having luckily acquired a laptop recently, i’m having great fun installing lots of stuff 😉 remembering the first time i set up a web server on my pc still makes me shiver but i’m not sure why since it’s really straightforward! if you’re involved in any sort of server side scripting, it’s definitely worth while as it beats uploading every time you want to test something!
if you want to work with asp/.net, you would need to use microsoft’s iis. unfortunately, windows xp home edition does not support iis so i won’t be giving that a go!
however for everything else (php, perl,python etc) a much better choice is apache. you can download this from http://httpd.apache.org/download.cgi. this page will tell you what the latest stable version is (2.0.49 at the time of writing). if you just want to use apache rather than mess about with the source code, choose the win32 binary (msi installer) download option.
running this package starts the installation wizard which mainly involves clicking next as usual! when you get to the server information screen illustrated below, enter localhost as the network domain and server name and fill in anything you like for the e-mail address. Stick with the default option of installing it for all users on port 80 as a service:
click next on the rest of the screens and complete the installation.
apache should start automatically. to test everything is working, type http://localhost into a browser window and you should see the apache test page:
apache should automatically start each time on start up. if you want to restart the server after problems / configuration changes, you can easily do this via the apache monitor accessed from the start menu or by double clicking on the apache icon in the bottom right of your screen.
to actually start seeing your web pages instead of the test page, put your files in the c:\program files\apache group\apache2\htdocs directory. this is equivalent to the public_html folder e.g. if you save a webpage to htdocs\news\article1.html then you can view it by going to http://localhost/news/article1.html.