SSH Tunnel

1 minute read


$ ssh -L 6380:localhost:6379 -N &

6380: port where I can access the service on my local machine localhost:6380
6379: port that the server runs on on the remote machine
-L: local socket:host:port does the heavy lifting creating the and exposing the tunnel
-N: does not execute a command on the remote machine
&: runs this command in the background

Every time I need to do this, I have to search the web for instructions. Every time I search the web for instructions I end up slogging through a bunch of results that either don’t make sense to me, or are just different enough from what I am trying to do that I can’t accomplish my goal.

What I am almost always trying to do is expose a service running on some port on my server. My server is configured, for security reasons, to open as few ports as necessary to outside requests. This means I open 80 & 443 for web traffic, and 22 for SSH and almost nothing else. I do not open ports for the database, or for Redis, or just about any other service but I occasionally have a need to access these services from a remote machine. SSH Tunnel to the rescue!

An SHH tunnel creates a secure tunnel from one machine to another using SSH and it allows me to run a command on my local machine to access a port (via the tunnel) on the remote machine that is not otherwise open to remote requests. So if I want to view data from Redis on on my local machine, and the remote server is running Redis and serving it to it’s localhost on port 6379 (localhost:6379), I would do the following on my local machine

$ ssh -L 6380:localhost:6379 -N &

The above command assumes my username on the remote machine is the same as my username on my local machine. If not, I prepend the username plus @ in front of the remote server.

$ ssh -L 6380:localhost:6379 -N &