Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have been told that reverse tunnels can be created using SSH or I can solve the problem the big way and create a VPN. Both these methods are heavy-weight. For the SSH tunneling I need an SSH server on both sides, for VPN I need a VPN server and a client (and setting it up is a nightmare). SSH is simple, but on windows I have no way to get a lightweight SSH server (cygwin is too much, OpenSSH's last windows release is several years old). All I want is a lightweight program/script which does only one thing: reverse tunneling connections. An SSH server or a VPN is just too much. Any suggestions?

share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Indeed I agree with Jimsmithkka.

An ssh server gives you the greatest flexibility. You just setup the tunnels as you need them. Since ssh can do reverse tunnels with -R or forward tunnels with -L you only need one ssh server.

Hamachi is a decent alternative but you are relying on their peering service to work. If their service goes down so does your p2p vpn.

I think ssh is almost the lightest weight tunnel you can find. You could of course use netcat but yes it has to be installed too and the traffic is not encrypted.

share|improve this answer
also netcat is totaly unencrypted, and cryptcat uses really weak encryption – Jimsmithkka Aug 28 '09 at 13:52

Here is the thing; going by your other post, what you are asking is not a "lightweight" problem. You are looking to turn your PC behind the NAT into a router for traffic. So you are not simply looking at port forwarding or tunneling, you need a router as well. You need to run a service for this. You can create a simple tunnel by using port forwarding on a program such as Putty. But then how do you forward the traffic from the outside to inside your network?

This is the very definition of a VPN.

If you are just looking for "lightweight reverse tunnel" then you just need an SSH client and Putty will do the job. If you are looking to route traffic; you will need a VPN solution.

share|improve this answer
I see, I was misinformed about reverse SSH tunneling. – nonn Aug 28 '09 at 13:50

you only need an ssh server on one side, also ssh i don't believe has changes in a few years itself ether. So using the windows server, or a nix server and the plink client with windows is the simplest wayt to do this.

You could also look into using hamachi, but that I do not think supports network to network wide forwards. Hamachi is a vpn service that easy to setup since the servers are all controlled by Hamachi.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.