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I'm looking for a webcam which is able to upload directly to a user-specified remote server - or which can be directly accessed remotely - without involving any kind of third party server or service such as a cloud hosting provider or a PC/Raspberry Pi/etc.

Ideally the webcam would run (open source) software which lets you specify a remote server (e.g. SFTP) to periodically upload images to, and would upload them directly from the camera itself straight to the server.

Alternatively the camera itself would run a small web server and accept incoming network requests (with strong authentication) from clients wishing to stream footage.

The camera should be wireless (e.g. at least WiFi but ideally 3G/4G cellular connection as a fallback) but a power cable is acceptable.

The only other piece of hardware involved should be a router to provide a WiFi signal (unless the camera also supports cellular connections).

The camera should not make any connections to any other servers except the user-specified one(s).

  • It would be helpful to specify a budget limit or state that you have none if price is not relevant to you. – Bennett Yeo Jul 31 '19 at 19:29
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A webcam is not what you should look for. Webcams are simple devices, with a digital camera sensor and basic electronics for USB interface. They don't push anything anywhere. Instead, they allow a PC to access images or video stream from them. In other words, they are passive.

Instead, you want an active device, a device which would:

  • Know how to connect to the Internet, which means that it should have all the TCP/IP logic, be able to connect to the local network (determine the gateway IP, get the IP address, etc.), resolve DNS and handle HTTPS, which involves having a collection of root certificates, which have to be regularly updated.

  • Be able to be configured in order to know what to push, when and where. Such configuration requires support for SSH or Telnet, and possibly an additional HTTPS server to host the configuration panel.

Both elements require hardware very similar to an ordinary PC, in a very small form factor (and very inexpensive). Instead of an USB device with basic electronics, you'll have a device which acts like a PC and connects to Ethernet.

What you're looking for, therefore, is not a webcam, but a security camera. I won't recommend any security camera in particular, since I'm familiar with only one model, Vivotek IP8335H. The manual for this camera (PDF, 16 MB) explains how to configure the device to send images or video to either an FTP server (page 96) or an HTTP server (page 97). Nothing proprietary here; even the format of images and video is standard.

Most security cameras would have those options. Chose the one which matches your expectations in terms of price and features (such as infrared LEDs to be able to “see” at night) and check the manual to see what upload options are possible.

Important note: independently of what model you choose, make sure you know what you're doing in terms of security and privacy; lots of cameras end up publicly accessible to anyone willing to find them, which is a bit unfortunate.

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