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How to Share a Printer Over the Internet

Omkar Phatak Jan 29, 2019
A printer need not be physically located in proximity, for it to be used. You can share it over the Internet and see here how it's done.
With the amount of printing work increasing by the day, at workstations and homes, a printer has become a much-needed resource. The problem with them is that they are bulky and carrying them everywhere is a hassle.
This problem can be easily solved, if you share it over the Internet. It easily enables you to operate your printer in the office, when you are at home or vice versa, provided, both are connected to the Internet and configured accordingly.

Use IIS (Internet Information Services)

Internet technology has made every computer resource portable. One simple way of sharing a printer over the Internet, is turning its connected computer, into a server. A particular case will be discussed here.
Firstly, you need to install the IIS (Internet Information Services) software, from the Windows operating system CD. This software enables your computer to function as a web server. The printing facility is provided by the IIS, which needs to be enabled, as it's not switched on by default.
You need to follow a few steps to switch on this feature.
  • Select the 'Add or Remove Programs' applet in the Control panel.
  • Then, click on 'Add or Remove Windows Components' button.
  • Amongst the options, select the one titled 'Application Server' and click on 'details'.
  • Amongst the check boxes, select the 'Internet Printing' box and say 'Ok'.
Thus, when the 'Internet Printing' feature is enabled, users can view, as well as connect to the printer node, by using the http:///printers URL. Of course, only users with correct access passwords will actually connect with the printer and carry out actions.
IIS software installation and configuration is not that simple. Refer the windows online help desk, to get all the details. There is a certain amount of risk in doing this, as the permissions that you enable in the IIS, may also compromise the web security of your computer. So, read the instructions thoroughly on the windows help desk, before going ahead.

Use Print Anywhere

Yet another way is through special software programs like 'Print Anywhere'. What these programs enable you to do is print any document on your PC, through any other PC on the Internet, connected to a printer. It takes care of all the rest of the details like security, firewall problems, as well as networking details.

Use IPP

Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) is one more way of sharing a printer over the Internet. It is a built-in protocol, which enables printing over the web, in a platform-independent manner. That is, using IPP, you can print over the Internet, connecting to any remote computer, irrespective of what operating system it has.

Use a Remote Desktop

Using the built-in function called 'Remote Desktop Connection' in Windows XP and Windows Vista, you can share a printer over the web, along with other resources connected with the computer. It is recommended that you take a look at the Microsoft help desk website, which will provide you with the procedure to set up remote desktop log in.
Create a new user on the computer (attached with a printer) and give it a login name and password. Then, tweak the windows firewall to allow for remote desktop logins. Then, configure the remote computer, from which you want to access the printer. Once all this procedure is done, you can access all the resources of the computer, including the printer.

Use FlexiHub

FlexiHub software/app lets you share a printer over wireless as well as LAN networks. FlexiHub needs to be installed on all the computers that need to connect to the printer. User needs to create his/her user account in order to be able to use this software. It also enables you to share any USB and serial devices like scanners, web cameras, projectors, etc.
A basic version is available for use, that lets you share the devices locally, while you need a paid, licensed version to be able to access the devices from remote locations. It works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS and Android.
There are other softwares like Printer Share, USB Network Gate, etc. available, that enables the users to share printers and other devices from their respective locations. Some of these apps are now available for Android and Mac OS phones as well.
As you can see, in the networked world, sharing a printer is easy and there are many ways of doing it. With Wi-Fi technology coming in, we now live in an increasingly wireless world, where resources can be easily shared.