Exposing localhost server to the internet in one minute
Lean how to use ngrok to expose your local server to the internet.
Sometimes, we found a situation due to multiple reasons, where we need to expose our local server to internet, maybe we need to show our website to a client and doesn’t have enough time for deploying, others, we need to test it out a webhook from a third service and we don’t want to create a new deployment just for testing purpose.
So, let’s go for it.
There services that offer you to set up a tunnel between their servers and your local machine. There are several of them, nevertheless, my recommendation is
It has a freemium model, it fits the most basic requirements.
How it works
We download and run a program(ngrok), specifying which port is our local server listening to. ngrok will connect to their external cloud service, creating a public endpoint redirecting all the traffic from it to your server. That’s it, simple.
Download and setup
- Download it from official site
/path/to/ngrok.zipinto any folder
- Start an HTTP tunnel in any port you want. Let’s do it on 80
$ ./ngrok http 80 # this command should be run from where ngrok was unzipped
........... Web Interface http://127.0.0.1:4040 Forwarding http://82330e5b.ngrok.io -> localhost:80 Forwarding https://82330e5b.ngrok.io -> localhost:80 ...........
That’s it. We just need to run our web server in port 80 and starting to receive traffic.
If you want to test it out. You may send a request using curl to our public ngrok domain,
http://82330e5b.ngrok.io or just open it in a browser. Additionally, ngrok allows
https connections, this is a great feature when we are testing external services needing a secure connection.
Note: remember you need to have your local server running on port 80 (for this example).
$ curl -v http://82330e5b.ngrok.io
You can check all requests details using built-in dashboard for ngrok at
That’s all. For some people, it could look like a trivial task, but for beginners, this is a starting point.
If you like it, spread the word.
Disclosure: This is for testing purpose, if you are handling sensitive data, avoid using this method because all your traffic is going to pass through a third service.
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