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Diary of A Madman

Setting Up An NT Web Server

In this mini-series, Hank steps us through his experiences setting up his NT Web Server.

by Hank Mishkoff

This is not fiction. (If it were, it might be classified as a horror story!) This is a lightly-edited version of an online diary I created to document the trials and tribulations I endured when I decided to set up a web-server for my new company, WebFeats, and go into the commercial web-server business.

As the curtain rises on the first act, we find our hero (that's me) making the very first entry into his Web server Setup Diary...

April 26, 1995 (12:40 PM)

To start off this diary, here's the current status of the WebFeats Web server project.

SYSTEM HARDWARE:
My Zeos Pantera, a 100 MHz Pentium PC, arrived yesterday; I haven't even unpacked it yet. I bought a Zeos largely because I've already had two of their PC's, and they've performed quite nicely for me. Also, I wanted something right away, and they were able to ship within hours of when I placed my order.
It came with 16 MB RAM, which I'm told is not enough to make NT real happy; but changing the configuration would have slowed the order, and it's easy enough to add more RAM later. It also came with a quad-speed CD-ROM drive, which is faster than I need (I expect to use the CD-ROM only to load software), but I can swap it (I hope) with the double-speed drive on my home PC, this will make my home PC much happier when The Eleventh Hour finally comes out.

SYSTEM SOFTWARE:
Getting a copy of Windows NT Server turned out to be more of a problem than I had expected, but everything turned out okay. I had spotted a copy a couple of days ago, but didn't buy it because I didn't yet have a machine to load it on. By the time I was ready to buy it, it wasn't in stock. I visited several other stores, one of which didn't have it in stock, either but finally found a copy. They sold it to me for $650. Anyway, sometime this afternoon or tomorrow I plan to actually unpack the computer and install NT. I've never even used NT, so this should be an interesting experience.

WEBSERVER SOFTWARE:
I picked up a beta copy of WebSite at Internet World a couple of weeks ago. And at Web World last week, I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Robert Denny, WebSite's creator. Although he's hardly impartial, of course, he feels that WebSite is robust enough to hold its own against the NT version of Netscape's Netsite, which is supposedly due out soon. I hope he's right; I had planned to use Netsite, but if WebSite is as good as all that, maybe I won't have to switch.

INTERNET CONNECTION:
My ISDN line was installed yesterday! Unfortunately, I can't do a thing with it, because I don't have a router yet. I'm buying an Ascend Pipeline 50 from UniComp, my Internet service provider; I ordered it yesterday, and they tell me that it should be available in about a week. Oh, well, that'll give me the time I need to begin to get familiar with NT and WebSite.

DOMAIN NAME:
My domain name registration for webfeats.com came through late last week. UniComp tells me that all mail addressed to user@webfeats.com will be delivered to me. And by next week, my Web server should answer to the name http://www.webfeats.com/.

MISCELLANEOUS:
I converted one of the plethora of phone lines that I've accumulated over the years to a business line for WebFeats today; I added Call Notes (Southwestern Bell's voice mail) to it instead of an answering machine so people won't get a busy signal when they call WebFeats, even if I'm on the phone. And I already have a mailbox and a fax machine; all I need is some stationery and business cards and I'll be ready to roll. Oh yeah, and it would be a good idea to get the webserver up and running, too, don't you think? Details, details...

April 27, 1995 (9:50 PM)

Well, I finally got my PC unpacked and running.

I had hoped to install Windows NT today, but that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. I thought I'd have plenty of time to get it done today, but... I decided to swap the 4X CD-ROM drive that came with the new PC with a 2X CD-ROM drive in my PC at home. So, I took both computers apart (very carefully; hardware and I co-exist, but not happily), swapped the CD-ROM drives, connected them up...

The data cables worked like a charm, but the little ``line-out'' (sound) plugs were not compatible! You'd think these things would be standardized by now, wouldn't you? (grumble, grumble)

So, tomorrow's project will be to install Windows NT. Not only have I never installed NT, I've never even used it. I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'll let you know how it works out.

By the way, I just found out that my router should be delivered on Monday, so if I can get NT and WebSite running by then, I'll be all set to start testing the whole setup early next week. And if it does work, you'll be the first to know about it. (Well, if I have the windows open, the neighbors might hear me celebrating...)

Next Issue, Hank will continue his tale...


Hank Mishkoff (hank@webfeats.com) was unable to make a living playing the blues so, like all failed musicians, he became a computer consultant. He currently runs * WebFeats, a web-service provider in Dallas. At the time of this writing, he is about to start a new company named * MultiWeb in an effort to drum up more business so he doesn't have to take any more guitar lessons.

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