windows home network

i have been trying to build a home network which comprises of 2 pc's one laptop a wireless router with one network printer. now currently all my pc's and laptops run windows xp pro. i want run the network in such a way where one of the pc's runs as a server as i would also like to run a reliable web server as i wish host a site of that web server now i dont knw but what does everyone think should i run a specialest server operating system such as xp server. i would like to able to restrict user accounts be able to monitor user activity to a certain extent ( such as restricted acess to files and only to home areas). i would also like to restrict certain web content for some users and also retsrict users to install any software without adiministrator password. i would like to connect all computers to the internet thorugh my broadband connection so everyone can use the internet. all pc's have a network card all cables are in place and also my laptop has wireless card and lan card which can connect to network either way. My router is wireless and also wired but i would like to encrtypt my wireless signal so no can use besides me. i just want any ideas and also suggestions of what kind of operating system i should use and how do i create a web server to host my own sites and also encrypt my wireless signal.
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Steve McCarthy, MCSE, MCSA, MCP x8, Network+, i-Net+, A+, CIWA, CCNA, FDLE FCIC, HIPAA Security OfficerIT Consultant, Network Engineer, Windows Network Administrator, VMware AdministratorCommented:
Here is my suggestion.

I would build a simple home network using a single server.  If this were a business or a production environment, I would have a backup domain controller, seperate web server, etc., however you wanted it simple with a limited number of resources.

I would take one of the PC's and load Windows Server 2003 Standard edition.  This will give you centralized administration and the ability to control your access, logging, security, etc.  You can also load IIS on this server to act as your web server and setup however strict of security you want on it.  Run DCPromo and make it the domain controller.   DNS will be installed.  You can either Run DHCP on the server or just make static IP settings on all the other machines, but you want your DNS pointers to go to the server.  You may need to turn off the DHCP on the router.

On the server, create your users and you can put them in groups with various levels of security. You can go further and setup group policy for those users or groups to really control what they can and cannot do.  Once your domain is setup, go to each PC and join it to the domain.  Now users will have to logon to the domain and will only have access to files and shares that you designate.  For example you could share a directory on the server called games, but only give access to a group called adults.  You can share the printer off of the server or even print to it via IP if it has an ethernet connection in it.

On the laptop, your wired connection is probably 100BaseT, so it will be at least twice as fast as a wireless connection.  Depending on the model, you can turn on encryption on the router, change the default address and have it only accept the MAC address of your laptop.  You can also turn off DHCP on it.

For creating web sites, you could use one of the free HTML editors, Frontpage, etc. to create your site.  If you want the world to be able to see it, you will probably want to get a static IP address from your broadband provider and have the registrar you registered your domain name with point it to that IP address.

You asked alot of broad questions in this, but these are the basics and should be able to get you going.


Ikram_BohraAuthor Commented:
thankyou my main question was xp pro or xp server because at the minute im using pro and im not getting anywhere, also i think my router is not the best in the world could do with a better model i have a origo router it seems to keep disconnecting my wired and wireless connection every so often sont knw why so i think a us robotics as i was recommended one of those....any suggestions let me knw.

Now all this dhcp and dns crashes my brain im new to all this although i have a slight insight into it just general i am running my internet connection through cable modem and i believe i have a static ip address.( could be wrong).

As far a sthe laptop goes i think i am going to be using a wired connection on most occasions especially for files transfer but the wireless comes into it when im in my bedroom no wired connection there so i have to use wireless but this is only for internet browsing nothing else.

Creating websites i knw a little more about this and i use dreamweaver but its not the creating its the hosting that worries me all my previous were hosted by others i wish now to host them on my server using my broadband connection. i have already got the domain so once ive done the site what do i do??.

Thanks for your help any futher suggestions would be of great help.
Steve McCarthy, MCSE, MCSA, MCP x8, Network+, i-Net+, A+, CIWA, CCNA, FDLE FCIC, HIPAA Security OfficerIT Consultant, Network Engineer, Windows Network Administrator, VMware AdministratorCommented:
You will need the Server Operating System, which is Windows Server 2003.  As for wireless routers, I've always had good luck with the Linksys ones.  They tend to be pretty inexpensive, but offer a lot of performance and stability.

Dreamweaver is good for creating your site.  To host it reliably on your server, talk to your broadband provider and get a static IP address.  Then go to wherever you have your domain registered and have them point the www to that Static IP Address.

Good Luck
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