Access Files From Your Mac Computer Remotely
You've just arrived at school / work when you realize you left some very important files on your Mac at home. No problem, with a few settings and a free program, you can securely transfer files to and from your home Mac OS X computer from a remote location.
This tutorial will show you how to set up a Secure Shell Server (SSH) on your Mac OS X computer for the purpose of transferring files to and from a remote location.
Why use a SSH server ? Unlike a home webserver, SSH allows you to get files and put files on the server remotely. Unlike a typical home FTP (file transfer protocol) server, SSH is secure; authentication and file transfers are encrypted.
What you need:
- Mac OS X computer.
- A fast DSL or Cable internet connection. (No dialup, too slow)
- Domain name (free or paid) for your home connection
- Access to your router's admin panel.
This tutorial covers the steps for Mac OS X 10.5 but the steps are similar for other versions. You will need an "always on" internet connection, the faster the better. You need to know the IP address given to you by your internet service provider at the DSL / Cable modem connection to connect. You can check it here. If your IP address changes frequently (a common home setup) you have a dynamic IP. You won't need to know the IP if you get a free dynamic domain name service. You just use your domain name address and it will connect to your home IP address automatically. See this tutorial to get a free dns domain name. You need to let the router know which machine is the SSH server in order for the SSH traffic to pass through so you need access to your routers' admin panel.
What you will do:
- Configure your Mac as a SSH secure shell server.
- Assign a permanent fixed IP address to your Mac computer.
- Open a port (channel) on your router for the Mac SSH server's IP address.
- Download a FREE program for your remote computer to use to connect to your new SSH server.
Step One: Configure your Mac as a SSH server.
Go to System Preferences, Sharing.
In the Sharing dialog box, check Remote Login and then click the plus sign to add users who you will provide access to.
Step Two: Assign Your Mac a Fixed IP Address
Soon you'll need to configure your router to forward incoming SSH traffic to this computer's IP address so you want to make sure the address is static (fixed).
Go to System Preferences, Network.
Take note of your current setting, it may be "Using DHCP". You'll need to change that configuration to "Manually". For simplicity, you can use the same IP address that is assigned to your machine currently.
Take note of your current IP address, DNS server address(es) and domain if applicable. When you switch to "Manually" those fields will be cleared and you'll have to re-input the information. Just re-enter the info you were using with DHCP. These are SAMPLE settings shown here.
Here is the BEFORE picture using DHCP:
Here is the AFTER picture configured Manually:
Now your Mac's IP is static and will not change when it reboots. That's good.