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Build a personal website with your phone line?

Build your own home website with your dialup connection!  In the past this website was running on my home computer using a dialup connection.  I was connected to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider ( ISP ) just like you.  I was using a 56K modem which stays connected 24 hours a day.  My ISP promised unlimited Internet access and I use it!  I consider that this personal home website operates without cost.  I would have an Internet connection just for every day usage.  If you have Windows XP Pro, Windows 95 or Windows 98 you have everything you need for a home web site, except:

Please see my Home Web Site Status updates at the bottom of the page.  Things have changed!  

No static IP required!

The key secret or detail is Dynamic Domain Name Service ( Dynamic DNS ).  This one key service is what makes a personal web site possible just using your ISP.  If you have a cable modem or DSL you could still benefit from Dynamic DNS.  It can enhance the security of your home computer by allowing you to change your Internet Protocol Address ( IP Address ) on a regular basis.  There is no need to pay your ISP for a static IP address, basically this is a substitute for a static IP address.  Make sure your ISP allows unlimited connection time especially if you hope to get a reliable listing on the search engines!  My ISP does disconnect my PC sometimes, but a package like Direct Update will automatically reconnect for you.  There is also a registry setting that will do this, but it has some drawbacks.

Basic Home Website components

  1. Your operating system, Windows, Linux, etc.
  2. An HTML editor, can be as simple as notepad, see some of the links below.
  3. The Web Server, Internet Information Services ( IIS ), Personal Web Server (PWS), Apache, an open source code web server and Unix or Linux servers, using Apache too.
  4. Your Dialup Internet connection.
  5. Dynamic DNS service running on your PC. (I am using Direct Update.)
  6. Your own Domain Name, just the registered name of the website.   A good source is IPowerWeb, they charge just $5.50 a year for a domain name, excellent.  Look at their products page, $5.50 for a domain name is an excellent price.  What is odd is their prices for two or three years are higher, so I just buy one year!
  7. Your Domain Name host where your Domain Name is parked.  Oops here is a hidden cost, for www.bobshowto.com I am paying $27 for two years ownership.  I am moving this to IpowerWeb for $5.50 a year!  One hidden benefit of your own domain name is you can create many of your own email addresses and own them for a lifetime!
  8. Your Dynamic DNS service provider.  There are numerous no cost providers.  Today I am using ZoneEdit for my dynamic DNS provider.

Over time I will expand this page adding more details on the entire process.  It is still not simple but it can be at virtually no cost.

And if you are building a website you should immediately look into affiliate programs so you may earn income, at least to support your sites expenses, your ISP, computer, backups, maintenance costs in general!  Also a simple starting point to help your customer help you is accepting credit cards and E Checks through Paypal.  Big new with Paypal credit card customers are no longer required to sign up when making a purchase!

Easy to build personal home web site:

These are the tools and some links to tools that let you create Hyper Text Markup Language ( HTML ).  Unfortunately there is a lot more to do to publish your website on a personal web server.

  1. Microsoft Word can create some nice websites.
  2. Front Page by Microsoft . Once you really get started use a powerful website development tool that can save a lot of time, but it will cost you!
    Front Page site.  Well I am afraid Front Page is considered obsolete these days.

Dynamic DNS, the key to a family home website:

  1. DirectUpdate - Home   I use Direct Update to run the http://www.bobshowto.com web site (this site).
  2. DNS Resources Directory (DNSRD)  About the DNS system itself.
  3. Today I am using ZoneEdit for my dynamic DNS provider.

I personally feel using "Web Forwarding" can give you problems in the long run.  You can use web forwarding to have your DNS server forward requests to the URL you purchased, like "www.bobshowto.com", to your ISP's home page path, something like "home.epix.net/~johndoe".  There is even something called cloaking that makes it look like you really are at "www.bobshowto.com", but I believe this can cause you big problems with search engines and directories in the long run, especially the Open Directory ( www.dmoz.org ).   Go ahead and build your home website or experiment with low cost hosts using something like Front Page to make life easy.

If my PC does go down I am in trouble!

I am fortunate to have another old PC to which I back up my web site content.  I have studied quite a few "web hosts".  A web host is, naturally, where you might publish your website if it is not on your home PC.  Many of the low cost hosts may try hard to serve you, but if you have problems you are mostly on your own.  You will find poor BBB reports for some of the lowest cost companies.  Also see if you can at least find a mailing address for the host you are considering!

Now you are a Web Publisher or Webmaster!

Finally if you do become a "webmaster" with your own website you will be considered a "Web Publisher".  If your doing it for a hobby or want to become a serious business merchant, you should definitely look into affiliate programs

There are many of these affiliate programs, each with many advertisers ready to pay you money for the service of showing their ads!  And it is usually free!

If you need to accept Credit Cards, Paypal is certainly one very easy program to start with: With your new website accept payments through Paypal, sign up!

Home Website Status

The status of my websites running on my home computer.  I try to keep this up to date with new changes in my home web sites configuration.


The windyhill.info site is still up but I am afraid to say it is very stagnant!  Just have not found the time or interest to keep it up.  It just sits and runs on my home PC.  Really keeping it up to date might have security issues as well.

05 Wow have things changed on the home website(s).

Actually not the site itself but the technology behind it.  First I have ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), a surprise out here in dairy farm country, and WOW what a difference.  Also I am now running the open source Apache web server software and it is excellent.  None of the limitations of the Windows XP IIS implementation.  Apache is a very powerful web server.  One great thing is I was able to turn on GZIP compression reducing the size of webpages served from my home websites by about a factor of 4.  With DSL and compression speed is quite good, and home websites can become more of a reality.  My ISP says fine, as long as it is not commercial.  No selling of goods for example.

04 Well I had to do it;

Epix.net and Microsoft's IIS 5.1 are just too unreliable.  Google is tough when web pages are not present just once, and even more so if not present twice.  If Google misses a page once the page remains in the index in limbo.

The page URL is known but there is no description or summary provided.  If Google misses the page twice you are out of the index for a month unless your site is scanned daily by Google, which some are.  So www.bobshowto.com is now hosted by IPowerWeb.  Our home website, which I am guilty of not maintaining much, is still running on my PC using dialup, usually connecting at 46.6 to Epix, although we may choose another ISP soon.  Take a look at www.windyhill.info our home website.


Hope you have found this useful!  More in the future.
Thanks, Bob

Date created: 15 Sep 2003

Date revised: 04/03/2017









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BHT Created: 15 Sep 2003

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