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Turn Your iPhone Into a Web Server 158

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the because-you-can dept.
miller60 writes "A Japanese company called Freebit has released ServersMan, an app that turns the iPhone into a web server. It debuted in Japan in February, has now been launched in the US, and is being touted as a 'Personal Data Center.' Freebit also has a video with additional information on server-enabling your iPhone. 'Once the app is installed, PCs on the internet can access the iPhone to upload or download files through a browser or they can use the webDAV protocol. If the PC and the iPhone are on the same network, the PC can connect directly. If they are on separate networks, then FreeBit's VPN software will engage the connection.'"
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Turn Your iPhone Into a Web Server

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  • Hah, you wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:53PM (#27970009)
    Banned from the app store in 3, 2, 1...
    • ... and probably a good thing too. Given how much mobile phone providers like to slug their customers for traffic, what possible advantage is there to using such a device as a server?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sopssa (1498795)

        I dont know about you, but atleast here in scandinavia unlimited 5mbit 3g costs 30euros/month.

        Now, power usage might be a different thing, but it doesnt matter either if you have it wired (like I did when I used it for normal web browsing and gaming etc)

      • Given how much mobile phone providers like to slug their customers for traffic...

        Wi-fi.

        what possible advantage is there to using such a device as a server?

        Less functionality is preferable?

      • What? Letting some company dictate what you can and cannot do with a device you legitimately bought is a "good thing"? A "good thing" because you can't see "what possible advantage is there to using such a device as a server"?

        As long as you are not breaking the law, Apple has no right to block you using such applications. (And even if you are breaking the law, it's law enforcement's problem, not Apple's.)

        I myself do see an advantage in having a web server on an iPhone, if only over WiFi, and not 3G. It

    • let's say it's ok in the appstore.

      battery life reduced to 60min, 30, 10, 5, 1...

      Therefore, pretty much a niche app.

      • by samkass (174571)

        My iPhone stays plugged in at my desk most of the day at work. Not that my current company allows anything like it on the company internet, but my previous companies would have and it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to have a little test server in your pocket sometimes.

    • There are other web server type apps in the Apple store and have been there for some time. They provide a way, mostly, of moving data on and off the device, but nonetheless they still act as a web server.

      This one would be more objectionable to the ISP than any other as they hate having consumers operate servers out of their homes. That's the primary reason they capped the upload speed of cable internet.

  • apache? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:54PM (#27970027)
    So...how is this any different than installing Apache through Cydia (aside from the fact that it requires being jailbroken).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well...

      Once the app is installed, PCs on the internet can access the iPhone to upload or download files through a browser or they can use the webDAV protocol. If the PC and the iPhone are on the same network, the PC can connect directly. If they are on separate networks, then FreeBit's VPN software will engage the connection

      From the summary... That is something apache does not do out of the box.

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Because it's on the IpHoNe!

      It's rather like how you can get a patent by taking an existing idea, and doing it "On the Internet" - in this case, you take something that's been done on other phones for years, do it "On the Iphone (after jailbraking it - Apple "Just Works", don't you know)", and suddenly you have a media-worthy story.

  • How long until... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orkybash (1013349) <tim.bocekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:56PM (#27970045)
    ...apple/AT&T decides that running web servers from iPhones is taking up too much of the network's bandwidth and they flip the kill switch on this app though? I guess as long as people are just using it for personal file storage...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jez9999 (618189)

      Exactly. I'm surprised Apple are letting this fly as it is. They don't even want you running Flash on your iPhone, let alone using it as a web server.

      • I can easily imagine AT&T flipping out about it, and I'm a bit surprised that Apple's app sandboxing will let it access much of the filesystem. That said, Flash is a direct threat to the position of the app store as the single source of applications in a way that a webserver isn't.
        • I can easily imagine AT&T jumping for joy over anything that will produce more billable traffic. Why host a web server on an iPhone, BTW? Why not occasionally update a typical El Cheapo web host from your iPhone, if you are so hot to report things from it.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by NeoSkandranon (515696)

            "I can easily imagine AT&T jumping for joy over anything that will produce more billable traffic"

            I think the iPhone only comes with "unlimited" data, so I don't know that ATT will be that thrilled...

      • At this point I think we've heard enough examples to know that Apple is using a Magic 8-Ball to decide which apps make it to the store or not
      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        Apple's issue with Flash has something to do with the potential of Flash, in hands of a real Developer. It can render App Store useless. Control is gone.

