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How To Turn Your Computer Into A Web Server

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This tutorial covers how you can convert your computer into a web server in a couple of minutes. Yes really. Just follow the steps below and that should be it. But just before I jump to that, why might I need this? The simple answer to this is “You Never Know”. But more seriously, you could end up hosting your own website directly from your own machine. How about that? You could actually easily control your devices with a button’s push directly from your computer. But for developers, this could serve as a development server for your work instead of having to rent servers always. In this article I’ll focus on Apache. Apache is a free open source web server software.

The downside is that you may need to be security conscious than ever before. Bandwidth consumption will also increase. Let’s get to it, shall we

The first thing is to determine what operating system you want your new “Server” to run on. If it Windows then its straight forward but if its Linux, you might need to install it from an external drive. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds.

In my opinion, Puppy Linux is what to use. It comes with Linux and XAMPP for server software. You can download the latest release of it here. Use this link for a step by step installation guide of it. While at that, download apache here as well.

You should download the newest version (latest version), it’s 2.2.6 as I type this. You also want the .msi file, this is a windows installation file (like an .exe)

 apache

Once downloaded, double click on the .msi file and follow the installation process. It’s the regular installation process where you use default settings and typical install. However, if you want the source code, then you should do custom install. Provide information you prefer to use like server name. Put in anything you wish. As for the DNS name and settings, it fills in that as well.

It’s time to run the newly installed server. If you have done everything well, it should run fine as seen in the image below.

 running apache

If you get an error message however, write down the error# and look it up on Google or just write to admin@techbooky.com to see what we can do for you. No guarantees though

To really see if all is well, type http://localhost into your browser and you see something like thie image below

it works apache
To easily manage your web server, use the already installed XAMPP where you’ll see options to change and configure how your web server should appear. Let’s use the “It Works” display for example.

  1. When not using XAMPP; You can edit/replace the default index.html file in the folder ‘htdocs’ which is in your apache folder (wherever you installed it). After you’ve edited the index.html file you should be able to access that index.html from any other computer on the web by typing in your server’s IP address. If your ISP (internet service provider) uses static IP addresses you just type in the IP address every time to access your page. But if your ISP uses dynamic IP addresses you’ll need to look up your server’s IP address each time you disconnect/reconnect it to the web. There are free services that will do this for you: DNS2Go or dyndns.org. If you want to work towards home automation you’ll need to look into how to code your webpage to access ports on your server (for instance a serial port). These ports can send out electrical signals to things outside of your computer (like robots and microcontroller), thereby allowing ‘home automation’. One way of doing this would be to use javascript invoked ActiveX (for instance see: http://strokescribe.com/en/serial-port-internet-explorer.html) Source : Instructables.com

When using XAMPP as seen below, click on the “Config” in the apache section and you should see the index.html file somewhere. That’s where you make changes. You can define ports and all you want from there. Default port for http is 80 by the way.

xampp

SIMPLE !!! But as with anything in life, you may encounter challenges, but there’s always help on Google or you can simply mail us to see if we can be of help and if we can’t be, we’ll recommend sites to you.

Lastly, please if this is your first time, I suggest you carry out these processes using either an old computer or one you may not have sensitive documents on. This is especially for those who want a Linux based web server. For Windows, create a separate user account and install your software there.

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