Reverse proxy configuration help

I am new to nginx, it being recommended to solve a problem.

The problem: I have a VPS hosting a website and an application server
in my
DMZ. I have a test and prod version of each. I want both DMZ’ed
servers
reverse-proxied such that requests where the referrer is the test web
server
always go to the test app server and requests where the referrer is
anything
but the test web server always go to the production app server.

The app servers can only be accessed over https, and the proxy will
eventually but not quite yet.

Question: What is the best way to accomplish this? I am trying to use
two
different registered host names which are registered to the secondary IP
on
the VPS, as the proxied names for the app servers, but that’s not
working
too well. I wonder if it would be better to have a single server name
for
the proxy with the two proxied servers selected based on referrer,
rather
than trying to redirect to another server name, with one server name
servicing one proxied server and the other, the other proxied server.

Regardless, I can’t seem to get past the connection to the backend
server.
I keep getting a 110 connection failure. I have tried several
configurations but none seem to work.

The problem I’m running into may be related to use of the valid_referers
directive. It doesn’t seem to do what I need, which is to use one
back-end
for requests referred from one web server host but use the other for all
other requests.

If I have two server directives with the same IP but two different
server
names, it seems I can’t have two location directives, one within each
server
name. If I could get that to work, it seems to me it should allow me to
redirect to the default app server using the valid_referers directive
within
the referrer-specific app server’s server directive, but that doesn’t
seem
to work the way I expect, either.

I don’t have a config file to post because it has gone through a dozen
iterations already, none of which have been saved. A generic example
of
one that doesn’t work would be :

server {
listen 10.10.10.10:80;
server_name devappxy.mydomain.com;
valid_referers devweb.mydomain.com;
if ($invalid_referer) {
return 301 http://apppxy.mydomain.com$request_uri;
}
proxy_bind 10.10.10.10;
access_log /var/log/nginx/devpxyaccess.log main;
error_log /var/log/nginx/devpxyerror.log debug;
location / {
proxy_pass https://devapp.mydomain.com;
proxy_redirect https://devapp.mydomain.com / ;
}
}
server {
listen 10.10.10.10:80 ;
server_name apppxy.mydomain.com ;
proxy_bind 10.10.10.10 ;
access_log /var/log/nginx/pxyaccess.log main ;
error_log /var/log/nginx/pxyerror.log debug ;
location / {
proxy_pass https://prodapp.mydomain.com ;
proxy_redirect https://prodapp.mydomain.com / ;
}
}

When I do that it says “location” directive isn’t allowed here…

Posted at Nginx Forum:
http://forum.nginx.org/read.php?2,236278,236278#msg-236278

On 18 February 2013 15:06, jims [email protected] wrote:

I am new to nginx, it being recommended to solve a problem.

[ Having read your mail, this kind of reverse proxying is exactly what
nginx is very good at; I think you’re just trying to do too much, too
quickly, and need to step back from the problem for a moment to
identify what your first steps should be; then iterate from simple to
complex behaviours, only moving forward once each behaviour works
successfully. ]

The problem: I have a VPS hosting a website and an application server in my
DMZ. I have a test and prod version of each. I want both DMZ’ed servers
reverse-proxied such that requests where the referrer is the test web server
always go to the test app server and requests where the referrer is anything
but the test web server always go to the production app server.

When you say “referrer”, do you really mean the referrer as
distinguished by client-originated HTTP headers? I wouldn’t do that,
personally …

The app servers can only be accessed over https, and the proxy will
eventually but not quite yet.

That last part may be more of an issue for you, as you’ll discover you
need an IP address per SSL site you want to host.

Question: What is the best way to accomplish this? I am trying to use two
different registered host names which are registered to the secondary IP on
the VPS, as the proxied names for the app servers, but that’s not working
too well. I wonder if it would be better to have a single server name for
the proxy with the two proxied servers selected based on referrer, rather
than trying to redirect to another server name, with one server name
servicing one proxied server and the other, the other proxied server.

Goodness, no. I wouldn’t /touch/ referer headers for HTTP routing. So
unreliable!

Regardless, I can’t seem to get past the connection to the backend server.
I keep getting a 110 connection failure. I have tried several
configurations but none seem to work.

What does a connection, via telnet/netcat, from the server, show you?

