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friends.

I'm homeless, and am spending my time creating an MMORPG video game based on Star Trek Online (The IP left the country, leaving it wide open for use in the States).

With this, I'd like to create a few web pages for direct entry into my database, host them on my laptop that I take with me everywhere, and post a named link from a dynamic DNS service (such as : startrekonline.freedns.org) or something like that to let people 'contribute' to my database of planets, star systems, cultures, and other in game things when I am online and my machine is up and running.

Since I don't have money, there's no real viable solutions for hosting SQL Server offline, and since I want to add a 'chat with' feature which lets me interact with people should they want to chat about my project.

The backend is SQL Server (2005), the front end of the game is C++ and C# with OpenGl, and the web server is IIS on a windows 7 machine.

So yes, I do understand the web site will ONLY be available when my machine is online. I'm fine with that. And since I what i am doing isn't that much different than a chat or messenger application with formatted messages, I figure it's not gonna upset Starbuck's where I can work with the free wifi.

So here's the problem in a nutshell:

I'd like to post a link to Star Trek blogs and fan fiction sites telling the community about my project, and if my site is down it simply means I'm sleeping in my tent in the park.

Leveraging Free DNS, my IP would become visible to the outside world - but the problem is the firewall, right?

Are there any services which allow me to maintain a link when I am connected, and allow me to redirect that request to my local web server?

If not.

Advice on how it can be done (not why it can't be) would GREATLY be appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  • Does this help?? windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/…
    – closetnoc
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:02
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    When you use a dynamic DNS service, it forwards client requests to a publicly accessible (though dynamic) IP address. Free WIFI networks however assign private IP addresses (via NAT) that allow outgoing requests, but block incoming requests to the standard ports that servers and chat applications run on (e.g., port 80 for web servers). In order to serve content from behind a NAT server and firewall, you would need a proxy application that would open a tunneling socket connection between your laptop and a public host, but you'd still need the front-end of that to be hosted somewhere.
    – dan
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:16
  • CDNs can cache and serve static content when the origin server (i.e., your laptop) is down, but dynamic content is more tricky to cache. I'd really suggest searching for free web hosting accounts, or those with free tiers like Amazon and Microsoft Azure: azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/websites
    – dan
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:16
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    BTW, with your excellent skill set, including being able to communicate well too (I read a lot of posts here, definitely not as well written), you should be getting paid pretty decently for developing sites. There's high demand for web developers and programmers currently, so to offer some unsolicited advice…focusing your time on getting your skills known to employers and/or bidding on freelance jobs, might provide better resources for both your living situation and your project - best of luck with both!
    – dan
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:19
  • @dan Sounds like an answer to me. At least a start.
    – closetnoc
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:44

2 Answers 2

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Unfortunately the vast majority of public free WiFi access points will likely be blocking inbound traffic, UDP traffic including P2P, SSH, TCP multiplexing and numerous other methods commonly used by reverse proxies specifically to prevent the use of their service for what could typically be high bandwidth usage such as web servers, file sharing and gaming, and they do this to limit their legal liability as well as ensuring there is sufficient bandwidth for their business use and for all customers to benefit. Whilst there may be some generous free WiFi access points (or more likely poorly configured/restricted) it is not generally very easy to get a reverse proxy up and running to host a local webserver unless you connect via a VPN service (some publicly available free WiFi access points will also block VPN's). That being said, if you find your WiFi provider actually does let the traffic through and you're not breaching a written acceptable use policy, then a reverse tunnel may be your solution.

If you found a free or cheap web hosting provider (ideally a package that includes some kind of database, such as MySQL) you could upload scripts and content OK from your laptop and communicate with others on the website with your laptop operating as a client just as everyone else (though perhaps with additional permissions?). Note that whilst MySQL and SQL Server are in some ways vastly different product offerings, if your solution is primarily based on standardized SQL queries they may easily port between a variety of different database solutions. MySQL is suggested simply as the most commonly offered with cheap or free hosting.

If the primary purpose of your project is exploring a passion rather than earning money, it might be worth considering making this into an open source project, since hosting and collaboration/chat tools are in many cases available for free forever to open source projects (for example, SourceForge).

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  • I'm hosting a web server on my own laptop through a reverse tunnel, which doesn't require port forwarding. Apr 21 at 16:03
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Given your reported lack of resources a free hosting service would be more suitable. As was advised in a previous answer most free wifi hotspots block incoming traffic. Additionally use of a dynamic DNS service will only map the network IP address to a domain name and so any connections to the domain name would be effectively only connecting to the free wifi gateway instead of to your laptop. There are services such as x10hosting which provide free web hosting on a subdomain under their own domain names and as long as you agree to post to their forums on a regular basis. I have used their services before for small communities with no hosting budget and for a free service they are very reliable. Similar services would do what you want for free as well but x10hosting is the specific service I am familiar with.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with x10hosting and have simply used their services in the past.

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