Accessing The Default Web Site After Installing IIS

Once the IIS installation process is complete, your Web server will be up and running, and the default Web site will be accessible. To access this site, open your Internet Explorer, type the URL http://localhost in the Address bar, and click the Go button. This will open the default Welcome to Windows XP Server Internet Services page, as shown below. Ultimately, seeing this page means that the WWW Service is installed correctly, and that your Web server is functioning. Although this page is really only a placeholder until you configure your own custom start page for your site, it does provide useful IIS overview information, as well as links to the IIS Online Documentation, which you hopefully included as part of the installation process.

Installing IIS makes a number of changes to your XP system. The two most important additions are the installation of the Internet Information Services MMC snap-in (accessible via Administrative Tools in Control Panel), and the creation of a new directory on your system drive, usually C:\Inetpub. The C:\Inetpub folder is crucial, as it acts as the default storage location for IIS-related files, such as the content of your Web site. For example, the C:\Inetpub\wwwroot folder acts as the root of your Web site, making it the effective point at which your Web site begins. Unless you change the configuration of the default Web site, this is the folder in which the Web server will look for your custom home page once one has been created and saved.

The Internet Information Services MMC snap-in is the primary administrative tool that you will use to monitor and manage your Web server and site. From this console you can start, stop, and pause individual sites or related services, configure the properties of your Web site, create new virtual directories, configure security settings, and more.

Installing an IIS Web Server on Windows XP Professional

In order to get your Windows XP Professional system up and running as a Web server, you’ll need to install the necessary components of IIS from the Add/Remove Windows Components section of the Add or Remove Programs applet in Control Panel. In strict terms, IIS includes a number of components, of which a Web server (known as the World Wide Web service) is just one. Other subcomponents of IIS include the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Service, the SMTP Service, FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions (which allows you to “publish” FrontPage 2000 webs), documentation files, and the IIS MMC snap-in. Some of these additional subcomponents are required and installed automatically as part of adding the World Wide Web Service to your system, while others are option. When installing a Web server, make a point of including the FTP Service and documentation files at a minimum, along with the FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions if you plan on creating a managing a Web in FrontPage.

The Web server installation process is remarkably straightforward. As long as you have your Windows XP Professional CD or source files available, all you need to do if check off the necessary subcomponent checkboxes in the Internet Information Services (IIS) section of the Windows Components Wizard, and you’re off to the races. Once the installation process is complete, you have a fully functioning Web server up and running on your system, albeit one not customized or configured. The steps below provides instructions on installing the necessary IIS components to get your Web server up and running.

Step 1: Click Start and then click Control Panel. Double-click the Add or Remove Programs icon, and then click Add/Remove Windows Components. This will open the Windows Components Wizard.

Step 2: In the Components section, click on Internet Information Services (IIS) and then click the Details button. This will open a list of the Subcomponents of Internet Information Services (IIS).

Step 3: In the Subcomponents of Internet Information Services (IIS) section, check the following checkboxes: World Wide Web Service, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Service, and Documentation. Other checkboxes will be filled automatically.

Step 4: Click on World Wide Web Service and click Details. This will provide a list of the Subcomponents of the World Wide Web Service that will be installed. Click on each to view its description, and then click OK.

Step 5: Click OK to close the Internet Information Services (IIS) dialog box. Notice that the Internet Information Services (IIS) checkbox is now checked, but filled in gray. This means that only some subcomponents have been selected. Click Next.

Step 6: When prompted, insert your Windows XP Professional CD, or browse to the location of your source files. This will copy the IIS installation files to your system. Once the Windows Components Wizard is complete, click Finish.

Setting Up Windows XP as Your Test or Development Web Server

Users implement Web servers on their home systems for a variety of different reasons. In some cases, the user simply has files, such as family photos or videos, which they want to share with friends and family online. In this case, the number of users connecting to the site would probably be relatively small and infrequent, making a home Web server a more logical solution that paying for hosting space with a service provider. Other users configure home Web servers to host their public Internet Web site. Using a combination of a relatively inexpensive broadband Internet connection and a home Web server makes this possible, but many service providers explicitly forbid setting up publicly accessible servers in their terms of service. If your home Web server generates a large volume of traffic, you can definitely expect to be contacted by your service provider, who may even threaten to suspend your service. Setting up a registered Internet web site is usually better left to a hosting provider to avoid the hassles. On the technical side of things, IIS on XP Professional is limited to 10 simultaneous connections, which is not very practical for busy site.

One of the most popular reasons for setting up a home Web server is simply to learn more about how a Web server works, or as an environment for creating and testing Web pages that you’ve designed. For example, many users will create and host their own Web site on a home server while working out any design quirks that may exist. Having the site hosted on your personal Web server gives you complete flexibility for testing without the need to upload your pages to your hosting provider’s server. This also provides a great environment for testing new features that you might be planning to add to a public Web site, giving you the chance to avoid some of the errors and embarrassment associated with a “live” site that doesn’t function correctly.

Even if you don’t think you need a home Web server right now, setting one up simply for the learning experience can be fun and rewarding. Knowing how to design a Web page is one thing, but actually knowing how the system functions in the background will ultimately make you better at troubleshooting issues with your Web pages when problems arise.

Setting Up a Windows XP Web Server with IIS

Installing and configuring a personal Web server has become an increasingly popular undertaking in recent years. Given the widespread availability of broadband Internet connections to the home, setting up your own Web server is not only easy and inexpensive, but can also save you money if you plan to host your own small Web site. While a Web server running on a Windows XP Professional system may not be practical for sites that will ultimately experience large volumes of traffic, it does present a good solution for those looking to set up a small Web site, learn something about how a Web server works, or even want a way to gain access to critical files while on the road.
The Web server software included with Windows XP Professional goes by the same name as its Windows Server counterpart, Internet Information Services (IIS). IIS is not installed on Windows XP Professional systems by default, but it is available for installation as a Windows component. Unfortunately, Windows XP Home does not include IIS – if you’re running XP Home and want to install your own Web server, you’ll need to look toward a third-party solution, such as the free and popular Apache Web server.

In this mini-series we cover all you need to know to install and configure your own IIS-based Web server from scratch, as well as how to get an FTP server up and running if that’s your goal. Even if you ultimately choose to go the Apache route as a solution, you’ll be happy to know that many of the concepts are similar, if not identical, to those associated with installing and configuring the Web server component of IIS.