Back to Server Software.

So you want to serve out some webpages to the net from an XP box?

Well.. That may not be as easy as it sounds. But it’s certainly not that difficult either.

Downloadable free server software exists for most hardware/software platforms.

First your going to have to understand what your doing here. So I have tried to provide you with a mini tutorial on how it works.

Anyway.. Here is your free mini tutorial. I hope you like it. Lets begin.

All CLIENTS on the internet talk to their respective SERVER and visa versa.

The CLIENT need only direct itself to the ip number of an available SERVER to function.

  • DOMAIN NAMES are used by most people in preference to using ip numbers directly.

What seperates the various services is the PORT NUMBER that is used by the service. On the internet we can use 65 thousand different ports.

Many of these PORT NUMBERS have become default by their continued use. For example: Port 80 is normally HTML (Webpages), FTP is normally 21. etc

See: for details

Your web browser is a CLIENT that by default operates on port 80. If you direct the web browser CLIENT to an ip number or domain name that has a web SERVER installed on port 80. Your CLIENT talks to the SERVER and displays what the server outputs.

Why not run your own web server?

(There could be a few answers for that question.. But lets assume you do..)

Many web servers exist for Windows XP. I personally prefer Apache. It’s just that I am used to editing the config files. There are probably easier web SERVERS you could pick to install, rather than Apache. But I have found an excellent Apache system that anyone can download and install. It comes preconfigured with PERL, MYSQL and PHP and is probably exactly what your looking for. Minor editing of config files required to get it fully functioning.


At this point you should be able to test your installation by going to your web browser and entering “localhost” in the address bar.

If you see the Default Welcome to Apache webpage. All is well. :) If not. Check the installation for errors. try downloading the file again.

Hey.. No one said this would be totally painless you know. We are going to have to edit a few files and configure all kinds of stuff to actually get our webserver visible to the internet.

Even if you saw the SERVER on localhost. That doesnt mean it’s visible to the INTERNET. Try entering in your INTERNET IP number into your browser. If you are behind a router you will get a 404 error (Page not found)

Anyone who connects to the net through a router must perform PORT FORWARDING. What you must do is allow the SERVER pc to forward it’s port number through the router. For that you need to lookup your specific routers make and model. Armed with that information you will find a guide on how to do port forwarding for your router. - Try this link.

What you are doing here is configuring the routers firewall to allow that port (or range of ports) to send out to the net normally from just one ip numbered machine on your INTRANET. So you need to tell the router the port number that you are forwarding and the ip number of the machine that is running the SERVER.

The rule is the same for all SERVERS that you wish to operate on the INTERNET. You will need to perform PORT FORWARDING for each PORT you want SERVE.

Try entering in your INTERNET IP NUMBER into your browser now you have performed the port forwarding. Everything should be ok. If not reboot and repower everthing. (router included) Try again.

Note: DIALUP users do NOT have a router to configure. PORT FORWARDING on a DIALUP account is NOT REQUIRED.

Hopefully we have just got your machine serving webpages. :)

Now you need a DOMAIN NAME.

First of all find a free DOMAIN NAME PROVIDER.


Then download some software like “Directupdate”.

The Directupdate software contacts the various DOMAIN PROVIDERS with your current ip number as your machine connects to the net. So when your online. So are your servers. If you wish to disable the servers. Just dont allow Directupdate to run.

Now rather that finding your ip number to give to people all the time. Just give out your DOMAIN NAME.

Input your new DOMAIN NAME into your browser in the address line and you should see the default Apache webrowser installation webpage.

(Give them 10 mins or so to propagate your new DOMAIN NAME around the net first.)

Bingo.. Go make some webpages..

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