Access one installation of FrontlineSMS from different computers on the same local area network (LAN)

Upon launching your FrontlineSMS desktop app on the computer it was installed on (let's call this the host machine), you'll notice that the address bar looks something like the following.

smsbefore.png

In this specific example,

  • localhost refers to your machine and

  • 8130 refers to the port that the application is running on.

Defining some key terms

  • IP Address: A number assigned to each computer on a network to tell each computer apart
  • Port: A software construct (your computer has many ports) that enables multiple applications (each on a different port) to share the same network connection. 

Step 1: Finding your computer's IP Address.

Notice that localhost is used to refer to your machine. If we are able to find the IP Address that identifies your machine on the network, then we will able to access an already running instance of FrontlineSMS from another machine.

Click for instructions on how to do this on WINDOWS or on a MAC

Step 2: Accessing a running instance of FrontlineSMS from another computer

Suppose that your IP Address is 192.168.0.109.

We will be able to access the same instance of the application already running on the host machine from a second machine on the same network if we type into any browser:

 smsafter.png

As before,

  • 192.168.0.109 has replaced localhost to refer to the host machine and

  • 8130 again refers to the port that the application is running on.

An important consideration

 Your local IP Address and the port used by the application may change, so to access the application in this way, you will need to make sure you have the correct IP Address and port. On a typical home network, IP Addresses are dynamically assigned, meaning that your router assigns an arbitrary IP Address to each computer, perhaps based on the order that each computer requests an address. It is also possible to reserve an IP Address for one of your computers manually. While this may make accessing this application over the LAN more convenient, it may also pose some security risks as your computer will always be reachable at the one reserved address. MakeUseOf has an excellent guide on how to configure a static IP Address and also a discussion of static versus dynamic IP Addresses. 

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