How to Turn Your PC Into a Web Server
In order for you to publish your HTML documents to the World Wide Web, you’re going to need a web server to host and serve the files. While the common solution is to buy hosting from an external company, many people are not aware that you can turn your own home PC into a web server. Microsoft has a feature called IIS (Internet Information Server) that comes standard with almost all Windows 2000, XP and Vista operating systems (there are some exceptions, as we will discuss later). Basically, IIS provides free web server capability for any PC with one of the aforementioned Windows operating systems. IIS is compatible with HTML as well as ASP (Active Server Pages), which is a server-side scripting language that will enable you to add dynamic content to your web pages. Read on to discover the steps to take to turn your PC into a web server.
Things You’ll Need:
- A computer with a Windows 2000, XP, or Vista operating system (Note: Some versions of Windows will NOT apply; check your individual operating system features for details)
Click the "Start" button, and then click "Settings", then click "Control Panel". Note: Some versions of XP don’t have a "Settings" selection on the Start menu; they just skip straight to "Control Panel". The main point is that you want to get to the Control Panel.
Double-click the "Add or Remove Programs" icon.
Double-click the "Add/Remove Windows Components" icon.
Click the Internet Information Services (IIS) check box. Please note: Some versions of XP do not have IIS available. If you don’t see the IIS check box in the "Windows Components" dialog box, your computer simply does not have that capability.
Select "Details", and then click the check box entitled "World Wide Web Service". Then click "OK".
You will come back to the Windows Component dialog box. Simply click "Next" to begin the installation process for IIS.
There you go! You have officially set up your PC as a web server! Make sure to test it with a basic ASP test page to ensure that it’s serving the page properly.
Tips & Warnings
- Again, there are some versions of XP that do NOT have the IIS feature. This may be something you want to find out before you purchase a PC, if you have a desire to use it as a web server.
- Using your PC as a web server is good for small-scale development or testing projects, but obviously it’s not an option if you plan to run several heavy-duty websites with tons of server call functions. Use this feature with prudence.
- Make sure that you run a Windows Update once you install IIS, for the sake of getting all the proper security patches and so forth. Don’t leave your computer vulnerable to hacking attacks.