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How do I create my own open Wi-Fi hotspot/access point with a custom login page similar to those found in commercial hot-spots?

The page would be accessible using Windows or iOS, and users would have to accept terms of use, or submit payment details, or enter a username and password before being able to proceed.

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3 Answers 3

Not really.

But you can allow access to the Internet via a firewall and/or web proxy base on details entered on a web page. There's a whole lot of stuff involved here which mostly spans what's covered in Stack Overflow and Server Fault - and is perhaps not very relevant here on security.stackechange.

Note that (unless you go down the IPv6 route) the access would probably have to be granted based on the MAC address of the client device - which can be faked.

You'll need a DHCP server configured to serve short leases, and a webserver with a logic tier which can autenticate users / payments and pass the IP address / MAC address to the device gating access to the Internet - if it were me, I'd just allow HTTP and HTTPS and control this via a proxy such as Squid. The advantage of using the HTTP proxy is that you can easily redirect unauthenticated clients back to the login page on your server (you can't do this in a firewall). Note that you'll need to set up the device to transparently reroute HTTP via the proxy.

This won't work for protocols like POP, IMAP and SMTP - but you could publish the same information to a script controlling the firewall - indeed you could configure Fail2ban to work the opposite way it usually does!

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5  
Don't you mean yes, really? –  Graham Hill May 3 '12 at 12:14

NoCatNet provides a captive portal solution, which is the technique you are looking for.

Google searches for "captive portal" should point you to other solutions for your specific needs.

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What you are looking for is called a Captive Portal. Basically, it will intercept the first http connections, display the terms etc, require the user to accept them or use a password etc. There are some open source ones available. Don't forget that if the network is unencrypted all users can easily be sniffed/hijacked even if there is a captive portal.

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