        I speak about things like these

        http://g.ho.st/ [g.ho.st]
        https://buzzword.acrobat.com/ [acrobat.com]

        Flash Lite 3 is already distributed free (to developers) if you want to code an application for Symbian using Flash. Of course, Symbian has nothing to say about it.

        Imagine entering a website which will stream music to you and offer mp3 downloads for a fee, all in web browser. That is

        • by jez9999 (618189)

          And, if that's the case, also why I'm perplexed at why people like the iPhone. This level of obsessive control by Apple pisses me off.

    • by rm999 (775449) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:15PM (#27970345)

      Yeah, I don't see why they are referring to this as a "server", it's bad PR. No ISP technically lets you run a server, so why would a provider let you run one through their cell towers?

      Instead, they should call it a personal data syncing app or something.

      • "iPhone Storage Vault"

        *Homer Simpson Voice*: PATENT PENDING! =)

      • by johnw (3725)

        No ISP technically lets you run a server

        Huh?! How do all the servers get connected then?

        • by socsoc (1116769)
          Through colos and datacenters, not consumer plans.
          • Not quite true here in Australia - my ISP - Exetel - lets me run servers on my home plan. The one exception is servers sending spam mail.

            My plan provides a fixed IP, ADSL 2+, uncounted uploads, and a reasonable flat rate (AU$3 /GB) for traffic over the limits (8 GB peak, 50 GB offpeak) for AU $46 a month.

            Terms of service:
            http://www.exetel.com.au/a_acceptable_use_adsl2.php [exetel.com.au]

            In their forums Exetel management have said they have no problems with businesses using their residential services, or vice versa - they j

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sandbags (964742)

        http://worldnet.att.net/general-info/terms-dsl-data.html#useserv [att.net]

        AT&T's DSL service agreement, section 10; be Fair subsction b.: You may not use your Service connection to host a DEDICATED INTERNET server site. (emphasis mine).

        The AT&T iPhone agreement however states: "Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation . . .downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the OPERATION OF SERVERS, t

        • In the case of DSL, you CAN run a server, just not a dedicated internet server site. A Remote access server, personal FTP server, even a web or file server you run occasionally, even "most of the time" can not be considered a dedicated server.

          Sorry, but that's not correct.

          I'm not going to trawl through the link you provided, but I will point out that there are countless businesses using DSL lines to connect to the internet and I'll guarantee that many are running dedicated servers. If you doubt my words, t

          • by Sandbags (964742)

            A business account TOS and a residential accoutn TOS agreement are 2 very completely different things... and also the bill you get for that 6MB business DSL is about 3 times the price.

            AT&T may be fine with your current use, but likely that's because they have NO IDEA what you're doing... They're not interested in blanket scanning their network for people who host a simple server for personal use. Your internet load is minor by comparrison even to a casual torrent user. ...but, as soon as they decide

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Nobody's going to use a phone-based web server to serve pages to other nodes. How would you even discover the address? Or get through the AT&T firewall?

      It's for web applications where both client and server are on the same device. This is actually a very common use case. Google desktop is a good example.

    • by neoform (551705)

      3G kills your iphone's battery in less than two hours. There's no way someone could actually "run a webserver" off their iphone..

      • Well, to be technical, it didn't say "allows you to run a webserver off the battery indefinitely". It just said you could run a server. Even if it was only running for a second it was technically "running".
  • Vulnerable. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ouchie (1386333) on Friday May 15, 2009 @01:57PM (#27970061)
    I love to hear things like this. The more of these apps out there the better. Gives me more credability when my wife looks at my Iphone and asks who's Cherry and why is she sending you neked pics. I can just blame it on the script kiddies.
  • What, no link? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by raddan (519638)
    Seriously, if they think this stuff is any good, they should send it to all us good-natured Slashdot people to try it out. Wimps.
  • by saudadelinux (574392) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:01PM (#27970103)
    So what happens when you've got several thousand people trying to get on your phone's server?
    • by geekmux (1040042) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:14PM (#27970335)

      So what happens when you've got several thousand people trying to get on your phone's server?

      Hrm, lets take a guess...

      A) You find out rather quickly at the end of the month when reviewing page 32,725 if your hardcopy AT&T itemized bill that arrived on a pallet that you went over your "unlimited" data plan.

      B) You find out rather quickly that more than ten TCP streams to your phone prohibits voice sending and receiving.

      C) AT&T takes about 37 more seconds to realize that they need to block port 80 after this story was slashdotted.

      D) All the above.

      • by Krneki (1192201)
        .. and a charge for terrorism. So they don't need a court decision to cut you off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SpaceLifeForm (228190)
      You've been cored.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So what happens when you've got several thousand people trying to get on your phone's server?

