Before you start anything network related, building servers, subdomains, VM's, you start with a blank A4 white paper and write down some things you have to know.
Dynamic or Static IP?: Is your provider giving you a static IP? So it won't change? Write it down. Otherwise look here in the forum about dynamic IP.
What Router do you use?: assume you have a static IP address (f.e. 188.8.131.52), what router is between your providers system and your computers?
Routers can be administered, at least most of them, by typing 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 in your browser.... admin, admin, for login and password if it is your first time.
In your routers setup you'll find the static (or dynamic) IP number (f.e. 184.108.40.206), now consider that as your "phone number" for the outside world to reach you. You cannot call yourself is it? (That's where proxy's come in, use another IP to "call" yourself).
But we keep it simple, we build a server for ourselves, inside the house, wireless, or cabled.
So we are not going to talk about PORTS? (yes we will later in this story).
Your Router will tell you, that it is deviding devices the way he wants, DHCP, the router will give any PC or laptop, or any device, who hooks on, a IP number (range f.e. 192.168.1.65 to 192.168.1.255). So your device can be 192.168.1.99, or 192.168.1.103, etc, depends on the session.
We don't want that!
So in our home environment, we tell our machines to have a static IP within the range of the router. (fe. 192.168.1.105). It takes some figuring out on how to do so, but Ian showed the way on his website.
Now here is where most people get confused, what is that all about opening ports?
Nothing, as long as you keep your server for yourself (your indoor network), ports are not important, they just exist, for your at home network and you have to remember them if you use several computers indoors.
Port forwarding: If your network wants to go out to the big cruel world
, you need to know your IP address the provider gave you and tell your router to open the gates, port, for the big cruel world.
So what you can see inside your house on ip addresses (like 192.168.0.103:9000) you can throw to the big world by port forwarding.... just tell your router that your port 9000 is open for your static IP address.
In a way your provider looks if your system is open for that port (the door).
I hope this will clear some things for those who get confused. There is more, off course, but for now, understand the static or dynamic IP your provider is giving you, the router that's inbetween and DHCP'ing everything for 98% of the internet users at home, and the possibilities for you to re-arrange if you knowhow to do it.