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"Inveniam viam aut faciam" : I will either find a way, or I shall make one


If you have gone through any of the article listings on this site, you will know I am a fan of ssh and all the tricks you can pull with it. One of those is the setup of a VPN-like tunnel. This is very useful in many circumstances - but I am not going to rehash all of that now, rather I am going to talk about a handy little utility that allows you to setup the tunnel so that it automatically reconnects in case of it dropping. Autossh is that utility and you can find it here. As I always say, all good software is small, simple and does what it says it will with a minimum of fuss, and autossh is another fine example.

You need a linux machine, the ssh server and the download autossh source code. Unextract the code, change in the extracted folder and then do the normal 3-step dance of..
./configure && make && make install

Ok, autossh is installed now you want to use it, lets take a look at a typical command line..
/usr/local/bin/autossh -M 0 -vv -f -N -R 2266: root@

lets break that down into the sections..
/usr/local/bin/autossh the actual autossh binary
-M turns monitoring off and only restarts is ssh restarts or exits
-vv verbose
-f drop into background
-N -R 2266: root@ normal ssh options for forwarding local port 8080 to port 2266

If you are using ssh tunnels for a more permanent solution you could put that command line into your startup script (something like rc.local).

Final Words
Like I said- small, easy and very useful. Tunneling through ssh is never going to replace a proper VPN setup, but it can be used for smaller projects or needs and having autossh keeping things alive means one less thing to worry about. As always, fun fun and learn.