I've been using SSH Tunnel manager to easily set up and stop port tunneling over SSH to various servers at my company. That saved me the pain of opening up a new terminal window which will hang out there just for the sake of having a tunnel open.

This worked great (well , sort of) but SSH Tunnel Manager is a PowerPC application. With Lion, it is not supported any more.

What is a good replacement?

14 Answers 14


SSHTunnel is a free, cocoa-based UI for SSH tunnel management. Works on 10.5 and up. It hasn't been updated in a while but the code that's there is reasonably stable. It's worked well for me in the past.


  • Has this been tested under Lion? – dustmachine Aug 12 '11 at 20:44
  • I haven't tried it yet. – Ian C. Aug 12 '11 at 21:05
  • Had a chance to try it today. Yes, it still works for me in Lion (10.6.0). – Ian C. Aug 18 '11 at 16:43
  • @Ian 10.6.0 isn't Lion - it's Snow Leopard. – Cajunluke Oct 4 '11 at 1:13
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    It doesn't work on OS X 10.8.x – bogdan Jan 7 '13 at 17:56

Why not just use an SSH Tunnel via OSX's built in Terminal?...

Launch an SSH tunnel

To initiate your SSH tunnel, simply open Mac OSX Terminal.app and connect to your remote server via SSH with the following flags:

ssh -D 8080 -C -N username@example.com

This will launch our SSH tunnel on port 8080 and route all traffic (securely) through the server at example.com.

Browse the Web

Now, let’s start browsing the web using with your new SSH Tunnel (Chrome):

  • Open Google Chrome
  • Select ‘Chrome’ up the top left
  • Select ‘Preferences’
  • Select ‘Show advanced settings…’
  • Select ‘Change proxy settings…’
  • Select ‘SOCKS Proxy’
  • Enter ’′
  • Enter port ’8080′
  • Save changes by selecting ‘OK’
  • 10
    The question is specifically how to avoid doing all that, because it's annoying when you have to do it frequently. – Nick Matteo Oct 7 '15 at 15:38
  • 5
    Not really, since you can launch the terminal and run the command in the background, meaning you can just close the terminal. Can be set up as a script as well, instead of using a 3rd party app. – Efren Jun 6 '17 at 6:16

Try Secure Pipes: http://www.opoet.com It's free software and I'm looking to get more people using it.

  • 4
    Welcome to Ask Different! Please see the help center regarding self-promotion. – grg Jul 28 '14 at 13:53
  • 1
    Secure Pipes works well (At least for local forwards) in El Capitan. – Ranhiru Jude Cooray Apr 19 '16 at 15:39
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    Cool utility! Works flawless on macOS Sierra. – Nirmal Oct 19 '16 at 3:29
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    Can this create multiple tunnels over the same SSH connection? UI doesn't look like it can – antak Aug 3 '18 at 7:04
  • 1
    @antak Yeah, it cannot which is I am now uninstalling it. – vikas027 Sep 25 '18 at 22:28

SSH Tunnel Manager is now in the Mac App Store! So, you can run it on Lion.

  • 1
    Unreliable on 10.8, works only sometimes. – sorin Jan 12 '13 at 16:08
  • It doesn't support local redirection for ports < 1024 because that requires root privileges and the app doesn't support that yet :( – Ian Dunn May 24 '13 at 22:59
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    Not available in the Australian app store $#%! – oden Jun 28 '16 at 14:36
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    I get "Not available in the US store" (OS X 10.11.5) – Ian C. Jul 19 '16 at 17:39

Core Tunnel baked by Codinn is a tunnel manager that intuitive and easy to use:

  1. Support local, remote and dynamic port forwarding
  2. Compatible with OpenSSH
  3. Integrated with macOS Keychain
  4. Automatic reconnect
  5. Advanced config editor
  6. Status icon in menu bar
  7. Custom tags
  8. Importing and exporting

Core Tunnel - Overview Core Tunnel - Status Item Core Tunnel - Advanced Option Editor

  • Thanks for that trial. ps aux | grep ssh has nothing. How didi you start the tunnel? – hbrls Dec 30 '15 at 10:08
  • @hbrls Since SSH Tunnel is based on an excellent SSH library - libssh :) BTW, we also have open-sourced our core component SSHKitCore, which is based on libssh. – Yang.Y Dec 30 '15 at 12:35
  • 1
    Just bought this paid app and love it. 63 5-star reviews (counting all versions of the app) on the Apple Mac App Store. It gorgeous and intuitive, very Mac-specific solution, and a good way to manage tunnels so I don't have to keep track of scripts and ensure they run at boot, etc... And BTW, using this. I was able to create a tunnel to get around CyberDuck's frustration limitation (as recent as April 2017) in that it doesn't seem to support ~/.ssh/config ProxyCommand option. Technically speaking no app is required for that workaround but it sure makes it convenient! – clearlight Apr 23 '17 at 14:00

I found Coccinellida, it works on Lion but it's new and a bit buggy : /


On the terminal:


If you use ssh with a private key just type:



$ ssh -N -L 8888: -i Documents/default.pem root@ 

After that, you can browse using the tunnel. e.g. on the browser:


You could also check out Meerkat.

  • 1
    Meerkat is giving me problems under Lion. – user11602 Oct 4 '11 at 1:04
  • 2
    Commercial and broken. – bogdan Jan 7 '13 at 18:03

I strongly recommend using sshuttle. It's very handy.


I am using iSSH in Lion, which is a front-end application to the command line application “ssh”. It provides a quick and easy way to start an SSH connection to a remote computer.

  • 3
    iSSH aleays asks for a password so it doesn't work with SSH keys. – bogdan Jan 7 '13 at 17:52

iSSH can not remember my password. Coccinellida can save password. But it freezed my Mountain Lion sometimes ...

Shimo is good, but it IS commercial.


TunnelerX is simple and easy to use, focused on SSH SOCKS proxy. It doesn't exactly cover the requirement to manage several servers, as you can only add one server, although, it's usually enough for people looking to use an external box as proxy. It works fine under Mountain Lion.


SSH Tunnel Manager is still alive and supported.

Sorry about the delay though, it is not compatible with El Capitan.



I have an open-source and secure solution with BitBar.

Install BitBar:

Install this ssh-tunnelling script:

You do need to edit the configuration for one time, but it's not that complicated:

Configure your ssh-tunnel config in your ~/.ssh/config (I use something like below):

 Host *
   AddKeysToAgent yes
   UseKeychain yes
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa
   IdentitiesOnly yes
 Host some_name
   Hostname host_ip_or_url_etc
   Port 22
   User your_username
   LocalForward 5999

Don't forget to auto-start the ssh-agent:

$ ssh-add -K ~/.ssh/id_rsa

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