I really want to share my localhost over the internet to show my friends the progress of the website we're working on, so that I don't need to upload it to the public server each time I make a change.

showoff.io is not free and localtunnel gives me "failed to authenticate" when trying to upload my public key (a lot of people seem to have this problem and there doesn't seem to be a solution for this).

Does anyone know any other free service I can use or any other solution at all? I'm using a Mac.


UPDATE: with localhost I mean a web server running on my computer, I have a dynamic IP address and no I'm not behind a router (just using a wireless modem).

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    By "localhost", do you mean a web server running on your computer? (Usually the term just means "this computer".) – grawity Apr 28 '12 at 19:41
  • Yes, that is what I mean. – Loolooii Apr 28 '12 at 19:43
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    would be good to know how your computer connects with the net, eg 'are you behind a router?' 'do you have a dynamic or static IP?' – Baarn Apr 28 '12 at 20:07
  • @ekaj Quote: "I'm using a MAC". I guess he means a Mac, not a MAC (I mean, he'll be using a MAC address too, somehow cough) – slhck Apr 28 '12 at 20:12
  • @WalterMaier-Murdnelch , updated the question with your answer. – Loolooii Apr 28 '12 at 20:19

Are you behind a firewall or router that does NAT? Then you need to configure it to do port-forwarding of a port to your machine, or put your machine into a DMZ. Check the manual of your router/firewall.

Is your ISP allowing traffic from the internet to 'lower ports' like 80 (the TCP port for HTTP)? Chances are it doesn't and you need to select a port somewhere above 1024, for HTTP 8080 is popular.

Unless you're pretty sure the public IP number is fixed and you're OK to disseminate a URL with the address in it, you should set up a dynamic DNS solution. There are a few free and payed services, here's one I found with a quick google: http://www.dtdns.com/

Combining the above, you get a URL to publish that looks like this: http://yoy.slyip.net:8080/primes/


Check your IP address. If it's public then you can use your laptop like a server, else (you have a private IP) it's impossible to do it.


There's an app called Portly made specifically for Mac that I developed that lets you share your localhost over the internet via an SSH tunnel. There's a free plan that might interest you.

  • Might help to state clearly that you're a dev for this in your answer. And as always, get lots of good will by answering questions other than your product (since if you're here entirely for that, someone might mistake you for a spammer). Just a friendly headsup – Journeyman Geek Aug 29 '13 at 0:43
  • Good call -- I mostly contribute on Stack Overflow, so my reputation lacks a bit on this site. – Kelly Aug 29 '13 at 21:12

If your website is static, you could use DropBox, as briefly described in this Lifehacker article, and in more detail in this article.

Alternatively, you could set up Hamachi, which would allow you to set up a mesh VPN with your friends. That should allow them to access your local web server.

  • My website is not static. But I will give Hamachi a try, thanks. – Loolooii Apr 28 '12 at 20:22

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