How To Share Your Localhost Connection To The Outer World

April 15, 2020

In the times of coronavirus epidemic working remote has become the new norm for many of us. As a software engineer it’s import for me to maintain excellent communication with product managers. Sometimes I want to share my work while it’s still in intermediate stage to receive feedback or make sure we’re on the same page. Specifically, I’m talking about sharing the developement server which runs on localhost. This is really handy because it gives the product manager the ability to check out the exact functionality they want to and however they want to.

The solution I’m using is called ngrok. Simply put, it allows you to expose your localhost connection and it’s incredibly easy to use! First you download their client. Then you extract the binary ngrok and you can run it like so:

./ngrok http 8000

provided you server runs at localhost:8000. This is the command line output you will get:

ngrok output

As you can see from the example you get a secure and non-secure URL which you can then send to anyone and they will be able to access your local development server running on port 8000.

ngrok works by opening an http tunnel essentially but you can read a more in-depth explanation here. You can also open use auth tokens or protect the connection with password.