DNS Redirector v6.3 and Apache

Well continuing my quest toward a Free Hotspot I’ve been playing with DNS Redirector a bit.  It’s an inexpensive utility to intercept the first querry that those who use laptops will see when they open up a web browser to surf.  I’ll probably install it tonight after hours on the deployed machine at The C Shop, however nothing is ever easy when learning new tricks.

Essentially the program sits on a machine on your internal network and assuming that visitors to the Hotspot do not have DNS Servers already put in their TCP/IP settings you can have the wireless router hand out the internal IP address of a machine on your network to do DNS lookups for client machines.  It seems to work fairly well so far.  The proviso is that the client must shut the browser window down before he or she can get to the original web page they were trying to get to.  It’s a one time splash screen depending on the settings you have set, however it may be annoying to some users if they don’t follow the on screen instructions.

Essentially DNSRedirector will hand our a IP address that is to a server that you want the client to see first (must be IP based).  In my case I used 192.168.1.3 since this is a static address on the same box that DNSRedirector is on.

Now the next part of the exercise is to have a web server running on that same machine.  In this case I’m installing the Win 32 2.2.3 version of Apache to serve up some very basic pages.  The reason I’m installing Apache is that it will allow me to bind certain web pages to different IP addresses which is needed for DNSRedirector to work properly.

I then had to change the httpd.conf in two places.  One I had to change the Error document to:

ErrorDocument 404 /index.html

so that it would open up the index.html for any file opened at the destination URL since all files would likely be errors.

And add a Virtual host to answer on 192.168.1.3 in the Virtual Host section like the following:


DocumentRoot htdocs/splash/public_html

htdocs is already installed when Apache is installed.  splash/public_html is the directory for the Landing / Splash page that I want to show up.

Ultimately you have to log into your Router and change the IP address of the DNS Servers that you are going to hand out.  I’m probably going to put the 192.168.1.2 address first (for DNS Redirector) and then the real DNS Servers from the ISP second and third just in case my machine is ever shut down.  Otherwise clients will be without a DNS Server to lookup with.

DNS Redirector also allows me to set-up keyword allow and disallow lists to keep users of the network for surfing sites that may be less then desirable.  (I haven’t tested this yet, and not sure if we will use this in the short run)

One last feature that I haven’t tested yet because it only runs under IIS and is an ASP script at the moment is the advertising replacement module.  I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I’m assuming that it looks for major advertising network look-up and replaces the banner ads with ads that we might want to run.  I may try this later if I can get a fixed IP on someone elses IIS server.

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