      Load balancing ... that is if you have a family plan.

  • O snap! iPhone Web Server! Woot! 25% uptime! seriously though, the iphone is notorious for shitty battery life, who would put a web server on there?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or did someone just slashdot your iPhone?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    doesn't mean you should.

  • Bring on the websites running on iPhones so when I look out my window here in Portland I can start watching hipsters reaching into their pockets looking at their iPhones than combusting in flames.
  • why is it that they dont have a central repository ? correct if Im wrong I dont have a iphone but why do others have to wait when something comes out ?

    • by socsoc (1116769)
      What are you talking about? Jailbroken ones have a central repository and the App Store is basically a repository for legit apps. I just downloaded the freebit app for free, it's available.
  • by jtdennis (77869) <oyr249m02 AT sneakemail DOT com> on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:09PM (#27970251) Homepage

    I've used an app that does this for a while now. It's called Data Case and provides WebDAV and FTP access. There's a bunch of other ones on the app store as well. I fail to see how this is news.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sootman (158191)

      I fail to see how this is news.

      Because you were trying to hard to get an early, highly-rated comment and didn't RTFA, WatchTFVideo, or even RTFSummary. Besides running a basic webdav server (which I, also, already have, with Air Sharing), "If the PC and the iPhone... are on separate networks, then FreeBit's VPN software will engage the connection." That is, you sign up for an account with them and you can access your iPhone from anywhere on the Internet by going through their server.

      • by AndrewNeo (979708)
        Oh my god, you can access a device on the internet from any other device on the internet?! Stop the presses!
        Seriously, though, it's not like the networks are 'different'. You can probably get the WWAN IP of your iPhone and connect to it just fine, normally.
      • by socsoc (1116769)

        I shudder to think needing to access my iPhone from anywhere on the Internet .

        Shouldn't it be in my pocket?

    • by keytoe (91531)

      This is correct. Since you can't move data to or from the phone without using a network, and there is no means to do P2P direct sharing (until 3.0) a lot of developers ended up rolling their own servers. It's not uncommon to see embedded web servers in apps in order to facilitate sharing.

      Honestly, it drives you nuts to have your users asking things like "Why can't I just drop documents on iTunes and sync them?" and have to answer with "I don't know - ask Apple". Moving data to and from the phone is currentl

    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      Not only that, but all kinds of servers have been available for other smartphones/PDAs for ages now, including web, ftp, and even sql and probably a few more obscure ones as well. This reminds me of Fark's tagline: "It's not news, it's iphone!".

  • I fail to see how is this news and how is this interesting.

    Any jailbroken iPhone has been able to do this ages ago, in fact I was doing some AJAX experiments on the iPhone using vim (which was the only decent editor the iPhone had as I had copy/paste and search/replace) when I was bored.

    Btw, I did not buy an iPhone, it was given to me and the truth it's I dislike it, if only it were more open...

  • It's not available from the Canadian iTunes Store.

    So either someone messed up when they submitted the application, there's a delay before it shows up in the Canadian store, or Rogers is screwing everybody including iPod touch owners.

    Which one of the three is it, I don't know.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:25PM (#27970479) Homepage
    who cares. show me a web server that doubles as a IPhone however and you've got my attention!
  • Jailbreakers have been able to do this for a while, and I haven't seen much come from it.

    Seems pointless. It would hurt battery life, would have a poor uptime, and would be slow to interact with.

    So why is this even on here?
    -Taylor

  • by creimer (824291) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:37PM (#27970635) Homepage
    I have friends who been encouraging me to get into iPhone apps to make a million dollars. That would've make sense if I was into developing for the iPhone before there was an apps store. Now, a gazillion apps later, the market is getting saturated with useless apps. I got better things to do than put a web server on an iPhone.
  • log on my mailserver says:

    May 15 13:37:00 mydomain postfix/smtp[384]: E91D1242E9AA: to=, relay=shrike.dti.ad.jp[202.216.228.218], delay=2, status=bounced (host shrike.dti.ad.jp[202.216.228.218] said: 550 5.1.1 ... User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command))
    May 15 13:37:01 mydomain postfix/qmgr[27465]: E91D1242E9AA: removed

    hmmm... to=

    I wonder how they expect THAT to work. (yes I did put in my email address on the ipod) I'm sure that's supposed to be in the FROM.

    • by v1 (525388)

      apparently slashdot convulses if you put a greater than in your text...

