Setting up a Windows NT Server

As much as I hate to say good things about anything Microsoft, Windows NT has a lot of advantages as a Web server. It's at least ten times easier to configure than UNIX (that's still not enough for some people), is extremely easy to connect to other PCs, and has much of the same software available at the same low (free) price as UNIX. Digital Equipment Corporation has a complete Digital Road Map for Windows NT CD-ROM they'll send you for free if you call them at 1-800-DIGITAL. They're wonderful folks.) That CD comes complete with the EMWAC server for Windows NT, which you can also get directly from the source in Edinburgh.

O'Reilly & Associates and Netscape both seem intent on building commercial Web servers for NT. (Netscape's servers are for both UNIX and NT; O'Reilly's are NT/95 only.) I've been using the O'Reilly WebSite server for my experiments - there's a free sixty day trial version - and I've been highly impressed. I use the WebSite server for my NT explorations.

There is, of course, a small problem. Microsoft really wants you to buy the server version of NT, which only costs twice to twenty times what the Workstation version does. For the purposes this micro-internet is intended for, there's no need to spend that extra money. Windows NT workstation can handle TCP/IP well enough that you can save a few hundred dollars and buy it instead.

Why would you want to do it this way? If you have a high-powered PC you still need to run Windows applications on, this is about the easiest way to do it. Odds are good that someone running the PC won't even notice a small amount of Web traffic. If you already have the equipment, and especially if you plan to use a Windows NT Internet server, this could be the way to go. Perhaps more importantly, it's easy to set up databases on PCs using tools like Access (great but slow) and Delphi (more complex, but compiles for speed) and give them CGI connections to your web site visitors.

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Copyright 1995 by Simon St.Laurent. All rights reserved. You may print this document for yourself or others at no charge, but commercial distribution without permission is prohibited.

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