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Old 04-01-2013, 07:47 AM   #1
dodo101
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Serving files from a computer with dynamic IP address


I'm running Linux Mint 13 on a laptop and would like (occasionally) to give friends and family remote access to files on my machine.

My computer is connected to the internet via a normal ISP and does not have a static IP address.

What are my options in terms of serving my files this way? I would like to ensure that only trusted people can have access to my files (perhaps using a password?)

Many thanks
 
Old 04-01-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
spiky0011
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Hi

will this help
http://www.noip.com/
 
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:22 AM   #3
mddesai
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How about TeamViewer?
 
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
dodo101
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noip.com

Thank you for the information. I had a look at their web site and it looks good. They offer a free dynamic DNS option which would be sufficient for me.

However, at this stage I would rather not go into the trouble of having a fixed domain name if I can avoid it.

I'll be happy if I could just give my friends my temporary IP address over the phone and let them download my files for that session only. Is that possible?

Which leads to more questions:
1. How do I find out my external IP address?
2. Will I need to change any settings on my router?
3. How do I setup a server on Linux?
4. Is it apache server? FTP server?
5. Will I introduce security risks by running a server on my machine?

I'm not expecting full answers to those question but maybe some helpful pointers in the right direction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiky0011 View Post
Hi

will this help
http://www.noip.com/
 
Old 04-01-2013, 09:35 AM   #5
spiky0011
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Hi

Google will show you your external add just search "my ip"


What distro do you have ??


I use ssh for file transfer, you would have to install ssh server, It should be in the resportoies if ou dont have it,
Yes you would have to set up port forwarding in the router

Security risks yes always but can be reduced a number of ways.
 
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:40 AM   #6
273
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Your router may well list your external IP address and, yes, you will need to open the correct port on the router.
The easiest option may well be Apache, with FTP being as easy for your relatives and friends but a little longer setup time. SFTP (which you get by installing an SSH server) is more secure but means giving people user accounts on your PC.
What you could do is setup an Apache server, say, and then only open the port to the internet when you want to allow people access or stop and start the Apache service manually as required or both.
I actually set up Debian in Virtualbox so that I could play with Apache and other servers without giving access to my real machine. Then I could just send files to the VM through SFTP when I wanted to serve them up to friends.
 
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:46 AM   #7
schneidz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodo101 View Post
Thank you for the information. I had a look at their web site and it looks good. They offer a free dynamic DNS option which would be sufficient for me.

However, at this stage I would rather not go into the trouble of having a fixed domain name if I can avoid it.

I'll be happy if I could just give my friends my temporary IP address over the phone and let them download my files for that session only. Is that possible?

Which leads to more questions:
1. How do I find out my external IP address?
[schneidz]: you go into your routers configuration page (i have a linksys e1200 and it is under the status -- internet ip address:)
2. Will I need to change any settings on my router?
[schneidz]: yes, you will need to do port-forwarding in your routers configuration page
3. How do I setup a server on Linux?
[schneidz]: on most distros you would use the service command to start and stop services.
4. Is it apache server? FTP server?
[schneidz]: depends on how you wish to share information, if you want a web-site then use apache httpd server; ftp is for file transfer (it is old and deprecated so do not use) you can use scp/sftp/sshfs for file transfer or to create a filesystem network instead
5. Will I introduce security risks by running a server on my machine?
[schneidz]: yes, anytime you open ports on a machine (or anything for that matter) you expose it to some level of risk.

I'm not expecting full answers to those question but maybe some helpful pointers in the right direction?
[schneidz]: my opinions in-line.
 
Old 04-01-2013, 09:46 AM   #8
poe101
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1. How do I find out my external IP address?
In the browser url on any machine on your home network got to whaysmyip.net when the page opens your external IP is at the very top.

2. Will I need to change any settings on my router?
You may need to set up port forwarding for port 80 to your specific machine's internal ip address.

3. How do I setup a server on Linux?
Depends on where you are starting from if you have an old machine as I did you could install Ubuntu from scratch http://www.ubuntu.com/download/server but there are lots Linux versions to choose from or you may just want to install/open Apache on an existing machine.

4. Is it apache server? FTP server?
Ubuntu uses Apache by default and FTP is just one protocol that alow remote access however FTP would not ne recommended for remote access these days, much more secure is something like SSH access.

5. Will I introduce security risks by running a server on my machine?
Always! Any machine on the internet is at risk but there are documents on how to harden your server to minimize the risks Ubuntu had a good one when I was setting up a couple of years back.

Last edited by poe101; 04-01-2013 at 09:48 AM.
 
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:05 AM   #9
dodo101
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Great replies

I'm overwhelmed by all the great replies so far. You gave me a lot of food for thought!
 
Old 04-01-2013, 11:00 AM   #10
dodo101
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Remote Desktop Applications

Ok, having thought about this for a while, I decided that running a server may be a bit of an overkill for my needs. Although the information I was given will come in useful if I choose to do so in the future. Many thanks for that.

But for a simple exchange of files between me and my friends it may be that a remote desktop application will do just fine.

TeamViewer was kindly suggested by mddesai. This product seems almost too good to be true: it is free, with a clean user interface, allowing simple drag and drop of files to and from remote machines. It even appears to have voice and video over IP capabilities out of the box. Can it really be that good for free?

In addition, it doesn't appear in the Mint software repositories and that makes me worry it may not be so trustworthy. Do I worry too much?

A search in the Mint software repositories came up with:
1. Remmina
2. Vinagre
3. gnome-rdp

Can anyone recommend any of those applications or others? How can I assess which ones are trustworthy before I install them on my machine?

Many thanks
 
Old 04-01-2013, 11:19 AM   #11
273
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The remote desktop products included in Linux would require changes to your friends' routers to allow you to connect and would thus leave them with ports open to the internet. Used on a local network they're decent enough but across the internet I can only think of TeamViewer which allows Linux machines to control Windows ones and vice-versa without lots of fuss and fiddling at both ends of the connection.
As for the trustworthiness of TeamViewer as far as I have been able to ascertain it is trustworthy and used by big organisations. I think the business model is that on trying thee free version you'll like it so much that if you're in the business of IT support you'll pay them for extra services and functions.
 
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:28 AM   #12
spiky0011
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Hi

What ever happens you will have to open ports on the router
 
Old 04-01-2013, 11:38 AM   #13
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiky0011 View Post
Hi

What ever happens you will have to open ports on the router
Using TeamViewer doesn't require any ports being opened. They use central servers to traverse NAT. Hence my suggestion that it's the easiest way to go about this.
 
Old 04-01-2013, 11:43 AM   #14
spiky0011
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Sorry 273 didn't know that learn something ever day
 
Old 04-01-2013, 11:46 AM   #15
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiky0011 View Post
Sorry 273 didn't know that learn something ever day
No worries. Skype does the same also, hence their need for central servers.
 
  


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