Don't even know where to start

I work for a public service (governmental) agency and I have been tasked with finding a solution for messaging to people in the field with the office… I see that openfire and sparks would be a solution to this problem as we have nothing budgeted for this project to buy any expensive software…

We have two means of hosting this … we have an account with Host Monster (Cpanel)…and we have a windows 2003 small business server as well…

I am not very savvy on anything IT… Does anyone have any suggestions how i can get help for DUMMIES?

This task can be challenging even for IT savvy people, so maybe you will find a bugdet for hiring someone with IT knowledge in your area. To achieve this you will have to:

  • Install Openfire in your organization. You can use that 2003 server or just use some not needed old box and install linux and Openfire.

  • You will have to obtain an external IP address. Not sure if you have one. Cpanel doesn’t say much to me. You can also have an internet domain name and use it instead of IP address to connect to server. This will add more complexity to the task.

  • In your organization’s router you will have to open external 5222 port and forward it to the machine with Openfire installed.

  • Configure all the firewalls in the route to let the traffic through (windows 2003, router, other devices with firewalls) and also configure DNS entries if you plan to use domain name instead of the IP address to connect.

I haven’t done this myself, maybe there is some other steps, but this is in general how i see this task. Can’t give you a step by step solution, because it will be different for every case, depending on network structure and devices.

So after doing this. A client in the field will launch Spark or any other jabber client. Put his login and password and put your external IP or external domain name as a server and push Login. Then the client will find that IP and try to connect to 5222 port. You router will get that request and forward it to your internal machine (say windows 2003) with Openfire installed. And connection will be established.