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How to Set-Up a Web Server Behind a Blocked HTTP Port and Still Use Port 80?

As more and more people move onto broadband, the desire to set-up home web servers for relatives and friends increases. Cable, DSL, and FiOS internet service providers (ISP) are discouraging this practice by blocking the HTTP port (port 80) that is generally used for internet web servers.

It's fairly easy to get around this port block. You can simply use a different port than 80. The problem is that your relatives and friends are probably so used to typing "www.domain.com" without the port number, that it'll be hard for them to remember to append a port number to the end.

Recently, I found a trick where you can still give out your domain name to your relatives and friends without them having to explicitly specify a port number. The trick is to have your "www.domain.com" forward to a sub-domain at a different port.

Say, you created a subdomain "alt" (for alternative) on domain.com, therefore the full domain name is "alt.domain.com". Now run your web server on any other port number, say, 8080. Forward your "www.domain.com" to "http://alt.domain.com:8080/". You have effectively gotten pass the port 80 block. And your relatives and friends won't have to remember the less familiar "alt.domain.com:8080".

Using this trick, I have recently successfully ran a web server off my Samsung A900M cellphone connection for more than 24 hours. In the following messages, I will show specific examples of doing this with various domain name hosting services, like Server Central and GoDaddy, etc.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 14 May 2007 14:18:22 -0700

Server Central

With Server Central, this redirection is quite easy to accomplish. And Server Central gives you very powerful tools to do so. In this example, we will use the "alt" sub-domain, "domain.com", and port 8080. Substitute your own preference.

  1. Log into your Domain Settings at http://dns.servercentral.net/
  2. Update the Host Records by clicking on the "Edit" button of that section.
  3. Add an "alt" host name and point it to your WAN IP address.
  4. Update the "@" host name with the redirection; in the Address field put in "http://alt.domain.com:8080/". Select "URL Redirect" or "URL Frame".
  5. Create a "www" host, if you don't already have one. In the Address field, type "@". Choose CNAME (Alias).
  6. Click on the "Save" button when you are done.

It's nice of Server Central to let you choose between "URL Redirect" or "URL Frame". With "URL Frame", your relatives and friends won't even see the "http://alt.domain.com:8080" in the address bar.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 14 May 2007 16:39:26 -0700

GoDaddy

With GoDaddy, your options is slightly limited in that you won't be able to redirect "domain.com", itself, but you can still redirect "www.domain.com". To do that, use the following steps.

  1. Log into your account by going to http://www.godaddy.com/, pull down the "Domains" menu, and select "My Domain Names".
  2. Click on the domain you want to change.
  3. Click on "Total DNS Control and MX Records".
  4. Click on "Add New A Record" button.
  5. Add an entry for "alt" host and type in your IP address.
  6. Click the "OK" button.
  7. If there is a "www" host under the "CNAMES (Aliases)" section, delete it by clicking on the "X" button.
  8. Now, click on the "Domains" on the top of the screeen.
  9. Click on "add" in the "Subdomains" box. You should have 90 available if you haven't set any up before.
  10. In the "Subdomain" text field, type in "www".
  11. Type in "http://alt.domain.com:8080" in the "Forward To" text field.
  12. Click on the "OK" button.

Now you are done. In a few minutes, or hours, depends on the DNS, your www.domain.com will be forward to your alternative home IP address.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 16 May 2007 13:48:49 -0700

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