If you have a lot of data -- photos, movies, backups, or other files -- a home server is a great way to keep them all in one place for use throughout your house. The Fractal Design Node 804 is my choice for a good-looking, functional PC case for a DIY home server.
Tagged With home server
Just because your email account doesn't offer IMAP access doesn't mean you have to put up with reading and deleting the same messages ad nauseum. Web how-to site Webmonkey offers a detailed rundown on setting up the free Dovecot server on your system to pull in any kind of mail and dish it out in that synced, folder-sorted, always-accessible IMAP way. This guide is specific to Ubuntu and Debian-based systems, but Dovecot is available for lots of open-source platforms. If running your own box seems like a bit of overkill, you can always set up Gmail with IMAP as a go-between.
Setting up a personal wiki is a great way to set up a digital notebook for your thoughts and tasks, but it also requires getting familiar with the Wikipedia editing system—asterisks, brackets, and all. Luminotes has you simply start typing, using familiar rich text buttons to add bullets and other styling, and a simple linking and tagging system for your notes. There's options to share and collaborate with others, as well as easy exporting and printing. Luminotes is available both as a package for hosted web space and as a somewhat-limited free account at Luminotes' servers.
You're at a friends house, extolling the virtues of your latest TV obsession or music kick, and you can't wait to get them into it as well. Usually, this conversation ends with a promise of burned CDs—but why not offer them what you've already grabbed from BitTorrent, or give them a user name and password to get what you're about to start downloading? TorrentFlux, a free, open-source, server-based BitTorrent manager, can do all those things. If you've got a Windows or Linux computer you keep on most of the time, a home server, or even hosted space, you can take control of your downloads. Follow through the jump for a tutorial on getting started with TorrentFlux.
When you're at a computer that's missing a vital file or application, like an office workstation that's locked down, a friend's system or coffee shop computer, you can still get to a desktop that contains your essentials—on the web. A "webtop" is a virtual desktop that you access using only a browser, and it can include much of the stuff you'd expect on a local computer desktop: like file storage and management, a calendar, RSS reader, email client, and photo viewer. While there are several web desktops available these days, the free and open source EyeOS application is the most accessible, useful, and promising one out there. Follow along to see what a web-based desktop looks like, and how it can help you get things done when you're locked down or out of pocket.
Backing up your data on a regular basis is important, and turning a spare computer into a backup server is often the best way to make sure it gets done. But most methods require either a good deal of command-line learning or serve only one operating system. Not with Restore, a free, open-source backup system that can install or run from a live CD, work with any OS, and operate through a simple browser-based interface. Today I'll demonstrate backing up a Windows laptop to an older desktop, but you'll see how Restore can be easily molded to fit just about any home backup needs.
Free Windows utility PDFCreator is a great all-in-one PDF wrangler and paper-saving print option. If you've got more than one computer at home doing some regular printing, PDFCreator can also be deployed on a simple Windows home server box (like the kind you might built a home FTP server on) to help everyone in your household save paper. The Confessions of a Freeware Junkie blog has the lowdown on getting PDFCreator set up for creating and sharing PDFs, or securely locking away each users' printouts, if that's more your speed. Whether single-user or network-installed, PDFCreator is a free download for Windows systems only. Create a shared PDF Printer using PDFCreator
Like a famed race horse or a classic book, you don't just throw away a laptop because it's banged up a little. Even if it seems outdated and underpowered, most any laptop is still small, quiet, and relatively low on power consumption, making it a seriously valuable spare to keep handy—even without a working screen. With some free software, a little know-how and some creative thinking about your home network, nearly any old laptop can find its second wind, and today I'll run through some of the best ways to get it there.Photo by daveynin.
You don't have to lease server space or keep your home computer always on to access a personal web server—you can run a web, FTP, and database server straight from a USB drive. A slim web server package called XAMPP fits on a USB stick and can run database-driven webapps like the software that powers Wikipedia, MediaWiki. Almost two years ago you learned how to set up your "personal Wikipedia" on your home web server to capture ideas and track document revisions in a central knowledge repository. Today we'll set up MediaWiki on your flash drive for access on any Windows PC on the go.
Windows only: Freeware application HFS (HTTP File Server) makes it dead simple to run a server to share files from your computer over the web. All you have to do is run the application on the computer with files you want to share, then selectively pick files or directories you want to allow access to. In addition, you can even upload files to your HFS server from elsewhere. You'll need to set up port forwarding for port 80 on the computer running HFS and then either remember your public IP address (which may change) or assign a name to your home server (for free) so it's easy to remember. HFS is freeware, Windows only, and weighs in at a svelte 550KB. HFS Advanced mode even supports user accounts.
Upload and download files on your home PC from anywhere by turning it into a personal FTP server. With a home FTP server, you can upload and download files on your home hard drive from the office, your friend's house or to your laptop while you're on the road using any FTP client. Setting up an FTP server may sound like a complicated undertaking only system administrators can handle, but it's actually quite easy and free with open source software FileZilla. You've already heard of FileZilla's FTP client application, but the FileZilla project also offers a server application for Windows. Today we'll build an FTP server on your Windows PC with FileZilla for easy file transfers from any computer.
Macworld has discovered that there's a lot more functionality hidden in Leopard's new Screen Sharing application (yes, it's actually just a normal application and not some obscure service), and unlocking it is just a matter of a couple of simple Terminal commands. First, you'll want to find the Screen Sharing app in /System/Library/CoreServices and drag it into your Dock or copy it to your Applications folder for easier access. Once you do that, fire up Terminal and enter the following (one-line) command, which will provide easy-to-read shortcuts for connecting to any local computer:defaults write com.apple.ScreenSharing ShowBonjourBrowser_Debug 1Now run the Screen Sharing app and you should see an interface similar to what you see in the screenshot above. But that's not all. The next Terminal tweak adds toolbar buttons to the Screen Sharing window to control the quality of your session, window control, and a few other useful tweaks.
Web site YouGetSignal scans your external IP address to let you know which ports are being successfully forwarded through your firewall and which ports are closed for business. Whether you've set up your own home server or gotten down and dirty with BitTorrent, chances are you've had at least one run-in with port forwarding, the process that lets computers outside your network through your firewall to access your computer. If you don't know how to set up port forwarding but would like to, check out our guide.
Linux only: The Ubuntu Unleashed blog has a great tutorial on remote controlling your Linux system—even through a Java-enabled browser. Here's the whole deal:Install packages. Code: sudo apt-get install x11vnc vnc-javaSet up a password for clients. Code: x11vnc -storepasswdOpen up ports 5800 and 5900 on your firewallRun the terminal command: x11vnc -forever -usepw -httpdir /usr/share/vnc-java/ -httpport 5800 and add it for auto-starting in future sessionsThat third step isn't quite so simple, but luckily we've covered that ground before. The same warnings and disclaimers about running a VNC server in that link above apply here. While the guide and code are written from an Ubuntu users' perspective, the packages and commands, possibly with a little tweaking, should be available in most distributions. Windows and Mac users can get help setting up their own VNC connections through this guide.Setup VNC Server for Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon in 3 Easy Steps
Mac OS X only: If you run any kind of server on your Mac with Leopard, you'll dig its revamped Sharing and Network System Preferences panels, which offer new features in a reorganised interface. One huge drawback in Tiger is that unless you install extra software, you can turn on Windows Sharing for your home folder only. No more. Using Leopard, share any folder on your Mac via FTP, Samba, or AFP (Apple Filing Protocol), from a single, easy interface. Take a closer look after the jump.