Web Hosting At HomeMay 2, 2013 at 5:52 am
Before you will be able to start web hosting at home, there is one essential requirement that must be in place. This concerns routing web page requests to your home web server or PC.
Non-secure (most) Web pages are accessed via port 80, so this port must be open for connections to your router. If this port is blocked by your ISP, it's likely that they don't allow you to host a web server at home. Check up on your ISP's terms of service to be sure.
Firewalls are used to block network ports, so port 80 must be open for network traffic at your ISP, your router, and your computer.
The router will have an admin interface where you can configure the settings for ports, and in particular port-forwarding, which is used to direct port 80 requests to the particular machine on your network that serves web pages.
Your software firewall will need to allow connections through port 80. This is usually set up when it detects a web server running and prompts you to allow it access to the Internet.
I will cover the details of testing your network in another tutorial.
Once you have port 80 open you can in theory set up a web server at home.
Now there are some practical considerations to consider: network speed, and dynamic IP addresses.
With ADSL broadband, the upload speed tends to be much lower than the download speed, but with web serving, most of the data is uploaded. So this may pose a problem as traffic hits your web pages, and the upload speed is too slow. This affects how many websites and web pages that your server may comfortably handle.
With most home Internet, your IP address will change every time you disconnect (the WAN cable) or power-cycle your modem. This causes a problem since your domain names will be mapped to your IP address. So if the IP address of your modem/router changes, then your websites will go down until the domain names have their IP address updated.
With business class Internet services, you can get a fixed IP address, and maybe a faster upload speed, but at a cost.
To address the problem of a changing IP address you can set up an automated IP address monitoring solution that dynamically updates your domain names when a change is detected. More on this in a future tutorial. However, if you avoid powering off your modem, then the IP address should stay static for long periods of time.
When booting up a PC, by default it will ask the router for a random IP address. But this can be fixed to a static value in the Network settings. Again, more on this in a future tutorial.
Once these critical issues for web hosting at home have been addressed, the rest is straightforward.