Setting Up a Web Server

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One classroom teacher at the TCEA State Conference ( said, "I want to set up my own Web server in my classroom because I can't get space on the District server. Am I able to do that?" The answer is, "Of course!" Then, I reminded the person that they should check into their district's acceptable use policy. At this point, the person just smiled and we moved on to the details.

If you enjoy sharing student work or publishing your own work, but lack funding (approximately $10,000 for a Windows server) to buy your own server and place it in the District's server farm, or lack support, then you are probably considering setting up your own Web server using a desktop machine. You wouldn't believe how many other educators are doing the same thing. In a few hours, you can probably find a wealth of free Web server software to use. Most of it is difficult to set up and get going, but after hours of looking, you may run across Xerver (, which also has versions available for Mac and Linux.

Xerver is surprisingly easy, safe to use – which means that it does not have any security holes yet discovered – and easy to set up Web server software. It features a setup wizard that guides you through setting up the server, allowing you to specify which folder has your Web pages, whether you want to password protect directories (a nice feature difficult to achieve with some server software), and much more. It also has Web-based administration; that means you can administer or change the setup of your Web server via the Web. Of course, this feature can be disabled once you are done with setup. It also comes with built-in File Transfer Protocol (FTP) features. FTP is essential to a Web server since FTP software is what you use to transfer Web pages you’ve created from your computer to the Web server where they are shared on the Web.

While Mac OS X has built-in capabilities, you may want more control. In that case, you should investigate Web Crossing Express ( the free version of a Web/FTP/Email server. It is similar to Xerver in its capabilities and features, except that Web Crossing comes in Windows, Mac and Linux versions! Definitely a program to check out!

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