I'm looking to offer a Linux remote support service, to PC's which are mostly behind home NAT routers which don't have any ports forwarded. I want to be able to connect to those PC's by SSH upon request.

I also want to make this a simple as possible to users who probably have no idea how to forward a port on the router.

I'm hoping there is a command that I can give them, which they can paste into a terminal which will connect directly to my machine, setting up a reverse tunnel, through which I can then connect back to their machine via SSH login command.

I'm looking to achieve a command line session, but if I can also have the option to create a remote desktop session instead, that would be a bonus on the occasion that I'm diagnosing a GUI issue.

I have in the past achieved this using a middle machine that is already behind the router and pre-prepared with a reverse tunnel, which is ideal if maintaining a site full of machines, but in this situation, no middle machine or pre-preparation will be available.

Is this possible, or a lost cause?

I note that TeamViewer is able to do exactly what I want, in terms of avoiding port forwarding, but it only gives me a GUI and the most important thing to me is a terminal prompt. Surely, if this is possible for a GUI, this must be a cinch to get just a command prompt?

  • Is there really a market for a service like this for Linux home users? I am under the impression that anyone running Linux can probably at least handle their own port-forwarding, if not their own tech support entirely.
    – mfinni
    Oct 15 '13 at 0:57
  • It's not those already running Linux that I'm eyeing. It's those which would like to run Linux but can't because there is no support available. Oct 15 '13 at 1:37

Yes. Get them to ssh with this command -
ssh -R 2222: user@youripaddress
Then you can ssh to their machine by sshing to on port 2222 from your local machine.

  • 1
    Your solution works, but finding out the own IP is an additional task for the end user. Why not ssh -R 2222: user@youripaddress ? Oct 15 '13 at 2:16
  • that's possible...never tried that before actually.
    – Lawrence
    Oct 15 '13 at 7:22
  • Yes, using does work.
    – Lawrence
    Oct 16 '13 at 2:10

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