Thursday 11 April 2013

Hosting a Web Site on BT Broadband - Domain Name

Acquiring and Configuring a Domain Name

In my recent set of Blog posts I have been discussing the possibilities of hosting a personal web site on your BT Broadband using the BT Home Hub.  In this post I am looking at the process of buying a domain name and configuring the settings.

As mentioned previously, it is not essential to have your own domain name to host a web site or your network using one of the Dynamic DNS services (to keep track of your changing ip address).  However, it's quite nice thing to do and is relatively inexpensive.  If you still don't want to get your own domain, then you'll need to configure a sub domain of the available domains attached to you Dynamic DNS provider.  The service I used ( currently has nearly 100,000 domains in their shared domain pool.  The domain itself will also be available to use for your sub domain.  For example you could set up provided that sub domain is still available.  For a a full list of what's in the shared domain pool at FREE DNS then the following page allows you to view them and search through them.


Only the domains that have bee set to public will be available for use.

If you still want your own personal domain name, there are plenty of places you can buy them from.  When you buy a domain name you are not actually buying it forever.  You are renting it or leasing it through your domain agent from the United Kingdom's central .uk domain name registry, Nominet UK.  This is done for a period of 1, 2, 5 or 10 years.  The annual price is usually less if you take on the domain for a longer period of time. This is assuming that you actually want a Top Level Domain.  You may prefer a dot .com or any of the multitude of other tld's available.

If you are would like to use a domain then I can recommend Easily.  Their web site can be found at  However, there are many domain agents to choose from.  As your are likely making the domain purchase to experiment with hosting on your own network, just be careful of cheap ones or even free ones.  It is likely that they would tie you into a hosting package with the domain provider, so that would sort of defeat the object.  The process is pretty straight forward.  From their home page you pick the domain name you want (without the www. bit on the front), select the top level domains you require, such as etc. and then type a name of your choice.  The search will reveal if that name is still available for use. - Choosing Your Domain Name
Once you have chosen and purchased your domain name, you will need to make sure that it is linked to your selected Dynamic DNS service.  This is done by changing the values of something known as the Name Servers as part of the DNS management.  DNS stands for the Domain Name System and it is the way that requests for the domain typed into the web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) are sent to the correct ip address.  When you type the domain name into the browser address bar an initial look-up is made to determine the DNS Servers.  A look-up is then made to determine what the current ip address for the web site is an a database.

For example, the domain name I use for the hobby web site that I have referred to in these blog posts is  The DNS Name Servers are held at my Dynamic DNS service provider ( and they are as follows:

  • Nameserver 1 -
  • Nameserver 2 -
  • Nameserver 3 -
  • Nameserver 4 -

  • A look up will be made on one of the above name servers and that will determine the current ip address of my web server where the web site is hosted.  The request for the appropriate web page (the index page or home page in this example) will be made by the browser to the web server.  The appropriate web page document will then be sent to the browser by the server.

    To make sure that the name servers are set correctly relative to your Dynamic DNS provider, you will generally have access to a Control Panel area on the web site that you purchased your domain name from.  With this control panel you need to locate an area for DNS Management.  Here you will be able to enter the names of the appropriate server (domain) names in order.  It's possible to have only one, but it's usual to have at least two and in my case I have four listed in priority order.  ie. 1, 2, 3 and 4 (,, and - DNS Management (adding Name Servers)
    It can take a little while for the DNS databases to be updated, so don't expect everything to work straight away.  It's possible that the update process can take up to as long as 48 hours, but generally I have have found it to be a little less, maybe 4 to 8 hours.  It's probably best to make the changes in the evening and refrain from trying to check them until the next day.

