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Running a WEB SERVER on a 486 MS-DOS PC

Is it possible to host a web site on an ancient 1992 486 PC running MS-DOS in 2020? I explore the options, and a bit of server history.

Support the channel on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/danwooduk

My retro gaming podcast: http://theretrohour.com

My Twitter: http://twitter.com/danwood_uk
My Facebook: http://facebook.com/danwooduk

Webserv Software: http://rubbermallet.org/oldindex.html
486/DX2 video: https://youtu.be/5kG3WH-nZTA
First website: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

Sources used in this video:

CERN: A brief history of the World Wide Web – https://youtu.be/k0gvAyCubGQ
NeXTSTEP Release 3 Demo – https://youtu.be/j02b8Fuz73A
Project Code Rush – The Beginnings of Netscape – https://youtu.be/4Q7FTjhvZ7Y
The Computer Chronicles – Internet (1995) – https://youtu.be/wf6kVEN1lbk
The Internet Show (1995) – https://youtu.be/IzqMrhG50q0

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40 Responses

  1. kishetes says:

    You should do video about gopher, the protocol that almost became the internet

  2. Çuvaldız - says:

    can i run a web server on my Casio calculator too?

  3. BrackynMor says:

    I can't help but think of that episode of The IT Crowd when Jen is given a small box with light on it which is said to contain "The Internet"

  4. Hi Dan Wood, can you make more videos related to MorphOS please? (A review of it? Or something?) How is the experience of using MorphOS on your PowerMac G5? Do you recommend it?

  5. Riskteven says:

    8:20 There is a certain "oddware" that came as PCI/ISA cards, they used a certain partition on the harddrive. Each time the computer was rebooted, or started up, it would load a snapshot and apply it, restoring the PC to it's previous, unhacked status. I have yet to see more info on those snapshot cards.

  6. There were plenty of 486s serving web sites, in the '90s, but very few of them were running DOS.

  7. Jason Perry says:

    Slackware Linux and you’re done. Timeframe-appropriate.

  8. The MS-DOS version of Links actually supports graphics mode (I have it so set up on my Pentium/166).

  9. 罗梦宇 says:

    Setting up Internet connection in dos is pain in the ass.

  10. Nice Acorn monitor. Get it disconnected from that Intel filth!

  11. I wanna run a BBS on my IBM PS/1 486

  12. rootbeer666 says:

    I tried running a webserver on an am486dx4 running NT Server 4.0 back in 2005. IIS got hacked overnight and was serving viruses by morning.

  13. milasudril says:

    At least you do not need to care about Spectre or MeltDown bugs.

  14. Jari Heiska says:

    My like for this video is number 486. I should try the lottery. And get a 486. Sadly, both are unlikely to result a success.

  15. KONEY says:

    LYNX! Still use it!!

  16. Do you have any information about how you got the tcp driver working, or specifically how you got the browser working. I have Michael.Brutmans TCP driver which works with his apps but I don't think any others like lynx

  17. Warren Hardy says:

    I run an old version of Slackware Linux, on my DX 2/66 PC, with Apache.

  18. Paul Potter says:

    Awesome. I've got to do this.

  19. mrmiyagi5 says:

    I miss the 90s so much. The internet wasn't full of assholes, industrial music was prominent, no cell phones, dating was just asking girls out at random instead of swiping, Ultima Online, Quake, UT and IRC :(.

  20. plasmar1 says:

    sir you have one hell of idea of fun….. 486's aren't even fast enough for a good 10/100 connection lol; running a Web Bottleneck on a 486 ms-dos pc :'D

  21. i actually did that with that software many years ago from my home.. stupid geocities!

  22. B Gibson says:

    0:34 idk cern was even a thing in 1990 lol.

  23. FuZZbaLLbee says:

    Those text based browsers seem good testcases to see how the visually impaired browse your website

  24. intel386DX says:

    7:07 links have a GUI as well ! 🙂 it requers 386 + 387 to run :)!

  25. lwvmobile says:

    5:49 Holy Add-ons, Batman!

  26. Round Tuit says:

    Can you put a copy of Amiga Zool on it …….Just to make it more 80s

  27. A lot of websites and ftp sites were hosted on 486's back in the day(mid 90s). Usually with linux though.

  28. MegaManNeo says:

    Honestly, sometimes I feel like I need that nostalgia which is when I start up lynx or elinks on a TTY in Linux and browse the web for a while like that.
    News pages work fine that way since most stuff is text anyway and since I'm no social media person, I don't miss much except for fancy looks anyway.

  29. Bogomil76 says:

    „powered by Amiga“ ❤️

  30. Great video!! Any video that is about retro computers is a must watch for me. Thank you for this upload.

  31. Okay, this was really cool! Now lets see a webserver on an Amiga.

  32. Direktörn says:

    credits where credits are due: CERN is in Europe

  33. Nosmo King says:

    As I remember Windows 95 came with a "personal web server" that I set up as an experiment at one job; it was very basic and also not really useful as it didn't support domain names or routing and was intended for use on corporate intranets. I left the job under less than good circumstances, but for over a year I could still see that web server running by typing in the IP address of the machine it was on. Go figure.

  34. Shawn Lowery says:

    I am racking my brain to remember what sort of software we used in 1993-1994 when I created an internal webserver where I was employed. I remember we tried to get it going by the end of 1993, but it ran long as it was not officially funded and we had to work on it during lunches and after hours. Most of our network was NetWare at the time, but the webserver was a DOS machine as it was the old internal email system. I know we did not use Netware on that machine or *nix, it was a bunch of odd DOS utilities and programs. I really wish I could remember how we did it, but I haven't even thought about it in years.

  35. anakondase says:

    You should have installed Apache on one of your Amigas instead and had a full fledged web server. I ran one on my A4k for a few years in the early 2000's with support for both asp and php with mysql. Worked just fine and wasn't that slow at all as long as there weren't to many logged in at the same time.

  36. Remember when the internet had zero censorship?

  37. krull1981 says:

    Be interesting to see if you could ddos it with a few rasberry pi's.

  38. Jafar Calley says:

    I wanted to see you install a LAMP server on it lol. Years ago I ran a home web and email server on an old PII 800mhz laptop that had 256mb RAM using a lvl2 Gentoo installation. It worked really well.

  39. dannycivic02 says:

    Now some more Amiga videos please Dan!