zrok - Open Source Ngrok Alternative

Zrok - Ngrok Alternative

Are you looking for a secure and self-hostable sharing platform to simplify the sharing of network services or files? Enter zrok! In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of zrok, exploring its features, functionalities, and how you can make the most of this robust platform.

What's zrok?

zrok (/ziːɹɒk/ ZEE-rock) stands out as a secure, open-source, self-hostable sharing platform designed to streamline the sharing of network services and files. Whether you're sharing a web server, network socket, or a directory of static files, zrok has you covered. If you prefer a hassle-free experience, zrok offers a robust zrok-as-a-Service option at zrok.io with an enticing free tier.

Open Source Freedom

One of the remarkable aspects of zrok is its commitment to an open-source ethos. Licensed under Apache 2.0, zrok encourages collaboration and welcomes contributions from the community. Check out the roadmap and share your ideas on the future of zrok through Discourse for questions or GitHub Issues for documenting problems. Learn more about zrok's open-source philosophy here.

Ziti Native Architecture

Built on the OpenZiti platform, zrok is a Ziti Native Application supported by the OpenZiti community and the NetFoundry team. This robust foundation ensures a secure and reliable environment for zrok users.

What Can You Do with zrok?

zrok serves as your go-to platform for sharing running services like web servers, network sockets, or directories of static files. The flexibility extends to both public and private sharing scenarios:

  • Public Sharing: Customize your public shares by reserving subdomains, enabling authentication options, or both. Public shares seamlessly proxy HTTPS to your services or files.

  • Private Sharing: Ensure exclusive access with private shares. Only users possessing the share token can access your shared resources, which can include TCP and UDP services.

Installing the zrok Command

The journey with zrok begins by installing the zrok command. If you're not opting for the zrok-as-a-Service on zrok.io, configure the zrok command to use your instance. Refer to the instance configuration guide for detailed instructions.

Generating an Invitation

Inviting yourself to zrok is a breeze with the zrok invite command. Simply enter and confirm your email address, and you'll receive an invitation. Follow the link in the email to set up your zrok account, and voila, your zrok account is ready to roll!

Enabling Your zrok Environment

After registration, enabling your zrok environment is the next step. The process involves generating a secure identity and necessary security policies. The zrok enable command, accessible from the web console, ensures your environment is fully enabled.

Sharing Resources with zrok

zrok simplifies resource sharing, offering both ephemeral and reserved sharing options:

  • Ephemeral Shares: Resources are ephemeral by default, removed once the zrok share command concludes. Ideal for short-term sharing needs.

  • Reserved Shares: For longer-lasting access, zrok supports reserved shares. These shares, identified by a consistent share token, survive restarts of the zrok share command.

Public Shares, Private Shares, and Frontends

zrok's design focuses on effortless sharing, ensuring a high level of security and control. Public shares expose resources to internet users, while private shares limit access to users with the zrok access command. Frontends play a crucial role, providing access to shared resources through URLs like https://2ptgbr8tlfvk.share.zrok.io.

Proxy and Web Backend Modes

zrok supports two backend modes:

  • Proxy Backend Mode: Ideal for private HTTP/HTTPS endpoints, proxy shares provide access to services behind firewalls or on localhost.

  • Web Backend Mode: With the web mode, zrok transforms into a web server, enabling the sharing of local files and HTML resources. No need for additional web server configuration.

Reserved Shares: A Deeper Dive

Reserved shares provide a consistent share token, surviving restarts. Creating a reserved share involves using the zrok reserve command, ensuring a reliable and reusable share.

Concepts Review

To sum it up, understanding zrok involves grasping key concepts:

  • Instance and Account: Create an account with a zrok instance, using a username, password, and secret token.

  • Environment: Use the zrok enable command to create an environment, corresponding to a command-line user on a specific host system.

  • Shares: Utilize zrok share for ephemeral sharing, with public or private modes and various backend options.

  • **Reserved Shares

**: For lasting access, employ zrok reserve to create reserved shares.


zrok emerges as a powerful tool for secure sharing of network services and files. Whether you're a developer, IT professional, or someone seeking a secure way to share resources, zrok delivers a robust and user-friendly solution.

Dive into the world of zrok today and experience secure sharing like never before!

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