    As far a testing is concerned, provided it's not obviously working - as you can see your web site on the domain name you have newly acquired, there are a number of web sites out there with DNS tools that allow you to trace the requests and check that all the settings are correct.  I have previously used DNS Stuff's Tools on their web site

    For more BT Home Hub information and advice, I'd recommend visiting the following page:

    Finally, you really need to ask yourself "Is it worth hosting a website at home?"  If the motivation for doing it is to save money for your business web site hosting, I'd say no.  The whole set up isn't ever going to be guaranteed, even though personally I've found it pretty reliable.  If the reason for doing it is to get involved in learning the process and and how the whole set-up works, then I definitely say "yes".  You'll get access to a lot of things that you'd normally have locked away from you until you gained the appropriate experience elsewhere.  The following article asks the very same question:

    I hope all the related Blog post have been useful.  Please let me know if you find any obvious errors, omissions or if you have any comments and questions.  The other related posts are as follows:

    Wednesday 10 April 2013

    Hosting a Web Site on BT Broadband - Dynamic DNS

    Dynamic DNS - Mapping Changing IP Address to Host Address

    In my recent Blog posts, I have been discussing the possibility of hosting a personal or hobby web site on a computer on your home network using BT Broadband and how you will need to configure the BT Home Hub to enable this.  In this post I cover the topic of DNS.

    DNS is a system that is used to relate Internet available ip addresses to host names (or Domain Names).  All the computers on the Internet actually locate each other by an ip address, which is a series of four numbers separated by periods (dots/full stops).  A typical ip address looks like this:

    Each number between the dots can be a value between 0 and 255 (256 possibilities).  The ip address is a unique number for each computer on the Internet and no two computers can have the same address at the same time.

    The first issue you have when setting up a web site using your BT Broadband at home is that the ip address that your network has assigned to it can change.  This means that you cannot directly use it to access your network (and the web server you have hosted on it) from the Internet consistently.  Internet Service Providers (ISPs) used to offer home users what is known as a static or fixed ip address (one that never changes), but I don't believe this is an option any longer.

    Out of interest, to see your current (outward facing) Internet ip address, you can use a look-up service on the web.  I normally use something like or to check mine.  When you visit one of these web pages you will get feedback, along the lines of "Your IP Address is" displayed in your web browser. - Your IP Address Is
    A way of dealing with this problem (of changing ip addresses) is by using a Dynamic DNS service.  I think of the DNS a little bit like a directory (of ip addresses, as opposed to telephone numbers) for computers on the Internet, and the look up to allow humans to find the right computer easily is by using a host name or Domain name.  Even if the ip address you had on your network never changed, it still wouldn't be an easy thing to remember or give out to other people.  Whereas a domain name, say something like is pretty easy to remember and pass on to other people.

    For my hobby web site I use the domain name, which I registered with a domain name company called  It's not necessary to have your own domain name for your own web site, as the Dynamic DNS services will generally offer a free sub domain to use.  However, if it's your own web site then for the relative inexpensive cost (normally around £10 to register a domain for 2 years) it's nice to have your own personal domain name.  For more about getting a Domain Name, please see me related Blog post:

    Acquiring and configuring a Domain Name
    I have always historically used a Dynamic DNS service called  This FREE DNS Service allows you to map your domain name to the ip address that your network currently has on the Internet and more importantly has methods available to dynamically change the value when your ip address is changed by you ISP.  This means that the link between your domain name and your periodically changing ipn address is never lost.  The BT Home Hub, also have some inbuilt settings for controlling Dynamic DNS, but unfortunately the service that I use is not currently one of the supported ones.

    To have a look at the available options on your BT Home Hub, you need to explore the "Advanced Settings" on your BT Home Hub Manager control panel.  The option is a link at the right of the blue panel, under the main menu tabs.

    BT Home Hub Manager - Advanced Settings
    The BT Home Hub Manager control panel will ask for confirmation that you are really intending to modify the Advanced Settings on a separate page.  Here there is a button stating "Continue to Advanced Settings" that needs to be clicked to continue.

    BT Home Hub Manager - Continue to Advanced Settings
    Once you have successfully entered into the Advanced Settings, you need to select the "Broadband" option.  This will then give access to specific settings for your Dynamic DNS.
    BT Home Hub Manager - Broadband Option in Advanced Settings
    Once you have located the appropriate page in the BT Home Hub Manager's Advanced Settings.  There is an option to enable Dynamic DNS.  I have not done this.  As previously stated, I used a service that is not currently supported to I have to use a slightly different system to keep my domain name dynamically updated to the correct ip address.

