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Beginners Guides: Website Hosting From A Home PC
Beginners Guides: Website Hosting From A Home PC - PCSTATS
Obstacles like IIS and dynamic IP addresses can make the process of running a website off a home broadband internet connection complicated.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Aug 31 2005   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Making a website Accessible from the Internet

The first thing we need to do is to prepare any firewall software or hardware that is currently guarding your system.

With the modern Internet's virus and malware-infested climate, just about every computer uses some form of firewall software or hardware. Since firewalls block all unsolicited incoming data by default, they can make it rather hard for people to view your website. In order to browse to your site on your home PC, potential readers must first send data through port 80 to IIS on your computer. Firewalls will block this incoming traffic, stopping your website from being accessed.

To get around this problem, you need to create an exception or virtual server. Depending on the type of firewall you use, this means one of several different processes. If you use a personal firewall like the Windows XP Frewall or Zonealarm, you need to authorize IIS to act as a server.

To do this in the pre-service Pack 2 version of the Windows XP Firewall, find your Internet connection by going to 'my network places' then 'show all connections.' Right click on your Internet connection's icon and hit 'properties' then 'settings'.

In the 'services' tab, scroll down until you see 'web server (HTTP)' and check its box.

In the post-SP2 version of the Windows XP Firewall, you can allow web traffic to pass through to IIS by going to 'start\control panel\windows firewall' then opening the 'advanced' tab.

Highlight your Internet connection in the 'network connection settings' window, then click 'settings.'

From this screen, place a checkmark in the HTTP box and hit 'ok.'

If you use an Internet sharing device like a home router as your firewall, you will need to create a virtual server (also known as port forwarding) to allow your website to be accessible over the Internet.

A virtual server is a set of instructions given to the home router, telling it that if data comes in over a specific port (say TCP port 80 for hosting a website) that data should be allowed through the firewall and forwarded to a specific computer inside the network. In this way, you can make your website (or whatever else) available without otherwise compromising your firewall security.

Creating a virtual server tends to be the same in almost all home router models. First consult your documentation to find the configuration page for 'virtual servers' or the equivalent.

When creating a virtual server, you will need to first enter the IP address of the computer that is hosting the website. Next you need the port that data enters that system on. Enter TCP port 80, since this is the default port for HTTP.

Finally, you need to choose the port that will be open on the router to receiver the data. In most cases, this will be the same as the port on your hosting computer, so enter 80 here too.

Once you save this information, all data coming from the Internet to the firewall on TCP port 80 will be allowed through the firewall and redirected to your hosting computer, thus allowing access to your website.

Now that your firewall is going to allow web traffic into your computer, let's take a look at how to prepare your website for using either a static or dynamic IP from your broadband internet service provider. Depending on your connection type, just go to the appropriate page below.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Website Hosting From A Home PC
 Pg 2.  Understanding DNS
 Pg 3.  Domain names and websites
 Pg 4.  Patches and IIS Options
 Pg 5.  — Making a website Accessible from the Internet
 Pg 6.  Hosting a website on a dynamic IP Internet connection
 Pg 7.  Hosting a website on a static IP Internet connection

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