Setting Up an ASP Web Server

How to set up a Web server on your PC, so that you can start writing and running ASP pages.

In the Introduction to ASP tutorial we mentioned that ASP is usually run on Microsoft web servers. In this tutorial, we are going to talk about how to install and set up Personal Web Server (PWS) on your home PC. Be careful not to get this confused with the FrontPage Personal Web Server - it's the Microsoft Personal Web Server we want.

PWS runs on Windows 95, 98 and NT Workstation. Windows 95 users and Windows NT Workstation users install PWS from the NT Option Pack 4.0, while Windows 98 users install PWS from the Windows 98 CD. Simple!

Other Microsoft operating systems

If you're running Windows NT Server you'll find that installing the NT Option Pack installs IIS 4.0. IIS stands for Internet Information Server. It can also be used for developing ASP pages, and can be thought of as being a more complicated version of PWS. If you are running any version of Windows 2000 then IIS 5.0 is part of the distribution and may be pre-installed for readers running Windows 2000 Server. If you are running Windows ME, bad luck! Neither PWS nor IIS are supported on this platform. IIS is an advanced topic and we are not going to discuss it further in this tutorial.

Installing PWS for Windows 95 and NT Workstation

PWS for Windows 95 and NT workstation comes as part of the NT Option Pack 4.0 which you can download from the Microsoft website, or you should be able to get a copy from your nearest Microsoft software reseller. Install the option pack choosing the Typical option.

Typical installation of NT Option Pack 4

When the dialog box asks for "WWW Service", enter the directory where you would like to store your web sites. The default is C:\Inetpub\wwwroot.

Choose directory for storing your websites

Choose the Next button and wait for the install to finish. You will have to restart your computer to complete the installation.

Installing PWS for Windows 98

Unfortunately we haven't been able to test the Windows 98 installation ourselves, as we don't have a Windows 98 machine at ELATED. The steps should be as follows:

Place the Windows 98 CD in your drive and start the installation wizard by choosing Start > Run.

In the Run dialog box, type D:\add-ons\pws\Setup.exe (replacing D with the name of your drive). Choose OK. The wizard will start. Follow the steps given above for Windows 95 and NT Workstation.

You may already have PWS installed and running on your Windows 98 computer, in which case you should see the little PWS icon in your Start bar:

PWS icon

Starting PWS

The PWS service should start automatically when your computer reboots without you needing to configure anything. But if you want to look at the configuration options, open up the PWS Manager as follows:

On Windows 95 and NT, open Start Menu > Programs > Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack > Microsoft Personal Web server > Personal Web Manager.

On Windows 98, double-click on the PWS icon in your Start bar:

PWS icon

Or choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > Personal Web Server.

To verify that PWS is running, open your browser and enter the URL http://localhost/ - localhost tells the browser to open the website running on this computer. The following page, or something similar, should appear:

Default welcome page

Congratulations! You are now ready to create your first ASP page!

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