    BT Home Hub Manager - Advanced Settings > Dynamic DNS
    For more information about using the Dynamic DNS options on your BT Home Hub, please see the following page.  There is a section on the page entitled "How to: Get a fixed IP address for your Home Hub", which gives a bit more information, but unfortunately not in any great detail:

    My understanding is that the following free Dynamic DNS services are currently supported by the BT Home Hub:

    • DynDNS
    • NoIP
    • DtDNS

    However, you may find this to be different when you investigate on your own Home Hub.  There are still several versions of the BT Home Hub being used by BT customers.  I have currently got the 3.0 version, but I believe that there may also be v1.0, v1.5 and v2.0 being used by some people.  I previously had the version 1.0 device and using the method described below was able to successfully configure Dynamic DNS.

    Using the Dynamic DNS Service

    To use a Free Dynamic DNS updating service that is not supported by your BT Home Hub, such as, you need to configure the settings directly on their web site and then ensure (if you are using your own Domain Name) that you have updated the DNS settings for the domain record accordingly.  More about the domain configuration can be see in my Blog post Acquiring and configuring a Domain Name.

    If you visit the web pages of the Free Dynamic DNS updating service, such as, you will be able to add your own domain to the list of ones you control on you own account after creating a free account.  You will be able to add more domain names in the future if you require them, and you will also be able to create more web site addresses from your domain using something called "Sub Domains".

    FREE ( Dynamic DNS - Common Domain Related Tasks
    I currently have a number of sub domains configured on the FREE DNS service, that I use for other web sites related to my main one without necessarily having to got out and purchase more domain names.  A sub domain is anything before the personal domain name you have purchased within the given top level domain.

    e.g. My domain is waltonledale (for my hobby site) within the top level domain.  I have used the naturally assumed sub domain "www" for my main web site, but I have configured other ones, such as capitolcentre, cycling, foodanddrink, new and old etc. for use on other web sites.

    FREE ( Dynamic DNS - Sub Domains
    Within the domain name system it is important that you use something known as the 'A' record to give instructions about the ip address where your web site will be hosted.  This will change from the initial setting, but that is something that will be controlled by another process after you initial set up.  The type 'A' domain record is used to point a Sub Domain ( to a hard coded IP Address.  This is the most direct and straight forward option, also it is important to note that any change you make in the FreeDNS program is reflected on the Internet and made live immediately.  The only way you will not see immediate results is if you have cached a query on your computer by looking it up PRIOR to configuring it in the FreeDNS program.

    The initial set up of the 'A' record will set something called the "Destination" ip address and whilst it will not always be the same in the future.  The FREE DNS web site can be used to display and update the current settings.

    FREE ( Dynamic DNS - Editing Sub Domain
    Once everything is configured correctly with the Dynamic DNS service, unless it is one that is currently directly supported by the BT Home Hub, you'll need to consider how to inform (using software - although can be done manually) the DNS servers each time your ip address changes.

    I have been using an application, which runs as a service on my web server, to up freedns whenever the ip address is changed.  It was fairly straightforward to install and configure.  This software was also free and is called Afraid Updater Service 4.    

    Afraid Updater Service 4

    Afraid Updater Service is a free client software develop for the free DynamicDNS service offered by and runs on Windows (XP/2003/VISTA/2008/7).  It is created using the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 technology.  This means to use it, you will need to ensure that you have the .Net Framework version 4 installed on your server.  Afraid Updater Service 4 has the following features:

    • Will work on Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 2008.
    • Sends Email Alerts via SMTP for critical events
    • Has Advanced Event Logs
    • Configurable Task Delay and Application priority
    • Easy XML Configuration
    • Really small application and uses very little no memory
    • Works in Service Mode
    • ...and last, but not least, it is free!

