If you don’t want to tie up your tablet or phone as a server there is another inexpensive option out there. It is called the CuBox and it is a tiny computer that fits in the palm of your hand.
The device is loaded with features and can run Android or Linux if you choose. The pro version has 2gb of ram and a quad core processor. It has a wired ethernet and a wireless 11n, built in. Video output is via HDMI and it has 2 usb ports and an eSATA port. It also has an microSD card slot.
Depending on the version you choose the price varies from about $80 to $140.
Check out some of the reviews online. (Just google it).
In my very first post on this blog I talked about a great site for finding info on getting your phone or tablet or other android device set-up as a web server. While that site is chock full of great information it is a bit guilty of overkill (tech over-kill). Below are a few items that you don’t need to worry about too much when getting your server setup using the KSWeb app going and a few bits of advice:
First and foremost if you don’t understand port forwarding or how to configure your router you need to take a step back and learn that stuff first. I rather imagine that if the prospect of running a tablet server interests you that you probably are familiar with ports and forwards and IP addresses and DHCP, etc. If not, take a deep breath and google all those items and learn about them. It really is very, very, simple if you take it one step at a time.
You don’t need a static IP. Just make sure to set your router’s lease time to as long as possible. Your device (tablet, phone, etc) will renew the IP a lot more often than the lease time and you will not lose that IP address. My Linux server at home has been on the same DHCP address for well over a year.
You probably don’t need any FTP software at all to maintain your tablet/phone server. (For a CuBox or other android device you might). You can simply download files and extract them to the correct folder right on the tablet using a file manager like ES File Explorer or Astro File manager. You can also directly upload files from your PC via Airdroid.
KSWeb comes with a tool for updating your IP using No-IP free dynamic DNS. I am sure it works fine but I also recommend ChangeIP.com, they offer free DNS and if you are running windows at home on your PC they have a small software program to update your IP address. If you are on Linux you can run a shell script via cron to update the IP on ChangeIP. If you would like a copy of the script I use, let me know, I will post it. It is your choice. I am just recommending changeIP.com because I am familiar with them.
I recommend that if you will be moving your tablet to different locations that you install Network Info II from the Google Play store. It is free and a handy tool for checking your network address both local and remote.
Don’t try to do too much at one time. I highly recommend installing WordPress to start with because the install takes literally 5 min. at the most. It has a huge amount of available info, support, plug-ins, and themes to make you a happy camper for weeks.
Please remember if something doesn’t work on the first try, that doesn’t mean it won’t work at all. While you can test things from localhost:8080, please don’t install software like WordPress from there. Get that domain name and get it pointed to your tablet/phone/device, then install it. The reason? Because many of these php/database apps write the locations of files with the domain included. So if you don’t want to have to re-install stuff and start over again and again, plan ahead.
Last but not least if you were to install a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress or Drupal or Concrete5 and you make an error or it gets all messed up, worry not. Just delete the database in phpMyAdmin, then delete all the files in your /htdocs folder and start over. Chalk it up to learning and don’t get discouraged. If I can get this thing to run, anyone can.
Feel free to leave a comment. Suffice to say if I find the comment out of line it will be edited.
So you have your web server up and running and have installed some sort of content management system and you are ready to start posting. You might notice that uploading media (primarily images) and delivering it really slows the server down. So what can you do to make content delivery faster? The answer is easy. Let the media be served from elsewhere.
A simple way to get faster image delivery is to store your images on a remote site. The easiest way to do this is to create a folder on Google Drive and share the folder. Upload your images there and then link to the image URL. Just upload your image then click on details in Google Drive (right column) and near the bottom of the right side of the page you will see a link to the hosted folder. Open that link, find your image and then right click it and copy the link address. Then when you add an image in something like WordPress you can simply load it from the URL. Note:The image for this article was delivered from Google Drive.
I have now installed both Concrete5 and Drupal onto this little tablet and both of them seem to function just fine. So I am thinking that if you ran a small business with a cable connection, you could actually run your web site on a small inexpensive tablet rather than blowing a bunch of cash on a server or paying a lot for web hosting.
It’s only a thought of course, but it really is plausible for a small business that only gets a few dozen hits per day to easily run a tablet server. No big hassles of using you laptop or desktop as a server and low power consumption. Just charge the tablet before you head home and and it will easily run all night.
It is just a thought, but this site is proof that it can be done. (If you root your tablet you could then run on port 80 and not have to have the :8080 in your web address.
06 July: 0300, update: Concrete5 has some email issues, as in it doesn’t work, so if you need to allow users to register or submit forms, it ain’t going to hack the program. Drupal functions just fine in the email sending department.