How to tunnel localhost to the public Internet
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In this article, I’m going to show you how you can tunnel your localhost environment to a public Internet address that can be accessed by other services you are using for testing.
Why tunnel localhost to a public Internet address?
If you are optimizing the front-end of a given web application and want to see how effective your changes are, you can use a tool like GTMetrix or Pingdom Website Testing.
The problem is that those tools can access only a public Internet address, not your localhost environment. And, while you can deploy your temporary changes to a QA environment that’s publicly accessible, there’s a much simpler way to achieve this goal.
Or, while developing RevoGain, the most awesome Revolut trading grain calculator, I had to test the FastSpring payment integration. The payment callbacks need a public Internet address that FastSpring calls after making a purchase. To test the integration, you’d need to expose your localhost environment to a public Internet address so that FastSpring can call your own environment.
And the solution to this problem is to open a networking tunnel between localhost and some public Internet address all those services can access.
In networking, a tunnel allows you to transport packets from a private network to a public network. For instance, tunneling is used with VPN (virtual private networks) to secure network connections.
ssh port forwarding is also using another example of a networking tunnel, which allows you to transport packets securely from your localhost environment to a public network.
While there are many ways to create a networking tunnel, my favorite tool is LocalXpose because I can choose the region where to open the tunnel. This has allowed me to check various use cases when I integrated the FastSpring payment system.
@echo off loclx account login loclx tunnel http --https-redirect
To open an HTTP or HTTPS tunnel, all I have to do is run the following command:
> tunnel ┃ Tunnels ┃ Running tunnels on current instance Type Region From To Status http us 6mxq9u9azj.loclx.io http://127.0.0.1:8080 running
localhost:8080 is available at the
Or, if you want to choose a certain region, you can use the
--region flag, like this:
loclx tunnel http --https-redirect --region eu
And, this will open a tunnel in the European Union, not the United STates, which is the default region.
To test how well the front-end performs, I can now use GTMetrix to analyze the Spring Boot server running on my localhost environment:
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Exposing your localhost environment to a public Internet address is a very handy feature when testing a web application.
LocalXpose is a very simple tool that allows you to create a networking tunnel between your private web server and a public Internet address.
Another alternative to LocalXpose is ngrok, which also allows you to tunnel localhost to a public IP address.
Note that I may receive a commission when you click on our links to make a purchase. This, however, has no bearing on my opinions related to LocalXpose.
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