I would recommend to access your sim remotely, before you start thinking of connecting your sim to a grid, in this way you can give the details to a friend or friends and invite them in to have a look at your brave new world, before you open up your sim to the wider metaverse. So, how do you do it?
Step 1: Ensure your PC has a static IP address
It is essential that the PC you have your sim on has a static IP address. To find out whether your PC has a static (permanent) IP address, or whether it is dynamically assigned (meaning it can change from day to day) by either a router or your Internet Service Provider (ISP), do this:- Go to Start, and select Run..., type 'cmd' into the Open box, and hit OK. When the DOS window opens, type the command ipconfig/all. If you see a value that says DHCP disabled, it means that your PC has a static IP address, and you can move to the next step. If it says DHCP enabled it means that the IP address is being supplied either by your router (if you have set up a home network, or LAN), or if you do not have a router, by your ISP. To change to a static IP if you have a router follow the procedure provided here. If you have no router and have a direct connection to the internet, then skip to Step 2.
Step 2: Ensure your Firewall can pass the required Ports
If you are connected directly to the Internet, either through a dial-up service or via ISDN or ADSL, then you will probably have a software firewall set up. You will need to read your firewall documentation to see how to allow the ports that OpenSim uses to pass through the firewall. If you use a router with an in-built hardware firewall, then you need to configure the router to pass the required ports (called port-forwarding). The ports that OpenSim needs to be open for inbound traffic are: TCP/8000-8005, TCP/8895, and UDP/TCP/9000 for a single sim, and UDP/TCP/9001 for a second sim, and so on. There are detailed instructions on how to setup port-forwarding on your router on the PortFowarding website. Select your router from the list, then you will be taken to a page that lists most on-line games that need port-forwarding. At present, neither OpenSim not OpenLife are listed (although a listing has been requested), so the next best one to choose is Well of Souls, which also uses port 8000, and you can follow the procedure there for setting this one up, then repeating for the other ports listed above.
Step 3: Setup a Dynamic DNS Service
Most ISPs provide their customers with a dynamic IP address for their connections (static IP addresses are mostly used by commercial customers). If you connect to the internet directly without using a router, then your PC will have its IP address allocated via DHCP by the ISP. If you have a home LAN behind a router then the ISP will provide the IP address via DHCP to the router instead. In either case we must establish a static IP address (or rather the appearance of a static IP address), and that is where Dynamic DNS comes in. A very good explanation of what DNS and Dynamic DNS are is provided here. Basically, instead of having an IP address for your PC or router, such as http://79.234.23.06/ (which may change daily), you have a domain name, such as http://garys-sim.servegame.org/ (which does not change). So, how does the domain name know which IP address to resolve to? Dynamic DNS hosts are kept up-to-date automatically with the IP address supplied by your ISP, using an update client. Update clients come in two types: software clients, which are installed on your PC, or hardware clients embedded in devices such as routers. Software clients are easier to set up than hardware clients, so I recommend the free client from the dynDNS.com website, called DYNDNS Updater. Obtaining a DNS host name is simple, and free, from this location
Step 4: Configure your OpenSim Software for an external Connection
The next step is to configure the OpenSim software. To do this go to the Bin/Regions/default.xml file. Right-click and Open with Notepad. The value to change is the external_host_name, which can be your DNS host name, so it will look like this: external_host_name="garys-sim.servegame.org"
Step 5: Configure the Viewer
The last step is to configure the viewer. Ensure that the Hippo viewer Loginuri: is set to the same URL as the external_host_name above (but qualified with http:// and the port number), i.e. http://garys-sim.servegame.org:9000. If using the SL viewer ensure that the Target is pointing similarly, i.e. -loginuri http://garys-sim.servegame.org:9000
You are now ready to test. Start up the opensim server, and when it is ready, connect with your viewer.
Followed all the above steps and still cannot connect remotely? Try these faultfinding steps:
1. In case it is the hostname that is causing the problem try using the external (router) IP address instead. Open a browser and go to this URL: www.checkmyip.com this will tell you what your external IP address is (eg: 126.96.36.199). Put this address into the default.xml file, like so: external_host_name="188.8.131.52"
If that fixes it, then go to the DYNDNS website and check that the IP address currently assigned to your hostname matches what www.checkmyip.com tells you. If it doesn't then maybe the updater software is not working. Try reinstalling it.
2. Firewalls and antivirus software can stop a connection from being made. If you have a router then it will already have a hardware firewall built in, so it is usually quite safe to switch off your other firewalls, such as Windows Firewall, ZoneAlarm, or any of your security suites that may have a firewall bundled. So just try switching them all off and then see if a connection can be made.
3. Try to ping your external IP address. Go to Start, and in the Run box type cmd to get the DOS-like cmd console up. In here type (using the example above): ping 184.108.40.206
If you get a response fine, but if the three attempts all time out then either your router is setup to ignore pings, or your ISP is blocking them. If your router manual provides no info on blocking pings, then try asking your ISP support if they block them.
4. The most common reason I have found for not connecting has been that the router was not configured correctly to pass the required ports. Please double-check that you have gone through Step 2 100% correctly.
If you had a problem connecting, and eventually got it resolved, please post your solution here, it may help others.