Access your Airport disk from anywhere for free

by postbreak

One feature of Apple’s MobileMe service is the ability to get to your printers, disks, and Macs from anywhere on the internet. I would be a customer if the Back to my Mac feature worked with both Macs and PCs but you can’t support everything. At around $99 a year MobileMe is expensive. Sure it gives you a lot of features but with a little time on your hands you can get a few of these features for free.

Before I get started let me list the things you will need to accomplish this task.

  • Airport Extreme Base Station, Airport Express, or Time Capsule
  • PC or Mac that is usually always on and connected to the internet
  • Dyndns account (free or paid)
  • Hard drive connected to the supported router

I have a Linux server which my Airport Extreme sits on so I decided to finally figure out how to update my Dyndns account with it. I followed the guide here and it’s working nicely. You can get a Mac widget and just search for a similar one for Windows. Don’t forget to sign up for a free account on the Dyndns website. I suggest you change the update time to 4 hours since it will cache nicely if your update computer ever loses network connectivity.

So now that you have your updating setup complete lets move to the router. I use an Airport Extreme so I am not sure if the screenshots will be exactly the same. First go to the Base Station tab and then click Edit.

Airport Settings

Now simply put your Dyndns account information in and you’re good to go. Just remember to use Dyndns.com and not your custom static url such as “your-username.isa-geek.com” or whatever url you choose on Dyndns.

Dyndns Settings

Before you update your settings be sure to add “Share disks over the Internet using Bonjour” in the disks settings. You can see the option in the screenshot below.

Disks settings

For security reasons you’re going to want to turn off Guest access. Now at this point you’re basically finished. If you use multiple routers like I do you need to make sure you port forward port 548 to your Apple router. So you’re probably wondering “Ok great, now how the hell do I get to my drive?” Well that’s pretty easy.

To get to your drive simply connect to your custom Dyndns url from Finder as seen in the screenshots below.

Finder Select


Connect Screen

That’s it! If you’ve done everything correctly your disk should mount in about 4 to 5 seconds. Finder will query you for your username and password and you will connect to the drive instantly. The latency will also depend on your upload speed at home. I have yet to try printing over the internet as my printer is plugged directly into my Linux server. I’ll be sure to update this post if I decide printing over the internet is a necessity.

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