How Do I Run a Windows Web Server?


Heather Bennett

Running a Windows web server can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and tools, it becomes a manageable task. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the steps to set up and run your own Windows web server.

Step 1: Choose Your Web Server Software

There are several web server software options available for Windows, but one of the most popular and widely used is Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). IIS comes bundled with most versions of Windows and offers a robust set of features for hosting websites.

To install IIS on your Windows machine:

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Select “Programs” or “Programs and Features,” depending on your version of Windows.
  3. Click on “Turn Windows features on or off.”
  4. In the window that appears, scroll down to find “Internet Information Services” and check the box next to it.
  5. If you need any additional features like FTP support or CGI scripting, expand the “Internet Information Services” node and select the desired options.
  6. Click “OK” to start installing IIS.

Step 2: Configure Your Web Server

Once IIS is installed, you need to configure it to suit your needs. This includes setting up websites, defining virtual directories, and adjusting security settings.

To create a website in IIS:

  1. Open the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager by searching for it in the Start menu.
  2. In the left-hand panel, expand your computer’s name and then click on “Sites. “
  3. In the Actions pane on the right-hand side, click on “Add Website.

  4. In the Add Website dialog box:
    • Enter a name for your website in the “Site name” field.
    • Specify the physical path to the website’s files in the “Physical path” field.
    • Choose an IP address and port number for your website. You can leave these as their default values if you’re unsure.
    • Optionally, assign a host name to your website.

Step 3: Test Your Web Server

After configuring your web server, it’s essential to test if everything is working as expected. This ensures that visitors can access your websites without any issues.

To test your web server:

  1. Open a web browser on the same machine where you installed IIS.
  2. In the address bar, enter “http://localhost” or “http://127.0.1” (without quotes) to access the default website hosted by IIS.
  3. If you created additional websites, you can access them using their assigned host names or IP addresses.
  4. If everything is set up correctly, you should see the default IIS welcome page or your custom webpage if you have already added content.


Running a Windows web server doesn’t have to be intimidating. With IIS and proper configuration, you can easily host websites and make them accessible over the internet. Remember to regularly update your server’s software and follow security best practices to ensure a secure hosting environment.

Now that you have learned how to set up and run a Windows web server using IIS, take some time to explore its various features and options. Happy hosting!

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