Double SSH Tunnel, Port Forwarding To Access A Remote, Firewalled Webserver

Here’s the scenario: you need to access the webserver running on a UNIX machine that sits behind a firewall but we have access to a different machine via SSH that’s on the same network. Well not to fear because SSH is here to the rescue!

First we need to be sure that we can reach the remote SSH machine, so check that now. Next we need to make sure that we can get to the destination machine from the remote SSH machine so check that at the same time.

So how does all this work? It works by forwarding a local port to the remote SSH machine and then a second connection on the remote SSH machine will forward to our destination machine.

The command on the local machine:

ssh -L 127.0.0.1:1234:127.0.0.1:1234 <remote SSH machine>

The command on the remote SSH machine:

ssh -L 127.0.0.1:1234:127.0.0.1:80<destination webserver>

Once both pieces are up and running all we have to do is point our web browser of choice to localhost:1234 and we’ll be accessing the destination webserver on port 80 as if we were on the same network, or thereabouts.

There really isn’t a limit, at least not that I’ve encountered, to how many times/machines you can tunnel through. This makes it ideal if you are trying to access a location when there are multiple firewalls in between. That’s all there is to it, it’s fairly simple and straightforward.

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