Wake Your Computer from Anywhere with Your Web Browser
The easiest way to issue a Wake-on-LAN command from outside your local network is through your web browser, and the absolutely simplest way to do that is through your router.
If you’ve followed either of our methods for turning your cheap-o $60 router into a super-charged $600 router with either Tomato, DD-WRT, or even HyperWRT (which we haven’t covered), then you’ve got all the tools you need to turn on your computer from anywhere with an internet connection. Since I’m currently running Tomato, I’ll show you how to work it there, but if your router supports Wake-on-LAN, it shouldn’t vary much.
First point your browser to the Tomato admin interface and give it your username and password to get started. If you’re working outside of your local network, you’ll need to either know your external IP address or have set up a free domain with DynDNS. Once you’re in, click Tools -> WOL in the sidebar. All of your available devices are listed, and all you have to do to issue a Wake-on-LAN command is click on it. Simple, right?
If you don’t have a router that can handle WOL, you can still wake your computer from your browser using services like Wake On Lan from DSL Reports. In order to issue the Wake-on-LAN command from outside your network through a service like this, you’ll first need to set up port forwarding for UDP port 9 to the computer you want to wake up on your local network (here’s how that works).
Now you just need to know your external IP address or have assigned a domain name to your home computer, and the MAC address of the computer you want to wake. To find a computer’s MAC address in Windows, type ipconfig/all at the command prompt and find the series of 12 letters and numbers next to Physical Address. On a Mac, run the Network Utility application and write down the address next to Hardware Address. Give the webapp your IP address and the MAC address of the PC you want to wake up and voilà—the Wake-on-LAN command should be issued and your computer should start up or wake up straight away.
Wake Your Computer with Freeware
If you don’t have a router supported by the Tomato or DD-WRT firmware, there are still other simple tools made to send wake-up commands to your computer. For Windows, one good looking option is called Magic Packet Sender. It can save your WOL profiles so sending that command is quick and simple.
Mac users should check out WakeOnLan, which offers both a regular app and a Dashboard widget. It scans your local network and grabs all of the local devices so it’s easy to find one and wake it up.
What To Do Now that Your Computer is On
We’ve covered tons of remote access possibilities here at Lifehacker, and here are a few of my favorites that you may want to use now that you’ve started up your computer:
Remotely Shut Down Your Computer
When you’re finished accessing your home computer, you still may want to shut it down to save energy when you’re finished with it. Fact is, now that you’ve got remote access, there are lots of different ways you can go about shutting down your computer remotely. If you’re connected via SSH, you can shut down your computer from the command line. Likewise, you can easily shut down your computer graphically from a remote desktop or VNC connection the same way you would shut it down locally. If you feel like getting a bit more creative, here’s how to shut down Windows with a text message.