Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
One of the things I’ve been toying with is making portable web servers, like my article on Server2Go, which was borrowed from ideas from Dave’s article on XAMPP. After successfully configuring a few portable web server setups, I started looking at my mobile phone and wondering about other possibilities. What if I could set up a mobile web server on my phone, and then anywhere that I am (where there’s a Wi-Fi network), share out any web content that I have? Furthermore, what if I could carry around a customized start page that I could use to access my own important weblinks from any computer on that network, or share those out to others on the network?
The good news is that using two tools – the PAW Mobile Web Server, and the SPGM (Simple Picture Gallery Manager) – this is all possible.
Installing The Mobile PAW Web Server
While searching for the best tool that would allow me to transform my Android into a portable web server, I stumbled across the PAW Web Server solution.
The PAW mobile web server is the coolest Android web server I’ve ever seen. Why’s it so cool? Because there’s ZERO setup. That’s right, you install it, click this cool little run button, and it tells you what the URL is. You’re done.
Of course, there is the usual setup when you want to actually serve out content, like a shared Internet start page. Think about what this tool lets you do. Anywhere that you’re visiting, if there’s a Wi-Fi network available, you can launch this app and open up your own mobile web server to anyone on that network. All they have to do is type in the IP address of your phone – cool!
Once PAW is running on your phone, it hosts all content in the /PAW/HTML/ directory on your SD card, to the entire network.
The system defaults to system tools stored in the App folder, which includes some pretty cool features once you’re connected to your phone through your browser. You can make calls, send SMS or email messages, browse through your phone using a file manager, and a whole lot more.
For our purposes, there’s only one thing you have to do. Open a browser and type in the IP address your phone provided once PAW was running. After creating a login ID, you’ll be in the admin area. Click on “Add-Ons“, then “Plug-ins” and install the PHP plugin.
Set your timezone and then click “Install“. This will enable the ability to host PHP webpages – a requirement if you’re going to use SPGM. You’ll have to stop and start the server on your phone. The next time you log in, you should see PHP installed under the “Plug-ins” menu item.
The next step is to take that new-found ability and make something useful out of it.
Installing The Simple Picture Gallery Manager
There are two things that I thought people would like to do with such a web server.
- It would be cool to launch a mobile Wi-Fi web server on a network so anyone on that network can view your picture gallery of photos you have on your phone – directly from any web browser on the network.
- The PAW web server also lets you carry around a “startpage” that you can customize and then host, letting both you and your friends access your favorite websites, online documents and more, all linked from your own personal starting page.
The cool thing is that you can accomplish both of these tasks using the Simple Picture Gallery Manager (SPGM). All you have to do is download the entire collection of files into your PAW HTML folder. At this point, you’re already prepared to start serving picture galleries.
All you have to do to set it up is run Gallery Mage and use it to open any directory on your computer or mobile phone that has the pictures you want to host. Export those to SPGM format. Copy that entire exported directory to your HTML folder on your phone, and your gallery is live!
To see your picture galleries, all people have to do is type in the IP address of your phone appended with the SPGM folder. For example, people can access mine on a local network by visiting: http://192.168.1.101:8080/spgm/index.php. All gallery folders you import will automatically display.
Creating A Start Page
The last thing I want to do is create that cool launch page. You can do this when you export those SPGM picture files to your phone by editing the pic-desc.txt file that gets exported along with them. Just add the URL links to the captions.
Once you do that, import your new “start page” gallery to your PAW server, and you’ll see all of the link icons on the gallery page.
You or your friends can click on any of the images, and then click on the URL link below the image to visit the site. This is a useful way to organize links to pictures, online documents, websites and more, all stored on your mobile phone and ready to share out as an internet start page, so long as you have access to a wi-fi network.
Did you try this setup and can you think of any other awesome uses for it? Do you know of any other PHP apps that might run on this mobile web server that would transform your mobile phone into a powerful little Wi-Fi web server? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.