apache reverse proxy configuration ubuntu

Apache Reverse Proxy Configuration For Ubuntu/Debian Linux

Apache Reverse Proxy allows you to run one or more backend servers behind a proxy server, without exposing them publicly. It also helps with load balancing. Here’s Apache Reverse Proxy Configuration for Ubuntu/Debian Linux.


Apache Reverse Proxy Configuration Step By Step

Here’s a step by step Apache Reverse Proxy Configuration for Ubuntu/Debian Linux systems.


1. Install Required Apache modules

We require 4 Apache modules to configure Apache reverse proxy – mod_proxy, mod_proxy_http, mod_proxy_balancer, mod_lbmethod_byrequests

  • mod_proxy is the main proxy module that redirects requests and allows Apache to act as gateway to backend servers
  • mod_proxy_http allows support for proxying HTTP requests
  • mod_proxy_balancer and mod_lbmethod_byrequests add load balancing capabilities to Apache web server.

Open terminal and run the following commands to install pre-requisite Apache modules.

$ sudo a2enmod proxy
$ sudo a2enmod proxy_http
$ sudo a2enmod proxy_balancer
$ sudo a2enmod lbmethod_byrequests

Bonus Read : How to Install & Configure mod_pagespeed with Apache


2. Restart Apache Server

Restart Apache Server to apply changes

$ sudo service apache2 restart


3. Setup backend server

We will install & setup flask server to run on port 8080 as a backend server.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get -y install python3-pip
$ sudo pip3 install flask

Flask comes with a readymade ~/backend.py file that returns “Hello World” on requesting home page.

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

def home():
    return 'Hello world!'


Bonus Read : How to Check if mod_expires is enabled


We will run flask server

$ FLASK_APP=~/backend.py flask run --port=8080 >/dev/null 2>&1 &

You can test this server by running curl command

$ curl

You will see the output as Hello World!


4. Update Apache Configuration

We need to modify Apache’s default configuration file to enable reverse proxy. Open Apache configuration in text editor

$ sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf

Add the following lines to VirtualHost tag in Apache configuration file.

        ProxyPreserveHost On
        ProxyPass /
        ProxyPassReverse /

Let’s look at the 3 directives.

  • ProxyPreserveHost causes Apache to preserve original host header and pass it to back-end server.
  • ProxyPass is the main proxy directive which states that everything under root (/) should be directed to back-end server. If Apache gets request for /example, then it will send the request to http://your_backend_server/example
  • ProxyPassReverse tells Apache to modify response header in the response received from back-end server. This is useful in case the back-end server returns a location redirect response, then the client will be redirected to Apache proxy server, instead of back-end server.
<VirtualHost *:80>
ProxyPreserveHost On
ProxyPass /
ProxyPassReverse /

Bonus Read : How to Enable mod_headers in Apache


5. Restart Apache Server

Restart Apache Server to apply changes

$ sudo service apache2 restart


Hopefully, the above Apache reverse proxy configuration will help you setup proxy server for your website.

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