How to Turn Your Computer into a Server

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

There was a time wherein if you mention the word server (within computing circles), it would normally reference a huge machine that is sitting in a dedicated and air-conditioned room that is supporting hundreds to thousands of clients or computer users. Since the introduction of the home network concept, this notion has drastically changed because even simple desktop computers are now functioning as servers for the home network environment allowing for the sharing of vital computing resources. Utilizing a server for your home network not only provides numerous benefits for the computing activities itself but also, it allows you to recycle your old machine and make it a functional component of your network environment. With a few tweaks in its components, it should be up and running as a fully efficient home network server.

Materials Needed:
- Router
- Network Interface Card
- Computer
- Ethernet cable
- Operating System with network support
- Web browser
- Internet connection
Step 1
In order to have a home or even small office server, first make sure that it has at least 512Mb of RAM to allow for faster network file access.
Step 2
Verify that the storage capacity is more than adequate to accommodate the needs of all network users. Make sure that the hard drive should not be below 80Gb. An option is to use two 80Gb disks. The other hard drive may be used to backup data.
Step 3
There are basically two types of servers used in a home network environment, a Web server and a File server. If you want to create a File server, proceed to step 9, otherwise continue to the next step.
Step 4
Launch your Web browser and navigate to the Labs Opera website. Download and install the Opera Unite application to your local hard drive.
Step 5
Upon completion of the installation process, the computer is now functioning as a Web server. You must now configure it to allow for sharing of files using the Internet. Launch the Opera Web browser which serves as the Web server at the moment.
Step 6
Enable the service of Opera Unite which is found at the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Double click the link for the File Sharing and specify the folders which can be safely shared across the Web.
Step 7
After completing this stage, the files in the folder are now accessible via the Internet. As a precaution, a password can be specified to allow only authorized users access to the files. Set password protection for the shared folders to do this.
Step 8
You now have a fully functional Web server that you can access using the Internet. Make sure though that the Web server machine is running otherwise the shared folders will not be accessed.
Step 9
To create a File server, transfer and organize all data into the hard drive of the machine. To make access easier, create one folder in the hard drive and copy the other folders and files under that main folder.
Step 10
Give the main folder an identifier name like STORAGE (try to stick to one word names). Also, give the File server machine a one word unique name to allow for easy identification on the network, for example, DATASERVER.
Step 11
Go to the main folder of the File server and right click it to bring up the context menu. Select the Sharing option and provide a shared name. This name is what will be displayed on the network.
Step 12
Next is to retrieve the IP address of the machine. Click on the Start button and choose the Run option.
Step 13
Type the word CMD and hit the Enter key. Type the command IPCONFIG and take note of the numbers that will be displayed. It should be in the form of 198.166.x.x or something like that. Write this number down.
Step 14
Go to a computer that is connected to the network. Launch Windows Explorer and click on the Tools menu. Select the Map Network Drive command.