12 Best Ngrok Alternatives for Tunneling (Free & Paid)

by Deniz

Best Ngrok Alternatives

Are you looking for ngrok alternatives to put your locally hosted application, so people could access it securely? Then you need to consider these 12 lists of tunneling tools similar to ngrok.

What is Ngrok?

Undoubtedly, ngrok is the most popular reverse proxy tool right now. It has become a golden standard to expose a local host server to the internet. Over 5 million developers are actively using this tool.

People love to use ngrok because it’s easy to use, super fast, and provides an awesome traffic analytic feature.

If so, then why do you need another option?

Best Ngrok Alternatives

However, ngrok 2.0 is not free, unlike ngrok 1.0 version. You are still able to use it for non-commercial use with some restrictions.

Besides, this tool is close-sourced. It means you can not alter the codes if you need some changes. All you can do is contact the developer and wait for them to update the change.

The bad news is no one knows when the update will be implemented. Therefore, in this article, you will find:

  • 12 ngrok similar tools for local tunneling (7 free & 5 paid)
  • the most advantageous features to use
  • pros and cons of each service

Let’s dig in.

1. Localtunnel

Localtunnel

If price is the main reason you are looking for ngrok similar tools, then Localtunnel will probably be the best option.

Localtunnel is a free tunneling tool that will make your local applications accessible worldwide via a public url. It’s free, you do not need to sign up for any membership.

Although it’s free, Localtunnel already supports all platforms. No need to worry even if you use Windows, Mac, or Ubuntu separately.

It also supports http/https and even subdomains too if available. All you need to do is to put a single line:

“lt –port 8000”

Main Features:

  • Tunneling securely with https
  • Support API for webhooks testing
  • Support cloud browsers for custom UI

Pros:

  • Free, Open Source
  • Hosting your own tunnel is possible

Cons:

  • Standard and limited features
  • No config file support or maintained documentation is available
  • No support is available for running multiple tunnels

2. StaqlabTunnel

StaqlabTunnel

StaqlabTunnel is a free and open source reverse proxy service to create an SSH tunnel between your local computer and the internet through its server.

Once your computer connects, StaqlabTunnel will give you a public address that you can share. Anyone who tries to visit the address will be redirected to your local host.

StaqlabTunnel provides complete features from forwarding, collaboration & sharing, and IoT integration with custom domains. It uses HTTPS and SSH encryption for security, but still easy to use with web-based GUI support.

Main Features:

  • Easy tunneling
  • HTTPS and SSH encryption
  • IoT integration with custom domains
  • web-based GUI support

Pros:

  • Free service with complete features
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Only 3 tunnels can run simultaneously

3. Pagekite

Pagekite

Pagekite is a ngrok alternative open source to make your local servers public. Based on python, its function is as a relay that all traffic from your IP and public network has to pass.

Pagekite supports all platforms. It makes testing on mobile devices and live networks simple. The interaction uses end-to-end TLS automatically to secure the communication.

Pagekite is so reliable. It could even run on a 3G or limited Wi-Fi network. It is also unbelievably fast, thanks to the servers located on 4 continents.

Although it is open source, you still need to pay to use this service. However, you get 1-month free subscription, and the price after is quite cheap, from $3/month.

Moreover, you could use it for free if you are willing to write to them about your situation. So, it’s basically free.

Main Features:

  • Run website and SSH servers anywhere (any device, OS, or network)
  • Flexible naming and encryption
  • Fast and efficient using adaptive compression and high-speed data centers in 4 continents (Asia, Europe, Australia, and America)
  • SSL encryption, hidden IP, and no servers log recorded for privacy, security, and digital freedom.

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Many features with a reliable service
  • ngrok alternative with custom domain and unlimited subdomains

Cons:

  • Multiple tunnels are not applicable

4. FRP

FRP

FRP stands for fast reverse proxy. As its name describes, this free and open source tool exposes local servers behind the NAT firewall to the internet.

FRP actually has many features to make the service run fast and secure, so you can call it a comprehensive alternative to ngrok. However, it is a self-hosted reverse proxy, so you must configure the setting yourself.

To help you manage your tunnel, it comes with a ready-to-use admin dashboard. It makes setting the configuration quite easy.

Nevertheless, because of open source code, it undergoes a never-ending development. Therefore, it is good to use it for the development environment only.

Main Features:

  • Support UDP, KCP protocol, TCP port multiplexing, P2P connect
  • Admin dashboard with configuration file for customized setup
  • Client authentication
  • TLS, encryption, and compression

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • So many features with a fast and reliable service written in Go Lang
  • Ready-to-use admin dashboard

Cons:

  • More complex than other alternatives, so it probably is good for developer only

5. Boringproxy

Boringproxy

Boringproxy is another great alternative for ngrok. It combines the function of a reverse proxy and tunnel manager in one package.

If you want your self-hosted web service, which runs on a private network, to be accessed from anywhere securely, this probably will be the best option. Especially if you are not a developer and want the configuration to be handled automatically.

Boringproxy has no config file, but you can adjust the setting using CLI parameters through an HTTP API. The web GUI for managing tunnels could be accessed fast, even on mobile browsers.

Boringproxy uses end-to-end encryption with SSH for security. You can terminate the TLS at the server, client, or application.

Main Features:

  • Single executable file
  • Automatic configuration for port forwarding, firewall rules, https certificate management, etc
  • SSH tunnel with end-to-end encryption, TLS

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Supports all platforms for client
  • Supports custom domains/subdomains

Cons:

  • Limited features, no monitoring service
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6. SirTunnel

SirTunnel

SirTunnel is a free and open source tunneling software, written in python with minimal features.

