How to configure Sitebulb Server on a local machine

This article explains how to get Sitebulb installed and set up on your server. Specifically, this guide relates to situations where you are using a machine within your internal network as your server.

In other words, your server machine is running in the same internal network (LAN) as your other desktop machines. This might be a spare desktop machine you have available, or hardware you have specifically bought to run as your server.

As a reminder, you must use the specific Sitebulb Server install file, which you can download from the Customer Portal.

Our base assumption at this point is that we have assigned you a 'Server' license, and you have access to a machine you can use to test this out on. If you do not, please click here to view our server recommendations.

Configure your server

There are a few steps you will need to take in order to configure the server itself, to enable Sitebulb Pro (running on a desktop computer) to connect to Sitebulb Server.

Assign a fixed IP address

By default, your router will assign dynamic IP addresses to all the devices on your network. This could mean that the IP address of your server machine will keep changing, so you can ensure it doesn't by assigning a fixed IP address.

You should be able to do this on your router, so look up 'DHCP IP reservation' with the name of your router, and you should be able to find it - here is an example using TP-Link. You may find that on your router they have bundled together IP reservations and port forwarding - this is not a problem as we need to do port forwarding anyway.

It is better for your router to handle IP addresses, so try and do it on the router, but if you absolutely can't then you could also do it on Windows itself

Open up a port on the network firewall

Most likely you will have a firewall on your network, so you will need to create a firewall policy to open port 10401, which is the port that Sitebulb Server uses.

Make sure to open port 10401 at each point in the network (i.e. if you have multiple firewalls, open it on all of them).

You should not also need to open up a port on Windows Defender, but in case you do, we have a guide on how to do that.

Set up port forwarding

You need to set up port forwarding so that the 'server computer' on your private network is accessible over the internet, from outside your network.

If you are totally unfamiliar with port forwarding, or are struggling with this step, you may wish to read our more comprehensive guide on port forwarding, then return back here to finish the server setup.

How to set up port forwarding

To set up port forwarding, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the local IP address of your 'server computer' - this is the fixed IP address you set above (e.g. 192.168.0.102)
  2. Choose a random port between 10500 and 65535 (e.g. port 10505)
  3. Login to your router and find 'port forwarding'
  4. Set up up a rule to forward traffic from port 10505 to port 10401 on the local machine (192.168.0.102, in this example - this can be written as 192.168.0.102:10401)

Note that the port you choose in step #2 is the 'start port', and 10401 is the 'end port'. The process is slightly different on each router, so you may need to search for a port forwarding guide on your specific router

To check if port forwarding is working correctly, use this tester tool.

Port Forward Tester

For the remote address, you need to enter the public IP address of your network, and the port number needs to be the port you have opened to use for port forwarding.

You can use this tool to confirm that this port is open and accessible externally.

Install and set up Sitebulb on your server

Log on to your server machine, then download and install Sitebulb using the 'Sitebulb Server' installer link that you can access via our Customer Portal. Do not use the installer from our normal 'Downloads' page.

Sitebulb Server Download link

Once installed, you will need to login with your account and activate your 'Server' license:

Activate Server License

There are a few steps you will need to take in order to configure the server itself, to enable Sitebulb Pro (running on a desktop computer) to connect to Sitebulb Server.

Configure Sitebulb Server Settings

Once you have activated the Server license, Sitebulb will take you to a settings panel.

>>DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP<<

There are various things you need to configure on the server to ensure that it is secure and that Sitebulb Pro users are able to connect to it.

Concurrent audits

Ticking this option means that Sitebulb will run multiple audits simultaneously, as long as there are threads available to do so. If there are not enough threads available, new audits will simply get added to the queue. Once the running audit(s) complete, this will free up threads, so the queued audits will then be able to run.

The 'Concurrent Queue Type' dropdown controls how this queue is handled

  • First in first out - means that audits will run in the order that they were added
  • Next based on available threads - means that audits which require fewer threads will run next, should enough threads become available

Concurrent Audits

Reserved threads

Every time a user connects to the server, that user will be allocated a thread. This setting allows you to reserve a set number of threads on the server to ensure that users are still able to log onto the server, even if there are audits running.

This means you need to think about how many users might be working on the machine and how many might log on at any particular time.

Here are some rule of thumb suggestions:

  • 1 reserved thread if you are the only user (minimum)
  • 2 or 3 reserved threads for 2-4 users
  • 3 or 4 reserved threads for 5-8 users

If your users experience slowdowns when accessing data (e.g. the app hangs), you may need to increase this number. If you increase this number at a time when all the threads are being taken up by crawling activity, the reservations won't become active until one of your crawls has freed the threads.

To learn more about how all this works, please read our guide on thread management.

Once you have finished your configurations, make sure to hit 'Save'.

Server keys

This is how you authenticate the server so that only people who know a server key can log into it - which enables 'permitted' Sitebulb Pro users to connect to your server, while ensuring it remains secure.

Add the name of a team (or individual) in the box, and Sitebulb will automatically generate a unique 16 digit key.

Adding Server Keys

Then share this key with the user(s) who need to connect to the server, which they will need to use as authentication.

Add as many keys as you need, and remove keys in order to remove user access (e.g. if someone leaves the company).

Final notes on server setup

That should be everything now set up on your server. One final thing to be aware of the the version of Sitebulb which runs on the server actually runs as a Windows service, rather than the typical executable program you are used to. 

Windows services run in the background once the computer starts up - even if users are not logged in. This is significant as it means Sitebulb will always be running in the background, even if you get logged out or the machine decides to do some Windows updates.

This does mean the Sitebulb experience will be a little different - the machine will want to restart when you do updates, and the UI won't automatically appear (until you open up the program). Otherwise you should not notice a big difference, it mostly just means that Sitebulb will be more stable.

Now that the server is set up, it's time to move on to the final stage: 'Connecting to Sitebulb Server from your desktop machine'.

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