To create a home Web server, you need a computer with Web-sharing capabilities or one that can run dedicated server software. Depending on whether the server is for internal use or serves files to the Web, you may need to add router hardware and buy additional bandwidth.
Apart from the content your home Web server may provide, you need to understand how to protect your information and your privacy, as well as budget for additional equipment and Internet access.
First, decide if the Web server is for use by the family only. If so, and your computers are networked anyway, the quicker solution is to set up drop boxes – possible with Windows and Mac OS – on each computer, where family members can leave files for each other. Usually this means that you can turn on sharing privileges between computers to create an intranet without also enabling full-blown Web sharing that can require Internet access.
If you are going to serve a website from home, you have to learn how to set up Web sharing access so that users can access only the files you want them to see. Both Windows and Mac OS feature easy-to-use Web sharing services that allow you to host a small website right from your computer without the expense of a dedicated computer or router.
If your home Web server hosts a site for a home business, you should budget for a dedicated computer that runs only the website, anti-virus and firewall software. Depending the amount of traffic to your site, you may also need dedicated server software, an additional router and separate bandwidth to provide acceptable service. Keeping your business separate from the family’s other computers helps keep your personal information safer, minimizes loss in the event of a crash and doesn’t choke the network for the rest of the family.