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Hosting at home is never 100% safe. There's always a chance that hackers will take advantage of a newly-discovered security hole in your web server. However, you can reduce the risks by placing your home web server in a "demilitarized zone," and placing your other home computers in a separate "intranet" zone. If you do this correctly, the home computers can still fetch pages from the web server. But the web server can't "see" the home computers. So even if it does become compromised, it can't be used to hack into the rest of your PCs.
How do we do it? Simple: we use two routers. The first router connects directly to the cable or DSL modem. This router can and should be a simple wired-only router, or a wireless router with wireless networking disabled. The web server computer - an old computer you found on the curb, NEVER your personal machine - connects directly to this "DMZ" router.
Now, here's the trick: the second, Intranet router also connects to the "DMZ" router, just like a PC would. And your personal computers connect to the second router, wirelessly if you wish.
How does this protect your PCs? Most cable and DSL connections give you just one "IP address," allowing you to put just one computer on the Internet at a time. A home networking router solves this problem by forwarding traffic from many computers, making it appear to the rest of the Internet as if it were all coming from one PC. One consequence is that incoming connections can't talk directly to any of the PCs. Incoming connections can only talk to the router. And unless you're going out of your way to forward ports - which you do only on the "DMZ" router, to forward port 80 to the web server - those connections don't go anywhere and can't cause any harm.
With just one router, your web server would be on the same network with your personal computers. If it were hacked, it could talk directly to them and attempt to hack them as well. But with a second "Intranet" router, your personal computers appear to the web server as just one PC, a PC that doesn't accept any incoming connections. The hacking attempts are stopped "at the firewall."
In principle, there's no reason why you can't put together this system with two different routers from two different companies. Still, since home routers aren't always tested for this sort of operation, I suggest using two routers of the same make and model. That way, you may be able to obtain support from the manufacturer if this two-tiered arrangement doesn't work the way it should.
Some routers have a built-in DMZ feature. This is different from the kind of DMZ I am talking about and it does not make your network more secure. In fact, it does the opposite. Routers that offer a DMZ feature are offering to expose your server computer to traffic on all incoming ports, which is less secure than forwarding ports individually. And since your server would still be on the same physical network with other computers, nothing would prevent hackers from communicating with your other computers after they took over the server.
With many routers, you'll have no trouble accessing your web site from a home computer after following these steps. But with others, when you try to log on from your own computers, you'll find that you always get the DMZ router's web-based configuration logon prompt instead of your web site. That's because some routers assume any traffic coming to the web server port from inside the router is meant for the web-based configuration utility and not for your web server. Folks on the outside have no trouble, but you're stuck!
What to do? The solution is to forward an additional port to the web server, and access the web site at a special URL. Follow the steps in my article how do I set up my router to forward ports from the Internet to my computer, with one change: set the "WAN" port to something other than 80, such as 8081. Keep the "LAN" port set to 80.
After doing this, you can access your web site from your home computers at the URL http://myhostname.dyndns.org:8081/ (assuming that you are using DynDNS dynamic DNS service - substitute your own hostname, of course). Be sure to use relative links on your pages, so that you are not forced back to the router logon page every time you click on a link.
Note: you only need this special URL for your home computers. The rest of the world will have no trouble accessing the web site without the :8081. And you might not need this "extra port" trick at all, depending on your router. So try things out without it first.
You can host your own web site at home, and I'll tell you exactly how! But it might not save you much money, and it definitely won't save you time. So give it serious thought before you proceed... unless your goal is simply to learn about the technology and have fun!
The best reason to host your web site at home is to learn how it all works. For more information about the pros and cons, see should I host my own web site?
Warning: running a server of any kind at home is a security risk. Security problems are sometimes found in server software, and these can be exploited to gain access to or damage your files. Your computer must be kept absolutely up to date with Windows Update or the equivalent for your operating system if you intend to run a web server on it. If you choose to run Apache instead of Internet Information Server, you'll need to keep your version of Apache absolutely up to date too. This doesn't eliminate the risk -- it only minimizes it. You run a server at home entirely at your own risk. If you do choose to run a server at home, I recommend finding an old PC on the curb and setting it up as your home server, reducing the danger to your own computer.
Here are the steps to follow to set up a web site hosted entirely on your own Windows PC. First I'll present the general steps, then I'll break down the details for you:
1. Make sure you have cable modem, DSL or another high-speed connection. A dialup telephone modem is NOT good enough.
2. Get a DNS hostname for your home Internet connection.
3. Get a static local IP address for your computer within your home network.
4. Configure your router to correctly forward connections on port 80 (the HTTP port) to your web server. If your ISP blocks port 80, choose an alternative port number and forward that (or get a better ISP that welcomes web sites at home, like Speakeasy.Net).
