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Set Up Your Own Personal Web Server

Most people choose to host their own website using web space supplied by their own internet service provider. Others choose to pay for more advanced features, or rent virtual or dedicated servers. This costs money, so how about setting up your own personal web server. . . for free?! This means you have total control over whatever you choose to install.
So, how to do it.
Aside from the obvious (a computer, a broadband connection and a router with a firewall) you need a fixed IP address and web server software.
Internet service providers assign what is known as a 'dynamic IP address'. This means that the IP address for your server is a temporary one. Not much use if people are trying to connect to you!
The solution is to sign up to a dynamic DNS service such as no-ip.com. Here you can set up a host name which directs to your home IP address (go to whatsmyip.org if you don't know what it is). Install the software provided on your server. This will then check your IP address, and tells the service if it changes.
You also need to tell your router to send traffic to your server. This is called 'port forwarding'. Log onto your router and find the port forwarding page.choose port 80 (http) and port 25 (e-mail). Allow both protocols TCP and UDT, and type in your server IP address. Don't forget to change your network settings in your connections dialogue box 'Internet Protocol TCP/IP Properties' from 'Obtain an address automatically' to 'Use the following IP address'. This needs to be outside of the range of dynamic IP addresses.
For example, most routers use 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.10.
So choose something like 192.168.1.160.
Regarding web server software, Windows operating systems include web server software. In Windows 7, you can access this by going to: Start > Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows features on or off > and check the box for 'Internet Information Services (IIS)'.
Alternatively, it may be an idea to use third-party software such as 'Apache' which is open source software available from their website. Although primarily designed for Linux operating systems, 'Apache Web Server for Windows' is an option if you're not very comfortable with using Linux. Apache runs as a 'service'. This means that it runs in the background whilst you are using Windows.
A request from someone for your webpage (your server is 'listening' on port 80 remember) causes your server to 'serve' your website back to the visitor.
All this is done silently in the background.
Bear in mind however, that if you are using your computer for other tasks (particularly ones that are demanding), this could slow down the process.

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