Usually when you have to share your latest pictures or videos, you first upload them to the internet through social networking sites like Instagram or Facebook. But why share your pictures with the rest of the world, when you can start your own Instagram like server that allows you to share your pictures over the local WiFi using the free AirPhotoServer software. This software is installed on a Windows PC and then you can use any device connected to the local WiFi network to access the files stored on your PC. In addition they can also upload new files to your PC.
Upon launching, the AirPhotoServer software displays the IP address of your Windows PC on which it is running and can be accessed using any web browser on any device connected to the local network. It starts with no password, but you can set a password for the access. If you are trying to access the files through iPhone, then you can install the app AirPhotoViewer to access these pictures, music or files easily.
By default, it picks the “Pictures” folder in your Windows user profile to be shared with everyone. But you can add more folders to be shared. But you can pick only one folder where the picture files can be uploaded. Similarly, you can add or change the folders for sharing the music and other documents.
If you want to be able to share your files beyond the local WiFi, then you can enable sharing them online. Your device then becomes discoverable by Air-Finder. It gives you a unique ID using which your device is identified. You will have to make appropriate changes in the router configuration to allow the port forwarding so that others can access the files stored on your PC through AirPhotoServer.
In the settings for AirPhotoServer, you can change whether the server has internet access, change the port used to access the server, whether you want it to be auto-started with Windows, and which of the services you would want to use (pictures sharing, files sharing, or music sharing).
The files can be accessed from virtually any device that has a simple web browser – even the old world J2ME based phones – if they have access to the internet or to your WiFi network. The interface of the web pages produced server looks very dated so do not expect to have a local Instagram running in your PC.
Verdict: AirPhotoServer is a very lightweight, small server that can turn your old Windows PC into a local version of Instagram. Of course, it does not have the filters and editing features of Instagram, but if you want to share pictures only on the local network then it is an ideal choice.
You can download AirPhotoServer from http://airphotohd.com/.