In Part #1 of this article, I described how to install free web server software on a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer in your home. Anyone on the Internet can see the pages you host if they enter your I.P. address in their browser, such as http:// 22.214.171.124. That is assuming that anyone outside of your home can directly access your new web server.
This week I will describe a simple and free method by which you can use a domain name in place of an I.P. address. In other words, instead of typing http://126.96.36.199 into a web browser's address bar, anyone will be able to view the pages you wish to display by typing a domain name, such as http://www.my-home-pc.com or http://williams-family-reunion.com or something similar.
Many in-home computers are blocked by firewalls, routers or other network "features." In fact, for most computers it is a good idea to block external access. However, if you want to allow people to view web pages that you are hosting from home, you need to give limited access to the computer that contains your web pages. In the third and final installment of this article, I will describe how I allow anyone to access only the web pages on one computer in my home while simultaneously blocking all other access to that computer and also blocking access to the other computers in my home. Allowing limited access is safe. I use the same methods as used by tens of thousands of web servers around the world, both in-home and commercial servers.
Obtaining a Name for Your Web Server
One of the problems with hosting a web server at home is that the default installation requires users to access your server by entering an I.P. address, such as: http://188.8.131.52. A second problem is that many Internet providers change your assigned I.P. address often, even daily. I find it impractical to tell users to access http://184.108.40.206 today and then tomorrow I have to notify them to access the same web server at http://220.127.116.11.
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