How To Set Up a PageKite Front-End Server on Debian 9

On October 25, 2019 the article How To Set Up a PageKite Front-End Server on Debian 9 was published on Digital Ocean. Follows the summary and the link to the article on the Digital Ocean website.

Private networks generally provide internet access to the hosts using NAT (network address translation), sharing a single public IP address with all hosts inside the private network. In NAT systems, the hosts inside the private network are not visible from outside the network. To expose services running on these hosts to the public internet, you would usually create NAT rules in the gateway, commonly called port forwarding rules. In several situations, though, you wouldn’t have access to the gateway to configure these rules. For situations such as this, tunneling solutions like PageKite come in handy.

PageKite is a fast and secure tunneling solution that can expose a service inside a private network to the public internet without the need for port forwarding. To do this, it relies on an external server, called the front-end server, to which the server behind NAT and the clients connect to allow communication between them. By default, PageKite uses its own commercial pagekite.net service, but as it is a completely open-source project, it allows you to set up a private frontend on a publicly accessible host, such as a DigitalOcean Droplet. With this setup, you can create a vendor-independent solution for remote access to hosts behind NAT. By configuring the remote hosts with the PageKite client to connect to the frontend and exposing the SSH port, it is possible to access them via the command line interface shell using SSH. It’s also possible to access a graphical user interface using a desktop sharing system such as VNC or RDP running over an SSH connection.

In this tutorial, published on Digital Ocean, you will install and set up a PageKite front-end service on a server running Debian 9. You will also set up two more Debian 9 servers to simulate a local and a remote environment. When you’re finished, you will have set up a server for multiple clients, and tested it with a practical solution for remote access using SSH and VNC.

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