Port forwarding, or tunneling, is a way to forward otherwise insecure TCP traffic through SSH Secure Shell. You can secure for example POP3, SMTP and HTTP connections that would otherwise be insecure.
There are two kinds of port forwarding: local and remote forwarding. They are also called outgoing and incoming tunnels, respectively.
Local port forwarding forwards traffic coming to a local port to a specified remote port. For example, all traffic coming to port 1234 on the client could be forwarded to port 23 on the server (host).
Note: The value of localhost is resolved after the Secure Shell connection has been established — so when defining local forwarding (outgoing tunnels), localhost refers to the server (remote host computer) you have connected to.
Remote port forwarding does the opposite: it forwards traffic coming to a remote port to a specified local port. For example, all traffic coming to port 1234 on the server (host) could be forwarded to port 23 on the client (localhost).
Local port forwarding
Accessing a service (in this example SSH port tcp/22, but it could be anything like a web server on tcp/80) on a machine at work (172.16.10.10) from your machine at home (192.168.10.10), simply by connecting to the server work.example.org at work :
$ ssh [email protected] -L 10000:172.16.10.10:22
We see the service is available on the loopback interface only, listening on port tcp/10000 :
$ netstat -tunelp | grep 10000
tcp 0 0 127.0.0.1:10000 0.0.0.0:* LISTEN 1000 71679 12468/ssh
From your home machine, you should be able to connect to the machine at work :
$ ssh [email protected] -p 10000
Local port forward for anyone at home ! Continue Reading