Your own "Personal Web Server"

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 24 June 2000 / Last Updated on 24 June 2000]

You "surf" the Internet, you hear about "Intranet" and like to create now your own Website, on your own small network ?

1) Implementation via Network-access and Browsing Files
just create a directory for the WWW-data and Share it out for "Read-Access":

In this example, I called the directory for the WWW-data "NET_HTML", which will be shared with "Read-Only" Permissions, in addition, I created a directory "NET_COMMON" with "Full-Access" permissions for data-exchange on the network.
Copy your WWW-data to the shared "NET_HTML" directory, which you access now on other systems via the "Network Neighborhood":

You could now map a Network-drive. When now starting your Internet Browser, press the "STOP"-button and then select from the File-menu: "Open File":

Select now the Network-drive (if you mapped one) or "browse" now from here the Network:

Until you find the Web-Page, from which to start your "surfing". Limitation: when browsing via directly reading from the disk, you will not be able to use any server-based Scripting (like ASP). That requires a Webserver processing such scripts before transmitting the
pages to the Web-browser for display.

2) Using the "Microsoft Personal Webserver"

Update: You can download the "Option Pack for Windows95" with a new version of PWS, which is equivalent to the PWS provided with the Windows98 CD-ROM.

The first method used regular network access and works therefore with any protocol. But if you insist on using a "REAL" Webserver (like the "Microsoft Personal Web Server", often just referred to as "PWS", downloadable from the Microsoft Website under "Free Downloads" / " Windows95"), you have first to make a CLEAN TCP/IP-setup ( see also : TCP/IP basics):

Configure your local Network card with a "Static" TCP/IP address (see above), while your "Dial-Up Adapters" (on the left) are usually configured to obtain their IP address automatically, when they connect to their ISP, which then assigns via DHCP the IP-address.

But make sure, that in the TCP/IP properties for ALL adapters the "DNS Configuration" is DISABLED, unless you are connected to a server with an active DNS-system. The fields for "Host" and "Domain" should be empty (Otherwise the MS PWS will give you a very hard time!) But since you MUST have a DNS-specification for your "Dial-Up Adapter"/Internet connection, define the DNS-addresses are part of the Properties /Server/TCP-settings of the Dial-Up connection.

Personal Web Server (PWS) is included on the Windows98 CD-ROM in:

\add-ons\PWS, just run the SETUP.EXE

Now, that we have a "Clean" TCP/IP" setup, we can install the Microsoft PWS:

After the reboot, PWS is part for your Network-configuration:

In the properties, you can only define, whether to use "local Security" (which you have to do on a Win95 PC-to-PC network) or not (when you are connected to a server, from where you can "borrow" the Security system). There is now a new icon in your task-bar and your "Control-Panel":

Look at the Properties of the PWS:

It define the name of your Web-Server (which is based on your computer name) and your Webserver-Root directory. Copy your Web-pages to your Web-root directory (in this case: C:\WebShare\WWWRoot) and make sure, that your main-page is called "DEFAULT.HTM". Done!

You are now ready to browse your own new Website: Start your Web-Browser and enter as address the IP-address of the system hosting PWS:

If you edit in 'C:\WINDOWS' your "HOSTS" file (if it is not present, copy/rename it from "HOSTS.SAM") and enter the IP-address together with the system-name, you can use your system name as URL-address:

If you do not like the PWS-default setup, you can start the PWS-Administration from the PWS-properties:

PWS is now generating temporary HTML-pages and starts up your Web-Browser to display them:

If your "Dial-Up Adapter Connect To" screen pops up, just select "Cancel". If you followed now my advise to make a CLEAN TCP/IP-setup, you get the PWS-main-page:

As example, you could change the location of your Web-Root directory or the Default-main-page:

Just be aware about a limitation of PWS, if you have on your system also the "File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks" installed:

You cannot create your own "User-List", unless you de-install the "File and Print Sharing". PWS can also be configured to create an FTP-site, but that is a different story, which I will not anymore explain here. For usage of FTP,see FTP : File Transfer Protocol

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.

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