It has 2 minimal features as a tunneling tool, which are exposing your local host to public networks and securing your traffic. No configuration on the server side, not even CLI arguments.

However, it allows developers to modify and add whatever features they need. Because of this, this software is best for developers and not recommended for non-developer.

Main Features:

  • Zero configuration
  • Essentially stateless
  • SSH tunnel with automatic HTTPS certificate management

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Chance to modify for whatever you need

Cons:

  • minimal features

7. Bore

Bore

This is the simplest and lightest TCP tunnel consisting of 400 lines in Rust. This free and open source codes expose localhost to a remote server by passing standard NAT firewalls.

Bore is simple to install and easy to self-host. You only need to run a single binary file for the server and client.

Efficiency is the key to Bore. The only features are local forwarding and self-hosting. The connection will be made after authenticating both ends using a secret by answering random challenges in HMAC codes.

There’s no encryption for further traffic, but the server will only store the connection maximum of 10 seconds. If there is no recipient, then it will be discarded.

Main Features:

  • Port forwarding
  • Self-hosting
  • Authentication

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Simple and light, open for modification

Cons:

  • No features, only standard function

8. Onboardbase

Onboardbase

Onboardbase is not just a tunneling tool. It is a collaborative workspace that allows you to do local sharing, give environmental access, and manage the secrets.

You can build a tunnel to share your developing apps through a simple code:

“onboardbase tunnels:create -p [PORT] -s [SUBDOMAIN_NAME]”

The most awesome feature of onboard base probably is its integration. Using CLI, you can integrate onboard base to every popular cloud service provider, including GitHub, GitLab, Firebase Function, AWS Lambda, etc.

Even though its collaborative and multi environment features are considered top-notch, you couldn’t underestimate the security function. You could manage the app’s secret via a simple dashboard, including secure password sharing.

Nevertheless, onboard base does not support a custom domain, but it has a more affordable price. Overall, it has the best trade-off between the price and features.

Main Features:

  • Automatic sync with deep integration
  • Easy collaboration and sharing
  • Codebase secret detection with end-to-end encryption

Pros:

  • Balance between ease of use, collaboration & security features vs price
  • Free package is quite good

Cons:

  • Closed source
  • No custom domain

9. Loophole

Loophole

Loophole is a secure port forwarding service using end-to-end SSL encryption for all tunnels. It is 100% free and the features are unexpectedly good for a free alternative to Ngrok.
Loophole allows you to create multiple tunnels and run them simultaneously. The process is quick and easy. You could create a public https url for your local apps almost instantly.

Loophole uses basic authentication strategies to limit access. Even though there is no feature to inspect the traffic, all services utilize HTTPS for security.

Main Features:

  • Automatic sync with deep integration
  • Easy collaboration and sharing
  • Codebase secret detection with end-to-end encryption

Pros:

  • Balance between ease of use, collaboration & security features vs price
  • Free package is quite good

Cons:

  • Closed source
  • No custom domain

10. Cloudflare Tunnel

Cloudflare Tunnel

Cloudflare Tunnel is a complete package for tunneling software. Not only it helps you expose your localhost to the world, it also offers some protection features.

Cloudflare Tunnel has a built-in DDoS protection and firewall to protect your server from attacks and data breach. You also could restrict the access to internal application in the development environments so only authenticated users can access it.

Other than that, this service could integrate with other Cloudflare services such as Argo Smart Routing, CDN, DNS, and auto HTTPS. Of course, you need to pay for additional features.

The service is free for 50 users, with the $7 for every extra user, so it is probably best for medium and large businesses requiring scale.

Main Features:

  • Rotating IP address
  • DDoS protection with load balancing
  • application and protocol-level logging
  • encryption with TLS

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Fast and secure tunnel
  • Integration with other Cloudflare services

Cons:

  • Closed source
  • The price for extra users are quite costly compared to other paid ngrok alternatives

11. Tailscale

Tailscale

Other ngrok alternatives still make your traffic touch their server. If you want to create a point to point connection, then Tailscale is the solution.

Tailscale lets you build a direct tunnel between devices, virtual machines, and servers. It uses NAT traversal, so the connection between devices won’t be blocked even when there are subnets or firewalls.

The connection is secure thanks to WireGuard® Noise protocol encryption. All your data just passes through without being recorded in the Tailscale server. The logging will only be at both ends of your connection. This way will make sure your data could not be breached.

However, Tailscale doesn’t include a feature to give you an HTTPS proxy on the public side. To do that, you need to combine it with other tools such as Caddy or Nginx.

Main Features:

  • Point to point connection
  • Sign in with your identity provider
  • Device management with Tailscale SSH
  • Network Access Control

Pros:

  • Secured by WireGuard®, Data ownership

Cons:

  • Control server is closed source

12. Packetriot

Packetriot

Packetriot is a complete package for tunneling solution. It’s a comprehensive alternative to ngrok with similar advantages in ease of use, features, and security.

Packetriot supports HTTPS and TLS using Let’s Encrypt certification by default. You can host it privately and manage the custom domains, even if you don’t have a public static IP.

However, as a paid ngrok alternative, the interesting point is the pricing. The package lets you pay per tunnel, not per user. It makes the cost cheaper for larger teams.

Main Features:

  • Easy tunneling
  • HTTPS and TLS using Let’s Encrypt
  • Manage domains and subdomains
  • Self-hosting

Pros:

  • Comprehensive package
  • Web-based dashboard
  • Complete documentation available
  • Cheaper for larger teams

Cons:

  • Closed source
  • Self-hosting feature is not free, but included in paid package

There are more ngrok alternatives you can try on the internet, but 12 services are better than others. If you have other recommendations which are not included yet, speak at the comment column below.

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