So I need to have a static IP. I will talk to my ISP about this. I am
almost certain my cable connection is using a dynamic IP. Then I
suppose I register this IP with a name server so that my domains point
to this IP.
So I will have my cable modem connected to my router. My router
connected to my server and my other desktop computers. When a request
comes in from the outside world, how does it know to go to the server
to find what it is looking for? Is this something I also have to
register with the name server?
You don’t really need a static IP. You can use a dynamic IP with a
dynamic DN service such as http://www.dyndns.com/ (google for others).
This setup works well for demos but you probably want to be hosted with
a static IP for production.
DNS provides a name lookup mapping to a IP address. The next part of
the puzzle is to port forward connections from you external IP address
to server(s) inside your local network.
lets say you have a network like so
aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd – cable modem – router – server (192.168.xxx.yyy)
Your cable modem has an external IP of aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd, you cable modem
and/or router maps this to you private network (which may have an IP
address range of 192.168.xxx.yyy or other private networks such as 172.
or 10.). Connections to various services are run via ports (think lanes
of traffic). You want to map incomming connections (say port 80 for
HTTP) to your web server (think connecting a lane of traffic from your
cable modem to your web server). This action is called port forwarding
(again google is your friend). So you setup a rule on your router that
says any connection to aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd port 80 will connection to my
internal web server 192.168.xxx.yyy port 80.
These kind of setups are exposing your machines on your internal network
to all and sundry on the net so there are lots of security
considerations. IT’s best to be well informed (read up lots).
Id’ start by googling the following terms (a read at HowStuffWorks is
Network Address Translation
I found the Linux HOWTOs useful for learning the nuts and bolts too.