sharing device.

Public and Private IP Addresses

As far as this Beginners Guide is concerned, there are two types of IP addresses; private and public. Private addresses are usable only within private networks and cannot be used on the Internet, as the gateways that make up the Internet will refuse to pass on information coming from a private IP address. Public addresses are Internet-ready, and can transfer information to any other public IP address over the Internet. When a PC connects to an Internet service Provider, it receives a public IP address (or the home router used to connect one's network does).

If you have a home network using a router or Internet-sharing device, each of the computers will receive a private IP address from the router, which in turn has received a public IP address from the service provider. When one of the computers uses a browser to connect to the Internet, the router receives the request first and replaces that computer's private IP address with its public one. When the web site data comes back from the Internet, the router performs the same operation in reverse, sending the data to the computer that requested it.

Dynamic and Static IP Addresses

Depending on the Internet service provider, a PCs public IP address is either static or dynamic. Static IP addresses are usually found in 'always on' services like cable Internet connections and never or rarely change. Dynamic IP addresses are common to DSL Internet providers and change every single time the user connects to the service. No additional steps need to be taken to host a website on a static IP address connection, but hosting on a dynamic IP introduces some complexities which PCSTATS will cover a little later in this Beginners Guide. Stay alert.

DNS: The Friendly Face of the Internet

Before we show you how to install Apache web server and start hosting a web site, you'll probably want to acquire a DNS domain name for that website. This will allow visitors to type 'www.(yoursitename).(com\org\ca\whatever)' to visit the website instead of having to memorize a server's 9-digit IP address.

DNS (the Domain Naming System) provides a simple way of navigating the Internet. Instead of having to memorize the IP address of each website, users can simply type a friendly URL like www.pcstats.com to get there. The DNS name (www.pcstats.com) is mapped to the IP address of the PCSTATS web server, allowing anyone to visit our site without knowing its current IP address.

A system of DNS servers shadows the growth of the Internet and provides a means of connecting DNS names with web servers. When a person acquires a domain name through a registrar site, the IP address is linked to that name, allowing users to connect to a web server via the simple www.(yoursite).com/net/org/whatever URL system. A central governing body (ICAAN) controls the allocation of domain names, ensuring that the system remains conflict-free.

When a user types www.pcstats.com into the browser's address bar, the computer sends that address to a DNS server on their network or the Internet, looking to have it translated into an IP address that it can contact directly. That DNS server will send back the IP address if it knows it, and if it doesn't, it will contact other DNS servers all the way up to the root of the Internet until it finds the address it's looking for. The entire process generally takes less than a second.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache
 Pg 2.  Can anyone host a website?
 Pg 3.  — A Networks' Default Gateway
 Pg 4.  Acquiring a DNS Domain Name (URL) for a Website
 Pg 5.  Configuring firewalls for website hosting
 Pg 6.  Creating a Virtual Server
 Pg 7.  Part 2: Installing and using Apache Web server
 Pg 8.  Apache Status and Services
 Pg 9.  Basic Apache configuration
 Pg 10.  Domain and Server Name

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