5. Configure Windows Firewall to allow your web server to communicate on port 80.
6. Get Apache, a free, high-quality web server program. If you have Windows XP Professional, you also have the option of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), which comes standard with Windows XP Professional. But that option only allows you to host one site. I recommend Apache.
7. Test your web server from your own computer.
8. Replace the default home page with your own web page. Now the site is your own!
9. Test your web server from a computer that is NOT on your home network to make sure you followed all of the steps correctly.
And that's it! Now I'll present detailed information about each step.
Step One: Broadband
Get cable modem (from the cable company) or DSL (from the phone company and various other companies). If you can't do that, you'll have to host your web site in some other way. to grapple with video and audio files anyway. You don't necessarily have to go with your phone company's DSL offering -- Check out broadbandreports.com for independent reviews of cable modem and DSL companies. Upload speed, not download speed, is the most important feature for hosting web sites at home.
So how long does it take to load your home page? Add up the size of your home page (in bytes), the sizes of all of the images on that page, and the size of any Flash movies (.swf files) or CSS style sheets (.css files) referenced by that page. Now multiply by 8 and you'll know how many bits make up your home page. Divide that by your upload speed and you'll have a rough idea how long it takes to load your home page under ideal conditions. There will also be latency delays slowing things down, and multiple users will of course slow things down and make it take longer. There is no fixed limit on the number of users who can access your home-based web site at the same time - things just slow down.
For more information, see my article how fast is my web site?
Step Two: Dynamic or Static DNS
Other people can't talk to your web site if they don't know the address... and if you have a typical cable modem or DSL connection, your address changes often. You can solve this problem by using a dynamic DNS service. Even if your IP address doesn't change, you still need someone to host a DNS server for you, unless you are willing to put up with giving users a URL that begins with a string of numbers. This is a common requirement both for hosting web sites at home and for hosting torrents, so I've written a separate article explaining how to get a hostname for your computer at home.
Step Three: A Static Local IP Address
If you have a router... and you do, if you have WiFi (wireless access) or more than one computer... then your computer receives a new local address on your home network, or Intranet, every time it is powered on. But to forward web browser connections to your computer, you need an unchanging address to forward those connections to. This is also a shared requirement both for hosting web sites at home and for hosting torrents, so I've written a separate article explaining how to give your computer a static local IP address.
Step Four: Forwarding Port 80
If you don't have a router (and you know by now, if you have been following these steps...) then you can skip this step and move on to the next. IF you have WiFi, or more than one computer, you definitely have a router and must not skip this step.
Now that you have chosen a static local IP for your computer, you're ready to configure the router to forward web traffic to your computer.
Again, this step is needed both for web hosting at home and for BitTorrent hosting. So, once again, there is a separate article explaining how to forward ports from the Internet to your computer via your router. Just follow the steps in that article to forward port 80.
Step Five: Allowing Web Traffic Through The Firewall
More firewall issues? Didn't we already do this? Only in part. Yes, your router serves as a firewall, but your computer also has a built-in firewall. You'll need to configure that firewall to allow traffic through on port 80 to reach your web server software. This step is also common to both web hosting and torrent hosting... so check out my article explaining how to allow traffic on specific ports through your computer's firewall.
Step Six: Get Apache Or Internet Information Server
Apache is the most popular web server in the world, with nearly 70% of all web sites running Apache as of January 2006, according to the netcraft web server survey. Why is it so popular? Because it's free, open-source, high-quality software. And you can run it on your Windows box at home!
If you have Windows XP Professional, you can also run Microsoft Internet Information Server. It comes free in the box... but only with XP Professional (and high-end server versions of Windows). If you have XP Home, or an older version of Windows, go with Apache - and consider upgrading to at least XP Home for better network performance.
I'll cover Apache first. Then I'll look at Internet Information Server, which is also excellent and is available if you have Windows XP Professional or a high-end server version of Windows. It will only host one site per computer on XP Professional, though.
Apache Quick-Start Guide
Although Apache was born in the Unix/Linux world, it runs great on Windows too. In general, the newer your Windows, the easier it is to install Apache. Those with older versions of Windows, even Windows 95, can still run Apache but will have to jump through a few extra hoops. For complete information, check out the Apache Foundation's Microsoft Windows Apache installation tutorial. Since that article is a little old, you'll just have to bear in mind that instructions for Windows NT or 2000 also apply to Windows XP.
Upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 2
Microsoft has fixed problems in Windows XP that create issues for Apache. Use Windows Update to upgrade your Windows XP system to service pack 2. You have probably already done this. If not, you need to do it in any case to fix many important security problems that have nothing to do with Apache!
Not sure if you have service pack 2? Do this: click on "Start," right-click on "My Computer," select "Properties" and look at the information presented under "System." You should see "Service Pack 2." If not, visit Microsoft's Windows Update site, using Interet Explorer, not Firefox... just this once! The Windows Update site uses special Active X controls to update your computer. Normally I don't encourage the use of Active X, but for upgrading Microsoft's own operating system from Microsoft's own web site using Microsoft's own browser, it's OK!
Visit the Apache HTTP Server Project home page. In the column at left, locate "Download!" and click on "from a mirror." The download page will appear. Scroll down until you locate the link to download the "Win32 Binary (MSI Installer)" distribution of Apache, not the "Win32 Source." That's raw source code for programmers - probably not what you want!
Click on the link for the "Win32 Binary (MSI Installer)" and wait for your browser to save the file to disk.
Once the download is complete, you're ready to install the software. Double-click on the file you just downloaded on your desktop (for Firefox) or in your downloads folder (for Internet Explorer) to launch the installation program. The "Installation Wizard" window will appear.
First you'll see the "Welcome to the Installation Wizard" page. Click "Next" to continue.
Next, you'll see the Apache license agreement. The Apache license allows you to share the software freely, including the source code. Select "I accept the terms in the license agreement" and click "Next."
The "Read This First" page appears. Currently this page doesn't offer much specific information for Windows users of Apache. Click "Next."
The "Server Information" page should now appear. Be sure to enter the correct information:
1. For "Network Domain," if you registered a hostname such as myname.is-a-geek.com with DynDNS, enter is-a-geek.com.
2. For "Server Name," enter your full hostname, such as myname.is-a-geek.com.
3. For "Administrator's Email Address," enter a real email address for you that actually works. Users will see this when things go wrong. Bear in mind that spammers might discover this address, so use an address that is already publicly known if possible.
4. For "Install Apache HTTP Server 2.0 programs and shortcuts for..." select "for All Users, on Port 80, as a Service." This ensures that the software is always running, no matter who is sitting down at your computer. And a web site that is not always running is not very useful! So pick this option and click "Next."
The "Setup Type" page appears next. Select "Typical" and click "Next" to move on.
You'll see the "Destination Folder" page. By default, Apache installs in the folder C:\Program Files\Apache Group, creating a sub-folder called C:\Program Files\Apache Group\htdocs to keep your web pages in. These are good choices, so click "Next." Don't click "Change..." unless you know exactly what you're doing.
Finally, the "Ready to Install the Program" page appears. Click "Install" to kick off the installation process. The Apache server software will be copied into place and the Apache service will start up in the background. Along the way, a few Windows Command Prompt windows will flash up briefly. This is normal and you should let these windows do their thing and go away on their own!
The "Installation Wizard Completed" page should appear. Congratulations, you have a web server! Click on "Finish" to complete the process.
Internet Information Server Quick-Start Guide
Microsoft's Internet Information Server is a solid choice, and it is included free with Windows XP Professional. If you don't have XP Professional, or one of the server-oriented versions of Windows like Windows Server 2003, then IIS is not an option for you.
Installing Internet Information Server
1. Make sure you have Windows XP Professional! Click "Start," then right-click "My Computer." Choose "Properties" from the menu that appears. The "General" tab will appear. Under "System:" you should see "Microsoft Windows XP Professional." If you see Windows XP Home, Windows ME, Windows 98 or Windows 95, you will not be able to use IIS. Follow the Apache Quick-Start Guide instead.
2. We're ready to install the IIS software. Select "Start," then "Control Panel," then "Add/Remove Programs." Select "Add/Remove Windows Components" from the left-hand column.
A list of available Windows features appears. Check the box for "Internet Information Services (IIS)" and click "Next." If prompted, insert your Windows XP installation CD.
That's all it takes! Installing IIS is very simple because it is a standard component of Windows XP Professional.
Step Seven: Test Your Web Site From Your Own Computer
Is the web site working? Let's find out! The first test is to access your site from your own computer. On the same computer that is running the web server software, access the URL http://localhost/. You should see an example home page provided with your Apache or IIS web server software. If not, review the appropriate quick start guide above and figure out which step you skipped! If you received errors during installation, you need to resolve them before your web site will work.
Step Eight: Make Your Own Home Page
You have a web server, but right now the "content" on the site is just the default home page that came with the server software. Time to fix that!
