Sharing iTunes Libraries over the Internet, Bypassing Bonjour Restrictions

Ever wanted to be able to access the shared libraries from your home… when you are away from home? I do, since I started to use FreeNAS with Firefly iTunes/DAAP media server this is exactly what i want… I’m often away from home, and always wanting to access my media library from within iTunes…

Bonjour (mDNS) is what the iTunes / Firefly DAAP server uses to advertise a “beacon” of your iTunes shared library to your local subnet (LAN), however this is restricted (due to industry pressure (RIAA)) to local area only, and not wide area (the Internet) as it once was… However its still easy to circumvent and work around this issue so you can listen to your shared libraries on the go!

This tutorial is aimed at Mac users, but the concept is possible on every OS using the appropriate tools…

Tools needed:

Once you have all of these it becomes easy, this is the general process of how it works

  • You create an SSH tunnel between you and the iTunes DAAP server so that if you connect to localhost it forwards to the remote server
  • You then create a bonjour/mdns DAAP beacon using “Network Beacon” this will advertise the foreign service to iTunes 🙂
  • Fire up iTunes, click on the shared library et voila!

So, firstly make sure you have remote SSH access and the tools required. Now fire up Fugu and click on “SSH -> New SSH Tunnel” you’ll be presented with the following dialog where you enter the details of the remote iTunes DAAP server (the machine with all the music on)

Fugu SSH Tunnel Details

Fugu SSH Tunnel Details

Make sure the port is 3689 and now click on “Start Tunnel”. Once this is done the SSH tunnel is live and forwarding traffic… now its time to create the Bonjour Beacon… we do this using “Network Beacon”. Fire up the app and click on “New Beacon” now enter the following information:

Network Beacon DAAP Settings

Network Beacon DAAP Settings

Click “OK” and the Beacon should be advertising. Now fire up iTunes and watch your Library appear, click it and it will load! (Note: if you have a very large library this can take some time). Thats all there is to it! Let me know how you guys get on and if you have any problems. My test environment was FreeNAS using Firefly iTunes/DAAP server with iTunes 9 on Mac OS X. Also, its good to mension, this is one of many ways to do this… i’m sure someone could package this up into a nice “1 click” style utility? (maybe me ;)?.



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