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Domain Name is working, but still cannot access with browser RRS feed

  • Question

  • From my WHS console, I see that my Domain Name has its green check mark and is "Working".  But, I still can't apply the domain name, http://MyDomainName.homeserver.com to reach either the basic or secure website.  I get the usual, "Internet Explorer cannot display the web page" message.  I have tried dropping the two firewalls, one on my ICS XP Home router and the other on WHS itself.  All the ports are forwarded on the ICS router, 80 and 443.  When I ping the address with the firewalls down, I get my assigned IP address.  When I try to access WHS locally with the host name, http://MyServerName, everything shows up like it is supposed to.

    Beyond this problem, there are a few things I don't understand.  First, WHS assumes the user is on a LAN with some UPnP router.  I think I have managed to adapt my XP Home ICS router to the situation, except for this one issue.  But also, when I first investigated WHS, I assumed that accessing WHS from outside the LAN required some kind of static IP for your internet connection.  I don't have a static IP.  And also, even if I had a static IP, I assume that my WHS would have a local LAN address and not the kind of address issued to me by Microsoft and its Windows Live Custom Domains.  How is my WHS server assigned this issued address in the context of the specialized local addresses it has on my LAN?

    To summarize ...

    Why can't I access my WHS web services using the Microsoft issued domain name and address?  And how does it all work when it does work?
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 5:18 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    You say you have opened the ports in the Firewall, but have you forwarded them to the reserved or static IP of your server?

    Regarding the rest, WHS includes it's own dynamic DNS service, so reports your external IP address to the homeserver.com on a regular basis, allowing you to use your homeserver sub-domain.

    There is quite a lot of documentation available here, here, and here, which can help. There is also the ToolKit available to download, however do note the instructions in it's associated Manual, as it isn't a straightforward installation.

    Personally, I have never recommended or used ICS, I think it's inherently insecure and with routers being so cheap, both to buy and run, it's using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    Colin









    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 5:50 PM
    Moderator
  • Colin Hodgson said:

    Hi,

    You say you have opened the ports in the Firewall, but have you forwarded them to the reserved or static IP of your server?

    ....



    No I haven't.  Should I do that?  Is this something that would be done automatically with a UPnP enabled router?  And why can't I do that with my XP Home ICS router?  WHS itself shows up as a UPnP device in my Network browser.
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 9:51 PM
  • Also, there is lots of information about router configuration in the Console Help. See the "Learn more about router configuration" topic and related topics in that section.

    I wonder why nobody thinks to look in the Help?
    Windows Home Server Team
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 9:51 PM
  • pksky said:

    No I haven't.  Should I do that?

    Yes.

    pksky said:

    Is this something that would be done automatically with a UPnP enabled router?

    That depends on the router.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    pksky said:

    And why can't I do that with my XP Home ICS router?

    I would guess that XP is not designed to do that (not sure about that though as I have never even considered using any OS as a router).  Also, I agree with Colin.  Routers are cheap and more secure. :)

    pksky said:

    WHS itself shows up as a UPnP device in my Network browser.



    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:08 AM
    Moderator
  • I'm going to take a guess at this.  So the port forwarding that WHS has possibly done is via your xp machine ICS.  It hasn't done anything to your router is what I am assuming.  It sounds like you have a router/modem that goes straight into your xp pc, then you have ICS turned on and the WHS connected through that.  You'll have to manually forward the ports to your xp pc on the router/modem and then it might work.  
    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:20 AM
  •  Applying the web address provided me by Microsoft's "Windows Live Custom Domains" to port forwarding disables the ability of the "Domain Name Details" page to verify either my Web site or Remote Access.  Restoring the local LAN address makes it possible for it to verify it again.  But again, the website does not open using the domain name indicated on the page.

    Another thing I am observing is that the IP address given me by the WLCD changes so that applying it in port forwarding is not of much use unless I want to change it everytime I see it change.

    So the problem remains.  Why does the "Domain Name Details" page verify my remote access and web site even though I can't reach these services with the domain name and how do I get that functioning?  Do I have to have a fixed IP address for my internection for this to work?  If not how do I get it to work?



    Thursday, October 30, 2008 9:30 PM
  • Unlike the TZO domains, Windows Live Custom Domains does not automatically route http requests to https. Most likely your ISP is blocking port 80, but not port 443. If you want to access your server from outside your network, you're going to have to type https.

    It's best if you statically assign the ip address on your server and the forward ports off your router to that address. You can statically assign the IP address the same way you would do in Windows XP. You just need to open a remote desktop connection to the server and change your settings. Windows Live Domains will take care of your Dynamic DNS for you, so you don't have to worry about your public IP changing. Just always connect to the https://yourserver.homeserver.com name and you'll be ok.


