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We are deploying web applications in java using tomcat on client machines across the country.

Once they are installed, we want to allow a remote access to these web applications through a central server, but we do not want our clients to have to open ports on their routers.

Is there a way to tunnel the http traffic so that people connected to the central server can access the web applications that are behind a firewall ?

The central server has a static ip address and we have full control over it. Right now, it is a windows box but it could be changed to a linux box if necessary.

Our clients are running windows xp and up.

We don't need to access the filesystem, we only want to access the web application through a browser.

We have looked at reverse ssh tunneling but it shows scaling problem since every packet would have to pass through the central server.

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sounds like you need to run a vpn access server. A vpn should allow strong authentication, encryption and scalability if you choose the right hardware.

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Setup Site-to-Site IPSec (or OpenVPN) VPN tunnels to each client's firewall/router in a hub-spoke design from your server. This will require some work on their end though (and will require them/you to make configuration changes on their firewall), but this is definitely the most robust and secure method you could do.

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