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I want to use netcat as a proxy to log http requests and responses to files, then tail these to inspect traffic. Think wireshark.

Tried the following where 'fifo' is a named pipe, 'in' and 'out' are files, netcat proxy on port 8080, server on port 8081.

while true; do cat fifo | nc -l -p 8080 | tee -a in | nc localhost 8081 | tee -a out 1>fifo; done


  • Netcat stop responing after first request (while loop ignored?).

  • Netcat fails with msg localhost [] 8081 (tproxy) : Connection refused if server unavailable on 8081. Question: Is it possible to "lazily" connect to 8081 when request is made? I.e. I do not want to have 8081 running when netcat is started.

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2 Answers 2

Use socat, you don't need the pipes and fifos

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Works good. Im able to see the response now. But how do I make socat stay alive for subsequent requests? Tried while true; do socat -v tcp-listen:8080,keepalive=1 tcp:localhost:8081; done and socat -v tcp-listen:8080,keepalive=1 tcp:localhost:8081 –  deephacks Oct 6 '12 at 17:40
Try fork as in socat -v tcp-listen:8080,fork tcp:localhost:8081 –  RedGrittyBrick Oct 7 '12 at 9:56

I'd use tcpdump (tutorial) for this. I think the command you want would look like this:

sudo tcpdump -i eth0 -s0 -v port 8080
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tcpdump only show raw packets which are hard to read. tcpflow does exactly what I want and eliminate the need to proxy request/response. sudo tcpflow -p -i lo -c port 8081 –  deephacks Oct 6 '12 at 21:23

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