If you watch movies using VLC (Stands for VideoLAN) media player on your computer or TV then this article will help you control VLC media player remotely over the internet. Note that this mechanism allows you to control VLC from any device on the internet and NOT intranet. So that basically means that even if you are away at work and want to check or turn off movies that your kids  might be watching, you could do that.

First setup a VLC player that turns on the web interface of VLC player automatically

1. Locate VLC configuration file called vlcrc. It is stored under a user’s data. For windows XP it would be under C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\vlc\ directory. For Windows 7 it will be under C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\vlc

2. Open the file using a text editor such as Wordpad.

3. Look for entry “#extraintf=http“.

4. Remove the “#” from that line and save the file. This is basically removing the comment from the line so that extra interface is enabled.

5. By default the port used for VLC http interface is 8080. In order to change it look for “#http-port=8080” in vlcrc file and modify it new port and remove “#”.

Update 3/16/2014: Starting 2.1.0 version of VLC, VLC software does not have .hosts file installed. Therefore steps 6,7,8 and 9 mentioned below are not longer needed. Instead VLC now uses username/passwords for security purposes. The password for http interface is setup in vlcrc itself. In order to set password, locate entry “http-password=” in file above and fill in the desired password. The username would be blank. (Source VLC Wiki)

Now every time the VLC player is launched it will have the web interface enabled.

Next step is to allow different hosts to connect to your computer running the VLC

6.  By default only the computer that is running the VLC can connect to it. In order to allow all your devices such as iPhone, Android Phones, other computers such as laptops and desktops to connect to VLC remotely over the internet you would need to allow the IP addresses of those computers on the host VLC computer.

7. Locate the .hosts file under VLC install. For windows VLC installation is under program files directory. For example in windows go under directory  C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\http.

8. Open the .hosts file and look for last two entries. The file would look like this :

VLC hosts configuration file

9. If you want to allow anyone in the whole world to connect, just un-comment out the last two lines. However if you want to allow only specific IP addresses then insert those IP addresses in this file by replacing 0.0.0.0 with IP address that you would like to allow.

10. If you are not sure what is the IP address of the device that you will use to connect just go to the IP address and Location finder tool from your remote device (iphone, Android phone, tablet etc) and you will see your IP address on top.

11. Save and close the file.

Allow access to your VLC media player web interface port using port forwarding (if you are behind a router)

To control VLC media player remotely over internet when the VLC host machine is behind a wireless router, you would need to use port forwarding in your wireless router. Port forwarding allows any connection coming in from the internet on to your wireless router to be forwarded to another port on one of the machines connected to the wireless router. In simple words all devices on internet see your wireless router IP Address and not your devices IP addresses. So anyone connecting to your home computers will have to go through the wireless router. If we enable port forwarding on wireless router then all connections on your wireless router will be forwarded as is to the home computer of your choice. In order to achieve this follow the steps below.

12. Log into your wireless router. This can be done by using any home computer and making an http connection with your router. For example a linksys router can be logged in at http://192.168.1.1

13. Go to the port forwarding menu. For linksys it would look like one show below. For IP address insert the IP address for the computer that is running the VLC. This is the local IP Address of the form 192.168.XXX.XXX. This is IP address of your local network device/computer where all connections to a port ( In this case 8080) will be forwarded.

Port forwarding

14. For port use 8080 as shown above unless it was changed in step # 5 above.

Finally find out the IP address of wireless router. It can be easily found by link at step #10 on any computer behind the wireless router. Now connect to your VLC by typing http://<IP Address>:<port number>.

Update 3/16/2014 : If you use an android device then try out the unified remote. It has one of the best interfaces for controlling vlc.