    The Download for the Latest Version (4.0.5 - 31st August 2012) can be obtained from the following link:

    For more information please visit the NeSociety web site:

    When installed you will have access to a configuration control panel application and the, as stated before, the updater will then actually run as a Windows Service in the background.  It's important that the service restarts when the computer (your web server) is rebooted.  The software can also be configured to send you and email (even to web mail accounts, such as gmail or hotmail etc.) when the ip address has been updated, or there are any issues.

    Afraid Updater Service 4 - Runs as a Windows Service
    Once the software is installed, you will need to log in to your FreeDNS account in the updater configuration program (a separate thing to the service) using your FreeDNS log-on credentials and configure at least one of your sub domains.  There is a feature to link all sub domains to be updated together, so you don't have to worry about setting it up more than once as each time the ip address is updated for one of your sub domains all the sub domains originally on the same ip address will be changed at the same time.  There is a useful video about how to configure the application.

    It's important that the set up of your Free DNS account is working properly first (on the freeDNS web site - before you try and configure this updater software.  Reading the Blog post about getting a Domain Name first will be useful (even if you are not using your own domain name), as it explains about how to make sure that the DNS Name Servers are set up correctly.  They will vary dependant on which Dynamic DNS Service you use, but the ones for FreeDNS ( are as follows:

    • Nameserver 1 -
    • Nameserver 2 -
    • Nameserver 3 -
    • Nameserver 4 -

    For more information about other aspects of setting up and hosting a web site at home on BT Broadband using the BT Home Hub, please see the following Blog posts:

    Monday 8 April 2013

    Hosting a Web Site on BT Broadband - Configuring BT Home Hub

    Configuring your BT Home Hub - Port Forwarding 

    Following on from my previous Blog posts about setting up a "hobby" web site that is hosted at home using your BT Broadband, the next article covers how you can make the server you are configuring available for browsing.

    Your BT Home Hub comes with a Control Panel that allows you to configure some basic and more advanced settings.  This can be access using the following URL (web address), this is the BT Home Hub Manager Home Page:


    The BT-Home-Hub-Manager - bthomehub.home

    The BT Home Hub Manager Home Page should show your available BT services and the computers (and other devices) that are connected to your Home Network.  It's important that the computer that you are intending to use as your Web Server is visible in the list entitled "My Home Network".  More about your server on your home network can be seen in the previous Blog post about Setting up your Local Network.

    To configure the necessary settings that will allow your server computer to act as a Web Server on the Internet, you will need to access the Settings pages.  This will require a login after clicking the "Settings" tab on the Home Hub manager page main menu.
    BT Home Hub Manager - Settings (Log in)

    To make your Web Server available to the Internet, you will need to add some new settings within the "Port Forwarding" section of the Control Panel's settings.  Port Forwarding is used by devices and applications, such as servers, to make sure that data coming from the Internet gets to the device that needs to use it.  When Port Forwarding is enabled, your BT Home Hub will send all incoming traffic for that application to the chosen device. 
    BT Home Hub Manager - Port Forwarding
    This is required because your BT Home Hub only has one ip address and yet you will (possibly) has several devices (including the BT Home Hub itself) that incoming traffic needs to access.  Once things are configured correctly, a request from the Internet to the ip address of your Home Hub will be forwarded on to the appropriate device based on the correct port.
    BT Home Hub Manager-  Select Devices
    This process involves selecting a "game or application" from the list of available in the drop down menu to the left of the page.  There are quiet a few pre-configured entries to choose from, but you need to look for the ones related to "http" and "Web".  There should be for relevant entries in total.  These are as follows:

    • HTTP Server (World Wide Web)
    • HTTPS Server
    • Secure Web Server (HTTPS)
    • Web Server (HTTP)

    As far as I can see, there seems to be some duplication here.  I would personally suggest that there are only really two options here, for http and https (the secure/encrypted version of the protocol), but selecting everything doesn't seem to cause any conflicts and everything works perfectly well when you do.

    • HTTP Server (World Wide Web) is the same as Web Server (HTTP)
    • HTTPS Server is the same as Secure Web Server (HTTPS)

    I presume the doubled up entries are just to make it easier to find the appropriate thing dependant on the terminology used?  e.g. Some people will look for web server whilst others will look for http.  It's also unlikely that you'll actually need to use the Secure http (https) for secure/encrypted web pages, but there's no harm in setting it up ready for later.

