Instant Domains

A tutorial that demonstrates how Vortex can help you expose a local web app to the internet using an Instant-domain.

A video walkthrough of this tutorial is available on YouTube.

Register or sign into Vortex

Vortex Account is the only thing you need to follow along in this tutorial. Follow the instructions in this section to register for a new account or sign into your existing account before moving to 'Running the Vortex Shell' section of the tutorial.

Optional

If you want an hands-on experience and are planning to follow the steps in this tutorial, you will need a local website accessible to you on your local network. This website can be a printer config page, your home router logon screen, source code running in your IDE, or any other product you access using a web browser. Keep in mind, this will be exposed to the internet when running the Vortex Shell, so be smart about what you share.

Register account

The first step is to register for your free account at www.vortexhub.io

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Check your email

Check for email account for a welcome letter. Make sure to check your spam, junk, or trash in case you doesn't land in your inbox. Click the button in the bottom of this message to get create a password for your new account.

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Create a strong password

Make you create a secure password not shared with anybody. You will need this to sign into your account. As an extra layer of security you can later register for 2-factor authentication using Google Authenticator.

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Sign in

The only thing left is to sign in using the credentials you just created and begin to explore all the features Vortex has to offer.

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Explore the Sites screen

Click Sites on the left menu after you sign in. On this screen you can see all the domain names you have added to Vortex. By default your account comes with one instant-domain. You can see this on the Sites screen where you can also create more instant domains or link your own custom domain. Click the title of your instant domain now to load it in your web browser.

View your available sites

On this screen you will see all the domains you have created or added to Vortex. For this basic tutorial we will not get into details how to create new instant domains or add your own custom domain but I will say it starts with the Add New Site button. For now, we will stick with your default instant-domain. Click that now!

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Browse your first Instant domain

Now that you clicked your instant-domain you should see a friendly message letting you know it's time to run the Vortex Shell. Let's learn how to do that right now!

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Run the Vortex Shell

In this section you will learn how to download the Vortex Shell, extract it to your local computer, and run it with the right startup parameters to expose your local computer to the internet.

Download

Start by downloading the latest versions of the Vortex Shell by clicking Download Shell in the left menu.

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Unzip

Extract the contents of the ZIP file you downloaded and navigate to this folder using your terminal or shell.

After you extract the ZIP archive you can run vortex --help and see there are several command line switches you can use to configure Vortex to best suit your needs.

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Give it a try!

I will demonstrate using an Epson printer that is on my network and will share the printer information page. For me to  access this page on my network, I enter the url http://192.168.0.232/ into my browser. Below you can see how the URL translates to the various Vortex Shell startup parameters.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be running the Vortex Shell using the following options:

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Note: when --host, --port and --provider are not used, the default values will be used: localhost, 8080, and http.

Now that the shell is running, I can watch traffic as it flows through my local computer.

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Anyone I share the URL with can now access my printer setup screen on the Internet using my Instant Domain!

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