How do I set up a website on my computer?

Stupid question time. I know that my computer has an IP address, and so does every website -domains just make it easier on people to get there- and I know that generally a computer’s internet connection is one way. That is, I get information off of the internet but I don’t really have the ability to send it back (unless the site lets me, like a message board). What I want to do is make a two-way connection to the internet so I can make a personal website off of my computer. I’m told you can contact your ISP and they’ll set it up for you, is this true? What other basics do I need to know about this?

Unless you have a static IP address, which means that every time you connect to your ISP the address is the same, you can’t normally host a web site on your own PC. Also most ISP’s prohibit this as part of their terms of service.

However, most ISPs do provide a limited amount of web hosting on their server as part of your account. You can develop your web pages and then upload them to the location that they provide for you, and you have a web page.

If your ISP doesn’t provide this, or you need more space than they offer, there are lots of web hosting providers out there willing to help you. Some are free, some will charge you but will usually provide more service and options.

Google on web hosting for more information.

It’ll pretty much end up taking your PC from you. The things you’d have to do would pretty much render your PC useless as a PC. Not breaking it or anything, but tying up you processor and bandwidth.

If anything, you’d be better off buying a separate computer. Still, you’ll need to know more than someone could put in apost about security etc. Perhaps someone’ll give you an all-in-one link.

It’s well worth the $10-$20 bucks a month to rent space on someone else’s server.

Well, that really depends on how many visitors your site gets. I run my own website from my basement on a PIII 550 with 1/2 gig of RAM Debian Linux box (using Apache2 server). I’m not running Google or anything, just a site for the grand-parents to see pictures of my son. This PC is certainly still usable to surf the web, read email or whatever else you might be able to do on a seven year old PC. When people do hit my site (while I’m using the PC) I hardly even notice.

You are correct, though, about the security concerns. If you don’t know what you are doing, and aren’t vigilant about your security you are sure to have problems. I learned the hard way as my HTTP server wasn’t hacked but an intruder got through on SSH. It was a brute force attack that made me so paranoid I reformatted, reinstalled.

To answer the OP’s question, here is a recent thread on this exact same thing:

In reply to the OP: It’s a bad idea to run a webhost at home if you don’t know what you’re doing – both because it’s complicated and because of security concerns, as others have mentioned.

Your internet connection is not really one-way, it just sends information behind the scenes. However, depending on the kind of service you have, your upstream bandwidth may be lower than your downstream bandwidth – which means that the pages you serve may load slowly for your visitors (unless they’re very simple text-only pages and you have very few visitors). FatBaldGuy mentioned the possible terms-of-service violation too.

I doubt your ISP would be willing to help you set up a home server, but they usually offer some free hosting space on their servers. That’s a much better idea all around, IMO :slight_smile:

Is there a particular reason you don’t want to use somebody else’s server?

Provided your ISP’s terms allow you to do so, you can try Abyss Web Server from Aprelium. It’s free, takes just a few minutes to set up, and is really easy to use.

To overcome your changing IP address, you can use something like