Rebecca Smallwood
CS 80

Installing a Web Server - Lab 21

For this week's assignment, we were required to install a web server on a computer. I luckily had a spare computer and monitor lying about, and after finding some open space on the floor (and much scrambling around trying to find spare power cables), I had the old PC up and running.

The machine is a PIII 600mHz, with 512mb of RAM, and was originally running Windows 98. My first stumbling block was finding a keyboard that would work for it. The USB keyboard that I initially plugged into it was requiring me to install a new driver from the Windows 98 CDs, which I unfortunately could not find. I did, though, find nearly every other operating system possible in my "junk drawer of CDs", including Windows 95, Windows ME, Windows XP Home edition, Windows XP Pro, and Red Hat Linux 8.0. I finally gave up on the USB keyboard, and unearthed a keyboard with a serial cable.

I next installed Windows XP Professional on the machine, which took approximately an hour and a half to do. The process wasn't particularly difficult, as it walks you through from one step to the next. It took quite a while for the machine to process the instructions, and replace the older operating system, but once it finished, the new O/S appeared to be working fine. Unfortunately, because these are the discs for another machine that we are using, I can't register this copy on this machine, and so I'll only be able to use XP on this machine for 30 days before it will stop working.

I next needed to install IIS on the machine, which was very simple. Going to the Control Panel, one chooses Add/Remove Programs. Within that window, you then need to choose Add/Remove Windows Components, and then check off Internet Information Services (IIS). The computer then installs that feature on your computer from the XP install disc.

The documents I read told me that my webserver was installed at c:\inetpub\wwwroot, and when I went there, I saw that an initial directory with files had been created. Going just to http://localhost brought up help pages, as well as steps of what I needed to do next, should I want to further configure the web server. I next created a quick and simple file, naming it index.html, and added it to the folder. Opening up Internet Explorer, I could view the page by going to http://localhost/index.html, so I assumed at this point that everything was working fine.

Overall, the process was very simple and relatively painless, at least as far as doing initial setup, and from taking a look through the the documentation, I can see that it must be somewhat easier to configure and manage the system, at least compared to my past experiences in working with a Linux/Apache system.