The problem I’m running into may be related to use of the valid_referers
directive. It doesn’t seem to do what I need, which is to use one back-end
for requests referred from one web server host but use the other for all
other requests.

I may be repeating a single tune here, but I would really force your
business to re-examine your requirements if you think this is
desirable behaviour.

If I have two server directives with the same IP but two different server
names, it seems I can’t have two location directives, one within each server
name.

Each server may have zero or more location directives.
Each location belongs to exactly one server stanza.

I don’t understand exactly what you think doesn’t work, but if it
contradicts the above 2 lines, then it’s not legal nginx config.

If I could get that to work, it seems to me it should allow me to
redirect to the default app server using the valid_referers directive within
the referrer-specific app server’s server directive, but that doesn’t seem
to work the way I expect, either.

When you say “redirect” here, you really mean “reverse proxy”, don’t
you?
“Redirecting” is a very specific, unrelated thing in HTTP-server-speak

I don’t have a config file to post because it has gone through a dozen
iterations already, none of which have been saved.

apt-get install git-core :stuck_out_tongue:

access_log /var/log/nginx/devpxyaccess.log main;
access_log /var/log/nginx/pxyaccess.log main ;
error_log /var/log/nginx/pxyerror.log debug ;
location / {
proxy_pass https://prodapp.mydomain.com ;
proxy_redirect https://prodapp.mydomain.com / ;
}
}

The only real problem I can see is that you don’t have a resolver
specified, so nginx doesn’t know how to resolve the app FQDNs.
Irrespective of this, there are much nicer ways to achieve this, which
might use:

  • Nginx maps to translate from client Host header to backend FQDN.
  • Access/error logs specified using variables, but DRY them out at a
    higher level than per-server (i.e. state them once, globally, at the
    http level.
  • A single server stanza, switching between backends.

I could write a version that uses these concepts for you, but I’d be
depriving you of the educational and life-affirming journey of Getting
There Yourself if I did :wink:

If you want to get the best possible help with this, reduce the
clutter in your example/failing config (i.e. make the smallest
possible config that doesn’t do what you think it /should/ do), and
re-engage with the list.

When I do that it says “location” directive isn’t allowed here…

When you do what?

Jonathan

Jonathan M. // Oxford, London, UK
http://www.jpluscplusm.com/contact.html

Jonathan M. Wrote:

On 18 February 2013 15:06, jims [email protected] wrote:

I am new to nginx, it being recommended to solve a problem.

[ Having read your mail, this kind of reverse proxying is exactly what
nginx is very good at; I think you’re just trying to do too much, too
quickly, and need to step back from the problem for a moment to
identify what your first steps should be; then iterate from simple to
complex behaviours, only moving forward once each behaviour works
successfully. ]

Point taken. Going straight for the desired end result doesn’t always
save
time…

Thanks for your response, Jonathan. It has been helpful. Read on for
responses to your comments…

When you say “referrer”, do you really mean the referrer as
distinguished by client-originated HTTP headers? I wouldn’t do that,
personally …

When I say “referrer” I mean the site where the link is presented to the
end
user. If that is what is “distinguished by client-originated HTTP
headers”
then yes.
The desired result is that if a person is in our pool of testers and is
testing the development website, any app server link (although pointing
putatively to the production app server) would be sent to the
reverse-proxy
that’s front-ending the test app server. The idea is to minimize
unauthorized traffic to the test server. By using only links that get
to
the production app server, if someone saves the link and tries again
later,
they will hit the production app server’s reverse-proxy front-end. They
would only hit our test app server if they are actively testing for us.
Once testing is complete, the proven code can be promoted to te
production
webste without having to deal with changing test links to prod links in
the
process Those who will be maintaining the links ongoing should not be
expected either to change links as part of a move-to-production or to
have
to learn how to put variables into all the links, and we would not have
to
modify the CMS to handle links with variables - they should be able to
copy
and paste to create links, which resulting content should be able to be
promoted to production without change, or it defeats the purpose of
using a
modern content-management system.

The app servers can only be accessed over https, and the proxy will
eventually but not quite yet.

That last part may be more of an issue for you, as you’ll discover you
need an IP address per SSL site you want to host.

