How to Install IIS and host a website from your own computer – Complete Guide
For those who are not familiar with IIS (Internet Information Server), it’s a free easy to use Web Server from Microsoft that allows you to host a web site from your own computer. Windows 7 starter edition and home edition might have limited IIS functionality so keep that in mind when you are not able to find a certain IIS component.
1. Click on the Windows button and type in: Turn Windows features on or off, now click on it.
2. Place a checkmark beside “IIS Management Console” and select all the boxes in “World Wide Web Services”.
3. Progress bar will appear and once it’s done you should be all set up
4. We will open up the command prompt and check our current IP Address. Click on the Windows button and type in: cmd, and press enter. Once the command prompt opens up type in: ipconfig, now look for a section that says IPv4 Address. My IP Address is 192.168.184.130.
5. Now let’s see the sample web site that Microsoft set up for us as the default site. Open up Internet Explorer and type in: http://192.168.184.130 in the address bar (replace the IP Address with your own). You can alternatly just type in: localhost, and press enter but we will use the actual IP Addrsss of the PC as it will come in handly later on.
6. If you would like to see the html files for this site they are located in “C:inetpubwwwroot”. You can place your index.html or Default.html in here as the starting page of your site. You can configure this setting in the Default Document in step #7.
7. To manage your IIS site you can click on the Windows button and type in: Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
8. If you would like to access this site locally from another computer on the same network or through the Internet you will have to disalbe the firewall. Just click on Start and type in: Windows Firewall, now click on “Windows Firewall”. (***You should properly configure the Firewall later on and set the proper exceptions for IIS, for testing purposes we will disable the Firewall.)
9. Before you can access your Web Site online you will have to forward port 80 on your router to the PC where IIS is running. This is the default port for the http protocol. The below screenshot is taken from a Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH router powered by DD-WRT firmware. If you have a differrent router just look for a section that says Port Forwarding, the IP Address is from the step 4 Ipconfig command. To find out how to forward a port on your specific router visit www.portforward.com, and see if they have specific instructions with screenshots for your router.
10. Now once you configured the above setting to forward port 80 you will have to find out your IP Address on the internet, this address is different from the above Ipconfig command, we are looking for the WAN (Wide Area Network) IP Address. The easiest way to find out what your ip address is just open up Internet Explorer and go to www.google.com and type in: what is my ip.
11. Once you find out your public IP Address, just open up Windows Explorer and type in: http:\your public IP address and you should see your Web Site on the World Wide Web which is being hosted on your Windows 7 PC. What happens in the background is the http request is forwarded to your public IP address and hits your router, http protocol uses port 80 by default. Your router has a rule set up to forward port 80 requests to your Windows 7 PC which in my case is IP Address 192.168.184.130. The IIS service on the Windows 7 is always listening on port 80 and receives the requests and sends out your web page to the client that requested your web page.
9. To be able to access your website by a meaningfull name like mymusic.co.cc instead of a public ip address. You will have to register a domain name and point it to your public IP Address. You should look for a free domain with DNS service, I personally like http://www.co.cc/. Once you create an account with them and find a domain name, just add an A record in the Domain settings and point it to your Public IP address.
The below screenshot is what you have to do on the co.cc website once you create an account. In the below example every time I type in http://mymusic.co.cc, it will take me to my public IP Address 234.154.345.34 and then it will bring up my website being hosted on my PC at home. It just makes it easier to remember mymusic.co.cc instead of the Public IP address. Just an additional note, every few months your public IP Address may change so you will have to log back into http://www.co.cc/ Domain settings page and Delete the current A record “DEL” button on the right and create a new one that points to the updated public ip address.
***The screenshot has been edited to remove any real IP Addresses.