I am looking for a way to connect to my ESP8266's web server without being connected to the same network as it. Also, I want to be able to connect to it without using the port forward or VPN tunnel option on my router. If there are other options to send commands on a user interface other than the ESP8266's web server, I'm open to tips on that.

I know this can be done with certain devices (although I'm not sure about the ESP8266), but have no idea how it's done. For example, to connect to a smart thermostat like NEST there is no need to Port Forward or use a VPN to be able to send commands to it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


1 Answer 1


Assuming all this is on a "normal" home broadband network with a dynamic IPv4 address and a router operating as a NAT gateway.

The devices you are talking about do not operate as HTTP servers. They use protocols where the device connects out to a known public source e.g. a MQTT broker hosted in the cloud.

Messages for the device are sent to the cloud broker and then forwarded to the right device.

Because the devices connect out and keep the connection alive there is no need to do any port forwarding or use a VPN.

  • For clarification, let’s add that the user then connects to this server out in the cloud (or another one linked to it).
    – jcaron
    Jun 19, 2020 at 7:25
  • Thanks for your comment! This helps me out with my project. I will try and use the mqtt protocol.
    – Frank
    Jun 22, 2020 at 11:21

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