There are many web hosting companies available willing to host your website for various monthly fees. Most of these fees are based on bandwidth usage, storage usage and anything else they can think of to add on fees.
Each company offers similar packages which include add-ons like support for programming languages such as PHP, ASP, Perl, database support such as MySQL or even a shopping cart for those of you interested in selling items from your website. If you have a need there is probably a company able to meet it for you and if not you may have just found yourself a business opportunity.
Don't want to to pay the fees? Then I have a possible solution for you and I say possible because it will take a little patience to set everything up but if you’re willing I'll show you how to setup your own computer to host your webpage yourself for free. Well not actually free you will still have to pay for the electric and your time to set it up but pretty close to free.
In order for you computer to act as a server it needs to be setup like one. And this is How. Every computer running Windows probably has a built in server that just needs to be started but I prefer using Apache Web server. Don't panic it is also free.
Many of you may have read or heard how difficult it is to setup Apache server on your computer and not to discount those unfortunate soles in any way but there is a much easier way to install Apache along with several other items that may come in handy as your knowledge increases. (MySql, PHP, phpMyAdmin, Filezilla FTP Server, and Mercury Mail Transport System). Now all of these additional programs are beyond the scope of this article but I wanted to at least mention them.
Sound scary? Take some deep breaths or maybe count to 10 because it's really not that bad. Okay here we go!
Setting up the Apache Web Server On your computer!
Apache is an open source software that is free for everyone to use and the best place I’ve found for downloading the program is ApacheFriends.org.
Apache Friends have an installation package available for download that takes all the headaches out of the setup process and pretty much does it all for you. To get started click on the link below and download (based on your computer’s operating system) the right version of what is called XAMPP http://www.apachefriends.org/en/index.html They have a download for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, and Solaris. I downloaded and setup the installation package for windows so there might be some differences between my version and the one you will need however there is instructions available for each platform.
To get the ball rolling create a folder on your C drive called x or maybe xampp. x is shorter and to the point so I'll use that. Now we need to double click the xampp installation package that we previously downloaded. The program start and ask you to select your language, once selected click next and then you’ll be prompted to enter in the path or location of the folder we previously setup.( "c:\x") then click next. Here you will be prompted to create an icon on the desktop etc.
At the bottom of this screen the software will provide options for installation. You can install either or all of Apache, MySQL, and Fileszilla. I selected all of them and then clicked install but you begin with only setting up Apache if you like. At this point you will see the software begin to install and once it's finished you will receive a message stating "Installation Complete" and a popup box asking if you would like to start the Xampp Control Panel now? Click yes.
Xampp Control Panel should now open and if we look at it we can see that Apache has the word "Running" beside it. MySQL and Fileszilla will to if you installed them as well. If the word "Running" is not there you can click on the button labeled start beside each one to get them running.
Once these are running you should be able to open your web browser and type http://localhost/xampp/splash.php to see a page that was created through the installation process. Feel free to explore the different information that is available by selecting your language.
Now your all setup and rolling right? Okay maybe not yet.Where do we put the web pages we have created?
If you navigate to your C: drive and then locate and open the folder we called x you will see several folders along with a number of files. For now we are going to be interested in the folder called "htdocs" this is where you will keep the index.htm or start page. If an index file already exists then rename it for now and then open up notepad and type the following.
THIS ACTUALLY WORKED !!!!
Then save it as index.htm or index.html file. Now let's try out our new web server by opening up your web browser and typing in http://localhost/index.htm, http://localhost/index.html or just type in http://127.0.0.1 which is sort of an alis for your computers home ip address. If the words above in bold displays then it's working and your all set.
Guest article by David Nies