What is a Web Server? A Web Sever is a simple program that allows the access of files stored on a computer to another computer over the network or internet. Most of the online services and websites runs on web servers. So, if you wish, you can also setup a web server on your Windows PC and host your own website there. That’s right, you can create your own web server using Apache client.
There may be several reasons to create your own web server. For example- file sharing or create a web site on your own computer. In simple terms, you choose a directory on your computer and put files like music, video etc. in that directory. Now, when you put the IP address or hostname of your computer the in web browser you can see all the files from that folder and you can also download those files.
SEE ALSO: How to Make your Computer a Time Server?
Setup a Web Server on your Windows PC using Apache Client
For creating your own web server, you need few things. First, you need to install Apache server client on your Windows PC. After that, create a directory for your website files. Finally, configure your web server. And if you wish to access your server from internet, you also need active internet connection with fixed public IP address and port forwarding.
Step 1: Create Document Directory and Default Page for Web Server
First of all, create a folder in any of the disk drives on your computer and name it as MyServer. You can also give it any other name, we have used this name for simplicity.
Now, note down the path of this folder. In our case folder path is “D:\MyServer“. We will create a
index.html file in this folder with some text. Why
index.html? Because by default web server displays
index.html file when you type website address in browser.
You can also put your test or development website here for testing. Or you can create an HTML page that shows the links to your files, music or videos etc. You can also place your files or documents directly in Document Root folder.
Step 2: Install Apache HTTP Server Client on your Windows PC
Now, download Apache server client on your PC. After downloading, launch the setup file. Click Next and follow on screen instructions.
On the Server Information page, set parameters for Network Domain, Server Name and Administrator’s Email Address. In this tutorial, we have used
myserver.com as Network Domain,
www.myserver.com as Server Name and
[email protected] as email address. You can configure your own details here to setup your own web server on your Windows PC.
Now, complete rest of the steps and click Finish to exit installation wizard.
Step 3: Configure httpd.conf to Setup your Web Server
After you have installed Apache server client, go to directory where you installed it (i.e.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\conf). Here, you will find an
httpd.conf file. This file holds the configuration of your website. We will have to change it’s settings as per our requirements.
But in order to make changes to
httpd.conf file, you need to take it’s ownership first, otherwise you will not be able to modify it. After taking ownership of
httpd.conf file, open it with notepad.
We need to change 3 things in
- First, replace
DocumentRoot "C:\Program Files (x86)\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\htdocs"with
- Next, find
<Directory "C:\Program Files (x86)\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\htdocs">and replace it with
- After that, find
AllowOverride Noneand change it to
Now, press Ctrl + S to save changes to file and close the notepad. Finally, you are ready to setup or host your website on your own web server on Windows PC.
Step 4: Configure Hosts File to Resolve Domain Name
As we have configured
myserver.com as domain name for our website, we need to make it resolvable via hosts file. We can easily do it by making an entry in the hosts file. So, go to
C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc folder and open
hosts file with notepad.
Make sure to take ownership of hosts file before making changes to it, otherwise, you won’t be able to save the changes. After that, add following line to hosts file and save it.
127.0.0.1 myserver.com www.myserver.com
127.0.0.1 is loopback address and
www.myserver.com are domain names of our web server.
SEE ALSO: How to Configure Proxy on Windows 10?
Step 5: Browse your Web Server via Web Browser
Now, your web server is setup and ready on your Windows PC. You can test it. Type
www.myserver.com in your web browser. You can also type your IP Address in your web browser’s address bar. If you have configured everything correctly, you should see your
index.html file that you created in Step 1.
index.html file, you can also put your files and documents directly in Document Root folder (“D:\MyServer” folder in our case). If there is no
index.html file, the browser will display the content of Document Root folder as shown below.
Step 6: Access your Web Server Over the Internet
If you want to access your own server from other computers via internet, you must forward a port in the router you’re using. You would also need to get a fixed public IP address from your ISP so that your public IP address doesn’t change randomly.
The port we need to forward is port number 80. Why? Because by default it’s the port used for HTTP protocol. Port forwarding actually means opening a tunnel through the router so that the router wouldn’t reject the connections that are trying to connect to it.
How to port-forward? With every router it’s different. You can find here the instructions for almost every one of them. Besides that, you must also turn off you firewall or allow Apache server program through your firewall.
Once you have forwarded HTTP port in your router, you can access your files via web server over the internet. This time you have to put your WAN or public IP in the address bar of your web browser instead of
myserver.com or LAN IP.
How to find your WAN IP? You can easily find your WAN IP in your router’s settings or simply type “what is my ip” in Google and it will show your WAN IP. Make sure you have availed FIXED IP service as your WAN or public IP keeps changing.
NOTE: Please note that your computer must be ON all the time to be accessible via internet. If you can’t keep it always ON, you can try Wake-on-LAN to turn it ON when required.
Setup your Web Server and Host your Website on Windows PC
Above tutorial explained, how you can easily setup and configure web server on your Windows PC and host your own website. We have explained a very basic web server setup. If you are willing to host a fully functional PHP or WordPress website, you may consider using WampServer instead.
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