Normally, yes, and each of the app server hostnames has its own
registered
IP address now, with trusted certs associated. We are working on
obtaining
a wildcard cert which we’d use for the proxy as well as the website, and
will add IP addresses to the proxy if necessary. I would hope that,
since
we want the proxy to choose between two back-end app servers for the
same
front-end uri, depending on whether or not there is a referrer of the
development website, one IP should be all that’s needed on the
front-end,
correct?

than trying to redirect to another server name, with one server name
servicing one proxied server and the other, the other proxied
server.

Goodness, no. I wouldn’t /touch/ referer headers for HTTP routing. So
unreliable!

OK. How would you recommend ensuring that if you click on a link on our
dev
site, it goes to the proxied test app server but if you access that same
URL
in any other way, whether by way of a link on the prod website, a
bookmark,
someone emailing you the link - the request goes to the proxied prod app
server? As I said, I’m an nginx newb, so monosyllabic responses are
appreciated… :wink:

Regardless, I can’t seem to get past the connection to the backend
server.
I keep getting a 110 connection failure. I have tried several
configurations but none seem to work.

What does a connection, via telnet/netcat, from the server, show you?

I get a connection. I haven’t figured out the right HTTP command to
send to
get a valid response yet, but I get a response - not a timeout.

desirable behaviour.

See my earlier response explaining the business requirement, to
understand
why this is a desireable behavior.

contradicts the above 2 lines, then it’s not legal nginx config.

If you look at the example conf I posted, that configuration - two
separate
server stanzas, each with a location directive, and I get that message.
I
probably have something else misconfigured. Again, newb…

.
The redirect is a redirect - telling nginx to use a different
reverse-proxy
“upstream” server from what it would normally use based on the URL in
the
request. However, if there is a better way to get the same result I am
all
for it. For example, a method whereby the same front-end url chooses an
upstream server based on the valid_referer criterion, or whatever it is
you
would recommend other than the referrer,.

I don’t have a config file to post because it has gone through a
dozen
iterations already, none of which have been saved.

apt-get install git-core :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t want to install apt on my centos server :confused: How 'bout ‘yum
install
git-core?’

access_log /var/log/nginx/devpxyaccess.log main;
access_log /var/log/nginx/pxyaccess.log main ;
Irrespective of this, there are much nicer ways to achieve this, which
might use:

  • Nginx maps to translate from client Host header to backend FQDN.
    Would that work if the goal is to direct traffic based on where you’re
    coming from? I will explore…
  • Access/error logs specified using variables, but DRY them out at a
    higher level than per-server (i.e. state them once, globally, at the
    http level.
    The logs are specified at per-server to quickly identify where the
    failure
    lies. They will be only at the nginx.conf http level when I have a
    suceessful configuration.
  • A single server stanza, switching between backends.

I like the idea - I’m just stuck on how to get it to switch based on
where
the client is coming from…

When you do what?

When I set up my included config file to use the two-server-stanza
configuration I posted (with hostnames/addresses pointing to real-life
stuff, of course) that’s what I get when issuing the service restart.

Jonathan

Jonathan M. // Oxford, London, UK
http://www.jpluscplusm.com/contact.html


nginx mailing list
[email protected]
http://mailman.nginx.org/mailman/listinfo/nginx

Thanks again - you’ve been quite helpful.

Jim.

Posted at Nginx Forum:
http://forum.nginx.org/read.php?2,236278,236312#msg-236312

Jonathan,

I just want to thank you for helping a newbie out, once again. Your
advice
helped me to get things going,

Now I get to fine-tune it…

jims Wrote:

identify what your first steps should be; then iterate from simple

The problem: I have a VPS hosting a website and an application
When you say “referrer”, do you really mean the referrer as
reverse-proxy that’s front-ending the test app server. The idea is to
the CMS to handle links with variables - they should be able to copy

use two
name
website, a bookmark, someone emailing you the link - the request goes

all
different

to work the way I expect, either.
the same result I am all for it. For example, a method whereby the
I don’t want to install apt on my centos server :confused: How 'bout 'yum

proxy_bind 10.10.10.10;
proxy_bind 10.10.10.10 ;
specified, so nginx doesn’t know how to resolve the app FQDNs.
the
depriving you of the educational and life-affirming journey of
When you do what?
nginx mailing list
[email protected]
http://mailman.nginx.org/mailman/listinfo/nginx

Thanks again - you’ve been quite helpful.

Jim.

Posted at Nginx Forum:
http://forum.nginx.org/read.php?2,236278,236361#msg-236361

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