TryCloudflare - Free Argo Tunnel Tool

Most customers connect their origin to Cloudflare by setting a DNS record that points to the IP address of their origin server. Exposing an external IP to the Internet is not only a hassle, it can also be a security risk when done incorrectly.

  • If you want to prevent attacks to an exposed IP address, you need to configure access control lists to restrict who can reach the ports on your origin
  • If you change your IP address, you have to change your DNS record configuration

One year ago, Cloudflare launched Argo Tunnel to solve these problems. Argo Tunnel connects your origin server to the Cloudflare network by running a lightweight daemon on your machine that only makes outbound calls to Cloudflare for your hostname. You can restrict all ingress to the machine and Argo Tunnel will do the rest. The connection also uses our Argo Smart Routing technology to find the fastest path from your visitors to your origin.

We’re excited to make Argo Tunnel the best way to connect to Cloudflare, so we want to provide more people with a way to try it out. We built a new tool, TryCloudflare, that you can use to serve requests from a web server through a randomly-generated subdomain of tryCloudflare.com.

How can I use it?

  1. Install Cloudflared on your web server or laptop; instructions here. If you have an older copy, you’ll first need to update your version to the latest (2019.4.0)
  2. Launch a web server.
  3. Run the following terminal command to start a free tunnel.

Cloudflared will begin proxying requests to your web server; no additional flags needed.

$ Cloudflared tunnel

The command above will default port 8080, but you can specify a different port with the --url flag

$ Cloudflared tunnel --url localhost:7000

Cloudflared will generate a random subdomain when connecting to the Cloudflare network and print it in the terminal for you to use. This will make whatever server you are running on your local machine accessible to the world through a public URL only you know. Even better it’s totally free and doesn’t even require having a Cloudflare account!

What are some good use cases for it?

  • Create a web server for a project on your laptop that you want to share with others on different networks
  • Test browser compatibility for a new site by creating a free Argo Tunnel and testing the link in different browsers
  • Run speed tests from different regions

Why are we giving something away for free?

  • We want more users to experience the speed and security improvements of Argo Tunnel (and Argo Smart Routing). We hope you test it with TryCloudflare and decide to add it to your production sites.
  • Cloudflare’s best features historically require you to own a domain, set that domain’s DNS to Cloudflare’s nameservers, and configure its DNS records before you can begin to use any services. We hope to make more and more of our products available to trial without that burden.
  • We don’t guarantee any SLA or uptime of TryCloudflare - we plan to test new Argo Tunnel features and improvements on these free tunnels. This provides us with a group of connections to test before we deploy to production customers. Free tunnels are meant to be used for testing and development, not for deploying a production website.

What’s next?

  • This is a beta. We’re making it available to users, first come first serve, for 1,000 concurrent tunnels. We’re going to continue testing the tool before making it available more widely.
  • We’d love to hear about how you’re using it. Please send me any use cases or examples you have so we can share those with the community.
  • Got feedback? Please send it here.
11 Likes

What’s not a good use case for this free test tool?

  • Exposing your internal corporate intranet site or any other site which contains proprietary or sensitive data even if it’s “just a test”.
  • Attempting to abuse or exploit a free test of a service to abuse Cloudflare’s ToS.
6 Likes

On your own domain using Cloudflare Access is a great Argo Tunnel use case however… this is a test domain/ instance not directly controlled by your zone/ security. settings.

6 Likes

So in order to test a tunnel secured by Cloudflare access the only way is to pay the 5$/m?
Even if you don’t use smart routing?

Just install the agent, and run it as below, change url accordingly A tunnel will be created for free.

[quote=“SamRhea, post:1, topic:74871”].
Cloudflared tunnel --url localhost:7000
[/quote]

2 Likes

This is great, only thing I think could be improved is the Windows installation experience, having the option to install it via scoop and chocolatey would be great (edit: since they can add the exe to path, so you don’t have to manually add it yourself)

Barely noticed a latency different between the argo tunneled version and localhost version of the site I tested it on, love that websockets just works :+1:

1 Like

Is it possible to save a configuration file with the free tunnel so the URL doesn’t change every time we bring it up?

No, if you want a static URL you need to buy the paid version. They won’t give everything away for free, they still need to run a business and pay for the service costs.

1 Like

I’m attempting to test out Argo Tunnel but am having an issue. Is it only designed to be used for HTTP(S) traffic?

When I run “.\Cloudflared.exe tunnel --url localhost:2541” on my Windows 10 machine I get "ERRO[0000] unable to connect to the origin error=“Get http://localhost:2541: EOF”

No, absolutely. It works with HTTP only traffic as an origin. It will be HTTPS only from the internet though.

1 Like

Is it possible to limit what url’s at the target is exposed, e.g. if I do
–url myhost:8080
limit access to the suburl http://myurl:8080/onlythis/

I didn’t try, but it may be possible that you can simply put the whole URL as the source. You could try…

Otherwise you would need to limit the access via your webserver.