Best way to set up mac mini as home as well as remote server?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by macbook123, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #1
    I just got the server mac mini and would like to use it as a machine to do heavy lifting on video imports and editing, for streaming movies to the projector, and for doing heavy lifting on computations I do for work. I'd like to be able to access it from other computers through the home network, as well as remotely when I'm at work or traveling. How do I best set this up?

    During setup I chose the option that makes it possible to use it as Home Server as well as remotely via VNC. Is that the right option?

    Right now I'm trying to access the Mini through my home network from the Air. I can't turn on screen sharing because it complains that it is "currently being controlled by the Remote Management service". What does this mean and how can I change it?
     
  2. Vermifuge macrumors 6502

    Vermifuge

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #2
    I have a similar setup at home / work. What your looking for is under Remote Management under options. Your settings should look something like this.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2006
    #3
    Thanks! Will try that out in a moment.

    Just a question about VNC (to which I set my server during the initial setup): is there a risk of others who happen to have/try out the VNC server address mine is set to to get into my MacMini from the outside world? If so, how can I avoid this? Or should I turn VNC off completely? My understanding is that only VNC allows me to see my desktop from the outside world (though I have not yet understood how to do it).

    A related question: I've heard that the IP address changes frequently (I'm have Comcast cable) so I have to find a way to make it static so I can always see the MacMini when I'm at work. How do I do this?

    Sorry for all the stupid questions.
     
  4. Vermifuge macrumors 6502

    Vermifuge

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #4
    1) Nothing is without risk, you can change the port but a determined person will still try and get in. You can set a password and you have to log into the server when you connect so that's two levels of passwords. that's a start but really noting is 100%

    2) You can try and get static IPs from comcast (I get a static IP through AYT&T Uverse.) another options is to use a dynamic DNS service. Like DynDNS or something like that.
     
  5. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2006
    #5
    Thanks, Vermifuge. I take it you also have VNC enabled? Or is it possible to see the shared screen from the outside world without VNC?
     
  6. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2006
    #6
    Following up on my previous question, is there a better way to access the computer from the outside world than via VNC?
     
  7. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #7
    I have VNC turned on, but not accessible from the the big bad internet. However, I do have ssh access from the outside, so what I do is to tunnel VNC through ssh if I need it like this (in Terminal): ssh -L 5900:localhost:5959 <user>@<internet_ip> and then start screen sharing to localhost:5959 to get my server desktop.

    Works like a charm, and it is secure.
     
  8. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #8
    Thanks. I have another stupid question: how do I find out what I need to enter for internet_ip above? And: doesn't the internet_ip change frequently depending on my service provider? Also: are the numbers 5900 and 5959 the same for everybody, or might they be different in my case?

    Thanks!
     
  9. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #9
    The easiest is to sign up for the free dyndns service @ www.dyndns.com, which will let you set up an easy to remember name using one of their domains. Set it up properly, and if your IP address changes, it will get updated automagically at dyndns.

    5900 is the standard VNC port, which you will need to use too. 5959 is just an arbitrary port I picked that isn't used. You can use 5900 twice - as long as you do not have VNC running at the machine you are trying to connect to your server from.
     
  10. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #10
    Thanks. I remember reading somewhere that Airport Extreme doesn't automatically relay the new IP address to dyndns if it changes, and that one has to let special software run in the background to relay that information. Is that true? I.e. do any of you have an Airport Extreme, or do you all use a different router?
     
  11. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #11
    No, I have a Cisco which can update dyndns itself if the outside IP address changes. But the little program dyndns offers works just as well. Just let it auto start at boot and leave it running in the background. It is a tiny program that doesn't use any significant resources.
     
  12. Vermifuge macrumors 6502

    Vermifuge

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #12
    This is one of the many reasons I opted for a static IP
     
  13. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #13
    If you're a current mobileme member, the Back 2 My Mac feature should take care of what you're looking for. The B2MM service handles dynamic IP address changes, and connection to your computer is supposedly handled in a secure manner similar to SSH (so long as nobody cracks your password). As far as I understand, it's a bit more "stealthy" than just leaving an SSH port open on your computer since only B2MM services can look to access it. I used to SSH between my home and work Mac, but since my work mac was on a "relatively well-known" network and had a static IP, eventually random people started to try to break in through the SSH port by spamming usernames/password login attempts to the IP address. Partially due to this but also other reasons I got mobileme, and ever since I was able to disable the SSH port and just log in using B2MM. Inspecting "secure.log" using the console I could see that the break-in attempts stopped.

    If you're not currently a mobileme member, I think with the release of iCloud later this year, all iCloud members (free) will have screen sharing/B2MM. At least that's what I heard.

    Ruahrc
     
  14. Sdevante macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    #14

    I have an Airport Express and I have been using DynDns Updater which seems to be doing a good job as my server has been consistently available online.
     

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