Multiple Web Sites (on different machines) - One Public IP - Help!

Posted on 2006-05-02
Last Modified: 2010-04-18

I've got a client with a DSL line with 1 static IP.  He would like to run multiple web servers on his network (on separate machines).

On the router all port 80 traffic is currently forwarded to one local IP of a windows 2003 server that is not running IIS but a proprietary mail server web mail application.  We are looking to set up a secondary Web server on a different, Windows XP box.  

How do we set this up?  Does this have to be done on the router end or configured on a workstation that will route appropriate traffic to appropriate workstations?  Do we set up Host Headers?  If so, how, on the MS2k3 or the XP IIS box?  Can host headers forward requests to other machines on the network?  

Once this is configured, what happens when someone enters ?  Which web server box will typing in the public IP resolve to?

For example:
Currently gets resolved to and the router sees incoming traffic for port 80, forwards it to on the local network.  

What we would like to do is be able to access via on a local machine and via on a local machine running IIS.  

Please help.
Question by:taki1gostek
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    For hosting webiste, you need to configure router to forward port 80 to the XP box. for people inside your network all they need to do is typing IP address of the XP box or the name of the xp box in their brower.

    good luck
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    I'm not sure you read my question thoroughly, mark.  Your advice is completely off track.
    LVL 19

    Assisted Solution

    For port forwarding, most firewall/routers can be configured with rules that take account of the port number and/or the public IP address to decide where to forward the traffic. Therefore, having just one static IP address the only option you would have is to make use of different port numbers to get the traffic to different servers on your LAN. If you want to use port 80 for access to both your mail server and your web server then you need to get another static IP address (and, if required, upgrade your router to one that can handle more than one public IP address).

    You may find it is possible to set the port forwarding rules to take account of the remote clients IP address to make the decision about where to forward the traffic, but that is a bit obscure. Usually those types of rule are to prevent or allow access from known remote IP's, not to re-direct it. If that were an option then you could set rules for all your remote mail users - of course, then those remote users wouldn't be able to get to the web sites.

    I am not aware of any router/firewall that can do port forwarding based on the host header. That's not to say they don't exist, but it's probably cheaper to get another static IP address. Host headers are very useful once the traffic hits the web server because they allow you to host many web sites on one server all using port 80.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    I've increased points cause this issue is getting kind of hot.

    Thanks but I know that there's an answer to this that does not include getting a secondary IP.  

    The idea would be to forward all traffic to one IIS server which then would route traffic to the appropriate server based on Host Headers.  I really need to find out if this can be done using Host Headers and how/where to configure it on IIS or should RRAS be used?

    Any other ideas?
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    There is something called web site redirection that might be the answer, but I can't help with the details of that. Perhaps you could ask in a web topic area. I am thinking that this might do what you want as follows: all port 80 traffic is initially sent to IIS server 1. It uses Host Headers to send the requests to different virtual web sites on IIS 1. The one that corresponds to your mail server uses web site redirection to redirect the request to another site hosted on IIS server 2. However, it would only work if the redirection used a private DNS server on your LAN, not the public one that was initially used by the remote user. I therefore have serious doubts if this is viable.

    Another approach to look at is if the IIS web hosting for your mail application can be hosted on a different server (splitting the web hosting bit from the rest of the mail server). You'd have to research the web server package's documentation to find that out.

    Can't you just put all your IIS web hosting onto the same server as the mail? Why split it between the two machines?

    IIS can use host headers and it can reference web documents stored on other servers, but I don't think it can act as a router for some web requests while hosting others locally.

    I don't know everything there is to know about it though, and that's for sure.

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