How to Access a Web Server From the Internet
By Jeff Mason
Updated September 28, 2017
Items you will need
A computer on the Internet with:
- An Internet browser
- VNC client (UltraVNC, for example)
Your local Web server, where the server is running the following:
- IIS or other web server software
- VNC server software (UltraVNC, for example) installed, using a complex password
Your network's external IP address
Your firewall/router inbound rules allowing Port 80 (Web) and Ports 5800 & 5900 (VNC)
There are a number of situations which may require you to be able to reach your Web server from the Internet. In one such situation, you may own and/or manage the Web server, in which case, you may need to remotely manipulate the Web server from the Internet, as if you were locally logged in. In another situation, you may simply need to browse the web server from the Internet in order to verify web page changes.
Obtain your network's external IP address.Open your browser locally on your Web server, from inside your network, and type the following into the "address" portion of your browser: http://www.whatismyip.com and then press "Enter." This will take you to an Internet page that displays your network's external IP address - as in the example image below. Make note of this address. In this example, it is 188.8.131.52 (your address will be different).
Log in to a computer outside your network (on the Internet).
Type your network's external IP address into the address window of a browser and then press" Enter." This will connect to your Web server and will display the "default" page. This confirms that the inbound port 80 rule in your firewall is allowing you to access your Web server from the Internet.
Log in to a computer on the Internet with administrative privileges. Browse to http://www.uvnc.com and download the UltraVNC client software. Install the VNC software and choose the "Client" or "Viewer" option - meaning that this is the computer "from which" you will be connecting to your Web server (i.e., this is the VNC client; your Web server is the VNC host/server).
Type your network's external IP address in the "VNC Server" window on the screen. In this example, the ip address is: 184.108.40.206 (your value will be different). Then click "Connect."
Type in your VNC server's access password when prompted in the VNC Authentication window. Note: This is the password you chose whenever you initially setup the VNC server on your Web server. Next, click "OK." This will connect you to your Web server, where you will have full control. If prompted, also enter any necessary Domain, User name and Password information to log in to your Web server, just as you would do if you were locally sitting in front of it.
VNC is not the most secure method of connecting to your server from the Internet, so whenever setting up the VNC server portion, always ensure you choose a complex password that is easy to remember but difficult for others to guess.
Jeff Mason has over six years of professional writing experience and 30 years of creative writing. He has edited two novels: Dana Matthews' "Final Wishes" and Albert Swanson's "Frozen Dreams." Mason holds a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Middle Tennessee State University, as well as an associate's degree in computer programming from Nashville State Technical Institute.