WWW FAQs: Why can't people connect to the web server on my PC?


2006-10-22: when people on the Internet can't connect to a web server running on your own PC, there are five likely causes:

1. You didn't follow the steps in my article how can I host my own website at home? Go back and follow them carefully. If you still have trouble, the remaining items in this list are good troubleshooting steps.

2. The IP address you are giving out may be the wrong one, or your Dynamic DNS software might not be set up correctly. Most users have dynamic IP addresses assigned by their ISP, and even those who do have static IP addresses often don't know what they are. You can solve this problem elegantly by using one of the free dynamic DNS services. To do this the right way, follow the steps in my article How do I get a hostname for my home computer?

3. Personal firewall software on your PC may be blocking the traffic. Follow the steps in my article how do I let connections come into my computer's firewall?

4. Do you see your router's logon prompt instead of your website? You are probably trying to access your website by name or Internet IP address, from a computer inside your network (a computer at home, behind your router). Some routers assume any web traffic from inside your network that is addressed to the router is intended for the router's own configuration interface. The good news is that people in the "outside world" can reach your site just fine! To connect from inside the network, just connect to your website by its static local IP address instead. For example, if you are following my recommendations and have a Linksys WRT54G router, you can reach your website at http://192.168.2.11. Just be sure to use relative links in your pages, so that every link you encounter doesn't send you right back to the router.

5. Do you still see the router's logon prompt even when you try to connect from outside your network? You probably 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 website at home. It doesn't. Turn it off, it is dangerous! You don't want other people accessing your router and changing configuration settings. See also how do I host my own website at home? and should I host my own website at home?

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