    I only pretend like I know what I'm doing
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:04 PM
  • Yes, I've tried that.  I've even tried https://myserver.homeserver.com:443 and have no success.  I went into WHS to try and change the address to static, but the setting insists on a DNS address at the same time which was before automatic and I don't have a DNS to provide.  But I always seem to get the same address for WHS anyway.  Not once has it ever changed from a single address since the day I installed it even though the TCP/IP settings indicate the address is dynamically set.  Meanwhile, as Hodgson states, WHS has its own dynamic DNS.  Will I be breaking that by applying a DNS addess, assuming I can get one?

    And again, why does WHS say that both my website and secure website addresses are configured when I can't reach them from the browser?

    I can reach all the services of WHS available in the browser by using the hostname, http://serverhostname and etc.
    Friday, October 31, 2008 4:03 PM
  • pksky said:

    Yes, I've tried that.  I've even tried https://myserver.homeserver.com:443 and have no success.  I went into WHS to try and change the address to static, but the setting insists on a DNS address at the same time which was before automatic and I don't have a DNS to provide.  But I always seem to get the same address for WHS anyway.  Not once has it ever changed from a single address since the day I installed it even though the TCP/IP settings indicate the address is dynamically set.  Meanwhile, as Hodgson states, WHS has its own dynamic DNS.  Will I be breaking that by applying a DNS addess, assuming I can get one?

    Normally, when you configure a static IP on your server, you want to set the DNS of the server to point to the IP address of your router.  In your case, you would have it point to your XP ICS box (which would also then need to be set up as static).  (Again, this is all in theory.  It simply may be XP ICS can't handle it at all.)

    pksky said:

    And again, why does WHS say that both my website and secure website addresses are configured when I can't reach them from the browser?

    I can reach all the services of WHS available in the browser by using the hostname, http://serverhostname and etc.


    Are you only trying from inside your LAN?  I don't know about using XP ICS as a router, but I know some traditional routers have issues when you try to access your website from inside your LAN.
    Friday, October 31, 2008 5:56 PM
    Moderator
  • kariya21 said:

    ....

    Are you only trying from inside your LAN?  I don't know about using XP ICS as a router, but I know some traditional routers have issues when you try to access your website from inside your LAN.



    Again, WHS says my website is up.  What is it doing if not accessing my website in some automatic way?  And it must be doing it from inside my website unless it is talking to some outside agency that is contacting my website.  Is that's what happening and how am I supposed to know that?  What could be more basic then looking up the website that WHS says is available from the internet?  The help section on the subject says you should do just that.

    Eventually, I want to try hosting websites from my LAN with a static IP connection to the internet.  I also hope to switch to a more advanced router like Smoothwall Express.  I was suprised to see that it looked like I could host a website from WHS without a static IP.  But I'm not convinced yet and it won't be much use if I can't reach my site from the LAN where I am doing the website construction.

    Anybody else have any ideas?  Maybe there are some tools at the command line I could use to investigate what is going on.
    • Edited by pksky Friday, October 31, 2008 7:29 PM
    Friday, October 31, 2008 7:22 PM
  • Hi,

    What else do you have in the network, a modem, a router, what.
    Also, as asked, is all this from inside your LAN, if so, have you tried from somewhere else outside your own LAN?

    There is no need for a static IP, the in-built web sites in WHS manage very well with it's own dynamic DNS updater. This has worked for WHS since the final betas with no problems.

    I think you need to get the ICS out of the equation and try a standard router, it doesn't matter if it's a uPNP or not, it just means a couple more steps, but that's all.

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Friday, October 31, 2008 9:20 PM
    Moderator
  •  I have managed to reach the site from a computer outside my LAN.  So, for whatever reason, the WHS verification page in the Settings part of the Console is reliable.

    The only thing to determine is why I can't reach it from my LAN. 

    There is a lot of reasons why I don't use the router/modem devices.  There are simply too many services available on a computer managed router.  Computers were routers before these little gizmos came along and I don't think a server like this should be alienated from computer run routers, especially a cousin product like XP Home and Internet Connection Sharing.

    Since a good part of this problem is solved in the current context, unless anyone has anything to say, I'll start another thread with a different focus to the problem.  Or search the issue further at this forum and see what the new context reveals.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008 3:49 PM
  • pksky said:

    Computers were routers before these little gizmos came along...

    You have this backward. Every router is a computer. There is a processor, memory, and some sort of operating system, simple or not (most consumer routers run a stripped-down and tweaked Linux distro of some flavor).