    In my case, the server that I want to use as a web server had been named as SERVER-03, but yours will very likely be something different.  It is just a case of now finding the four entries in the "game or application" list and then selecting the appropriate computer from the "Devices" list on the right hand side of the page.  Each time you select the necessary application and the chosen device a button becomes available to allow you to "Add" the settings to the list.

    What this process is effectively doing is setting up the rules relating to which port belongs to which device, and that access to this port will be permitted through the BT Home Hub Firewall.  The settings are not really visible, as you are just selecting an application that's already been configured on the Home Hub, but the port that is normally used (the standard or expected port) for web servers is port 80.  Therefore, to check that the settings have been effective, you need to check that the port is now open and can be used.  To do this, you can use a test that is available through various downloadable applications or more easily on some network and configuration tools within web sites.  I have previously used the Open Port Check Tool on the following web page to Test Port Forwarding on my BT Home Hub:
 - Open Port Check Tool
    To use this page to check, you need to ensure that the "Remote Address" is set to your current external ip address (there is actually a link under the input field to "Use Current IP") and that the port number input field has the number "80" in it.  When you click the "Check" button, you should see a green flag and the message "Port 80 is open on", where is your current ip address on the Internet.

    Having got this aspect of you home hosting set up to work, if you haven't already, you need to consider the Domain Name and set up the Dynamic DNS.  The full set up related Blog posts are as follows:

    Friday 5 April 2013

    Hosting a Web Site on BT Broadband - Local Network

    Setting up your Local Network

    In the next Blog post in my series about hosting your own web site from home using your BT Home Hub, I will cover the set up of your web server on your local network and how you can access it remotely to complete the configuration of you web site.  You do not potentially need to do things remotely until after you've gone live, but it can help with the set ups, particularly if your server is in a difficult to reach place and without a permanently connected monitor.  I would generally use the inbuilt Windows software (Remote Desktop Connection) to make this type of remote access possible.

    To connect to your web server remotely, you'll need to know the name of the computer on your network and a username and password.  This really needs to be the Administrator, for many of the things you'll need access to, or at least another user with full admin rights.  As it the third time if set this sort of thing up, I imaginatively named my new computer SERVER-03.  To connect to it from another computer on you network it needs to be available to your network permanently.  I have a (network) hub which I connect to using Ethernet (as opposed to doing things wirelessly and this hub in turn is connected to my BT HomeHub, but I don't see why connecting wirelessly back through a router or even by Ethernet back directly to the BT HomeHub would be a problem.  You need the connection to the HomeHub, so that you can make your server available to the Internet when you come to that part.

    As far as using the Remote Desktop Connection software is concerned, you should be able to search for it on your computer from the Start Menu, if you don't already know where it is.  The Windows shortcut will look like this (on a 32bit system):

    Remote Desktop Connection Shortcut Properties

    It will normally be found in the Windows Start Menu > Programs > Accessories, like so:

    Windows Start Menu > Programs > Accessories
    Before you try and use the remote desktop connection, just be sure that you can access the computer from another PC on the network. e.g. in my example, where my server is named SERVER-03, you should be able to ping it or browse to it using Windows Explorer.

    Network \\SERVER-03 - Viewed Using Windows Explorer
    Once you're confident that the computer you are currently working on can communicate with the Server on the Network then you should be able to establish a Remote Desktop Connection.  This is dependant on a setting on the Server, so it may be wise not to discard the monitor you used to view the server's desktop too soon in the process!  Dependent on the Operating System the options may look slightly different on the dialogue, but it will be something like this:

    System Setting to Allow Remote Desktop Connections
    Once you are happy with all of the above, establishing the Remote Desktop Connection should be straight forward and you will log on using the Server's computer name a system user and the password.  This should be something like as follows (don't forget to use your server's name - not necessarily SERVER-03):

