At the end of the tunnel… there is Internet

Linux is so cool. Using Linux or Linux tools can give you tiny moments of joy, just like anything built by geeks, like iPhone, Skype etc.

Today as I woke up, I found that one of the 12 servers we use at BiRhymes was not accessible from India (the ones at the Joyent data center). No, our apps weren’t down, they were up because that server is only used to handle REST calls from so the only person who should access that server is MySpace and of course MySpace has servers in USA. The static files are servered from Amazon S3.

I tired to ssh. Failed. I had to push a code to prod and was helpless. I could do very little other than cursing Indian ISPs. Just then the old trick struck to me.

While at KIIT (my grad school)  we used to get internet access in hostel from 7pm – 7am (even though they used to boast about 24hrs internet. I hear thankfully things are much better now). During my final year, I was the head of the student organizing committee of ICDICT and I used to maintain the website and the paper review system that was hosted in one of the web servers at the college data center. Since the web-server was on the internet as well as intranet, me and my friend Abhishek used to access internet by tunneling through the web-server. We had setup a socks proxy using PuTTY and used the socks proxy to access 24hrs non-stop 2mbps high speed internet without any firewall (KIIT considered its students as adolescents and hence blocked some of the websites which were not suitable for minors at the syadmin’s discretion. They even blocked downloading for .zip and .exe files). I even used to host a couple of intranet websites w/o sysads knowledge from my college computer, routed through the ICDCIT web-server ofcourse ;) So that is how I quenched my thirst for internet access while in college

Coming back to our servers, 2 of our servers are at Planet data center. Fortunately I could ssh them. Voila. I used WinSCP (scp client based on PuTTY) to connect to Joyent servers. PuTTY makes things so easier. I just have to provide the tunnel servers hostname, username and password/my private key and boom I am on Joyent server (I mean the UI was connected to the Joyent server. I could have sshed on to Joyent from Planet, but uploading files via command line is a pain). And I was so happy I could do my work w/o interruption :)

I rarely experienced such joy on Windows. The first time was when I saw Visual Basic while in High School, I was so excited that only thing I wanted to do in life then was to work at Microsoft.

Update: Just as I finish publishing this post, I see that I can access my Joyent servers

Note: Trying this at your college LAN may get you suspended or even thrown out.

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3 Responses to At the end of the tunnel… there is Internet

  1. Saurav Rout says:

    Hello Lalit. This is somehow a technical post. However in our college JITM they are blocking us from internet by disconnecting physical connection. So I think there is no way of cheating them(I think). So if you have any idea you can share.


  2. Sazid Mahammad says:

    Ahha…. I do remember the port forwarding we used to do through putty in college days… I’ll accept those college days fun with laptop, college lan, wifi adapters, college servers are helping me a lot in my professional life…

  3. Robin says:

    I too have used the putty tunneling trick! :D

    Although our’s was a linux server made available to us for doing our lab programs from our hostels. But we had to use puttY to login.