How to run FreedomBox as a VirtualBox VM

You might have heard of FreedomBox. If not, it's a $100 box you can buy, which allows you to take back control of your internet-based services (See: Put the internet back under your control with the FreedomBox).

With Freedombox, you can run the likes of:

All from within a tiny, self-contained server. For those people who would like to test FreedomBox before making the purchase, the developers made it possible with the help of an image file that can be booted as a virtual appliance in VirtualBox.

SEE: Server deployment/migration checklist (Tech Pro Research)

I want to walk you through the steps of getting that up and running, creating a user account, and installing your first service.

What you need

The only things you need to make this happen are:

With those two things at the ready, let's make some magic.

Creating the Virtual Machine

Click Create and your virtual machine is ready to configure. You'll want to open the Settings window for the VM and change the Network Adapter from NAT to Bridged (Figure B).

Connecting to FreedomBox

Here's where I ran into a hiccup. When you start the VM, you will see a login prompt. You haven't, however, created a user account, and there are no default log-in credentials. What do you do? Because of this, you have no way of knowing the VM's IP address. That's okay because the developers took this into consideration. If you open a browser and point it to https://freedombox it is supposed to automatically find the running service and open a page that allows you to create your first account.

However, when using Firefox, I continually came up against a 403 Forbidden error. It wasn't until I attempted to connect with Chrome that I successfully managed to reach the user creation page, which just asks for a username and password. Create that user, and you can then find yourself on the FreedomBox main page (Figure C).

Once the app or service is installed, it's ready to be configured and used. After installing the app, it will be available to use from the FreedomBox main page (Figure F).

How you use an app or service depends upon what you install. However, FreedomBox has done an outstanding job of making it obvious what steps are necessary to work with the newly added tool(s).

Must-have for some

The FreedomBox will be a must-have for some users. If you're looking for an incredibly simplified means of running applications and services on your own network at a fraction of the cost of hosting it elsewhere and without allowing anyone to exploit your data, FreedomBox is well worth the $100. Get FreedomBox up and running on your small business or SOHO network and see if it doesn't give you more freedom to do what you need to do, in the way you want to do it.

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