I hear all kinds of referenced to IIS and PWS - Are these tools only for those who host a web site from their own machine, or do I still need them to build a site with ASP if it is externally hosted (i.e. on Earthlink.net)?
You do not need either to build a web site. IIS is a service that enables your computer to run an intersite site or sites on it. It is NOT required for desinging a website.