I’m working on Facebook Open Graph features for a client, and developing these features requires enabling Facebook to somehow crawl my locally-served pages. I asked around for solutions to this problem, and got a pretty long list of replies. I’m listing them here for future reference.

All of these offer a pretty similar service: you download a command-line tool (often in the form of a Ruby gem), start up your server, run the command, and hey presto, your local pages served on localhost:3000 are now being served at http://yoursubdomain.example.com. Most, if not all, use SSH tunneling as the underlying technology.

  • Showoff.io: 5m free, $1 for a day pass, otherwise $5/mo unlimited.
  • Pagekite: Features transparent SSL support and unlimited subdomains. $5/mo for a basic plan. EDIT: Looks like they also provide a Debian/Ubuntu package source, nice touch! EDIT2: PageKite informs me that their service is as low as $3/mo for an individual, and that they do not use SSH as their underlying tunnel in order to be friendlier to Windows users.
  • Localtunnel: Free, sponsored by Twilio. Looks similar to Showoff.io.
  • Tunnlr: Explicitly marketed to FB developers. $5/mo for a single subdomain (notice a trend?)
  • ProxyLocal: Free, appears very similar to Showoff.io, LocalTunnel, etc.

Published by Avdi Grimm


  1. I’ve always just used ssh (on my laptop) and sshd+squid (on a home machine) for this.  But I could see paying for a service simply for the convenience and hot having to leave a port open on my home firewall.  But not a lot.  $5/mo is above my threshold.  I’d likely go for $29/yr, though.

  2. Last summer I successfully used a reverse SSH tunnel coupled with nginx, explained by pogodan here: http://pogodan.com/blog/2011/05/03/reverse-ssh-tunnel-any-rack-app-with-pow-and-nginx

    It was an alright solution. I needed nginx running out there in the wild, and I found the connection would drop sometimes.

  3. I use Tunnlr and Localtunnel. Localtunnel has some performance problems and disconnects on you without telling you.

  4. […] Avdi’s blog post on Facebook dev tunnel services (Avdi) […]

  5. I liked this site much and i am very impressed by this site.

  6. I use Forward, but I’m biased.


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