    Remote Desktop Connection - Log on
    You will need to click the "Connect" button and then another dialogue will allow you to input the user credentials.  As I mentioned before, it's best to use the Administrator account to log on with, so as long as you have that password, you should get a (Remote Desktop) Connection OK. 
    Enter Your Credentials (RDC)
    You'll get a new tab that will appear (generally) it the top of your screen and then, once the configurations have loaded properly, you should be able to see the desktop of the server to carry out any further set-ups and configurations. 
    SERVER-03 Desktop Via Remote Desktop Connection
    The next step in the process will be Acquiring and configuring a Domain Name, which will be covered in my next Blog post.  As far as the other steps of the process are concerned, the following articles will cover the other important topics:

    Hosting a Web Site on BT Broadband - Web Server

    Procuring and setting up a Web Server

    Following on from my previous article, Hosting a Web Site at Home on BT Broadband, I'm going to now look at how you could obtain a basic web server relatively inexpensively and set it up so that you can host a (or some) hobby web site from home using your BT Broadband.

    If you are going to set up your own server, just be aware that any data transferred from your server to anybody accessing your web site will be included in your monthly bandwidth.  Another thing to be aware of, due to the nature of ADSL (Asymmetric digital subscriber line), is that the upload speed, which is going to be your user's download speed, is slower than your normal download speed.  However, I've viewed my pages from other computers outside of my network many times and the speed of page load never seems to be an issue.

    I've had web sites hosted at home for quite a few years now, as I say, not something I recommend for anything serious or for a commercial enterprise, but can be a cheap way to set up you own personal web sites.  Also, with all the hardware and software at home, it means that you can have full access to the server, whereas you may not get this level of access from a hosting provider.  I initially set things up with a very basic specification desktop PC and installed a copy of Windows 2003 Server.  This machine gave up last year, another thing to be aware of if you're hosting something important, so I had to acquire a new machine, reconfigure it, install software and restore the files from a back-up.

    My replacement, is still a fairly low spec. desktop PC, but I increased the RAM a bit whilst setting it up.  I got and old DELL Optiplex GX620 SFF with an Intel Pentium 4 processor from Ebay and was fortunate enough to find one with Windows Server 2008 installed.  I won it in an auction for £29.99 + £13.99 for the postage & packaging, so the whole thing including the new RAM cost near enough £60.  I managed to buy my server from a seller that seems to be selling old office equipment including old PCs fairly regularly (linda25setp2007), so it's likely that she'll have other similar items coming up in the future.

    A DELL Optiplex GX620 SFF
    Once you've got the server up and running from a hardware, operating system and basic config perspective, you need to think of somewhere you can keep it that's out of the way.  This location needs to be accessible,  cool and dry.  Do bear in mind that the server will need to be switched on all the time (24/7/365), so if it's in a room you use often the noise from the fans may be annoying.  I use an area under my stairs.  It's out of the way, but not too difficult to get to if I need to access it for maintenance.  I had a VDU (monitor) attached to it whilst I did the basic installs and set-up up but then I took that away (once the computer was properly installed on my network) and now connect to it remotely using RDC (a Remote Desktop Connection).  However, you could carry on working directly on the computer to make the set-ups and leave the monitor connected at least until you go live or all of the time if you have a spare one.  I'll cover more about how to make the Remote Desktop Connection in the following Blog post about Setting up your Local Network

    The important thing, before you consider having you server available to the World Wide Web, is that you are able to serve web pages from it using IIS.  This was covered in my last Blog post (the first in the series) entitled "Hosting a Web Site at Home on BT Broadband".

    I have a number of "hobby" sites set up on my web server and I configure these using the IIS 7 (Internet Information Services) Manager that is available on Windows 2008 (...other versions are used on other Windows operating systems).  The web site that I may use to discuss a specific point will be, but I will not be writing about how to carry out much of the configuration in IIS.  I will cover a handful of specific points directly related to hosting your site(s).

