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How to: Share and access localhost over the Web

How to: Share and access localhost over the Web

I would like to to share with You a quick and most importantly – working (!) method for sharing Your local environment over the Web to provide or show it to the client, another team member, view it from another device(s) (e.g. mobile) or use an external services that is not running locally.


During the work on the project for one of our major customers, we have encountered a situation in which we need to use features provided by external service (in this case, a plug-in to apply for jobs using LinkedIn), but that simply does not communicate with our application tested and developed locally. We found that the mechanisms from LinkedIn send replies only to the addresses available externally.


As usual, we wanted to accurately test the developed solution. There would be no problem if the test environment was also available from the external network address. But it wasn’t. Like in many cases, this kind of solutions are hosted in closed networks to which access is usually obtained using the VPN client.


So what to do with such a pretty uncomfortable coincidence? Take advantage of Forward ( !



Forward gives us the opportunity to test  their solution free for 30 days. Detailed cost of individual plans is provided on picture below.


Forward pricing table



  1. Register a new account on the Forward website –
  2. Specify subdomain in account settings, which will be available external to view Your loval address.
  3. Make sure that Your computer have installed Ruby and Gem (both packages are required and both also are installed by default on Mac OS X; for Windows available for download at:
  4. Install the Forward package with command:
    $ sudo gem install forward
  5. Launch service using command:
    $ forward {port_number_we_want_to_forward} {optional_prefix_for_subdomain}


Voila! 🙂 It is enough to run Your local environment on an external web address.


Of course Forward also gives us more options and possibilities. Some of them are, e.g.:
– Sharing locally installed / based WordPress service
– Securing access by enforcing authentication via username and password
– Ability to share localhost with Your own domain address (CNAME)


If you know of any other tools of this type (maybe even simplier or better?), do not forget to mention them in the comments to this post.