do i need a VPN?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ndmccormack, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. ndmccormack macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hi,
    I've recently bought a new MBP as my main machine and want to make my old desktop machine into a makeshift server so i can access work files while out and about.

    I have the following setup

    Cable modem -> netgear wireless router -> desktop mac/server, connected to router via ethernet.

    How do i connect to my desktop machine from outside my own network? do I need to setup a VPN on my server or can I access it another way?

    Sorry about this, not too hot on the old networking game!

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Cheers
     
  2. mcmadhatter macrumors 6502

    mcmadhatter

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2005
    Location:
    Bath, UK
    #2
    Personally I wouldn't setup a VPN, i'd use ftp (unless you need an ultra secure connection)

    Is the desktop you intend to run it on a PC or a mac? I did this on a PC once, after following this guide on how to do it. It won't require you to set up a VPN as you could access your network using this ftp://yourusername:yourpassword@yourftpserversname from any webrowser but I recommend downloading a program like cyberduck to your MBP to connect to your desktop server, it is free as well!

    If the desktop machine is a mac then you can enable it as an ftp server under system preferences -> sharing and then follow the instructions (skipping out all the ones applicable to userve)

    Laslty, check if your networkcard and motherboard support Wakeup On Lan (WOL). This will allow you to leave your computer turned off, and then turn it on via the internet before turning it off when you are finished, handy for saving electrcity.
     
  3. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    round the corner
    #3
    For me I'm thinking that an FTP server will be fine for what you need

    As mentioned you can enable the FTP fuction from inside the Sharing Preferences

    You will also need to open up ports (21) on the wireless router and properly on your cable modem as well. On most broadband connections you are given a Dynamic IP address which can change from time to time and so it might be an idea to get a Dynamic Domain Name so that you will be able to stay in contact

    These are free and you can get them from a range of providers, this is the one that I use for example: Dynamic DNS

    You will also need a client on your side that will send updates to the service on when your IP address changes:

    Download Mac Client

    Install and Enter the Login Details for your account and that will keep the DDNS Servers up to date

    Now all you need is an FTP client like Cyberduck and you can then login to your Mac via FTP using: ftp://username@yourdynamicdomain.org:21

    I've properly missed one or two things out but you get the picture, if you need help let me know
     
  4. ndmccormack thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    Thanks for the replies

    FTP probably will be good enough for my needs. I had imagined setting up a mp3 server, but to be honest its probably a little out of my league and not really needed!!

    I'm still a little confused with the whole IP address situation.

    if my external/router IP address is 83.xx.xx.xx and my internal IP address is 192.168.1.2. How will the FTP software know to hook into my server, when I just point it at my router IP address?

    Thanks for the info.
     
  5. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    round the corner
    #5
    This is where port forwarding comes in

    When you open up firewall ports on the cable modem and on your wireless router you are saying that FTP traffic can come through and you can point the traffic to a 192.168.1.x address (this will be the server's address)

    In order to ensure that the local IP address for the server stays the same you will need to setup the IP manually for it
     
  6. mcmadhatter macrumors 6502

    mcmadhatter

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2005
    Location:
    Bath, UK
    #6
    Ah well if you wanted to set up an mp3 streaming server why not say lol ;)


    Download this There is a guide on how to set it up on the website
     
  7. ndmccormack thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    This seems a lot easier than I had imagined.

    Is there any reason why I can't just access my server over the standard afp protocol? therefore being able to mount it on my desktop of my laptop??

    Cheers for all the info btw.
     
  8. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    round the corner
    #8
    If you really wanted to you could do it with AFP

    However I'm not certain of the security risks with doing that :D
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    Keep in mind that opening up FTP isn't the most secure thing in the world. You would be better off turning on Remote Login in System Preferences->Sharing, then connecting via SSH and copying with SCP. It's much more secure. There are also ways to set up the web server to use SSL (HTTPS), but perhaps that's more involved than you'd like.
     
  10. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    ++ What he said. FPT transmits your password in clear text which anyone can see. Its like walking toa mall and yelling out your e-mail passoword. Will anyone care? 99% no. Its that 1% you need to be concerned about.
    It would be way better to simply turn on SSH and use that. I mean its built into OS X. You may as well use it.
     

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