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Use Weezo to Share Files Over the Internet

By Eric Geier

If you do a lot of traveling, or otherwise need remote access to your files or media, you might consider Weezo. It's an application that helps you host your files, media, and services over the Internet or just on your local LAN. All that's needed on the client side is a Web browser. You can use it for yourself or share with your friends. Of course there's Facebook and MySpace for keeping your friends updated about your life, but Weezo can offer additional functionality.

Weezo lets you easily create photo, video, or music libraries that are automatically updated, set up text or video chat rooms, host your own site, and more. Basically it lets you start your own social networking site. Plus it can offer encrypted connections and everything can be password-protected, so you can secure any private files. Nothing is uploaded to a Weezo (or any other) server: Transfers and communication are made directly between users.

Getting Ready for Weezo

Before you can install Weezo, you must disable any active Web servers or applications using the HTTP port (80). If you have a professional edition of Windows, you might want to check that the Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) is turned off. Browse to the Administrative Tools in the Control Panel and bring up the Services utility. Then scroll down and double-click World Wide Web Publishing Service. For the Start-up option, choose Manual and click OK.

Next you need to configure your firewall to allow incoming traffic on port 80. On Windows XP or later, open the Control Panel and browse to Windows Firewall. Then go to the Exceptions list and add TCP port 80.

If you are connecting to the Internet via a router, you must configure it to forward incoming traffic on port 80 to the IP address of the Weezo PC. This is so Weezo can work over the Internet. On your router's Web-based configuration utility, find the virtual server or port forwarding settings.

When you're ready, visit their Web site, download Weezo, and install it.

When you open Weezo for the first time, you'll create an account and receive your own URL (such as www.weezo.net/yourname) where you or others can visit to log onto your resources.

Taking a Look Around

When you bring up the Weezo application (see Figure 1), you'll see there are five main pages. On the Groups tab you can create varying types of access you want to offer. On the Resources tab, you can choose which resources you want to offer and configure their settings. The Contacts page is where any people you've added to your contact list will be listed, along with their online/offline status. The Activity tab, of course, lets you what is and was happening, who's connected, what's being downloaded, and a log of system messages. The last page, Configuration, is where you set the main options.

Adding Resources to Share More Things

Probably the first thing you'll want to do is add resources, to actually see what Weezo can do. Select the Resources tab and then hit the New resource button in the upper left. Then choose a resource from one of the categories: File Access/Sharing, Communication, Personal Websites, Blog, Bookmarks, and Television. Once you hit Create, it's added to the list on the Resources page where you can configure its settings.

If you wish, you can configure the resource settings differently for particular users by adding the same resource again. Duplicate resources have different names, can be configured differently, and can be assigned individually to users/groups.

Remember, before anyone can access or use the resource, you must assign it to a particular user or group. Select the Groups tab, create a new one or modify an existing one, and move the resource over from the Available to the Assigned list.

Accessing Your Site

To check out your site, you can always click the Connect to site button on the bottom pane of the Weezo application, next to the network diagram. This will bring up the site using the localhost IP address of 127.0.0.1. You can also access it from other computers on your local network using the PC's local IP address, such as 192.168.1.100.

If you or others want to visit your site via the Internet, use your URL:

http://www.weezo.net/your_account_name

Figure 2 shows an example of the login page. Figure 3 shows an example of what the main site page looks like (in the Classic theme).

If you get an error message about your account not being activated, check your e-mail or junk folder for the activation message from Weezo.

Reviewing the Configuration Settings

After you get a taste of what Weezo can do, you should review the main settings to customize your site; click the Configuration tab (see Figure 4).

In the Appearance section, you can create a login message, change the page title, choose a theme, and more.

If you're accessing important documents or transferring other sensitive material, you should enable SSL encryption. In the Server section, select Yes for the Use a secure connection (SSL) setting. Then you're site can be access with https instead of just http in the address, for example: https://weezo.net/your_account_name. You'll be using a self signed certificate for the encryption, which is fine but users will receive a warning when they try to access your site.

Even more settings are available in the Miscellaneous section and by clicking the Advanced Configuration button.

Eric Geier is the author of many networking and computing books, including Home Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (Wiley 2008) and 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft¨ Windows Vista (Que 2007).


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