All you have to do is move your own web pages to the appropriate folder. If you followed the Apache quick-start guide, your web pages belong in this folder:
C:\Program Files\Apache Group\htdocs
If you followed the IIS quick-start guide, your web pages belong here:
First, remove the files that are already in those folders. It's not smart to leave "default" files lying around. What if a security problem was found with one of these common files? Then your web site would be vulnerable.
Next, copy your own web pages and images into the folder. The "home page" of your site should be called index.html (not index.htm). Both Apache and IIS are smart enough to know that when a user visits http://yourname.is-a-geek.com/, they should act as if the user asked for http://yourname.is-a-geek.com/index.html and do the right thing.
For more information about making web pages and graphics, see how do I set up a web site?
Step Nine: Test Your Web Site From The Outside World
We did a lot of work here to give our computer a hostname on the Internet and forward web traffic through the router and firewall. Did we do it right? Only one way to be sure! Access your web site from a computer that is not on your home Internet connection, or have a friend try it. For example, if you registered the name myname.is-a-geek.com with DynDNS, your web site's address is http://myname.is-a-geek.com/. Try that address from a computer outside your home and see what happens!
Another possible cause of this problem: you may have turned on your router's "remote router access" feature by mistake. People turn this on by accident because they think it has something to do with hosting a web site at home. It doesn't. Turn it off, it is dangerous! You don't want other people accessing your router and changing configuration settings.
Congratulations! You have your own web site on the Internet, hosted entirely in your own home. Just remember: your computer must remain on, and connected to the Internet, all the time. Without a web server, there's no web site. That's why, if you choose to host at home, I recommend picking up an older computer off the curb, dusting it off, popping in at least 128MB of RAM and firing it up as a web server. Your own PC doesn't wear out, and if security problems are found in the web server, they are more likely to be confined to the less important computer.
As a film, Pulgasari is notable for two things:
One, it is a North Korean kaiju big battle, featuring flabby men stuffed in rubber monster suits stomping through cardboard cities and wrestling with one another.
Two, it is the last North Korean film directed bty South Korean director Shin San-Ok, a man who was kidnapped by Kim Il Sung and forced to live under house arrest for close to a decade, only allowed out to make films for the dictator's mad whim. As you might expect, Pulgasari has some curious political undertones to go along with all of the rubber monster madness.
There's a good review over at Stomp Tokyo, giving some background of the film...
Model Karen Elson is stunning and emotive in this helter-skelter circus set by Steven Meisel. Don't let this opening shot fool you, she is one of the only models working today who has more than one facial expression.
A female gamer in World of Warcraft had sex with a fellow gamer who transferred 5000 gold to her account. The source page is in png format so I can't really type up a quote, but check out the link below anyway...I'd like to add a thumbnail, but I dunno how!!
Anyway...check it out. Pretty freaky!
Hearing ... inquiry starts in London
BRITISH doctors used kids as guinea pigs by giving them blood riddled with HIV and deadly hepatitis, the Sun can reveal.
Medics knew some donors were heroin-injecting prisoners in American jails, but still tested their “high risk” blood on young Brit haemophiliacs.
Victims were aged from just three months to 15.
The truth emerged as Lord Archer of Sandwell opened a public inquiry in London into the scandal.
Yesterday, one health expert likened the child victims to “canaries sent down into the mines”. Most haemophiliacs were not told they had HIV or hepatitis for several years.
Others only found out by reading their medical notes. The delay meant some adult haemophiliacs infected their wives or girlfriends with HIV.
US prisoners were paid for their blood to buy food or cigarettes, as The Sun revealed last year.
The blood was used to make clotting agent Factor 8 to treat haemophiliacs whose blood does not clot.
In the late Seventies and early Eighties almost 5,000 haemophiliacs were infected. At least nine kids were given infected blood. Nearly 2,000 haemophiliacs have died and many others are terminally ill.
In documents seen by The Sun, UK medics refer to the importance of testing blood products on “virgin haemophiliacs” — kids who had not had them before.
There was no way of testing for HIV or Hepatitis C at the time.
Factor 8 was then “heat treated” but experts said the only way to test if it eradicated diseases was by trying it on patients. In a letter from the Oxford Haemophilia Centre to all UK centres, officials say: “It is very important to find out by studies in human beings to what extent the infectivity of the various concentrates has been reduced.”
Roddy Morrison, of the Haemophilia Society, said: “This was a treatment disaster. There were gross failings by the Government and clinicians.”
Carol Grayson, whose haemophiliac husband Peter died aged 47 after being infected with HIV and Hepatitis C, likened the blood tragedy to Nazi experiments on prisoners.
