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Port forwarding

While our servers will automatically pass through HTTP connections via a reverse proxy, what about non-HTTP applications? We have implemented a port forwarding system to address this.


This guide assumes you did not install an SSH server by running netsoc webspace init with --ssh. If you did, SSH with port forwarding is already configured. The information regarding managing your port forwards is still relevant of course!

Set up SSH


In order to make use of a port forward, we need a service to forward a port to! We'll be using SSH, as it's a very handy way to log in to your webspace and transfer files. To install the SSH server:

apt install openssh-server

Enabling password login

After installation, the SSH server will be up and running, but we need to configure it so that you can log in with your password (set during netsoc webspace init). Run nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config to open the config file in nano. Scroll until you see something like the following:

# Ciphers and keying
#RekeyLimit default none

# Logging
#SyslogFacility AUTH
#LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:

#LoginGraceTime 2m
#PermitRootLogin prohibit-password
#StrictModes yes
#MaxAuthTries 6
#MaxSessions 10

#PubkeyAuthentication yes

# Expect .ssh/authorized_keys2 to be disregarded by default in future.
#AuthorizedKeysFile     .ssh/authorized_keys .ssh/authorized_keys2

#AuthorizedPrincipalsFile none

Change #PermitRootLogin prohibit-password to PermitRootLogin yes (make sure to remove the # at the beginning of the line!). Save the file and exit nano. Run systemctl reload sshd to apply the configuration changes.


Typically, enabling password login for the root account is not recommended. This is because SSH is usually exposed on a known port (22) and it's very easy to write a script that will scan the entire internet and brute force weak passwords. In this case, it's not too much of a concern, since SSH will be exposed on a random port.

For improved security, particularly if running SSH on port 22, we recommend you look into setting up public key authentication and re-disabling password login for root!

Create the port forward

Although the SSH server is up and running, you won't be able to connect to it remotely. This is because the server isn't exposed to the internet. To create a port forward, use the netsoc webspace ports add command. SSH runs on port 22, so run netsoc webspace ports add 22:

$ netsoc webspace ports add 22
Port 22 in webspace is now accessible externally via port 64363

Note the listed external port, which will be random for your webspace.


If you missed the external port or can't remember it, run netsoc webspace ports to list all port forwards configured on your webspace.

Log into your webspace via SSH

Now that the port forward is set up, you can use an SSH client to log in to your webspace! When prompted for a password, enter the same one used with netsoc webspace init.

Run ssh (use your own external port):

$ ssh -p 64363
The authenticity of host '[]:64363 ([]:64363)' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:zB48NdWJQw1ZJztrt5NdTstgdl5Zj0tEuqOjc914zEs.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
Warning: Permanently added '[]:64363,[]:64363' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.'s password:
Welcome to Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 5.4.71-netsoc-lxd8s x86_64)

* Documentation:
* Management:
* Support:

The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by
applicable law.


PuTTY is an SSH client for Windows. You can grab the latest .exe for 64-bit Windows here.

Enter your details similar to below (use your own external port):

PuTTY details

Press "Yes" on the dialog that appears on connnection. When asked for a login, enter root and your password. You should see something similar to the following:



If you've forgotten your webspace password, you can use netsoc webspace exec passwd to reset it.

Removing port forwards

You can remove a port forward by running netsoc webspace ports remove <external port>. To find the external port, use netsoc webspace ports.

Last update: 2021-02-07