Case: I have set up a Mac mini (Snow Leopard, not server edition) with the Atlassian suite (JIRA, Confluence, etc. running on port 8080, 8090...) at home. At work I cannot access web-sites running on these ports. The browser just hangs and time out, so I guess they are blocked by the company's firewall. I can access the server from any other network I've tried, so I am pretty sure the server is set up correctly.

I can't configure the company's network, but I still need access to my server. I have full access to the Mac mini. What options do I have (preferably free ones)? Site5 seems to have solved this in their web-hosting solution. From what I know, cpanel runs on port 2082. However, the URL says "https://proxy-netadmin-12064.backstage.site5.com", making it available from anywhere on port 80. Is this a solution I can use in my case? If so, I appreciate links to tutorials for setting up such a solution, better alternatives, etc.

4 Answers 4


You can run Apache with mod_proxy to forward from either a subdomain or a subdirectory on port 80 to another port, local to the webserver.

In fact, a quick Google for an example shows how to set it up to access Confluence and Jira from Atlassian's website.

You have two or more Java applications, each running in their own application server on different ports, eg. http://localhost:8080/confluence and http://localhost:8081/jira. By setting up Apache with mod_proxy, you can have both available on the regular HTTP port (80), eg. at http://www.example.com/confluence and http://www.example.com/jira.


How about just SSH to your box and forward those ports, there's plenty of SSH articles here:


If you need access for work purposes, then ask the person or people responsible for your network configuration to modify it to accomodate your requirements. If you don't need it for work purposes, then you can still ask, but it'll be less justifiable.

Trying to work around the problem with VPNs (I recommend OpenVPN) is possible, but the direct, obvious, and non-devious approach is always preferred. Sneaking around always looks suspicious.

  • Jira, Confluence, etc. are all apps with integrated web-servers. I'm not trying to do anything suspicious with regard to company policies. I'm simply trying to access multiple web-servers, running on special ports.
    – mobmad
    Commented Jan 15, 2010 at 14:40
  • So you get your network admin to open up your corporate firewall to access those ports, like I said in my answer. Easy.
    – womble
    Commented Jan 15, 2010 at 23:03

The point was well made by womble. If you are trying to bypass a company policy then you are going about things the wrong way - fix the policy (or get it fixed) if there's a genuine business need for it live with the fact that it is not in your company's interests to let you do whatever it is you want to do.

I'm not just saying this to be a BOFH but you must be able to see that there are good reasons for having effective firewalls and it is just as important (if not more important, look at the recent Google\Adobe attacks for example) to prevent unacceptable traffic exiting a company as it is preventing it coming in. In many, if not most, organisations there are legal obligations to do this with due diligence too so casual attempts to bypass security policies are a really bad idea.

As L0c0b0x says there are many ways to do this but seriously think about it carefully if your company is likely to frown on it - I've seen people summarily dismissed for precisely this sort of thing.

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