Fighting back tears, ex-nurse Carol, 47, from Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “They knew the blood products came from the highest risk donors.”
Psycho's rage ... gunman Cho points a gun at his head in one of the images he sent to NBC
MASSACRE madman Cho Seung-Hui sent a chilling message to TV chiefs after slaying his first two victims.
The 23-year-old, speaking on a video clip, said: “The time came and I had to do what I did.”
The footage was part of video files in a parcel sent to NBC along with other chilling written messages.
Cho also talks to the camera about his hatred of the rich and ranting about “getting even” with them.
Referring to the massacre, he says: “This didn’t have to happen.”
The student adds: “You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today.
“But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.”
A time stamp on the parcel indicated it was posted in the two-hour period between Cho’s first attack — when he killed Emily Hilscher, 18, and Ryan Clark — and his second rampage when he shot 30 people in a classroom building at Virginia Tech.
News chiefs said the material was “disturbing” and had been handed to the FBI.
The package was sent to NBC News head Steve Capus, who said: “The statement is hard to follow, rambling. He speaks about hatred.”
Detectives said: “This may be a critical component of this investigation.”
In one picture in the package Cho is seen with a knife to his throat. In another he points a gun towards the camera.
In one of his video clips, Cho rants: “You just loved to crucify me.
“You loved inducing cancer in my head and terrorising my heart. And raping my soul all this time.
“I didn’t have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run. It’s not for me. For my children, for my brothers and sisters that you f***, I did it for them.”
It is believed he started work on the video files SIX days before the massacre.
He also filed down the serial numbers on the guns he is pictured with so they wouldn’t be traced.
In another chilling video he rages: “You sadistic snobs. I may be nothing but a piece of ****. You vandalised my heart, raped my soul and tortured my conscience.
“You thought it was one pathetic boy’s life you were extinguishing.
“Thanks to you I died like Jesus Christ to inspire generations of the weak and the defenceless people.”
|Aim ... (l-r) Cho points gun, brandishes hammer and blade, and holds knife to his throat|
Experts say Cho is expressing the same kind of “me against the world” attitude as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold — the teenagers who slaughtered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
And incredibly, in his 1,800-word “manifesto” and photos he mentions “martyrs like Eric and Dylan”.
In one address to the camera he says: “Do you know what it feels like to have spit on your face and trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave?
“Do you know how it feels to have your throat slashed from ear to ear?
“Do you know what it feels like to be forced to lie? Do you know what it feels like to be impaled on a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain in your life.”
Among the materials are 27 QuickTime video files and 43 photographs.
Cho looks like a normal, smiling college student in only the first two — and in 11 he aims the gun at the camera.
The production of the videos is uneven and at times Cho talks softly and calmly.
In the footage he can clearly be seen reading from documents.
But then he snarls and spits out his threats and also talks in the past tense — as if he was speaking from beyond the grave.
His face contorts as hatred pours out. In one pose he holds his arms outstretched, Messiah-like.
|Home ... his room on campus suite No 2121, right, and parents' house|
His rant continued: “Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can just because you can?
“You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn’t enough.
“Your vodka and Cognac weren’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.”
The package bore Cho’s return address but the sender was named as “Ishmail”.
It was reported he had been found with the words “Ismael Ax” written in red ink on his arm following the killings.
Cho is seen wearing a black short-sleeved shirt, flak jacket, brown trousers and a cap, believed to be the same outfit he wore on his murderous rampage.
The guns are believed to be the same ones that he used to kill 32 and injure scores more.
There is also a picture of hollow-point bullets carefully and precisely lined up on a table.
An alert postal employee brought the package to NBC’s attention after noticing the Blacksburg return address and a name similar to the words Ismael Ax.
The package was time marked 9.01am. Around 15 minutes later he began his killing spree at classrooms on the campus at Virginia Tech.
Students told how before the massacre Cho had cut his hair into a military-style buzz-cut.
His room-mate Karan Grewal, 21, said: “I saw him Monday morning at about 5am. I’d been up all night finishing an assignment.
“I went to the bathroom and he walked right in as I walked out.
“He didn’t look me in the eye and we didn’t speak. He was the same as always.”
Cho’s other room-mate Joseph Aust, 19, said the weirdo imagined he had a supermodel girlfriend called Jelly who nicknamed him Spanky.
Joseph went on: “He pretty much never talked at all and never looked me in the eye.”
It emerged last night that Cho’s sister Sun-Kyung works as a contractor for a US state department office that oversees billions of dollars in American aid for Iraq.