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Cloudflare / Expose local server with Tunnel

Posted On 02.08.2022

Like Ngrok, Cloudflare Tunnel is a lightweight daemon that run on your server (or local machine) and create a tunnel between your machine and the Cloudflare edge, allowing you to expose your local services to the internet.

If you have a domain’s DNS managed by Cloudflare, you can securely point your domain to the exposed local service.

To use Tunnel, first, install the cloudflared command line tool on your machine.

Then, login via the CLI tool with:

$ cloudflared tunnel login

During the login process, you will be asked to select the domain that you want to use the tunnel with.

Next, create the tunnel:

$ cloudflared tunnel create <NAME>
# for example
$ cloudflared tunnel create dev-tunnel

After this step, you will see the Tunnel’s UUID and the JSON config file for that tunnel, you will need this UUID for the next step.

Now, you need to create a config.yml file to tell the tunnel how to route traffic from outside to your local application. Each application will have the following fields:

url: http://localhost:<LOCAL-PORT>
tunnel: <TUNNEL-UUID>
credentials-file: /root/.cloudflared/<TUNNEL-UUID>.json

Now, you need to assign a CNAME record to your domain, so it can point to your tunnel:

$ cloudflared tunnel route dns <TUNNEL-UUID> <HOSTNAME>
# for example
$ cloudflared tunnel route dns b33fb00f

Finally, you can run the tunnel:

$ cloudflared tunnel run <TUNNEL-UUID>

You can also setup cloudflared as a service, so you don’t have to run it manually:

$ sudo cloudflared service install
$ sudo systemctl enable cloudflared
$ sudo systemctl start cloudflared

Lastly, don’t forget to start your app:

$ PORT=<LOCAL-PORT> ./your-secret-service