    Internet Information Services (IIS) 7 Manager
    Firstly, once you have you site(s) ready to serve, you need to be mindful that your server is only going to have one (static) ip address within your network and one (dynamic) ip address to the outside world (on the Internet).  To ensure that incoming http requests get to the correct site you will need to configure the "Bindings" to enable each site to use a specific Host Address.  The settings are available from the right hand panel of the IIS Manager and the settings need to be configured like so:

    Edit Site Binding - IIS Web Site Configuration
     The 'Type' should be set to 'http', the 'IP address' should be set as 'All Unassigned' and the 'Port' would generally be the standard http port (80).  The "Host Name" should match the Domain Name that you want to use for the web site.  Please note this must be a Domain (or Sub Domain) that you own and have access to the configuration of.  You are going to need to alter the DNS, which will be covered in a later Blog post (IP Addresses and Dynamic DNS), so you will need access to this to make everything work.

    Please see my next post about Setting up your Server on your Local Network and all the posts related to Hosting a Web Site on BT Broadband as follows:

    Tuesday 19 March 2013

    Hosting a Web Site at Home on BT Broadband

    Using a Home Network to Host a Web Site
    (BT Home Hub)

    In the following few articles, which I will post next month, I will be writing about how it is possible to set up and host your own web site from home using your broadband connection and in my case the BT Home Hub.

    Since the early days of designing and building web sites a lot of my work has been done on a local server.  I'm a Microsoft Windows user and most of their operating systems will give you access to their web server software, which is not too dissimilar to the commercial version that you'd get with specifically built server operating systems, such as windows 2008.  The web server software is called IIS (Internet Information Server) and when enabled in Windows will allow you to properly serve and view your web pages as if they were coming from a web server.

    If you wanted to have access to IIS on your Windows computer to see how it works, then it can be added through the Control Panel's "Programs and Features" option.  This is where you would normally (as it was called in older operating systems, such as Windows XP) "Add and Remove Programs".  As well as the features you have possibly seen to uninstall software programs, there is also an option to "Turn Windows features on or off".

    The Control Panel's "Programs and Features" option
    Selecting the checkbox for the Internet Information Server will automatically select al the necessary sub features, and there's probably no reason to disable any of those.  The older operating systems used to require the original Windows OS installation CD (or DVD) at this stage, but that shouldn't be the case with more up to date systems such as Vista or 7.  I can't comment about Windows 8 at this point, as I haven't yet tried it.

    Turn Windows features on or off
    Anyway, moving on!  It's not my intention to write about the task of installing IIS and the basic configuration of IIS in this article, as I'm sure it's been done many times before.  However, it is an essential part of the hosting set-up, so it warranted a mention.  Once you're up and running you'll end up with the ability to serve web pages locally on on your local network using the normal protocol for this, which is http (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and the hyperlinks and source files will behave properly, as compared to viewing a web page you have authored directly from you file system (i.e. a folder on you C: drive for example).  On a local machine you will be generally able to browse a web site you are developing from a local domain (normally http://localhost/) or an ip address.  The localhost ip address is usually (

    Ok that's enough about the local server config.  If you like to know more about that one, I'd suggest a Google search for something along the lines of "running IIS locally".  I haven't looked too far through the available articles, but this one titled "Setting up a web site on local machine using IIS" seems to explain the basics OK.

    I am sure, there will be plenty of useful information already out there!

    As far as what you will need to know about, to get a computer up an running on your local network, serving web pages and visible to the outside world using your BT Home Hub, this will be covered in the following topics:
    It's all reasonably straight forward, and whilst I would certainly not recommend this type of home network hosting for anything commercial, or anything that needs reliable bandwidth and up-time, it can be an interesting way of learning about the configuration when your not able to get you hands on the servers normally.  For example, in my last job, I was involved in sales and for security reasons (we dealt with credit card payments etc.) I couldn't get access to our Windows Servers, so I used to keep things set up at home for hobby web sites that allowed me to keep my hand in on the practical side.  Also, for somebody leaning about web design and development, it's also a could way of having a go and experimenting with the set-ups without compromising anything that's too important, such as commercial web sites.

    Please keep and eye out for my future posts, which will hopefully help you understand how the necessary components all fit together.