    Internet Connection Sharing was introduced by Microsoft at a time when it was rare for there to be more than one computer in a home, and routers were expensive (and hard to configure) pieces of equipment only purchased by businesses. ICS makes your computer a simple router; it doesn't include much of the configurability of even the least expensive consumer routers available today, though. I feel you would really be much better off with a real router, instead of using one of your home PCs as one.

    Regarding the issue of reaching your WHS remote access site by it's xxxx.homeserver.com address from within your network, you may never be able to do that with ICS. ICS may not be capable of dealing with a "loopback" request.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, November 1, 2008 4:05 PM
    Moderator
  • No, I'm quite certain I don't have this backward.  As you say, "Every router is a computer."  I think the correct term is "embedded system".  But, rather obviously, a hardwired router is not anything like as configurable as a desktop addressable (?) system even though ICS may be deficient in this potential.  I refer you to Smoothwall Express, a Linux based stand alone turnkey system whose sole purpose is to make a desktop into a completely configurable router.  The truth is I've had nothing but problems with two hardwired routers I've owned, especially an old 56K modem router.  I'll never own one again, if I can possible avoid it, even if it means cracking open XP Home to make it work for me.

    What exactly in networking is a "loopback" request?  If it is configurable in an embedded Linux system, then there is bound to be some accessable part of XP Home to make it work for me until I get my Linux router going.
    Sunday, November 2, 2008 10:22 PM
  • Try going to your Web Browser and typing in the IP address assigned to your server.....IE 192.168.254.5 or similar.    This will display your assigned web page for your server.  Inside of the LAN to address other computers/servers on the LAN you need to use their respective IP address.   If you have access from outside to your LAN from another computer you are set and you are good to go.   There is no need to get a static IP address from your ISP this what the DNS address takes care of for you.  To avoid problems you only need to have port forwarding to your WHS on ports 80 (HTTP), 443(HTTPS) and 4125.   
    Monday, November 3, 2008 1:00 AM
  •  My try:
    ICS under WinXP is, well, a very simple, not-all-that-configurable thing.  It really doesn't surprise me that it can't handle a local-loopback request.  FWIW, a lot of consumer-grade routers (especially the very cheap ones) can't, either.
    Definition of local-loopback:  a web request whose source (the machine doing the browsing - e.g. your desktop) and destination (the webserver - e.g. your WHS) are on the same network.  The router must loop the request back to within the same LAN, rather than going out on the 'net to find the webserver.

    I'm very familiar with Smoothwall - I've been running a SWE3 box for quite some time, love it, and recommend that distro as much as I can.  It's far more controllable than even the best consumer-grade routers out there.
    I'll toss this in, though:  at launch, even it couldn't do local-loopback.  One of the devs wrote a little hack to enable that; it was made official in the first update.

    I think, though, that you might want to revisit the router market.  Things have progressed a lot since you had that "old 56k modem router."  :)
    If you want cheap and reliable, I'll refer you to a Linksys WRT54GL.  Only $50 U.S.  And, if you want even more configurability, you can reflash it with DD-WRT.
    Or, build yourself that Smoothwall.  You won't regret it.  :)

    And, just because something is configurable (or, more typically, enabled out-of-the-box - I have yet to see a router that had the ability to toggle local-loopback on/off) in a *nix system (be it Smoothie or a router) doesn't mean that it's possible to get it to work in ICS (in XP.)
    As said earlier (by Ken), XP's version of ICS is very, very basic.
    -Chris
    Monday, November 3, 2008 3:43 AM
  • Yes, I can reach the basic website and a few of the websites I've created in IIS on WHS from the LAN using the address and also the server's host name, but only from my Windows machines for the host name.

    I do not embrace ICS as a long term solution, but ICS got me started with the whole idea of using routers at all, it is where I saw my first success in doing so.  WHS is another first for me, it is the first time I have seen my home hosted computer on the internet.  Even at 56K, it was a good moment.  My congratulations to Microsoft for a success that years struggling with Linux never gave me.

    All of which is another issue I am going to have to confront.  I eventually want to use at least one other machine running the Linux distro SME Server on my LAN and host both to the internet through a Smoothwall router.  And I want them all to be able to communicate with one another.  I'm not sure how this is going to effect WHS's Domain Name as provided by Microsoft, but I have some ideas I will try.  There is too much I don't know about DNS and DHCP and if this is a good time for me to test the abilities of ICS where they exist.  DNS and DHCP are very transparent services in *nix, but almost completely invisible in Windows. 

    But that is another thread, I'm sure.  Thanks to all who responded and if anyone has anything else to add, feel free.
    Monday, November 3, 2008 5:34 PM