      May 15 13:37:00 vftp postfix/smtp[384]: E91D1242E9AA: to=(GREATERTHAN)signup-noreply@serversman.com>, relay=shrike.dti.ad.jp[202.216.228.218], delay=2, status=bounced (host shrike.dti.ad.jp[202.216.228.218] said: 550 5.1.1 (GREATERTHAN)signup-noreply@serversman.com>... User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command))
      May 15 13:37:01 vftp postfix/qmgr[27465]: E91D1242E9AA: removed

      • by idontgno (624372)

        This is marginally off-topic, but I'll consider this public service.

        apparently slashdot convulses if you put a greater than in your text...

        No, it silently ignores your bad HTML markup. After all, "<" and ">" are tag markers. If you post a comment in "HTML Formatted" mode (and most do, 'cuz it's the default), you don't own less-than and greater-than; markup does.

        And there's a hint: it's HTML, so use HTML character entities. like, "&lt;" and "&gt;".

        BTW, that was painful, cuz I had to escape th

  • It's called "Air Sharing", and its new big brother, "Air Sharing Pro".

    http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=312686749&mt=8 [apple.com]

    Highly recommended; well worth the $5.

    Been there, done that, didn't get a T-shirt.

  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday May 15, 2009 @02:53PM (#27970869) Homepage
    24/7 colonoscopy webcam (includes supply of flexible, waterproof enclosures plus lubricant).

    Automobile Oil Temperature Monitor (includes supply of flexible, heat-resistant oil-tight enclosures)

    App for monitoring money under matress (includes jumbo external battery pack)

    Tire pressure monitoring and reporting app (you'll need at least 4 iPhones + contracts; includes generous supply of foam rubber padding; includes plug-in pressure transducer)

  • In a previous slashdot article http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/27/144256 [slashdot.org] Well maybe theres one guy that likes it
  • by Paul Carver (4555) on Friday May 15, 2009 @03:06PM (#27971051)

    There are lots of web servers for the iPhone. Lots of audio recording applications use a web server to allow you to transfer recordings off the iPhone. I'd suspect there are other categories of applications that also provide a web server.

    Not sure you'd want to us the iPhone as a general purpose web server though. That seems dumb.

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday May 15, 2009 @03:16PM (#27971165) Homepage

    While people arguing if it will be banned today or tomorrow, Nokia offers such web server for Symbian phones for years now with features making sense.

    http://mymobilesite.net/screenshots/ [mymobilesite.net]

    It is Apache/Phyton and several other technologies combined. In fact, it is also a great multi platform phone remote same time for local usage. They solved the NAT/Web robots problem very interesting way too, a real server routes and filters the calls to the phone subdomain so Google doesn't come to your phone as a robot.

    The features of it (check screenshots) makes sense, it is not something like 'my toaster runs web server'.

    • You are correct, and that's a Nokia hosted site you linked to. Nokia has also released the source code for the site you linked to, here:

      http://wiki.opensource.nokia.com/projects/Mobile_Web_Server [nokia.com]

      From what I understand, the nicer setup made-possible would essentially make the nokia Phone a 1st replicating server, and what the public visits/sees is a conventional www-mirrored replica of the 1st (phone) server. (And the PAMP is something else, more like a regular Apace server)

      The hidden beauty of this, is this

    • by dwater (72834)

      ...and it's a real server too, ie you can put it into the background and leave it running all the time, and have it start automatically when the phone boots.

      Try that sort of thing on the iPhone. I don't know why people put up with Apple. I borrowed an iPhone with the intention of trying it out. I opened the box, popped in my sim card (needs a special tool!), and then switched it on...then became very confused because it seemed to be suggesting I couldn't use it without iTunes. They're not seriously suggesti

      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        Yes, I posted that message specifically for that reason. To show how different Nokia (or any Symbian vendor) and Apple takes things. Of course, iPhone served too, Nokia wasn't that kind of company before iPhone.

        It also shows the Nokia has a horrible PR problem, in USA. Imagine iPhone had this kind of a real apache working with Python scripts that can even remotely take photo of place. I mean, all in official way and free.

  • If you are completely unconcerned with security of the data on your iPhone.
    Just because it can be done does not mean it should be done.
    Dang, and we'd finally gotten companies to isolate web servers from sensitive data systems and now this stupid idea.
  • Not because it may use bandwidth, but because the quality is so low. Yes, it seems the program works alright, but the flow of the program is terrible. The translations are awful and changing settings is annoying. A note at the bottom says that any changes requires a program restart, but after EVERY change, a message pops up saying you need to restart it. There are help windows within the program, but all the screenshots are in japanese.

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