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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 71: Run a Home Web Server

Level Advanced

Platform Windows

Cost Free

A web server is software that continuously runs on a computer and enables other computers to download documents from it. Any web page you view has traveled over a network connection from the site’s hosting web server to the browser on your computer. Web servers are usually loud, scary, headless machines in cold, windowless rooms, but with this hack, you can run one under your desk at home.

Setting up a home web server enables anyone (with the right password) to connect to your computer and download files from it. Why would you want to run a home web server? Maybe you want to download files — perhaps some of your digital music collection so you can play a song at the office — on your home computer from anywhere. Maybe you want your friends and family to have access to your music or photo collection from anywhere, too.

There are tons of uses for your personal web server beyond a password-protected jukebox though: You can publish your weblog at home, host a personal wiki, and share video files and photos. Basically, any file you want to publish as read-only is a good candidate. A home web server has the advantage over special server/client software because it requires only a web browser to connect to it.

warning Running a server on your home computer is a risky undertaking. Before you start, ensure that your computer has all the latest patches and security updates (visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com to ...

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