Outside Access

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Revision as of 05:08, 22 May 2008 by Perspectoff (Talk | contribs) (Allow outside access for tech support)

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Outside Access Admin Page

In the LinuxMCE Admin Website-->Advanced-->Firewall section, both of the following boxes must be checked to allow users to access your system from outside the home:

  • Allow outside access to the website
  • ... on port (-port#-)

They are disabled by default at installation, for security reasons.

Accessing the Admin page from the Internet

Once checked, you will be able to access the Admin Website from any browser of the Internet using the the URL:

  • http://youripaddress/pluto-admin
where youripaddress is either the actual IP address of your home (in the format 223.244.16.155) or is the domain name assigned to your home (such as www.myrobothouse.org).

Accessing the Web Orbiter from the Internet

Similarly, You will be able to access the Web Orbiter from any browser of the Internet using the the URL:

  • http://youripaddress/pluto-admin/weborbiter.php

Potential Problems

Dynamic IP Addresses

You must know the IP address for your home. Most residential DSL and cable internet service providers do not provide their customers with a static IP address and the IP address frequently changes -- a dynamic IP address. A free service called dyndns.org allows you to register a domain name for your home. DynDNS keeps a constantly updated database that links the registered domain name with an IP address. A background utility on your Core sends information to DynDNS whenever the IP address changes, which is updated in the DynDNS database.

The username and password you create at dyndns.org can be entered into the LinuxMCE Admin Website-->Advanced-->Network-->Dynamic DNS Settings.

Whenever your IP address then changes dynamically, the Core will then report the updated IP address to DynDNS, which will continue to link your domain name with the new IP address.

Dyndns settings.png

If, for example, you registered a domain name called robothouse.dyndns.org at DynDNS.org, you could access your Admin website by the URL:

  • http://robothouse.dyndns.org/pluto-admin

Connection Security

Connections to LinuxMCE from the Internet are not intrinsically secure, since data is sent as plain text. It would be possible for someone to "listen" to your communication and intercept your password and thereby be able to control your house.

To solve this you can obtain your own SSL secure certificate from a company like Verisign. (This is what banks and online merchants use to encrypt confidential financial transactions.) With a secure certificate you could access your web site with an "https://" instead of "http://". Everything would be secure and encrypted. However setting up your own secure certificate can be costly and complicated.

Choosing the port

You may find that your ISP blocks incoming connections on port 80. (Port 80 is the port internet browsers use to connect to a web server.)

Try changing the port from 80 to something else, like 3080. You would need to access your web site like this:

  • http://youripaddress:3080/pluto-admin

Allowing outside access for tech support

The "Allow outside access" option was also used for Pluto tech support to be able to help configure systems or troubleshoot problems.

Note: LinuxMCE does not offer Tech Support using this feature.

There is no 'back door' to LinuxMCE. No remote access is allowed if this box remains unchecked.

To allow remote access, the box must be checked and a password entered. A remote user would need to enter the password to login. As soon as you uncheck the box (or change the password) the Core will immediately drop the connection. Remote access connections are encrypted using SSH and therefore are secure.