Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
The local host address is a quick way to fool browsers into connecting to software running on your local machine, instead of some remote software.
What exactly is the use of IP address 127.0.0.1? Alright, I heard it's a loop-back address. Well, why exactly is it called a loop-back address or local host? What exactly does it do? I use a VPN (Hotspot Shield) and they have disabled torrents. Now, I heard that someone said to use this proxy 127.0.0.1 with port 8118. Now, my question is what exactly happens when you use this loop back address? Is your default IP exposed? I'm just confused with this IP address?
In this excerpt from Answercast #60, I look at ways to use a loop-back IP address on a computer.
127.0.0.1, more frequently referred to as local host, is a special case IP address. It is an IP address that is always defined to be "this machine."
So, if you're on a machine that is trying to connect to 127.0.0.1 in effect, the connection loops back. In other words, the machine tries to go out to connect to that IP address but instead, it comes back and connects to itself. That's why they call it a loop back. If you try and connect out to 127.0.0.1, it will actually appear as an incoming connection as well on that IP address.
Anything you send out to that IP address goes to your machine; the same machine that you're sending from.
Now, why would that be used? Well, it's used in many cases because you want to fool a piece of network software, a piece of software that is expecting to connect to some other machine on the net. You want to fool it so that instead, it connects to other software on your own machine.
You can always define 127.0.0.1 as your own machine, "local host."
Now, most commonly what happens is you end up running some kind of proxy server/software on your machine and what it does is it starts listening on 127.0.0.1. It listens for connections. You then configure your software to use the local host address. When it connects out to that address, it's looped back to the same machine where this proxy software is then listening for the connection and connects to it.
So, it's a way (like I said) to fool software that expects to connect to another machine out on the internet to instead connect to software running on the same machine.
Now, in the example that you've described, when you are using a proxy of 127.0.0.1 with port 8118, that won't work without something else. There has to be some kind of proxy software running on that machine that is listening on port 8118 in order for whatever that is to work. So, there's some instructions here that are missing. There's something going on here that hasn't been completely defined.
Typically, when proxy software is run on your own machine, the local host
address is a quick way to fool things like internet browsers or email programs
or whatever to connect to this software running on your machine instead of to
some remote software.
Next from Answercast #60 - Who is it safe to give my passwords to?
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.