Windows httpd: A Handy Tool to Publish on the Web

Shixing Wen
Assistant Cataloging Librarian
Library Affairs
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, IL 62901-6632

Brief Introduction

Many of us have played on the Web for quite a while by now and may want to venture a step further from merely browsing to publishing on the Web. For those who work or study at an institution of higher learning in North America, it is not difficult to apply for an account on their institution's WWW server and set up their own home pages. But for those who are not affiliated with higher education, it might not be as easy to do so. To try one's hand with HTML on one's own computer is one thing. But to really publish on the Web is quite another.

One way out is to set up an account with a commercial Internet services provider. With payment, you are entitled to rent some disk space on that provider's WWW server. But not everyone of us are willing to pay to publish, especially so when we do not have a big publishing project to warrant the expenses. Windows httpd is thus coming handy for us to try publishing on the Web and moreover, to run a WWW server and be a real Webmaster!

System and Equipment Requirement

Windows httpd runs on Windows 3.1 and 3.11 only. If you use Windows 95 or NT or Mac, you need to find a WWW server that runs on your specific platform. There are quite a few such WWW server software packages available on the Internet. But most of them are shareware, not freeware.

Windows httpd is free of charge for personal and non-commercial use. It supports up to 16 simultaneous users. And it is ready to use, without requiring your own configuration.

As far as equipment is concerned, you need at least a 386+ with 8+ megabyte memory. The later models (e.g., 486 or Pentium), the better. And the more memory (e.g., 16 mb), the better.

Besides, your computer must be on the Internet. In other words, you should not set up a WWW server with a dial-up module, for you will be assigned only a temporary IP address for each dial-up session. Without a permanent IP address, nobody can find or logon to your WWW server. So virtually, you probably have to use your computer at work that has a direct Internet connection.

In addition, for those who use Windows 3.1, you need to have Trumpet WinSock on your computer to run the server. For those who use Windows 3.11, you don't need to worry about the Trumpet WinSock. It is often already installed on your network. Anyway, if you have Netscape running on your computer, then you are okay, for Netscape needs Trumpet WinSock to run, too. If not, you are not yet ready to run a WWW server on your computer.

If you have met all the above-mentioned requirements, you may proceed with following detailed instruction on installation.

A word of note. The following instruction is prepared for non-tech people or "dummies". For those advanced or well versed people, you may just follow the instruction provided by the author of the Windows httpd.

Installation Steps

The installation is not too difficult. Just follow the following steps:

1. Create a directory on your computer called httpd. For example:


2. Download a copy of Windows httpd (the file name is: to the directory you have just created. The URL address of the Windows httpd downloading site is:

3. Exit from Windows to DOS. In other words, simply Exit Windows from the Program Manager.

4. Execute the pkunzip command to uncompress or decompress the zip file you have downloaded to the directory called HTTPD. Be sure to use the -d option to preserve the pre-set directory structure within the file. For example:

C:\HTTPD>pkunzip -d
(and press [enter])

Just sit there until the computer has done the uncompressing or decompressing.

Then type EXIT at the C prompt, and you will return to the Windows environment.

5. Go to the File Manager and click on the directory called HTTPD. You will find a bunch of subdirectories and files.

6. Find the file called httpd.exe and drag it with your mouse to the work group on your desktop or Program Manager where you'd like it to reside. For example, the work group called TCP/IP or Main. And it will automatically create an icon for your WWW server.

7. Open your Notepad. It is usually in the work group called "Applications". Click and hold on File and move your cursor to Open. In the pop-up window, type

\autoexec.bat (and press [enter])
and add the following line to anywhere above the line called win. For example:
set tz=cst5cdt
Note: "set tz" means to set the time zone;
"cst" means Central Standard Time;
"cdt" means Central Date Time;
"5" means 5 hours east of the Greenwich Mean Time.

So if you are in New York, you need to modify the line accordingly:

set tz=est4edt

After you have added the time zone line to the autoexec.bat, you need to save it.

8. Still in the Notepad. Open once again. And in the pop-up window, type

system.ini (and then press [enter])
and you need to go down the list to find the section called NonWindowsApp. And in that section, add a line as follows:
Then save it and exit the Notepad.

9. Now you need to exit Windows and then reset or restart your computer to let the changes your have made take effect.

10. When you are back in Windows, go to the work group where you have kept the HTTPD icon and double click the icon. It will first pop up and then minimize into a small icon at the bottom of your screen. Now your WWW server is up and running!

Final Words

From then on, you can follow the instruction given on the screen and design your own home page. There is also a list of HTML guide and primer on the screen for your reference.

The URL address of your home page or WWW server is the IP address of your computer. To find out what your IP address is, you may either open your Trumpet WinSock where you will find the numerical address (e.g., or you can access the CND Home Page ( where you will be greeted with your alphanumeric address (e.g., at the top of the screen.

When you are comfortable with running the server, you can announce your OWN home page and WWW server to the world with pride.

It is my sincere hope that we Chinese librarians will actively participate in electronic publishing on the Web. May the Web be the window of our talent and creativity. And may the Web be a significant tool in advancing librarianship and information science.

When your WWW server is set up and running, please let me know. I will add your URL address to a special place on our ICLC web pages. One by one, we will build a web of our own servers.

Copyright © 1996 Shixing Wen.
Submitted to CLIEJ on May 1, 1996.

Note: The author is now working at University of Michigan.
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