Remote Access to Home Server

jrbanderson
jrbanderson used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi,
I have a server at home, with two computers connected to it.  The connections are through a 4 port hub.

I would like to be able to access the server from outside of my home.  What steps do I need to take to do this?  (for ex. I have remote desktop on my computer at work, and assume I would use this in the process to connect to server at home)  Thank you.
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what kind of server, and what would you like to access?

Commented:
There's a few ways you can accomplish this. If you have rdp enabled on your server then you'll need to port forward on your router/firewall (example 3389 forward to your homserver) Then you'll need to know your external ip address to connect to from the outside.
Honestly though, I find a simply soloution that's free through logmein. Logmein is free (if you use the simple version) and easy to install on your server. You can then access it from any web browser from where ever you are. I've used this as a soloution for many of my clients.

Author

Commented:
Was just an old desktop computer (I think Pentium 3), and would like to have access to the myriad of files saved on it.
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logmein will let you access the computer's desktop remotly but not the files, i would use another logmein's product called Hamachi which will create a secure vpn between multiple computer. Its safer then forwarding ports.

https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi2/ 
Both of the above mentioned solutions are wonderful ones for sure and most certainly can be used. Though since we are talking about WHS (Windows Home Server) specifically in this thread, here is how you do it with WHS.

> Set Up Your Home Server With a Static IP Address
> Connect to your Windows Home Server Console
> Click on Settings (far right hand side)
> Click on Remote Access (left hand column)
> Turn On Remote Access
> Under Domain name - Click on Configure and use the wizard to create your WHS Domain Name
> Ensure Your Home Computers Are Configured For Remote Access

You will access your WHS through https://YourDomainName.homeserver.com and from here you can access all of your data and connect as desired to any computer in your home connected to your WHS. There are additional things you can do once you get familiar with WHS with the use of some fun plug-ins.

If you want a more explicit step by step with images and such please see the link below.

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/networking/?p=258

Enjoy!!!

Author

Commented:
The server in question is running windows xp pro.
i dont think he is running "windows home server" i think he said he has a server at home.

Author

Commented:
Correct, its just an older computer running XP Pro that I setup to store files on and act as a print server too.  I would like to access this "server" from outside the home.  For example, I would like to be able to view the files on it.

From what I read on LogMeIn, you cannot TRANSFER files, but could you not VIEW them?  If you coudl view them, could you not then simply email them to yourself?  This would suffice for me.

I also would like to go with the simplest and safest route.  If thats LogMeIn, great, if not, I would like to know what it is.  Thanks!!!!
i would look into logmein's hamachi product, it is free it is different then logmein's remote access product.

you can access your homeserver like \\servername and see all of your files from anywhere.

Commented:
Logmein is safe and yes, you could simply email them to yourself.

Author

Commented:
So Hamachi vs. Free product, any comments on which would be better in the long run?
hamachi is free.
If you want to setup some cool stuff you can do the following:

> Setup the system with a static IP (this can be done while leaving DHCP active on your router)
> Setup and install an IP redirect free from - http://www.no-ip.com/
> Login to your router and open/forward Port 3389 to the system's IP address (this will allow you to access the computer from anywhere using the Windows Remote Desktop application on any windows computer - when connecting you will use the URL you create with no-ip)
> Download and install Filezilla FTP server on the system at your house - free - http://filezilla-project.org/ > create a user account and select directory access and configure the server to use data port range 50000 - 60000
> Open/forward port 21 and port range 50000 - 60000to the IP of this same system
> Download and install Filezilla client on whatever computer you want to access from http://filezilla-project.org/ and setup to connect to your home FTP server (address will also be the URL from No-IP)

Now you can connect from anywhere and transfer files to and from from anywhere. You do not need to pay your home ISP extra for a static IP and all of this costs you exactly $0.00
Oh and BTW - Sorry for the WHS mistake - Sometimes I am the doof whom needs to read better :-)
Additionally - If you would like to setup an automated backup of a remote system (or one in your house) to hit this system you can also check out AllWay Sync (free for home users) after you setup your FTP server (for remote systems - no needed for systems on your local network). http://www.allwaysync.com/

Commented:
Wait, do you want to go with hamachi? Hamachi creates a virtual network. The network will consist of those machines you add to it and you could drag and drop files across it like a regular network but logmein allows you to remote control the desktop. Just wanted to make sure you're downloading what you want.

Author

Commented:
I would like to be able to access the files on the server at home from outside my home.  I am fine if I can only view them, but would have to email them to myself if I wanted them (ie. I am ok emailing them, I do not need to have transferring capabilities).

So LogMeIn Free would be best then?
@ jrbanderson, If you read what I posted above, I just explained how you can have your cake and eat it too. Access from anywhere and transfer  to and from anywhere.

Author

Commented:
The other options sound simpler and "perhaps" safer since there is no opening of ports?
Commented:
There are no opening ports with either. Use logmein if you want to email the files to yourself. Use hamachi if you want to create a virtual network to drag and drop your files. Both safe and are powerful tools.
Sure, installing an application that will get you part of the way there is surely going to be easier. There is nothing at all unsafe about what I explained to do, I have been running with this config out of my home for the last 8 years without a hitch and have also done similar setups for companies as well without experiencing any issues..

This is one of those occasions where you will get out of it what you put in :-)

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